Introducing the Overfill and Package Weight Control Kit

Overfill and Package Weight Control Kit

Overfill and Package Weight Control makes it possible for food manufacturers and other packaging companies to balance two desires. First, it helps them comply to federal Net Content Control regulations (NIST 133). Second, it makes it possible to optimize costs of goods sold.

The techniques are useful whenever:

  • a producer needs to meet a minimum weight (or volume) to satisfy their customer, and
  • once they meet that minimum weight anything they add to the product is not valued (and not paid for) by the consumer.

Examples include any food or consumer good sold by package weight or volume.

The same issues are in play in a wide variety of industries. They come up wherever a minimum amount of material is necessary (either for performance or for regulation) and there is not a practical limit to the amount of material that may be applied.

For example, plastics blow molding and rotational molding both require a minimum thickness of material for the product to function. However, if too much material is used, the product walls are just a little thicker. The extra material used increases the product weight and is given away to the customer.

The same principle applies in four-color production printing. Yellow ink is especially susceptible to overuse because over some thickness threshold it doesn’t impact the quality of the image, but it does drive up the cost.

What is the GainSeeker Platform Library Overfill and Package Weight Control Kit?

The GainSeeker Platform Library Overfill and Package Weight Control Kit assembles and synthesizes Hertzler’s many years of experience working with foods and packaging clients to improve performance of Costs of Goods sold.

The kit is collection of web pages that help clients rapidly deploy a custom-configured overfill solution in their facility. It is under construction, but will eventually include a sample data with GainSeeker inspections, videos, and detailed instructions on using the kit.

Reducing Overfill in three steps

Balancing the competing needs of complying with Net Content Control and minimizing material costs is deceptively simple. It is done in three steps.

Step 1: Make better use of real-time, actionable intelligence to bring the process into statistical control

Production or Quality staff weigh product samples at regular intervals and plot the data in real-time on statistical process control charts. This information gives operators and supervisors immediate statistically-based feedback when processes shift or become unstable.

This technique works for both underfill and overfill. If a process change is detected, the statistical alarms will sound and give operators the information they need to act promptly and return the process to its controlled state.

This means that operators can take immediate corrective action long before packages are underfilled or overfilled. It brings the process into statistical control so that you can take the second step in confidence.

In step 1 we collect real-time data and make sure the process is stable and predictable. The Mean (M) must be above Label Claim (Label), and no individual value (represented by the Green area) may be below the MAV. Everything above the Mean and in the yellow area is giveaway

Reduce OverPack Step 1: Control Process

MAV = Maximum Allowable Variation Label Claim = Volume or Weight stated on package Mean = Average of any production lot.

Step 2: Tighten the process through continuous improvement

Making better use of real-time actionable information can have a profound impact on both risk management and material use. What’s more, the information that your team has collected for monitoring the fill operation in real-time is a valuable corporate asset and has value long after the current batch of product is sealed and out the door.

Here is how it works: while weight data is collected for trend and real-time analysis, we can tag the data with relevant descriptive information. For example, we might collect information about the product type, material supplier, ambient temperatures or humidity, shift, and operator.

Reduce Over Pack 2: Reduce Variation

Tighten the process through continuous improvement.

In step 2, we review the data and address underlying causes of variation.

The result is a tighter process.

This descriptive information helps us to better understand the Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How of the actual weight measurements. Wherever possible, we minimize the cost of this tag information by integration with other business systems, bar codes, RFID, and so forth.

Once we have acquired this rich matrix of information, we can slice and dice it using GainSeeker’s automated Variation Wizard. This wizard points your staff to relationships of the inputs (the context) and the outputs (the weight). Using these tools, your team should be able to begin eliminating sources of underlying variation. This pulls the tails of the distribution towards the center and increases the height of the curve.

Step 3: Shift the process

By this point, you’ve learned a lot about your process. You know it is stable and predictable, and you’ve identified and eliminated the underlying causes of variation wherever possible. Now you can shift the mean of the process closer to the label weight.

You can do so with confidence because you have the knowledge to support your decisions. You’ll know you can meet your label claim and minimize overfill and product giveaway.

Reduce Over Pack 3: Shift Process Mean

Shift the process closer to Label Claim.

To learn more…