KHS ensures long-term line operation

Proactive discontinuation management for fast reaction times

Holistic data handling forms the basis of successful discontinuation management, claims Klaus Thatenhorst, head of the Standards Department at KHS. With this the systems supplier always knows where discontinued components are in use worldwide. Photo - KHS

Supplier component discontinuation offensive with this proactive service, the KHS Group, prevents costly machine downtimes at beverage plants and safeguards the long service lives of its filling and packaging machinery. With the availability of significant components becoming ever shorter, KHS’ discontinuation management scheme makes sure plant equipment stays up and running. This topic is gaining in importance in our digital age, where electronic components have shorter product life cycles. KHS not only brings its systems into line with state of the art; operators also benefit from increased machine efficiency thanks to the use of new technologies.

A supplier’s component has undergone extensive further development; modified legislation calls for technical changes to be made – KHS Service is proactively tackling the problem of supplier components no longer being available and having to be replaced by new solutions. “We support our partners with our knowledge of any technical changes required to make sure that machinery continues to function and production runs smoothly at the beverage bottling plant,” states Klaus Thatenhorst, head of the Standards Department at KHS. “By replacing the necessary components in good time, we ensure that our machines have long service lives and are thus sustainable.”

1,700 discontinuations in 2019 alone

KHS is able to react fast to any changes due to its holistic system of data management. Through this the system’s supplier always knows which part on which machine belonging to which customer is likely to be affected by a discontinuation. This shortens response times should new components be needed. This is especially relevant when modifications have to be made to the machine’s engineering. In 2019, 1,700 discontinuation solutions had to be found. Half of these required much more than a simple replacement, with intensive technical work necessary.

So that it is better prepared for the possible discontinuation of system parts, KHS is in regular close contact with its suppliers. It is already common knowledge, for instance, that robot manufacturer KUKA will only be supplying its current KR C2 controller until 2024; this has an impact on two series of KHS palletizers, among other machinery. The Dortmund engineering company is thus preparing itself and its customers for the pending conversion well in advance. The KHS Group is also able to offer fast and flexible systems and solutions for short-term discontinuations. Its parts management system stocks replacements for as long as possible for precisely this purpose.

Replacements for greater line efficiency

This may all initially sound like an expensive and time-consuming undertaking for the bottler, yet it yields great benefits on several counts. By changing components quickly, the systems provider avoids unplanned downtimes over a longer period caused by the failure of a part no longer available. Furthermore, beverage producers can sometimes even improve line efficiency by installing new replacement components and, at the same time, carry out other useful upgrades. When converting a machine, KHS Service not only removes and replaces discontinued components but also takes them back and reworks them.

In our digital day and age, discontinuation management is an issue that is becoming increasingly important. According to the German Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA), while mechanical parts such as gear motors are usually available for up to ten years, some electronic components last just two years. Accordingly, the number of replacements for comparable parts required as a result of discontinuation is already currently increasing at shorter and shorter intervals.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

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As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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