The supply chain crisis has reinforced the importance of offshoring. Yet it takes years for new factories in North America to become fully operational. “Shadow factories” can contribute to the offshoring solution by increasing production without the lengthy process of building a new factory.

Ghost factory is unused capacity within an existing factory. This could be the third shift at a factory that only operates two shifts. Or it may be the reduction in machine downtime that results from improving machine health and thus avoiding costly downtime.

According CEO of Augur Saar Yoskovitz, using the ghost factory recently saved Pepsi more than a million pounds of snacks when machines were serviced before breakdowns. Equipment fixes resulted in four months of increased production capacity.

Boosting US production by improving machine health

Improving gear health can directly translate to greater capacity. “We increased the capacity of a Pepsi plant by increasing finished products by four months,” Yoskovitz said. “These gains have accrued over 12 months of product. Pepsi was able to avoid building a new factory. When sensors and alarms were added to the machines, the capacity was increased to two full plants. »

Making the factory more efficient can help manufacturers avoid building new factories. “Manufacturers haven’t used their full capacity. Once they improve throughput and reduce downtime, they get increased capacity. Yesterday they didn’t have the ability, and now they have it,” Yoskovitz said. “If you have to stop the line twice a week, you have unused capacity. If you can avoid machine failure and can keep the machine running, it is greater compactness.

Monitoring machine health can result in higher uptime. “When you move from scheduled maintenance to condition-based maintenance, you reduce planned downtime,” Yoskovitz said. “You go to the garage with your car and replace the oil. Why? Because the OEM said it needed to be replaced. If you check the oil, you might find that it doesn’t need to be replaced before another year.This approach to plant maintenance can lead to huge savings in plants.

Use equipment less likely to break

During labor shortages, maintenance and operations departments are among the hardest hit. To help alleviate this problem, we have developed maintenance-free, adjustment-free brakes. These brakes are designed to reduce some of the impact of labor shortages by making maintenance less critical. Unlike dry brake systems, these brakes operate precisely with precise repeatability for millions of cycles with virtually no maintenance or adjustment. Low maintenance measures are becoming a selling point among equipment manufacturers.

Image courtesy of MagnaShearMSB-6-4-PR.jpg

Using low-maintenance equipment can increase a plant’s capacity.

Stopping work for routine maintenance is not a trivial interruption in most factories. “A company has an extruder and every nine months they take the machine apart and rebuild it, it takes a week,” Yoskovitz said. “In one factory, we examined an extruder before it was dismantled and it was in acceptable condition. We’re spending millions on spare parts and downtime – capacity – and we’re like, “Why not delay it? We can take more risks when we know the condition of the equipment.

Maintaining equipment that does not need to be maintained can become expensive. “We work with the biggest manufacturing companies to make production more reliable and productive. We have learned that there are supply chain risk management issues that arise when unnecessary maintenance is performed on sound equipmentsaid Yoskovitz. “Shutdowns to service equipment in good working order can cost tens of millions of dollars. This lost capacity is what we call the ghost factory.

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