Maximizing Thruput: Perspective and Airplanes

Oct 30, 2017 | Manufacturing

How would you like to have all your machines run at 100% efficiency? It would be great, would it not? However, how would you like to be responsible for making all of your machines run at 100% efficiency?  You see, machines just don’t run at 100%.

Airplanes, for example, with all their redundant backup systems still fail on occasion. The safety record of the aviation industry is spectacular. They have achieved this by having the best maintenance, repeated inspections, redundant checks and rechecks for systems that are critical to flight safety, incredible weather reporting and forecasting, the most sophisticated air traffic control system in the world, rigid certifications of pilots, and things still fail.

They don’t fail often, but they do fail.

Under Part 91 Federal Regulation (flying people for hire) landing gears on a King Air must be replaced every 6 years whether or not there is anything wrong with them. This is how the plane is kept safe for commercial passengers.  Engines must be rebuilt at certain time intervals regardless of their condition. How many of us would be willing to throw away a perfectly good piece of machinery, and replace it with a brand new one, just to make sure it won’t malfunction?

I don’t think it is very likely.

How then, are we to expect that machinery we use in our packaging operations should run at 100%? Yet, that is exactly what a lot of customers are asking.

What do you think happens to the price of a machine when extremely high efficiencies are requested? I can tell you for certain. They go up. A lot.

Machine suppliers are those people who are being asked to make machines run 100% of the time. In response, they ask the question, “How do you define 100%? I can’t be responsible for bad materials, or operator mistakes, or poor maintenance”.

Well, once you take materials, operators, and maintenance out of the numbers you are right back where you started with a machine that runs at some level under 100%.

However, you did end up with a complex, craftily written purchase order on which everybody spent an enormous amount of time but in the end, you’re going to end up with the same machine.

Wouldn’t it be wiser to spend that time with the machinery supplier developing ways with which to reduce the duration of the failures?