Re-manufactured production lines: Consigned to history?

Re-manufactured production lines: Consigned to history? Saint-Gobain Vicasa has recently installed a complete 5½ in, double gob, 8-section SIS production line at its plant in the Canary Islands.

The decision not to go for the usual planned production line repair was taken after evaluating the Standard IS (SIS) production line option available from Emhart Glass. Saint-Gobain Vicasa’s Canary Island plant produces a complete range of glass containers using blow and blow and narrow neck press and blow forming processes. It also manufactures jars using the press and blow process.

In 2008, it was involved in the process of obtaining quotes for a routine re-manufacture of its production line at its Canary Islands plant. The glassmaker typically plans the repair of its production lines using existing equipment and purchasing the minimum equipment necessary.

Routinely executed re-manufactured production line repairs are possibly wrongly perceived to be advantageous in a number of ways. They are typically regarded as representing lower initial investment costs as equipment is re-used. There is also a sense of familiarity with using existing equipment and almost no transition costs as standards are maintained (albeit, possibly outdated).

In reality, there are many disadvantages including the complications associated with ‘patching’ lines together, incorporating different mechanisms, controls and equipment. Such lines rely on knowledgeable project managers and the overall cost of ownership must also be considered as additional investments during the life of the machine, are generallyneeded.

Other difficulties include lack of transparency regarding responsibility for solving problems that may occur during commissioning, or normal operation, and possible issues with service levels for parts, etc., if latest standards are not used when carrying out the repair . Missed opportunities to increase productivity, and reduce manufacturing costs may also be missed when considering the overall return on investement.

Real alternative

Emhart Glass launched the Standard IS (SIS) line package in 2008. The package is offered from the feeder to the ware transfer and includes advanced forming controls, servo feeder with parallel servo shear, servo gob distributor, suspended delivery, dual axis servo pusher and quick change accessories for one job. All the equipment offered is to the current, latest standards.

Emhart had come to the conclusion that the re-manufactured line repair business was not beneficial for the customer or supplier. Its own audits had indicated that ‘patchwork’ projects were unduly intensive, posing the possibility of discrepancies between the specification and actual project. The logistics involved were also complicated and special requirements required by different plants simply added to the costs.

According to Leo Diehm, Product Director of IS machines at Emhart Glass, re-manufactured lines require additional investment during the IS line’s lifetime. “Evidence of increased down time, lower pack rates and a plant that fails to advance in line with new technologies makes the habitual re-manufactured line repair questionable,” he says. “We do not consider such a solution to be cost effective either. We created the SIS line package as a real alternative to the re-manufactured production line in order to simplify logistics and project management, as well as offering it at a similar price as a re-manufactured ‘patchwork’ project.”

At a meeting at Azuqueca, Spain, Emhart Glass presented its SIS line concept to Saint-Gobain Vicasa as an alternative to ‘patch’ projects.

“We also had the opportunity to visit Emhart’s manufacturing site in Sundsvall, Sweden in order to see an assembled , cold running, SIS line from the feeder to the ware transfer,” says David Alonso, Project Manager at Saint-Gobain Vicasa. Managers from the Canary Islands site and other branch managers of Saint-Gobain inspected the SIS line in Sweden, with a decision taken to purchase the package for the Canary Islands plant.

Emhart Glass delivered the standard package within the relatively short delivery time specified. The SIS option is a clearly defined package with clear interfaces. As such, installation was completed smoothly and production start was on time and after the first day the pack rate was in excess of 90% .. The Canary Island plant people are very happy with the line performance and are grateful, that instead of the cumbersome remanufactured approach, Vicasa and Saint Gobain management decided for the SIS package. The plant production specialists believe, compared to the previous installed IS machine (which would be the remanufactured one), that the container production speed can be increased, and are confident that purchasing the SIS was the right decision.

“The Canary Islands project is a typical example of when the latest 12-section quadruple NIS or AIS machine is not necessary,” says Mr Diehm. “Many customers are now reconsidering the re-manufactured line repair approach, assessing whether they wish to compromise with a ‘patch’ production line. Today, many customers want to install a production line which produces containers without major repair investments until the next furnace repair is due.”

Emhart Glass has received orders for its SIS package on similar projects in China, Russia, Syria, Israel, Brazil, Argentina, Egypt and Moldavia. Saint-Gobain has also ordered the package for its plant in Argentina.

Contact Emhart Glass, Switzerland. Website:

600450 Re-manufactured production lines: Consigned to history?
Date: 24 March 2009
Source: Emhart Glass

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