"Improved availability and accuracy of quality data improves the level of service we are able to offer customers and therefore reduces the number and gravity of customer complaints we receive."
A leading supplier of PET bottles was receiving a high number of customer complaints with various levels of gravity. The company acknowledged that their cumbersome paper-based quality control system, used across multiple sites, was open to data entry errors as well as unwanted data “corrections”.
The company decided it needed a new quality management system to automate shop floor data collection, prevent data manipulation and therefore ensure accuracy. The system would also need to prompt operators to carry out quality checks.
After a competitive tendor selection, the company chose Shopfloor-Online MES. The solution was implemented first in their North Yorkshire plant's closure department, then rolled-out to bottles and pre-forms.
The three departments in the factory operate similar processes but the number of measurements required varies; pre-forms and closures processes require more checks than the bottles department. Production could only begin when all process measurements were within the specification limits set by the customer.
Lighthouse Systems MES captures measurements from the manual gauges and from CMMs. CMMs then output text files which the MES automatically specifies for production if the data meets the agreed criteria.
The MES software also provides SPC data on cavities performance that enables managers to decide when to blank a cavity and keep the line running, and when to stop production for maintenance.
Closures produced are tested every 90 minutes. If measurement results are out of specification, production is stopped for maintenance and closures manufactured since the last compliant quality check are discarded.
The manufacturing company featured in this case study was acquired by Plastipak, a global producer of plastic containers, in 2014.