In this blog post and Tech Bites video we consider a case study on running successful new film trials by optimizing parts designs, machine set-up, and operating procedures according to new film specifications.
A corporate engineer for a large bakery operation teamed with a packaging film converter to specify a new film structure for their product line of cookies. The product was packaged on multiple horizontal flow wrappers at three different bakeries.
If the new material could maintain the current levels of seal integrity, quality appearance, and productivity, it would reduce material costs by thousands of dollars per month on each machine and produce significant total cost savings.
Film Trial #1
The project team gathered for a trial run, where the new film was installed on one wrapper by the machine operator and line mechanic. They relied on the familiar adjustment settings, crimpers, and other tooling utilized for the original film, but seal quality tests of trial packages showed an unacceptable rate of end seal leaks.
With this unfamiliar film structure, machine adjustments did not improve seal integrity and caused additional problems:
- Temperature increases distorted the package.
- Attempts to reset the crimper clearance crushed and split the end seal and caused cutting issues.
Film Trial #2
After this unsuccessful first trial, the project leaders invited Greener Corporation to join their team. Greener reviewed the trial procedures and results, including sample packages, and determined that the serration pattern of the existing crimpers was not appropriate for the new film. We recommended and were asked to manufacture one set of crimpers with a new design that would produce optimal results.
Our technical service manager, who had experience working with similar film structures, helped to install the new crimpers, make required machine adjustments, and provide technical support for a second trial of the new film, which efficiently and consistently produced high quality packages with excellent seal integrity.
Once implemented, the project provided the expected savings and some additional, unforeseen benefits:
- Machine operators and mechanics required fewer machine stoppages to make adjustments, and found it easier to consistently meet package quality standards.
- Bakery and corporate managers reported higher production rates, reduced waste, and improved seal integrity and package appearance compared with the original film.
Through a collaborative, team-based approach, the project was a great success.