How to make your beverage plant more efficient
The thinking behind the new Maxvu is pretty simple – you need to be able to read this digital temperature reader quickly, so it is bigger and brighter than the opposition with simple two-arrows up-down controls – not a lot of buttons you do not use, and they have reworked the set up so that only the most used and basic options come up first; you don’t spend ages scrolling through alphabetical lists. In fact they aimed for the 60-second set up and have achieved it.
In the food and beverage industry it is used in microbreweries and chocolate tempering as well as in a number of packaging areas such as bag and tray sealing and shrink tunnels for PET labels. Another important area for temperature control is in lab testing where they need to trial different parameters to test the limits.
“What you need in industry is precision,” explained marketing manager Ian Collins.
“You also need clear visibility even in bright sunlight and when viewed from an angle – so we made the upper digits 80% larger on the small format controller and 27% larger on the big one.”
Steve Allen is global operations director with West Control Solutions and took us on the plant tour.
“We win by reacting to customer orders very quickly and keeping a close eye on costs,” he said. “We can create specialist options depending on demand but for every order, speed, flexibility and service are key.”
Each operator works in a U-shaped cell of components and completes a whole circuit board themselves, adding to the sense of ownership and responsibility.
Changeover time is particularly important as the company may change a machine over ten times in a day – each time taking ten minutes. “That variance drives our business,” said Steve. The company now has £25m turnover and 25 manufacturing cells. It carries just £7,000 stock at any one time – minimal and working to systems such as lean manufacturing and Kanban. Staff span 17 nationalities and there are numerous bright visual aids to improve efficiency around the plant.
“Our people are our key differentiator,” he explained.
The company is now selling its Maxvu instrumentation in Europe, the US and China. Quick throughput and excellent customer service through on-time delivery performance is a winning formula. It felt good to be there.