The MARCO Trac-IT Yield Control Module, which forms an integral part of MARCO’s award winning Trac-IT factory floor efficiency system, is achieving rapid and radical yield improvements for leading international manufacturer of convenience foods, Greencore Group Plc at their Manton Wood and Park Royal sites.
Located near Worksop in Nottinghamshire, Manton Wood is believed to be the world’s largest and most sophisticated sandwich manufacturing facility. When you make almost a quarter of a billion sandwiches a year, you need to make sure you have the best factory floor efficiency systems available. Although there are high levels of automation at both sites, critical parts of the ‘build’ process rely on the manual dexterity of the line operators. Just one gram of overfill per sandwich of a high cost protein component can amass to over 4 tonnes a week or 200 tonnes a year for that component, translating directly through to significant cost implications.
The fully wireless MARCO Trac-IT Yield Control Module installations comprise a series of LineMaster portion control workstations complemented by hand-held Portable Data Acquisition terminals (PDAs) to gain even more information on demand. Each supervisoruses a PDA, giving them control over an important line parameter, wherever they are in the factory. This equips them with total hands on flexibility to check out the lines. When requirements change, the data is sent instantly from the central server, located on another Greencore site, directly to the Workstations and the PDAs.
Prior to the MARCO system, our sandwich assembly lines operated virtually in isolation from the rest of the plant and we had no real time visibility. We used standalone takeaway scales that required a high degree of manual input to set up for a specific order or when parameters changed. Line changes were time consuming and by the time we had analysed line production data, the ‘moment’ had come and gone. MARCO took the time to listen to our requirements and understand our processes. They designed the whole system around our criteria without any compromises. During the installation their engineers worked around the clock so that there was minimum disruption to our normal production. With only the need for minimal training, our operators have found the new system extremely easy to use and we are now seeing significant benefits in terms of reduced giveaway. We now have a comprehensive overview of the sandwich assembly processes at both plants and supervisors can react immediately to changes via their PDAs. We’ve always prided ourselves in our production quality and we now feel we have moved up a gear, which is further good news for our customers and consumers.
Greencore’s Infrastructure Technician