Tag Archives: box inspection
The corrugated box manufacturing industry has long been focused on reducing waste as one of the key drivers of efficiencies. Like most box makers, you are probably focused on reducing waste in your facility. However, most people fail to realize the complex interdependent relationships that exist between quality, waste, product price, cost, and production volume. What if “increasing” waste built value for your customers or increased your revenue and “decreasing” waste actually increased the cost of the box or even lowered sales? With so much at stake, it pays to take some time to more closely examine the tipping point between quality and waste.
What is Waste Anyway?
There are actually two separate types of waste – internal and external. Internal waste is typically what the corrugated box industry refers to as “waste.” Internal waste represents any defective sheet or box that is produced and not shipped to the customer. However, if you don’t catch the defective product and it ends up in the hands of the customer, it is considered external waste. External waste is rarely discussed unless brought up by the customer. The cost is only accounted for in the form of credits for defects returned. Some customers do not return many defective or problem products to the corrugated box maker, resulting in an inefficient and distorted feedback loop.
Through our investigations, we have found that the costs tracked for external waste are more often larger than the internal waste figures. Furthermore, customer complaints, credits, and feedback are a minority of the actual rate of a defective product that customers are receiving. What this means is that some customers are bearing much of the direct costs (downtime, lost productivity, wasted products) associated with external scrap rates, while box makers are bearing much of the direct costs associated with internal scrap rates.
If customer complaints were, in fact, true indicators of the external scrap rates, this model would be useful for making operational decisions. However, discussions with end-users have shown that customers are not complaining about the vast majority of problems. Similarly, many box plants don’t complain about every hiccup in their machines or every minor issue with their paper – that’s the norm and they are used to it. Because this feedback loop is broken, many corrugated box makers have a warped view (literally) of how much scrap they’re actually sending their customers.
Two clear options are available to box makers for handling the waste. First, do a better job of finding all defects before shipment and remove them from the production stream, increasing internal scrap rate and improving quality. Alternatively, send defects to customers in an effort to reduce internal waste, but increasing external scrap rates and decreasing quality. What are box makers expected to do? Is sacrificing quality worth the savings of reducing internal waste? What impact will this have on your business?
The secret to improving both internal and external waste is not only to identify the defective products and remove them from the production stream, but also to identify the root causes of the scrap production and address them. Investment in quality assurance systems for box inspection, operator training, as well as PM discipline and keeping equipment current can both identify scrap and reduce its root causes. If management is committed to solving problems on the floor that are causing waste, not only will less defective product be produced internally (internal waste) but also less defective product will be shipped to customers (external waste). In addition, profits will improve and customer retention will increase, which directly improves the bottom line. Finding the problem quickly through quality assurance devices and not having them occur from the other improvement measures will decrease internal and external scrap rates and improve the ROI performance of the business.
If investment in quality assurance systems, operator training, improvement in preventative maintenance programs and an upgrade program for production machinery can reduce the internal scrap rate, then the external scrap rate will be significantly reduced. Box makers will improve profits and keep happy customers who shouldn’t need to complain about the products they receive.
Why pay the price of the traditional corrugated box manufacturing industry’s approach for quality, counting pennies and losing dollars?
Today, the corrugated box industry is very competitive. Not only do you need to deliver corrugated boxes in record times at unbeatable prices, but with the various technologies available, the standard requirements for corrugated box manufacturers have been set extremely high. You are now expected to deliver 100% defect-free boxes. In an effort to help you manufacture boxes at the highest possible level, we have gathered together a few important points, learned from over 60 years in the industry.
- Keep it clean! I’m sure many of you are tired of hearing those three words. But, as many others will tell you, it wouldn’t need to be said, if everyone made sure to do it. If you are working with an older glue pot and wheels, you know they tend to generate a little glue slinging. This can affect the quality of the glue joint and create stickers where boxes in the bundle will stick together. Gluepot and wheels can also create adhesive contamination with dust and debris. Additionally, the metered amount of adhesive is hard to maintain to ensure a proper bond. As for adhesive applicators, although they are the cleanest choice, it is important to check them regularly to avoid possible nozzle or applicator clogging.
- Minimize any possibility of human error. This may seem impossible to some, but it can be done. When working with different sized board panels and speed requirements in the corrugated box industry, it is necessary for the operator to constantly adjust the pattern length and placement in order to keep a consistent and high-quality adhesive application. This necessity is a time-consuming task– Any distraction can cause the wrong adjustment that will result in product loss. It is now possible to upgrade your adhesive application system to a gluing station with automated pattern changes or auto-glue, which ensures a proper glue-lap joint regardless of the length of the tab or panel.
- Ensure that the board has been glued, folded and printed properly. These days this is possible by incorporating a quality assurance vision inspection system into your process. Quality assurance has 3 components: identify the non-conforming product, remove it from the production line, and monitor the lines’ statistics to hold plant operations accountable. All 3 are possible in ways not imagined five years ago in the corrugated box manufacturing industry, with vision-based quality assurance. Snapshots of defective products are saved and cataloged. Machine performance can be monitored remotely and statistically analyzed. The same statistics enable managers to be aware of developments on converting lines as they occur and to take corrective action in a timely fashion.
- Scrap can blotch your reputation. For a flawless result, incorporate a scrap or tab removal system to prevent hanging scrap that has not been properly cut after being folded into the box.
- Get rid of defective boxes before they make it onto your delivery truck. Bundle ejection systems are used in conjunction with a quality assurance system to guarantee that the defective boards are removed from manufacturing and not shipped to the customer. As the second major component of a Quality Assurance System in paper converting, removing defective product from the line automatically is unparalleled in regards to effectiveness. All other options rely on operators to sort product or catch errors and take them out of the stream. Automatic ejection takes care of the removal without interrupting production.
By implementing these tips into your manufacturing process today, you will begin seeing its direct impact on the quality of your corrugated boxes. If you are interested in hearing more about any of these topics, please let me know!
For additional information or to speak directly with one of our leading gluing and quality assurance experts, contact us here.
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More and more, manufacturers within the industry are realizing the benefits of providing perfect boxes to their customers… improved client trust and retention, fewer instances of damaged product due to defective boxes, increased volume, and a higher price per box. We noticed this change as it was happening years ago and started quickly working on new technology to meet the required need to innovate the old standard.
Well, a young, dynamic company named ClearVision Technologies, Inc. out of Vancouver, Canada, started by a group of talented entrepreneurs, beat everyone to the punch. With a devote focus to solve the industry’s issue by creating the best camera inspection technology, and to do it first, they were recognized by the very strongest companies as the solution that could actually guarantee a perfect box for its customers. Their expertise built from years of research and working one on one with customers to discover an innovative
vision inspection solution produced thousands of real examples showing exactly how they could now do this. After successful installation at one of the largest integrators, the product went to market. As a result, it wasn’t hard for others to realize the decision to invest in ClearVision™.
Valco Melton quickly recognized that ClearVision™ had become the corrugated industry standard. As the leading adhesive dispensing company in the industry for almost 40 years, we wanted to make sure that the camera inspection experts joined our team. The synergies of the two companies were perfect, and so ClearVision™ was added to Valco Melton’s umbrella of solutions for adhesive dispensing and vision inspection.
With the added knowledge and experience from Valco Melton’s adhesive application division, ClearVision™ has continued to show the industry how it can also find peace in The Perfect Box™. To date, more than 284 box plants worldwide have discovered the gains and additional cost benefits with ClearVision™ box inspection and bundle ejection systems:
- Detection systems only spray bad boxes.
- Operators cannot be relied upon to remove bad boxes.
- Research shows fewer than 10% of sprayed boxes are removed.
- You cannot promise your customers 100% quality unless you are certain of removing a non-conforming product.
To learn more about how ClearVision’s patented camera technology is changing the way box makers do business, and how you too can take advantage of this opportunity to deliver more value to your customers click here.
Despite a wide range of opinions and options in regards to manufacturing in the corrugated industry, the most successful box makers worldwide all seem to agree on one thing; that is, to provide customers with anything less than defect-free boxes 100% of the time is unacceptable. It used to be that manufacturers had to expect a certain margin of error, running machines slowly and spending time manually checking each bundle as best they could to ensure each customer was going to keep coming back. With new vision technology innovations out in the market and successfully guaranteeing The Perfect Box™, bad box excuses are now just excuses. Customers have found that there are companies with camera inspection technology on their production lines that can actually produce a complete and perfect bundle at extremely high speeds without the need for operator intervention. This means less waste, higher production rates, and a guarantee that boxes once delivered won’t cause manufacturing problems for the end user.
Do you want to hear more? Request additional information by clicking here.
This just in! Another exciting happening has just recently been released to the public by Valco Melton. You are hearing it here first!
I am excited to officially announce that Valco Melton, a world leading designer and international marketer of adhesive application equipment and quality assurance (QA) systems is pleased to announce the acquisition of ClearVision Technologies, Inc. of Vancouver, Canada.
ClearVision Technologies, Inc. has become the market leader in the development and engineering of vision-based inspection products for corrugated box manufacturing. Since 2004, ClearVision Technologies has extensively pioneered intelligent camera technologies for packaging markets and has developed a top-tier suite of solutions that have been leading the industry in bringing QA capabilities to new heights. ClearVision™ will now become a brand name of quality assurance (QA) solutions by Valco Melton.
The acquisition will complement the Valco Melton family of products, combining ClearVision Technologies’ expertise in vision systems with Valco Melton’s world-wide coverage for service and support. This acquisition is another example of Valco Melton’s continued commitment towards being the world leader in adhesive dispensing and QA systems. To learn more about our organization and vision for the future, we invite you to please contact us by visiting here.
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