Servicepoint tests on its own premises – keeping the customer’s production downtime to a minimum
One of the most important measures of a successful serialization project is money; how costs caused by production downtimes can be kept to a minimum. The reliability of the serialization equipment and the user environment of devices integrated into the production line, at its best very user-friendly, also have a significant impact on final costs.
Integrating serialization technology into packaging automation is the most critical phase of a serialization project. A long production downtime can end up costing additional hundreds of thousands of euros. The work can be carried out cost-effectively in about four weeks.
”We always test the equipment on our own floor. This means that the delivered device has already been tested and can be quickly integrated into the production line, keeping downtime as short as possible,” says Tuomas Lehtelä, Project Manager from Servicepoint.
Enough time should be reserved for carrying out the project so that the required phases can be implemented with sufficient care. Planning in particular, but also the testing phase, have a big impact on the end result.
”The testing phase at our plant should be seen as a training opportunity that will benefit production when serialization is up and running. We did testing at the beginning of 2016, allowing our pharmaceutical client to gain valuable insight into using the equipment in different challenging situations,” says Lehtelä.
Sufficient knowledge supports planning
Despite high-quality planning and testing, there may be surprises along the way, especially if there are gaps in knowledge. It is important to plan and test packaging automation for all packaged products so that critical features can be taken into account as early as possible.
”In the project, I mentioned earlier, it came as a surprise that the weight of certain end products exceeded the test material weight. Due to the unexpected weight, we had to make changes to the program on the client’s premises to ensure these products work reliably on the line. Here seamless cooperation with the client was key,” says Lehtelä.
Falsified Medicines Directive became a benefit
In two projects, Servicepoint was responsible for the packaging automation at the end of the production line. In one of the projects serialization equipment was integrated in addition to case packing and palleting equipment. Readiness to integrate serialization technology was built into the second line’s packaging automation.
The client saw serialization requirements as an opportunity to invest in packaging automation and boost production. The comprehensive delivery will be ready to use in May 2016.
”This type of implementation can be done in 6-8 months depending on the content and versatility of the project. In this case the project took longer than a basic project because we did development work with the client in particular for the production process. For example, we examined the different functionalities of the line to ensure they would work together as well as possible in production and exceptional circumstances. We can utilize this information in future projects,” says Lehtelä.
Servicepoint carried out the different phases itself – there was no need for subcontracting.
”In terms of project management, it was extremely valuable that we were not dependent on third parties. This enabled agility in different services. The client’s own project management was lighter because we delivered the whole package,” says Lehtelä.
Devices work together seamlessly on the line
Lehtelä emphasizes seamless, reliable, high quality and user-friendly integration of serialization into the production line. Seamless refers to how serialization functions need to be combined with packaging automation. Reliability and high quality are based on minimizing faults. The technical reliability of the equipment needs to be high.
”User friendliness is reflected in a well functioning user environment. In order for the user to solve possible faults independently and quickly, the user interface needs to be as simple as possible and different devices need to work together as well as possible,” says Lehtelä.
Lehtelä also mentions that the ease of making adjustments is also significant in term of cost-effective production. A work shift can include several product changes, which has been taken into account in Servicepoint’s technical solutions. Change times have been minimized, which is important for the client.
”All in all we can say that we achieved the main goals of the project very well. We integrated serialization functions seamlessly with packaging automation to create a reliable and user-friendly user environment. Our success is thanks to smooth teamwork both in-house and with the client.”
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CTO, Chief Technology Officer
Servicepoint Kuopio Oy