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 Reveals SP1 Splicer Enhancement

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.

Butler Automatic Wave Bar for SP1 Splicer

Butler Automatic to Highlight SP1 and SP3HSL Automatic Film Splicers at PACK EXPO 2017

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.

Leading Pet Food Company Freshpet Cuts Downtime and Increases Output with Automatic Splicing

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.

Butler Automatic SP1 Automatic Film Splicer Reduces Downtime in Consumer Packaged Goods Packaging

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.