How Butler Automatic uses metrics to help our customers increase the output of their packaging lines

By Chip Johns, CEO

Butler Automatic builds automatic roll splicers for packaging applications. Butler splicers eliminate roll change downtime, which is the largest contributor to bagging, pouching, or thermoform line output loss. 

Our job is to deliver a new machine to our customer on time, facilitate a vertical start up, and ensure the machine serves our customer for many years in continuous operation with minimal maintenance. Butler uses several standard operational metrics to constantly improve our ability to execute on the mission stated above. It is critical to not just measure our performance, but also analyze variances from our performance to improve performance over time.

Chip Johns Butler Automatic CEO

Butler measures simple things like on time delivery, first time installation success, and parts shipping turn-around times. These are important “final” metrics. But it is also important to go a little deeper on the customer side by measuring whether Butler solutions are operating as the customer expects, 6 and 12 weeks after installation. Butler monitors our after-market business by measuring our time to ship parts orders (80% of our packaging splicer parts orders are shipped on the same day that we receive the order). On the engineering side, we measure how long it takes to release a set of specifications, how many engineering changes are made (ECOs) and the cause of those changes. Our measurements apply on the financial side as well. We measure our vendor payment days, customer collections, and we produce our financial results within one or two days of the end of each month. We try to measure everything that will contribute to a successful delivery, installation, integration, and long-term performance in the field. 

How does this data help us deliver better machines, on time to our customers? Having this data allows us to run our business better. If we can run all aspects of our business better, Butler, our vendors, employees, and technical partners will all be able to support our customers when needed.

Measuring the data is not what provides the results. Looking at the variances from the expected results, analyzing those variances, continuously improving processes and checking the results of those process changes are what provide the results. At Butler Automatic we are measuring our results and continuously tweaking our processes to design, build and support better solutions for our customers.

Chip Johns is the CEO of Butler Automatic. He has spent the last 7 years leading Butler Automatic and learning about the packaging industry. Prior to Butler, Chip built a business in the marine industry building about 50% of all the sailboats in North America.

Butler Automatic Introduces SP1 Automatic Splicer Ease of Use Enhancements

Middleboro, MA – Butler, the leader in providing OEE improvements for the packaging industry through automatic splicing, introduces several design improvements and features for the 2019 SP1 Automatic Roll splicer. The ease of use design improvements include new HMI graphics, air intake and splice prepared monitoring, web break detection and web stop, omni-directional adjustable brackets for core sensors, adjustable, integrated exit idlers, base mounted automatic web alignment, sealed stainless steel roller bearings, and a more robust mainframe nip assembly.

These improvements were designed and implemented in order to make the operator/machine interaction simpler, reduce training and maintenance time, and improve OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) in our end user’s packaging lines. The new HMI graphics include enhanced visual feedback on the process and recovery instructions making operation and problem recovery easier. The web break detection, air and splice monitoring reduce operator error caused downtime. The sealed stainless steel bearings last longer, thus reducing maintenance time.

Mike Mucci, Vice President of Engineering, states that these product improvements “are the result of listening to our customers and Butler Automatic’s drive to design, deliver and support automatic roll splicing solutions which are easy to use, reliable, and perform consistently.”

With more than two thousand SP1 splicers installed on packaging lines globally, Butler Automatic is a trusted resource when it comes to increasing overall factory output by eliminating roll change downtime. 

To learn more about the SP1 enhancements, please click here.

 
 

Butler Automatic Joins The Association for Contract Packagers & Manufacturers

Contract Manufacturing is one of the hottest growth sectors in packaging. In response to demand for higher output packaging lines, with many Butler systems installed at contract manufacturers’ facilities already, Butler Automatic is pleased to join the Association for Contract Packagers and Manufacturers, aka the CPA. Butler Automatic splicing solutions increase total factory output by eliminating downtime for roll changes.

Contract Packagers & Manufacturers Association

Five Step Plan to Boost OEE with Automatic Roll Splicing

Butler Automatic offers top five tips to get the maximum Overall Equipment Effectiveness from reliable Butler Automatic splicers

Backed by the experience of delivering more than 17,000 automatic splicing solutions worldwide over the past 65 years, Butler Automatic has published a Five Step Plan To Boost OEE With Automatic Roll Splicing, which results in customers gaining several points of increased Overall Equipment Effectiveness (Availability x Productivity x Quality) for roll fed packaging lines. 

The first step is to involve Butler Automatic in discussions with roll fed applications equipment providers from the beginning of the project.  When the Butler team is directly involved on-site at installation and ramp-up, Butler achieves successful implementation quickly, 99% of the time.  The second and third tips are to utilize Butler’s One Point Lesson Plans (OPL’s), and Clean-Inspect-Lubricate instructions (CIL’s). With these documents Butler customers are able to train and maintain for top performance of Butler solutions, consistently achieving increased output by eliminating 100% of line stoppages for roll changes.  The fourth step includes having a short list of essential wear parts on-hand since Butler solutions consume very few wear parts. The fifth and perhaps most vital, is to establish a solid connection with our team. Butler service and parts teams support our applications 24/7.

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Butler Automatic Announces New Sales Director

Industry Veteran Brings Capital Equipment and Packaging Experience to the Team

Middleboro, MA - Butler Automatic is pleased to announce that Bob Hamilton has joined the sales team as Sales Director - EAST. A highly experienced sales executive with an extensive capital equipment and packaging background, Bob will be responsible for growing Butler equipment sales and key OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) partnerships.

“Butler Automatic has a unique position in the packaging industry where the focus on Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE), and the exponential growth of flexible packaging applications are top-of-mind. Bob joining our team is well-timed and opportune.” states Phil Johnson, Vice President of Sales and Marketing.

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Splicers Revolutionize Productivity for Food Processing Plant

By Chip Johns, President and Chief Operating Officer, Butler Automatic Inc.

Cincinnati-based JTM Food Group is still thanking its luck for stumbling upon a zero-speed automatic film splicer by Butler Automatic at PACK EXPO International several years ago. JTM vice president Joe Maas says they are still benefiting from the productivity wave three years later. JTM is a food processing plant with more than 700 food products, about 70 percent meat and 30 percent non-meat, which has grown from a neighborhood meat store in 1960 to today’s sales of $170 million, with 430 employees.

Until it purchased the Butler Automatic splicer, JTM was switching rolls of film manually on its Vertical Form Fill and Seal (VFFS) machines used for its grind and form and kettle cooking packaging operations. The time it takes to change rolls of packaging film is frequently the single greatest cause of downtime in packaging lines; Maas estimates that it was taking about 10 minutes for each packaging roll changeover, which mounts up considerably over the course of the day.

JTM had accepted this downtime as a cost of doing business until a few years ago, when while walking the PACK EXPO floors, Maas spotted a zero-speed automatic splicer exhibited by Butler Automatic. The splicing technology joins a new roll to an expiring one without stopping the production line. When the splice is complete the accumulator is re-filled and the expired roll can be changed while the new roll is running, eliminating roll change downtime in production.

Maas found the Butler splicer to be a straightforward machine that is routine to operate. He shared with Butler that the true cost benefit for a particular process depends upon how many hours one runs a VFFS machine. If lines are busier, the cost benefits became more obvious. Mass says he goes through 50 rolls a week, which translates into about 500 minutes or just over 8 hours of production time gained by adding the Butler splicer.

Maas said, “The bottom line is that the automatic splicers give us more uptime on our VFFS machines and we produce more product. I have made a lot of money as a result of stopping by their booth.”

Read more in the April issue of Packaging World.