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Report | February 2019

Improving productivity of spinning mill

The key factors affecting the productivity have been analysed, a detailed action plan prepared and implemented.

The performance of the spinning mill have been fluctuating widely due to volatility in input prices and currency fluctuations following the 2008 financial crisis. Units with higher productivity fared better than the units achieving lower productivity. This article discusses authors hand’s on experience of improving productivity of a spinning mill in SEA (South East Asia) to the tune of 30 per cent and the impact on the overall performance of the unit. A relatively modern spinning mill equipped with auto doffing in ring frames and latest autoconers with a capacity of 64,000 spindles have been producing 1054 tonne per month (average Ne 23) and product mix is equally divided between carded and combed. The production is increased to 1,402 tonne per month with in 24 months of implementing an intervention programme. The key factors affecting the productivity have been analysed, a detailed action plan prepared and implemented. The area of focus is on: maintenance management practices, process parameters adjustment, fine tuning of all process machinery, training and development of operators and staff, quality management, and developing KPI (key performance indicators) for increasing accountability.

Maintenance management practices

The mill had a robust maintenance plan, but have never been followed in practice. The routine and preventive maintenance were regularly skipped and spare parts replacement have been sporadic and the unit staff presumed the productivity achieved is highest and can’t be improved. The spindles and rings have exceeded their useful life leading to reduced production per unit. The cost and benefit analysis is developed and demonstrated to the team and management, and sample sets were ordered and proved that the speeds can be increased significantly. The routine and preventive practices from cleaning to regular resetting are followed strictly under the supervision of consultant’s team. Measures taker under maintenance management system ensured increased production, lower end breakages in ring frame and cuts in autoconer.

Process parameters adjustment

Cotton quality parameters tend to vary from lot to lot and between bales. Fixed set of process parameters can’t be employed for varying fibre quality. Process parameters needs to be adjusted periodically to process the given fibre quality. Speeds and settings are adjusted after a quick trial and adopted across the mill whenever the fibre lot is changed. The measures ensured yarn quality is maintained within acceptable limits between lots.

Fine tuning of all process machinery

Process machines are tuned based on AFIS (advanced fibre information system from USTER) in preparatory and individual spindles in speed frame and ring frame are immediately checked and conditions restored. The periodical checking based on AFIS and individual spindle put in place to improve performance consistency.

Training and development of operator

The unit had no training department in place and the operators and staff continue to adopt old practices. Trainers to train operators, training and development department and periodic training once in three months were put in place for operators. Staff were trained on maintenance, quality, production and utility management practices and SOP’s issued. KPI developed and staff were trained to monitor and discuss on a daily and weekly basis. Review meetings are held in promoters presence on a monthly basis.

Quality management

The best practice is to ensure periodical checking of quality at every stage of the process with clear guidelines issued for go and no-go limits. Any abnormality is process is arrested at the early stage rather than taking ad-hoc measures after the final stage. A comprehensive quality plan developed and authority is given to the front line quality operator to decide either to allow or stop the process. This single action ensured the performance of the unit improved significantly.

KPI for increasing accountability

The unit had a culture of every one is responsible but no one is accountable. KPI developed with standards for spindle point production, utilisation, quality, yarn realisation, power consumption per kilogram of yarn produced, man power employed per 1,000 spindles and manufacturing cost per kilogram of yarn. The individuals were assigned responsibility and held accountable, the performance incentive is linked to the results. After a year of close follow up the performance culture is set in.

Conclusion & result

It is imperative for spinning units to adopt best practices on various key areas of focus to achieve industry standard productivity to ensure manufacturing cost per KG is competitive enough to sustain performance.

The article is authored by Padmanabhan and Raghu G, Partners at Texcoms Textile solutions. Padmanabhan can be reached on padhu@texcoms.com and Raghu G on raghugi@texcoms.com.
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