PET Food Processing - June 2018 - 63

and have the ability to travel around bends while maintaining full contact with the inside surface of the pipeline."
Pigging can increase yield by recovering usable product
and reducing the time required for changeovers. Because
the pig can remove nearly all the product in a pipeline,
cross-contamination risks are reduced, creating less need
for long flush outs. Pigging systems can help improve lot
traceability and batch control as well by segmenting and
differentiating batches and creating clear barriers between
them. In the right application, pigging offers the potential
for significant gains in process efficiencies.

Clear view
For processors with large-volume, continuous production
runs and many already automated systems, it can be challenging to identify the highest value areas for improvement.
"The area of the greatest potential can vary from facility
to facility," says Niranjan Kulkarni, Ph.D., director of operations improvement for CRB Consulting Engineers. "It
is best to understand the factors that affect throughput at
a system view. Instead of optimizing a single process, understand how the system behaves to uncover its true bottlenecks. Modeling and simulations are great tools to assist
with such evaluations."
Operational analysis can help identify areas for improvement. To ensure an efficient plant layout, it is important to understand material movement patterns and
frequencies. "A material movement analysis or spaghetti
diagram are great techniques to analyze this problem,"
Kulkarni explains. "Based on these analyses, the layout
can be developed to minimize travel times and adhere
to required adjacencies. These analyses can also uncover
the feasibility of incorporating material movement equipment into the design."
Material storage, which consumes a significant amount
of space, should also be evaluated. "By understanding material velocity and storage policies," Kulkarni says, "the op-

timal storage layout and material handling equipment that
are best-suited for the product mix and facility operations
can be selected." A good layout should also support future
expansion needs. A strategic facility plan, along with a master plan, can identify growth options and constraints.
Key performance indicators such as quality, throughput, utilization and inventory turns should be developed
to align with business drivers. "These factors, coupled with
the cost of goods and sale of goods, can help justify process changes," Kulkarni says. "Simulation and mathematical
modeling, paired with a cost-of-goods analysis can translate the production benefit into a financial benefit, justifying the return on investment."

Optimal storage
layout can be
identified by understanding material
movement patterns
and frequencies.
CRB Consulting Engineers

Simple success
APEC, a leader in automated process control equipment,
says it's important not to overlook the small improvements.
Something as simple as regular maintenance can reap big
rewards. Implementing a strategic maintenance schedule,
improving employee training and investing in back-up
equipment keeps production running reliably.
APEC recommends scheduling maintenance checks
into the facility's operating routines. APEC's automated
processing equipment offers a control system that removes
the chance of user error by automatically tracking and recording the maintenance and inspection process. Making
equipment maintenance a routine is a simple effort that can
help catch problems early and avoid costly downtime.
To continue to grow as a company, Krehbiel says the
challenge is to stay ahead of the capacity demand which often requires an investment. "Knowing whether that investment needs to be an added shift, a new packaging line, a
new extrusion line or an entire new plant has as much to
do with what's happening inside the plant as it does with
the partnerships the company has with its customers and
suppliers," Krehbiel explains. "As a team, we have to strive
to get better."
PFP

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