Tetra Pak's Peter Kaiser on machine optimisation and cost savings

Shaun Weston4 Oct 2013 (Updated 9 Jan 2014)

Peter Kaiser, maintenance manager at Tetra Pak, discusses how the company's maintenance platform ensures machine servicing can be anticipated and scheduled, delivering greater up-time and faster issue management.

Maintenance of machines in the food industry and many other industries is often done in a standardised manner. Data is collated from machines and then maintenance is scheduled based on an average for that machine type. This means that while important maintenance gets done, it might be done prematurely or too late for a particular machine in its unique operating environment. The consequences of this can translate into machines that break down more often, or have a higher maintenance costs than necessary.

Tetra Pak advocates that all customers look after their processing and packaging equipment according to our recommendations, but we want to offer them maintenance that reflects their operating environment, to optimise their machine performance at the lowest maintenance cost.

In our latest step to optimise equipment performance, we developed the Tetra Pak Maintenance System (TPMS) On-line, which is a reliability centred maintenance system. Utilising this methodology, TPMS On-line allows us to identify maintenance triggers on our customers' machines and schedule maintenance as and when an individual machine needs it. This is unique in the packaging and food industries, where Tetra Pak is the first manufacturer to apply this maintenance methodology. In fact, we are one of only a few companies in any industry to have this technology, as it is currently used within such maintenance-sensitive industries as nuclear energy, oil and petrochemicals.

Performance improvements

The development of a reliability based maintenance system drives improved operational performance as well as cost savings, which help customers spend less on maintenance. In fact, we have seen machine performance improvements of up to 10% and maintenance cost reduction as high as 50%.

TPMS On-line revolutionises schedule machine maintenance. At its heart is a specially developed software system that uses feedback and collects hundreds of thousands of task updates each year from around the world, impacting over five million maintenance tasks a year. This data collection enables Tetra Pak to offer its customers maintenance solutions that schedule maintenance according to their machine's unique requirements. Previously, preventative maintenance was scheduled according to generic maintenance recommendations based on an average machine, which was best practice in the 1990s.

The TPMS On-line was born out of a collaboration between our specialists and an IT enterprise asset management company. We created a task force to develop the next frontier in maintenance for our customers. We needed to create a software platform that would be scalable so it could collate data from machines across the world, which could be shared and used to offer maintenance tailored to customers' individual machines.

We can also use the data to enhance our overall service offering. We use the vast amounts of feedback data on a particular model of machine, aggregate the data and optimise the performance even more, in a continuing cycle of improvement. For example, we can now analyse failure patterns and assess the impact on machine performance. This means we can develop optimal maintenance recommendations that we can deploy to our customers globally through our service solutions, and automatically.

TPMS On-line also allows us to track spare part usage globally, so we can ensure that we have enough required parts in our supply chain to fulfil customer orders. This decreases spare part waiting time and ensures machines are serviced faster.

In June 2013, we launched an offline version of TPMS. This enables customers with limited or no internet connection at their site to enter their machine requirements offline, create orders and list maintenance requirements offline and then place the order once they are back in the office or somewhere with internet connection. In addition, it also ensures that work isn't lost if customers lose internet connection when they are entering feedback and requirements into the system.

TPMS On-line may be an industry first, but we won't stop there. We are constantly using our data and expertise to see how we can develop our service offering to ensure that our customers derive even greater value from it.

We have advanced to what is known as 'reliability based monitoring', whereby we can predict failure: TPMS On-line can take these inputs and schedule maintenance at the next convenient time, thus avoiding loss of production. We will evolve this, enabling machines to run even better and for longer.

In the future, we will be able to connect all our systems so they feed into the maintenance system. Machines will be more intuitive and communicative than ever.