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Treat root causes instead of symptoms to improve OEE

Chocolate bar line significantly improves performance by implementing partner approach to continuous improvement plan.

Bosch Packaging Services

Bosch Packaging Services’ OEE calculations helped Mondelez Ireland improve the efficiency of its Flake packaging line in Coolock, Ireland. Source: Bosch Packaging Services.

Mondelez Ireland is a market-leading producer of chocolate, biscuits (cookies), gum, candy, coffee and powdered beverages. Its factory in Coolock produces several brands. But in 2010, the auto line for its popular Cadbury Flake bars was not achieving the required output. “At that time, performance was not consistent across all machines,” remembers David Lindsay, production engineering manager at the Coolock site. “We worked on the Bosch packaging line ourselves, but productivity was still not meeting our expectations.”

The processor invited Bosch senior management and colleagues from its customer service hub in Derby, UK to define a continuous improvement plan. Bosch’s OEE specialist explained how the Bosch OEE approach could be used to help work through the issues on the Cadbury Flake bar packaging line. 

Mondelez Ireland and Bosch selected the flow wrappers for primary packaging and top loaders for a first assessment, as they were causing most of the production stops and delays. The Bosch customer service team conducted an audit during production. On 23 consecutive days, it monitored the selected machines, collected production data and statistically evaluated these figures. The results revealed availability was responsible for most of the OEE losses.

The evaluated production data provided a first indication of possible causes and showed the frequency of machine downtime notifications that was responsible for availability loss. Mondelez Ireland and Bosch set up a specialized project team, consisting of machinery and product experts from Mondelez Ireland, as well as engineering specialists and an OEE expert from Bosch, to work through the OEE improvement steps.

The Bosch team evaluated the impact of the defined causes in a failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA). Answers to questions such as How severe is the effect? or How often does this issue occur? helped prioritize potential failure effects. The team determined measures of improvement such as creating new settings for different multipack formats.

After implementing the defined measures, the project team carried out a more intense equipment performance analysis based on 90 days of measurements on the flow wrappers and top loaders.

The OEE improvement project not only made it possible for Mondelez Ireland to analyze and prioritize the machinery issues, it also led to an improvement of equipment effectiveness in terms of reduced machine downtime and increased, consistent performance standards.

Lindsay confirms performance has improved significantly. “This success is based on clear data we collected with Bosch and the shared know-how regarding our machines and production cycles. The stages of the OEE approach were clearly set and well communicated,” says Lindsay. “Our employees were also great in supporting us. After they became familiar with the OEE concept, they saw the need for change, and we achieved those positive results together. Treating the root causes instead of only the symptoms, together with a reliable and professional partner, helped us make the most of our plant and people in Coolock.”

For more information:

Sandro Gisler, 919-501-2919,,  

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