Automation: The Answer to the Lack of Skilled Operators and High Staff Rotation

Automating the end-of-line and reel handling provides benefits, which include doubling production, reducing salary costs, and savings energy consumption

The lack of skilled operators and high staff rotation are two principal headaches for factory managers, which in recent years have been exacerbated by two new problems. On one hand, the increase in the number of jobs offered by service companies has led to a decrease in the number of people willing to work at the factory. On the other hand, Covid-19 has led to a higher food packaging demand, while simultaneously creating staffing problems, due to pandemic casualties and the danger of having direct contact with products.

Automation is the solution to all these challenges. It makes the difference in reference to costs, production, quality of the final product and energy efficiency. Furthermore, as a result of automation, workers do not have to touch the products, as the whole process is automatic. Converters require slitters that are able to simultaneously, manage exceedingly complicated jobs and maintain the highest OEE possible. Changeover is critical. An uncomplicated cantilevered machine is operable only 30% of the time. With the use of presently available added value solutions, such as double turret rewinders, automatic knife positioning, automatic core positioning or automatic taping, this ratio is up to 70% higher. Moreover, a higher percentage is possible if each step occurring after slitting, such as labelling, wrapping, or palletizing using robots connected to the slitters, is automated.

Less Dependent on Operator Experience

In regard to the primary production plant benefits, the effects of end-of-line and reel handling automation are less dependent on operator experience, as a new operator is able to achieve optimum results within a short period of time. The results include the following: the automated machine simplifies complex processes; increased high quality productivity (owing to automated processes avoid human error and increases productivity); improved labour management (due to reductions of the required workforce, labour costs, and sick leave); sustainability (as a result of automated processes optimizing energy consumption and reducing material waste in each process, thus creating more sustainable solutions and a lowering production carbon footprint); and return of investment in less than one year (due to high productivity as well as immense savings in energy and salary costs).

Comexi Solutions More Autonomous and Effective

Comexi is constantly innovating. Presently, the company offers solutions that are more autonomous and effective: Closing Loop automatically reads and corrects the grammage to be applied in the laminating process; GeniusPrint has maximum print setting accuracy at the touch of a button; Automatic Pre-set Positioning is a full setting for slitting machines with maximum time savings and minimum material waste; Automatic Video Inspection is a camera-operated video inspection system to ensure maximum quality with a full-speed operating machine; and the Comexi End of Line Reel Handling that implies less workforce for similar jobs and reduces energy consumption.

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