The Challenge

Whilst supplying flowrapping knives and blades for the customer’s packaging machines, the customer came to M.R. Machine Knives Ltd. with an issue they had with a scraper blade used to remove excess dough from the rolling oven line which they were buying from a competitor. As one large piece, the blade was over a metre long, and was breaking more frequently than expected. The customer gave M.R. Machine Knives Ltd. the challenge of designing a new blade which met multiple specific requests, it had to last longer, work better, and cost less.

 

 

The Objectives

  • Develop a product that would last longer before breaking.
  • Keep the cost low, whilst maintaining the integrity of the product.
  • Make changes to the design and offer a comprehensive solution to the customer within 3 days of receiving the sample.

 

The Solution

Once the sample came to the facility, the engineering team examined blade and found multiple problems. Firstly, the blades were not food-safe, made from a tool-steel, the blades were also too hard, which explained the cracking and breaking of the blade whilst in use. It was also noticed that replacing such a large blade, was a significant cost. After a long discussion, a conclusion and solution was proposed.

Firstly, the blade needed to be softer and food-safe. We changed the material to AISI 420, 48-52Hrc, meaning the blade met both of these requirements, it also reduced the overall production cost of manufacturing the blades.

Secondly, the angles of the sharpening were reviewed, they were simply too sharp – causing the edge of the blade to be brittle and crumble, we simply made the point of the blade wider – increasing the lifetime of the blade and avoiding any crumbling of the bevel.

Finally, we split the blade into quarters which could be bolted onto a tool separately, this meant that if one part broke, one area could be replaced, instead of the full blade – reducing replacement costs significantly.

 

The Benefits

  • The blade became food-safe, adhering to EU laws, if they were caught using non-safe materials, a large fine would have been received.
  • The blade lasted longer whilst working – reducing downtime during the replacement process.
  • Once split into quarters, it was noticed that spending on this individual part had saved the customer £3,000 per year over the first year alone.

 

The Conclusion

A non-safe, non-effective and expensive blade was being used, within 3 days, a conclusion and solution was offered to the client, saving them over £3,000 per year on one item, whilst making the blade food-safe, and reducing overall downtime for maintenance.

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