A Clitheroe-based manufacturer of bespoke printed paper cups has used specialist manufacturing support from the University of Central Lancashire to improve efficiency and reduce lead times.
The Printed Cup Company reshored their manufacturing in 2012 having previously imported product from China. The company have since grown at pace, introducing new manufacturing machinery and both 72 and 24 hour order turnaround. The company places great value on the impact their product has, oﬀering recycling services for used product to accompany their contribution to the green earth appeal. They contacted UCLan to see whether advanced technologies could be used to reduce waste and environmental impact.
DigitMe2 is a project delivered by UCLan and funded by the European Regional Development Fund. Working from the state of the art Advanced Manufacturing Technology Centre in Burnley, the heart of Lancashire’s manufacturing, 5 full time engineers assist businesses in testing and adopting technologies such as data analytics, robotics, additive manufacturing and automation systems. The aim of the programme is to provide support to manufacturers and help them become ‘future ready’ by engaging with digital technologies.
The DigitME2 team proposed the use of Internet of Things (IOT) machine monitoring to the Printed Cup Company in order to increase the amount of data gathered during production. Combining the use of low cost computing power with available sensor equipment, has led to the development of a process monitoring device. By ﬁtting the device to each machine, components can be monitored allowing low level stock alerts to be provided to the operator. In combination to this, waste product is counted and temperature and humidity monitored around the machine.
On-going trials have shown that the provision of machine data has led to a reduction in machine down time along with the generation of a new waste ﬁgure that is speciﬁc to each job on each machine. The knowledge provided by temperature and humidity sensing has also allowed the company to control machine elements and reduce product waste, increase overall quality and further shorten production times, leading to new unexpected eﬃciencies. Trials currently continue within the Printed Cup manufacturing environment with full ﬁndings expected in Autumn 2018.
Mark Woodward, Managing Director at The Printed Cup Company said:
“This has been a huge beneﬁt to the company and has added to and extended our inhouse ERP system. By gathering and utilising the data from production systems and allowing operators to suggest how the stem should grow will help make the jobs of the operatives easier and in turn, make the company be more cost eﬀective. The IOT is about allowing disparate systems to exchange data and this project is just the start of bringing more manufacturing data into the fold.”