Waste Minimisation in Plastics Processing - Part 2
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Waste is all around your business and some companies put up signs declaring 'STOP WASTE'. This is treats us all unfairly because most people would stop waste if only they knew where to look. The signs should really read 'FIND WASTE' because only after finding waste can you really start to stop it.
The first step in your waste minimisation programme is to start to find the waste in your business and the best tool for this is to carry out a waste walk-around. The objective is to gain an overview of the processes and to identify some rapid no-cost or low-cost improvements that can be made to save money.
The survey should be carried out as soon as possible - waste is happening now and it is costing you money now. Take an unannounced walk around the site at mid-shift. If there is no night shift it can also be profitable to take a walk around the factory when there is no production being carried out. Always look in your skips - it is an excellent starter for locating waste!
Simple no-cost and low-cost money saving ideas
Typical inputs and outputs in plastics processing
- Implement no-cost and low-cost methods of improving energy efficiency. For example, insulating jackets on heated moulds can reduce energy losses and improve safety. The previous series of Worksheets on Energy Management covers energy efficient plastics processing in detail. Failure to manage energy is a waste of energy.
- Review hydraulic oil purchase, storage, handling and disposal procedures.
- Consider the benefits to oil lifetime of installing bypass filters in all hydraulic equipment.
- Ensure machines are suitable for the processes being carried out, set-up to obtain optimum polymer and energy consumption, and maintained regularly.
- Ensure employees are trained and understand the effects of their actions. Employees are vital to the success of waste segregation. Employees also need to be made aware that, while regrinding waste polymer saves the company money, it does mean additional costs.
- Once you are looking for waste, your walk-around should have identified some obvious areas for improvement. You can now make some ‘fast starts’ to reduce waste in these areas.
- Monitor the amount of polymer used on each machine, how much is reground and how much is sent off-site for reprocessing or final disposal. Monitor utility and packaging usage.
- Find out where and why waste polymer is being generated by your process. Getting it ‘Right First Time’ is the easiest way of increasing your profits.
- Record your starting position and publicise improvements to both motivate employees and maintain commitment for the initiative from senior management.
- If you don’t measure, you can’t manage.
The "Waste Minimisation" series is designed to give plastics processors an insight into how to minimise wasting valuable resources. The series is being published in British Plastics and Rubber on a monthly basis and published here after the BP&R publication. The series is:
Part 1: The Business Reasons
Part 2: A Waste Walk Around and Action Plan (This Section)
Part 3: Assessing Performance
Part 4: Improving Performance
Part 5: Waste Minimisation Tools
Download the complete series as an Adobe Acrobat file.
Last edited: 11/03/10
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