“Reduce Downtime” is the mantra in every manufacturing operation. But where are you supposed to get that reduction from?
For the purposes of this discussion, let's define “production time” as the number of hours the line is scheduled to be operational. This is different from available run time in that it takes away time that the line is down due to lack of capacity, and also subtracts scheduled PM time that is necessary to prevent a catastrophic breakdown in the middle of a run. This is often called “scheduled downtime."
For a coil coater, “Coating Time” is the number of hours the line should be coating (production time) less the number of hours the line is not coating. This can be calculated by day, week, month, or year depending on what the data is being used for.
How Downtime Accrues
Since we have already eliminated scheduled preventative maintenance from our calculation, the remaining sources of downtime on a coil coating line include:
- Mechanical failures
- Cleanup time
- Setup time
- Wait time (often buried in trials waiting for QC results so the line can proceed)
- Rework (recoating)
How Downtime Costs You
There are two ways that downtime negatively impacts your business:
- The cost for these events end up in overhead, and so must be spread across all salable orders – this impacts both your profitability and your ability to price competitively – and that can cost you orders.
- Every minutes of downtime is a minute not producing salable product, and so , is a lost opportunity to generate revenue.
And in this marketplace, these factors can determine whether you survive, or become a casualty.
What Can the PCM Do About It?
Let’s start with what the PCM can’t do – which is to have any impact on your maintenance issues. Fortunately it can address virtually all of the other operational downtime areas we looked at above.
The PCM reduces operational downtime by:
- Improving setups
- Reducing trials
- Reducing rework/recoating
- Shortening the cleaning cycle
In our post, “Add PCM to Coil Coating Technology to Reduce Setups, Quality Checks," we noted:
“…the PCM provides a consistent, repeatable film to the pickup roller. It is always of consistent viscosity from edge-to-edge, and it is 'pre-sheared' as it is supplied to the applicator nip thus eliminating any pan based variation.”
Since coil coating is all about “the film," improving your control from the moment that paint enters your coater is an essential component of reducing your operational based downtime. In that post we go on to explain it like this:
“…without pan-based edge-to-edge variations, nip pressures can be equalized between the operator and drive sides eliminating film highs & lows on each side of the strip. The pre-shearing also provides some leeway in the roll speeds and kiss pressures by making the paint more predictable.”
On custom colors, this improvement in control produces acceptable run parameters quicker (reduced setup time) and also reduces the number of trials (and their associated wait time) necessary to confirm your setup.
Even better, on repetitive colors this improved control means repeatable setups that don’t even require a test strip – the outcome is already known.
In both cases, the film control virtually eliminates recoating. This can really reduce operational downtime.
What Less Downtime Means to You
Coil coaters are no different than any other manufacturer, less downtime means more hours available to coat saleable product, resulting in the opportunity to increase revenue with no increase in overhead structure. With their razor thin margins, this can have a truly significant impact on a coater’s viability.
Download the free Dimension Request Memo to learn how we can customize solutions for your line.