Case Study: Starving Packer

A cartoner and an unbalanced laner slow production by 20 percent — but why?
A low-performing line puzzles an engineering team.
A large consumer packaged goods manufacturer suspects software problems with a production line laner are the source for a number of headaches that are manifested in a starving packer. However, after numerous programming changes the engineering team can’t identify a fix that can rectify the problem. That’s when they sought help from the process and packaging experts at Haskell.
Models help the team uncover the real performance culprit.
The team worked with plant engineers to develop multiple scenarios and evaluate the current system. A model was created to test and debug line software. Results indicated the fault not to be in the laner but upstream in the cartoner.
Emulation revealed an effective solution.
The team emulated a physical change to the line by adding a virtual conveyor and repositioning a photoeye further upstream. The results showed a 16% throughput improvement. The physical modification would require significant investment of time and resources. Due to the models's validation of the concept, engineers knew the resulting solution would solve the problem, and could present the proposal to management with complete confidence.


Starving Packer
Bela Jacobson
Engineering Manager