Motion engineers in the food and beverage packaging industry are playing a critical role in ensuring that their customers’ businesses run smoothly and efficiently. Ryan Kendrigan, the Executive General Manager of Engineering and Services for Motion, has been with the company for 17 years and has an in-depth understanding of the industry and the challenges that it faces.
“The food and beverage packaging industry is highly competitive and operates on thin profit margins, therefore it is crucial for organisations in this industry to have minimal downtime when issues occur,” says Ryan. As a result, machinery needs to be running efficiently to keep disruptions to a minimum.
This became a reality when the Motion engineering team worked on a project for a Sydney based packaging company, who were facing consistent reliability issues with their four cooling towers used in injection moulding equipment. The towers were causing complete plant outages that stopped their moulding process, which led to “horrendous outcomes from the plant’s perspective.”
Cooling towers play a critical role in the packaging industry by helping to maintain the ideal temperature of machinery and products. This is especially important in industries such as food and beverage packaging, where precise temperature control is necessary to ensure product quality and safety.
In the industry, machines generate significant amounts of heat. Cooling towers help to dissipate this heat by using the natural process of evaporation, allowing for a controlled and efficient cooling process.
To address the issue, Ryan highlighted that “the team conducted a comprehensive analysis of the cooling towers and identified several root causes, including structural integrity issues, electric motor problems, as well as bearing and lubrication issues.”
Structural problems in a cooling tower can pose safety risks to workers and the surrounding environment. For example, if the tower’s structural integrity is compromised, it may be at risk of toppling over or releasing harmful chemicals into the environment. This can result in serious injury or damage to property, as well as environmental contamination.
Electric motors also play a critical role in the operation of cooling towers, as they are responsible for driving the fan or impeller that creates the necessary air or water flow for the tower to function. Therefore, the combination of these issues required a lot of work from the team.
The team’s solution involved upgrading the drives, redesigning the structural cross members, refurbishing two towers, implementing an automatic rotational system, realigning, installing new guarding, and commissioning the towers. Ryan noted that the project required “a full analysis on the sources in the cross members to ensure that they were going to be able to withstand the weight of the fans of the motors.”
After completing the project, the engineering team provided a vibration testing report to ensure the long-term effectiveness of the solution. Ryan reported that the towers had been running without incident for the last year and a half, stating that “it was a complete success.” Overall, the solution offered by the engineering team eliminated the consistent unplanned shutdowns that occurred every three months, resulting in increased plant reliability and reduced downtime for the customer. As Ryan stated, “Payback for the client on this project was within 12 months, which demonstrated immediate cost of ownership value.”
Ryan emphasises, “Often businesses have to run their plants on modest budgets, which intern drives maintenance departments to make cuts to preventative maintenance schedules. Therefore equipment doesn’t quite get the love and the uptake that it needs to maximise its productive output into the future.” This results in a critical need for proper assessment and maintenance of equipment, which is where Motion Engineering comes in. “Motion engineering can make that assessment and review the plant and equipment from a criticality standpoint,” he says.
Motion Engineering’s department comprises of over 250 skilled professionals who are proficient in delivering core competencies such as assessment, review, design, and analysis. They have the ability to repair, refurbish, manufacture, and assemble new equipment, as well as offer site services for installation, commissioning, and testing. Ryan highlights, “it’s really a holistic approach that we offer, and we do that across the entire product suite.” By providing such comprehensive solutions, Motion engineers are making a significant impact on the food and beverage packaging industry.