Process Optimization Project at Faber-Castell

July 8, 2015 | News Brazil
Faber-Castell Prata has a forestry and a plates manufacturing unit that is one of the basics raw materials for pencils manufacturing. More often it is necessary to use younger wood due to current woods availability. This factor has an strong impact in the manufacturing process due to adjustment difficulties to the 2nd drying process, which were not designed for younger woods causing wood plates production not feasible.  The Faber-Castell Prata process consists in the wood extraction (logs), logs cutting, timber cutting, plates cutting and classification. After that, the plates proceeds to the first drying process, impregnation process and to the 2nd drying process. The plates, that are the final product of this site, should ensure certain properties such as flatness, humidity and cracks before sent to the Faber-Castell factory in São Carlos for further process steps of pencils manufacturing. The need to work with young woods required and process parameters that were resulting in a low productivity rates. These rates not only compromises costs but also would required new investments to expand the machinery in the bottleneck process. After previously working with the basics stability items of the process, STAUFEN Taktica proposed to use a scientific method for the optimization to the 2nd drying process aiming to increase the productivity and keeping the current quality standards.. The analysis method was based on a fractionated DOE (Design of Experiments) in the way to minimize the number of required tests and to collect the largest amount of possible response for the four pre-selected process parameters. The process parameters selected for testing were agreed and set between STAUFEN Taktica’s and Faber-Castell teams in order to test variables with high possibility of relevance and also a detailed experimental plan was developed. The Faber-Castell’s team was responsible for performing all designed experiments. The STAUFEN Taktica applied the analysis method with the data collection and validated the conclusions together with the Faber-Castell’s team. The results were amazing, since the best process set-points had never been considered as feasible and experiments has showed that more optimizations opportunities shall be performed.  By performing this experimental approach, the productivity of the 2nd drying process was increased by 15% keeping the level of quality and losses. Faber-Castell now shows interest in continuing the optimizations in rework and other losses through the practical methods and with high potential return.

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