Rap Tronic

Raptronic Process Engineering – Relocation of a production line to another continent

RAP Team 12/11/2021

In 2019 we have been contracted by one of our main customers to relocate a cookie production line halfway around the globe. Apart of the relocation side of the project, to adapt the line at the local condition and raw materials suppliers, as well as to update it, a set of new equipment was designed, fabricated, and integrated in the production line which was relocated.

A summary of task consists in: dismantling equipment, packaging and preparing for shipping, transport (land and sea), storage in a rough environment, unpacking, refurbishment and installation in new location, all with their own and unique challenges but due to the well prepare schedule on each task, every obstacle we face during the project lifetime was overcome without significant impact on timing or budget. As we are dealing with a complex project, a due diligence document was created and share with customer at the end of the project.

The job started prior pandemic time and took about 3 months to dismantle and finishing packing the equipment of 7 OEM’s. The main challenge of this process was to find the right local work force, who was skilled enough to be able to complete the job. After several endeavours, our project management team choose the right company and with the help of our own supervisors, each specialized in a different area, the job was completed safe and with minimum impact on equipment.

While waiting the new facility to reach a suitable state for starting installation of the new and the relocated equipment, we have stored the equipment for about 1 year in a warehouse nearby. At the same time, our project engineers they start designing the new equipment and integrated into the existing production line. The new equipment, CIP skids, continuous mixer, storage vessels for liquid ingredients, platforms and other auxiliary equipment have been fabricated in the workshop of our sister company and were closely and constantly check by a team of mechanical and quality engineers. The main purpose was to adapt the equipment as close as possible to the site conditions, without being necessary to perform major adjustments on it while installing at customer. Upon starting the installation process, we deliver each equipment based on the requirement of installation planning. The team worked together with the site management to ensure a smooth installation of all OEM’s equipment (oven, multiple conveyors, mixers), and when all was in place our automation engineers start loading the new programs into the PLC’s, first remotely via VPN connection and later, after travel restrictions were raised from customer site. The main challenges were related to the international health travel restrictions and coordinating a team remotely until a small team of supervisors could reach customer site, but probably the most challenging task was to start line commissioning remotely, a task that our automation engineers fulfilled successfully with a great impact on saving the project timing.

Overall this complex project, influenced by the cultural differences, by working in various environments and mostly by the world wide Covid-19 situation was completed without major impact in timing or scope due to the good collaboration between RAP team and customer.