The flexible packaging industry (especially pouching) is experiencing fast, worldwide growth, with manufacturers seeing a shift in products transitioning to flexible packaging where it has not been used before. Butler Automatic builds automatic roll splicers for packaging applications. Butler splicers eliminate roll change downtime, which is the largest contributor to bagging and pouching line output loss. Visit Butler Automatic in booth #47 at the Global Pouch Forum, June 11-13th to learn how an automatic splicing solution can improve overall factory output for your application.
Blog & News
As a leader in providing OEE improvements for the North American packaging industry through automatic roll splicing, Butler Automatic covers the U.S. market with industry veterans Robert (Bob) Hamilton and David Foskett.
Contact Bob or David (their coverage areas are below) to learn how Butler can improve your overall factory output.
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.
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 had a company-wide pizza party this week to celebrate two years without any lost time workplace accidents. Safety in our workplace, much like safe operation of Butler Automatic splicing solutions on our customers’ production lines, is a top priority.
Contract Packaging in North America will be a $75 billion industry in 2020. A CPA associate member, Butler provides automatic roll splicing solutions to many co-packers, increasing their overall factory output.
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.
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.
New ‘WAVE’ bar feature ensures optimal vacuum coverage
Middleboro, MA - Butler Automatic announces a recent innovation to their SP1 Automatic Splicer.
Upgraded vacuum bars featuring Width Adaptive Vacuum Effectivity (WAVE) technology, eliminate edge curl which creates issues on certain films. The new wave bar is an improvement over previous vacuum bars because it includes strategically-placed vacuum holes in conjunction with wave-shaped vacuum slots. This enhancement means that SP1 users consistently have adequate vacuum coverage for their splices, regardless of the width of the film being used. This innovation allows customers the flexibility to change format widths of plastic films without the worry of covering holes on vacuum bars. The innovative design also ensures minimal vacuum loss (i.e. maximum Vacuum Effectivity) regardless of film width. To view a video of the new wave bar design, please click here.
Mike Mucci, Vice President of Engineering at Butler Automatic, states that this enhancement “allows our automatic roll splicing solutions to be more reliable and drive higher OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) on roll-fed packaging lines.”
The upgraded WAVE bars are currently featured on certain SP1 orders and can be added to existing machines on a per case basis.
Visit Booth #3916 to learn how film splicers increase overall equipment efficiency
Butler Automatic announces that it will showcase its SP1 and SP3HSL Automatic Film Splicers at PACK EXPO 2017, to be held September 25-27, 2017, at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV. Butler Automatic experts will be on hand in Booth #3916 to demonstrate how Butler film splicers improve overall equipment efficiency (OEE) and increase packaging line output.
Drop by the booth to see how Butler equipment improves OEE – defined by equipment availability, performance, and quality. Equipment availability is improved by eliminating roll change downtime caused by manual film roll changes. Performance improvements come through Butler splicers’ consistent web infeed, resulting in fewer stops and starts. Butler splicers’ precise web control improves quality by providing filling and sealing consistency.
With a simple mechanical design and high-quality manufacture, the SP1 promises long-term, trouble-free automatic splicing performance. The device senses the diameter of the expiring roll of film and automatically splices the end of each expiring roll onto the new roll. It is capable of running at speeds of up to 600 feet per minute (FPM). The SP1 is an excellent investment for food, beverage, and medical device packaging operations because it drastically increases production uptime, improving your OEE, and resulting in a complete return on investment in just a few months.
Butler will also showcase its innovative SP3HSL automatic shrink sleeve splicer. Film roll changes must occur in shrink sleeve packaging applications as frequently as once every 8 minutes, and changing the roll by hand wastes minutes of production time. The SP3 Automatic Sleeve Splicer increases line efficiency by 9 percent or more in these applications. Capable of running at speeds of up to 600 FPM, the SP3HSL is ideally suited for increasing production time in consumer packaged goods and pharmaceutical applications utilizing shrink sleeve packaging.
By Chip Johns, President and Chief Operating Officer, Butler Automatic Inc
The engineering team at Freshpet, a leading US pet food manufacturer, specializing in fresh, natural pet foods, wanted to improve production efficiency on one of their pet food manufacturing and packaging lines. They came across a solution at PackExpo that led to cost savings ranging from $60,000 to $130,000 per year. What was this incredible solution? Automatic splicing.
Let’s rewind for a moment. The Freshpet engineering team audited their process and realized that one of the greatest sources of downtime and therefore lost efficiency in their ‘chub’ production line was the time it took to change the chub packaging film rolls when they expired. In this particular line, it took operators at least 6-8 minutes to replace the roll of film, something that needed to be done every 35 to 60 minutes. The hand-spliced film also led to alignment issues, bottlenecks, and even greater downtime.
During PackExpo 2014, Freshpet’s Engineering Manager Sam Torres saw a demonstration of the Butler Automatic auto-splicing technology, and recognized that it was the solution he had been searching for to reduce downtime and improve profitability on the company’s chub packaging line.
Freshpet reached out to the experts at Butler for an automatic splicing solution customized to their specific manufacturing process. The splicer, installed by Butler in April 2015, has cut downtime to less than one minute per roll change. Not only that, but Freshpet has ordered a second splicer for their facility expansion, and has used the feedback about upstream bottlenecks that the Butler splicer revealed in the current line to design a more overall-efficient line for the expansion project. This lead to greater efficiency, more product, and more profits!
Read the full story in Packaging Strategies.
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.
Splicer performs non-stop film changes in CPG packaging operations
Middleborough, MA– Butler Automatic, the inventor and global leader of automatic splicing solutions, announces that its SP1 Series Automatic Film Splicer is ideally suited towards consumer packaged goods (CPG) packaging applications. The SP1 Automatic Film Splicer increases efficiency in packaging operations by eliminating the packaging line downtime caused by manual film roll changes.
“CPG packaging operations can benefit from the introduction of the SP1 Automatic Film Splicer because it has a significant positive impact on line efficiency,” said Mike Mucci, Vice President of Engineering at Butler Automatic. “The SP1 enables customers to eliminate the leading cause of planned downtime – film roll changes – and therefore to dramatically improve profitability.”
In eliminating film roll change and manual splicing, Butler’s automatic splicing technology typically reduces downtime by 5-10 minutes per operational hour. For a typical packaging line operating 20 hours per day, 6 days per week, this can yield up to 20-25 hours of additional production per week, or the equivalent of an extra day’s production.
With a simple mechanical design and high-quality manufacture, the SP1 promises long-term, trouble-free performance. The device senses the diameter of the expiring roll of film and automatically splices the end of each expiring roll onto the new roll. It is capable of running at speeds of up to 600 feet per minute (FPM).
In addition to the standard SP1 automatic splicer, Butler offers the SP1 RB, designed for full wash-down capability. The SP1 RB is built to standards common with many regulatory requirements. It features mostly stainless steel construction, with only specific splicing head cylinders using coated aluminum, and has minimal flat surfaces.