ATS wants factory workers to ‘smell’ disasters before they happen

By Douglas Yu

- Last updated on GMT

BakeryandSnacks met up with the ATS team at Snaxpo 2017m held in Savannah, Georgia, last month.
BakeryandSnacks met up with the ATS team at Snaxpo 2017m held in Savannah, Georgia, last month.

Related tags Manufacturing

Equipment malfunction should be dealt with proactively at snack food manufacturing plants, Advanced Technology Services (ATS) has said.

ATS director Jeremy Wright told BakeryandSnacks: "If we want real value out of maintenance, we need to teach technicians to know what to look for, what to smell for out of the equipment”.

“We’re [evolving] them from a lower-skilled perception to be extremely skilled in sensory inspection,”​ he said.

The sensory inspection training, which includes oil analysis and using demography machine, is designed to help manufacturers find the root cause of a broken machine.

ATS said it offers “innovative ways of maintenance”​ so snack companies can increase their up time and reduce machine down time, which gets better return on their net assets.

“If you maintain [the equipment] on the front end and do more proactive work, it becomes much cheaper to maintain it than on the back end, which causes the loss of production,”​ Wright said.

Reaching out to customers

Founded 30 years ago, ATS, which also offers IT services, employs more than 3,000 workers mostly based in the US. ATS is headquartered in Peoria, Illinois.

The company worked with World’s Finest Chocolate to cultivate skilled labor to manage its factory equipment, and "increased the chocolate production by 5%,"​ claimed Wright.

“We put [customers’] goals, such as reducing down time by 5%, in our contract, and work together to benefit both of us,”​ he said.

“Snack food companies simply want their machines running, so we keep them as clean, coo, and dry as possible”​.

ATS is working to expand its customer base, and is currently in discussion with Kraft Heinz to improve maintenance at its Illinois-based manufacturing plant. 

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