Poor design and operation of packaging lines leads to waste product, waste packaging, excessive reworking and increased labour costs. All of these cost money and reduce profits. Many companies lose as much as 4% of their product and packaging through inefficient packing lines - losses that can be worth thousands of pounds a year. To meet increased demand, some companies invest in new equipment even when existing equipment could have done the job if its efficiency had been improved.

This training course, offered by PPIG, is intended to help reduce the operating costs or even avoid or delay the need to invest in new equipment. Taking action to improve packing line efficiency will save money by:

    reducing product and packaging waste;

    improving productivity;

    increasing production capacity.


The course describes a step-by-step approach to improving packing line efficiency. It explains how to:

    measure packing line performance;

    understand the symptoms of poor packing line performance;

    locate problems with individual machines;

    focus efforts to improve efficiency in the right areas;

    reduce product and packaging wastes.


A worked example based on a hypothetical, seven-stage jam packing line is used to illustrate the approach, however this can be tailored to your own industry if required.


Industry Examples throughout the course demonstrate the significant benefits of taking action to improve packing line efficiency.



This step-by-step approach (see Fig 1) has two distinct themes:


    Regular measurements of the performance of the line as a whole.


    Key performance indicators show when the line is not performing well and highlight the need to take a detailed look at individual machines.


    Specific investigation of the performance of individual machines.


    This will help companies to identify the real causes of poor line performance and to investigate appropriate solutions. The core of this investigation is the v-graph and includes three elements which, indicate problems in specific areas of the packaging line.


These three elements are:


The design values curve which shows whether individual machines have been specified correctly.


The observed values curve which shows whether individual machines are operating at specification.


The effective values curve which shows whether individual machines are operating reliably, and how this affects overall line performance.




          STEP 1 Map the process

          How well is your packing line designed

          Plot DESIGN values on the v-graph.


            STEP 2 Calculate performance indicators

            Do you have a problem with your packing line?

Monitor performance indicators regularly and continue to improve.

            Identify factors affecting performance.



          Compare performance indicators with historical and best practice

          records and decide if further investioation is needed.




                STEP 7STEP 3 Investigate individual machine speed

                  Take corrective actionAre plant items performing to design?

                  Plot OBSERVED values on the v-graph.





              STEP 6STEP 4 Investigate individual machine availability

            Identify root causes of problemsHow reliable are plant items?

                Plot EFFECTIVE values on the v-graph.




          STEP 5 Identify key problem areas

            Analyse the v-graph.




Fig 1 Step-by-step approach to improving packing line efficiency