Bottles on conveyor

Gaining Productivity and Efficiency in Wine Manufacturing

Case Study: Alternative Engineering

For wine manufacturers, the engineering of reliable, accurate and high quality change parts plays a crucial role in meeting production goals and delivering products to market on time and within defined cost parameters. Change part engineering has resulted in significant increases in productivity and efficiency when using local design engineers to innovate processes and produce new machine components.

Executive Summary

Production downtime, caused by faults, breakage or general wear and tear of machine components, can incur losses that amount to anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000 per hour. Due to the high cost of downtime, the speedy manufacture of accurate change parts is of utmost importance.

Accuracy and reliability is paramount for Casella Wines:

“The manufacture of correct fitting parts is highly important to us due to the high cost of down time. Alternative Engineering was able to produce accurate change parts that fit our machine components perfectly. Their professional approach, knowledge of the industry, engineering support has been valuable to us and we are impressed with how they have taken control of this project and see it through with confidence.” – Anthony Zuccato, Maintenance Supervisor, Casella Wines

Sourcing OEM equipment from original suppliers can also present challenges. Parts supply from offshore can take more time than manufacturers can afford and this option becomes redundant during machine failure when parts are required immediately. OEM equipment can also be significantly more expensive than locally manufactured change parts and for older machines some parts may have been discontinued altogether. Reliance on external engineering companies for the reliable supply and production of change parts is an important part of contingency planning.

In the case of Treasury Wines Estate (TWE), support in innovation is critical:

“With TWE’s new product innovation, we need to be able to source change parts for our production lines that are manufactured to a high standard. After working with Alternative Engineering on machined change parts, we have seen improvements in our line efficiencies. Our line performance has increased by approximately 10%” – Matt Sitters, Packaging Capability & Development Coordinator, Treasury Wines Estate

These issues may sound straightforward and simple, but many wine manufacturers regularly struggle with ill-fitting change parts, long lead times, and large, unnecessary costs.

Maintaining productivity during times of innovation

A high production wine manufacturing facility normally produces in the tens of thousands of bottles per hour. Proactive maintenance is high on the agenda to prevent or minimize unplanned disruption but this is not the only item that can interrupt production. Sometimes the cause can be driven by wider business objectives.

In the case of Treasury Wines Estate the introduction of a new Lean & Green bottling technology was driven by a desire to improve product aesthetics and meet their corporate environmental responsibilities.

This large-scale implementation requires a change to the production process and innovative design to reconfigure existing production lines. Efficiency and accuracy of newly designed processes, engineered parts, and turn-around times must all come together to ensure production downtime is minimised.

TWE needed to ensure that their implementation of the Lean & Green bottling technology would not interrupt production or compromise current levels of quality or production output.

“Alternative Engineering’s technology and expertise in bottle handling allow them to measure the machines’ accuracy to three decimal places so change parts can be manufactured right the first time.” – Matt Sitters, Packaging Capability & Development Coordinator, Treasury Wines Estate.

Large-scale implementations like these also provide an opportunity to make further gains in production efficiency and achieve higher outputs. Engineering accuracy and reliability again plays a significant role.

The importance of precision and reliability for wine manufacturers

Looking at the projects for Casella and TWE in detail, the critical success factors in both scenarios were engineering accuracy and speed of delivery. Both of which are reliant on professional processes and expertise including engineering design, detailed documentation, quality control and responsive project management.

Casella enlisted the help of Alternative Engineering to accurately create the bottling change parts and replacement of OEM composites, so that the parts fit the first time around. The results? One line had an increase of 30% productivity while another line had an increase of 75% (from 65%) in efficiency. These precise and high quality engineered change parts have been instrumental in meeting both their time frames and production goals. Similarly, with TWE, the seamless implementation resulted in a 10% increase in production line performance.

For wine manufacturers, high-quality engineering outcomes together with timely support, ensures improved production outcomes, increased efficiencies and minimal interruptions to output can be realised by choosing the right engineering partner.

Alternative Engineering’s capacity to provide accurate change parts, quick turn-around times, and responsive engineering support enable wine manufacturers to hit their production targets and innovate their processes and products to meet the changing demands of their wine-loving market while achieving internal efficiencies and greater productivity.

Alternative Engineering: Expertise and service you can rely on

Alternative Engineering is a leading Melbourne based (servicing clients Australia-wide) engineering and manufacturing company that specialises in high-output production environments with particular expertise in the Food & Beverage sector.

With an impressive and growing client list, Alternative Engineering has built a reputation for exceptional customer-service, technical expertise, reliability and quality engineering outcomes.

Category: Case Studies