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FLEXO Magazine : January 2009
TECHNOLOGIES & TECHNIQUES show where and what is needed as well as what is missing. All wash up bottles and solvents should be clearly marked and iden- tified and stationed in common locations. Tools and accessories for the print stations should be located locally by that work area. Same as the accessories needed to support die changes and deliv- ery options. Cores can be stored in stackable bins and cut to pre- determined lengths and stored near the rewind. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen countless hours wasted on looking for press components or general consumables. One of the most time consuming and costly external activities is the cleanup process. A huge waste of time is having experi- enced operators performing this unwanted task. This is where having extra accessories like ink pans and doctor blade assem- blies could really decrease the changeover time. These compo- nents can be washed off line and quickly replaced with clean components that are press ready. Most of the newer presses now are equipped with quick change designs that will facilitate the changeover process. Having extra components will have a very positive effect on uptime. Standardizing storage areas is also a major factor. Having designated locations for all tooling including plate rolls, anilox rolls and dies will create a well man- aged inventory. Having all cylinder types well marked and identified will expedite the makeready process. Plate rolls can be stored by repeat length and quantity. While anilox rolls can be stored on racks either by color cod- ing cells per inch/volumes or more preferably with a tagging system. The tagging option will identify CPI and volume as well as the individual roll number. This will come in handy when trying to achieve repeatable color matching on repeat orders. As always good housekeeping practices should be employed. Do not return plate rolls to the rack with tape still applied. Leave them prepared for use. Same goes for the anilox rolls. Always store these rolls clean and prepared for use. If they are not going to be used for a while, make sure to have them properly covered and protected. These opportunities will allow you to better manage your inventory and know that you have a safe, repeatable management system in place. These and similar practices can be applied all throughout the pressroom including the ink and plateroom areas. LEAN AND GREEN I once had a conversation with a client who had his eyes opened to this opportunity. He spent one morning at a local breakfast shop where he had taken his press crew to celebrate a great month. As he sat with about 20 people he realized that there was only one cook. He simply could not imagine how this poor guy was going to prepare 20 meals in a reasonable amount of time. He then observed an eye-opening experience. Not only did all the meals arrive at the same time but they arrived in less than 15 minutes and were all hot and ready to eat. He noticed that the cook never left a 3 foot circle. Everything he needed to prepare those meals was at an arm’s reach away—all organized in an ef- ficient manner. Everything had its place. Lean manufacturing at its best! Today this client’s facility is one of the leanest I have seen and all associated with it have prospered, from the operations staff to the customer. Remember that going lean has no final destination; this effort will be a never-ending process of continuous improve- ment. It will take the commitment of management to enforce it and reward it. This client embraced this philosophy and leads by example. Courtesy of Consolidated Products Inc. Once we have the fundamentals of pressroom standardization implemented, we will begin to see the advantages it provides. We can then measure and predict our results with much more confidence. Now we will start to see the increase in uptime that these changes provide. Keep track of the progress by posting the performance improvement of each work center. Afterall, we can only control what we measure; without measurement there is no control. A little competition and peer pressure goes a long way to improving production performance and can be seen as a very healthy and positive culture. Keeping all players in the game and rewarding those who over achieve. The press itself is only used for printing and converting. It is how we manage the external activities that will allow the internal process activi- ties to flourish. The external activities of job preparation, material handling and clean ups are the major causes of downtime. By standardizing our work centers, we will facilitate an integrated workflow environment that will be leaner, more sustainable and best of all more profitable. This all begins with a comprehensive review of the inner workings of your pressroom. A Pressroom Evaluation is the first step to uncovering the foundation of standardization. The next step to this adventure will be to standardize our on- press procedures. From developing standards for inks, plates, cushion tapes and anilox. Once we have a safe and organized pressroom in place it will be much easier and more sustainable to conquer this task. We will have a renewed confidence in con- sistency and repeatability. But that will be a story in itself. Stay tuned! ? ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Paul Teachout has been in the packag- ing industry for more than 25 years. Starting out in offset, he moved to flexo press manufacturing with Webtron in 1986. He remained with the company through its evolution to finally become Aquaflex. Teachout has held numerous key positions including printing man- agement, application specialists, sales support, engineering support, marketing and product development manager. As of March 2008, he became southeast technical graphics advisor for Harper Corporation of America. He is also active on industry committees and is a contributor to numerous technical articles. www. f le xography. org JANUARY 2009 FLEXO 27
End of Year 2008