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Hidden Losses At An Extrusion Plant And How To Avoid Them: Part II

As mentioned in Part I, we will be discussing the management of hidden losses.  This is what my father and greatest mentor calls Management By Walking Around, MBWA.

As a manager, it is critical that you take a walk through the storage area, production area, hidden corners and rarely visited rooms to physically inspect what has moved or changed, who is where they are not supposed to be and what is where it is not supposed to be. To catch the weigh bridge pilfers, I spotted a truck tire lying around the company parking lot after a truck had left for the second weighing. Proactively looking for such tell tale signs can save you a great deal of trouble and money.

There are many steps you can take to be proactive to lessen costs regarding your raw material and pilferage, but there are also many ways to be proactive in saving money on electricity.  With electricity, there are two areas to watch: power factor correction and motor utilization. Look at your power bill to see if you are charged a power factor surcharge penalty. If so, installing a capacitor bank should be a priority. I have seen instances where this penalty constituted 20% of the total power bill. Correcting the power factor ratio remedies this immediately.

To address costs with motor utilization, consider taking the following steps. The first step is to install overload circuit breakers. Note, our motors have a 15% overload service factor allowance on the motor plate. This means you can actually set your breakers at say 10% above the full load amps indicated on the motor name plate.  It would be practical, however, to consult with our service department before doing this.  The next step is to then load your main motors as close to maximum amps as possible during operation. However, extruders that are feeding presses cannot be ran at full load due to the maximum press amps being the limiting factor.

Always remember that hidden in every cost center within your operation is an opportunity to save or become more efficient. If you are interested in learning more on these issues, contact our Service Department. We have many resources that can be useful to your operation such as the Service Plus Program.