Have you ever thought how much a blade breakage might cost your meat processing facility? Premature blade breakage is one of the most preventable, yet common issues in large scale meat processing plants. Every time a blade breaks there is the obvious costs of reduced productivity and the cost of the blade itself, however there is far more hidden costs which are more costly to the plant than the cost of one blade.
Let us walk through exactly what happens every time a blade breaks and expose some of the hidden costs which are impacting your business.
- Firstly, depending on the cause of the blade breakage, in the lead-up to a blade breakage there will be warning signs which have the potential to cause lost productivity. These include increased bone dust or waste product left on the finished goods. These can lead to product needing more cleaning, and potentially product not meeting quality control tests.
- Secondly, when a blade breaks there is the obvious downtime in the changing of the blade. The old blade will need to be pulled off the machine and disposed of the machine cleaned and checked prior to the new blade being fitted. The new blade will need to be cleaned also, before being put on the bandsaw machine. Tension, guide wheels, guide pads and blade cleaners all need to be checked in order to ensure the new blade performs at its optimum. Finally, the blade is ready for use again, and production can resume.
- We must also consider the cost of the new blade. Whilst this may seem insignificant when often these blades are purchased in large volumes and the procurement department always has a large buffer stock, it is a cost that can be avoided.
- Whilst the first three impacts seem obvious the following impacts are hidden, and it is difficult to calculate the cost of their impact.
Sometimes when a blade breaks, they can provide an unexpected danger to the operator. These breakages can be a shock to the operator, who is already doing what is widely considered a dangerous job, having a fast moving bandsaw blade break in front of you when you are pushing material through the saw can be unnerving. Employee retention is important and every cause for serious injury must be minimized in order to provide a safe and healthy workplace.
- When bandsaw blades are used in robotic machines, the potential for breakage is less due to no operator being involved, however having one machine out of action in a production line can cause the entire production line to be ‘in the air’ leaving output dramatically reduced.
- Excessive blade breakages can over time change the behavior of the saw operator leading to reduced output. If a saw operator has several blade breakages, they can become afraid of pushing the saw and the blade to its optimum. This can lead to the operator trying to take each cut slower in order to remove the chance of a breakage.
In conclusion, when each of these impacts are looked at on their own, it may seem insignificant when a blade does break. However, the accumulation of these impacts means that it should be the combined goal of the bandsaw blade supplier, the processing plant, and the saw operator to ensure that blade breakages are reduced to the absolute minimum.
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