Adding a premix step increases throughput of a mixer while reducing energy and labor costs. SOURCE: Reading Bakery Systems

Up and running
There are planned and unplanned contributors to downtime. The planned category includes preventative maintenance, product changeover and sanitation. Unplanned downtime involves breakdowns of specific portions of equipment and other malfunctions. But one often overlooked form of downtime is product changeover.

“A baker should look into the time it takes to change from one product to another,” Mr. Riggle said. “How easily can the tooling be properly and consistently installed? Are tools involved? Is it repeatable in configuration?”

To aid with this, Rademaker introduced a Product Tooling Assistant on the HMI with Unique Fit Tooling on the production line. When a component is selected for maintenance or repair, first a picture of the item appears on the screen. Then it gives detailed and step-by-step instructions of what tools are required and where on the line operators are to go. The line is marked with locations and numbers to limit confusion. The Unique Fit aspect means that the equipment can only go ¬together one way and not be incorrectly assembled.

“All of this equates to a faster product changeover that is repeatable time after time,” Mr. Riggle said.

Reiser helps bakers prepare for changeovers with “quick change” kits for allergens. John McIsaac, vice-president, strategic business development, Reiser, said changeovers are a major time-consumer, but most operators can see them coming.

“If planned for, the downtime can be minimized,” Mr. McIsaac said. “Our system is recipe-driven, so most of the changeovers are done quickly, but if mechanical changes are required, we try to make them quick and instinctive.”

By simplifying changeovers, downtime is diminished, and a line increases throughput by simply being fully operational more hours of the day. Slowing down and identifying problems that could cause future downtime, along with simplifying the methods to address bottlenecks, can lead to greater overall throughput and consistent line speeds.