The tilting of mini-frangipanes at a specific location on the production line is a problem that has been known for a long time. The problem comes and goes, without us getting a grip on the "why". In February 2016 we started a project team (PIT = Process Improvement Team) in which we tried to tackle the problem in a structured way and using a specific method (DMAIC method):
- Define clearly what the problem and objective is
- Measure the different parameters that can contribute to the problem
- Analyse the measurement data and find the root cause
- Install a solution and monitor effectiveness
- Check and ensure that the problem remains resolved
The process was examined from A to Z, and over several weeks many parameters were measured simultaneously, to discover where the possible causes of the tilting could lie. The team also tried to use "physics" to understand the problem of tilting in order to find the right explanations. The extensive measurements and analyses showed that several causes were possible, but none were conclusive. The team then chose to reduce the impact of the problem and work out alternative solutions, in collaboration with the technical department and team leaders packing.
- Improvement 1: refining tyre transitions and changing the arrangement of the aligners so that the risk of tipping is reduced
- Improvement 2: cleaning with fixed frequency so that sticking of the bottom of frangipanes is reduced
Meanwhile, since the end of November 2016 (already about 15 production runs), we have been producing at better yields, also resulting in decreasing trend of waste in zone packing.
Congratulations to the team for the results achieved. By working on this problem in a focused, structured and determined manner, we have managed to reduce tipping of mini-frangipanes with a positive impact on the plant's results.