Top 4 Ways to Improve Uptime: Lessons Learned at Ska Fabricating

Lessons learned at Ska Fabricating

The following article appeared originally in The Metal Packager.

In the packaging industry, we measure lines by their efficiency down to the fraction of a minute and are always on the lookout for ways in which we can make things run faster, smoother, and more effectively. Mention the word ‚uptime‚ in any packaging line conversation, and you’ll notice heads turning, people leaning in toward the discussion like magnets. Maximizing uptime is the goal of any team working in packaging, but it does take expertise to perfect.

Ska Fabricating has been working on this equation for a long time for customers across the globe. Here are our tried-and-true considerations to help your line achieve the next level of productivity and, yes, uptime.

Lessons learned at Ska Fabricating:
1.Ensure your equipment is scalable

If you think in terms of order-of-operations, choosing the right equipment is always going to be the first step. The mistake that many companies make initially is not associating uptime with projected scale‚ but thinking about not only where one currently is in terms of line speed requirements, but also where a company hopes to grow in the future. Equipment that is scalable, like the Ska Fabricating lineup of depalletizers, is important to consider from both an economic standpoint as well as a growth perspective, ensuring that you are preparing yourself and your company for the maximum flexibility possible over time.

2. Optimize your line controls
Implementing line controls can make a big difference in the effectiveness, productivity, and sustainability of your line. As a system integrator, we evaluate the need for line controls at the design stage and perfect it during installation. Adding necessary sensors and communication between equipment to stop and start container conveyors lengthens the life cycle of your hardware, reduces the chance of product and decoration damage, and allows you to tailor your line to any equipment requirements. Speed adjustments and custom line controls are made easy through the HMI on the line control panels.

3. Minimize changeover times

The time it takes to shift from one shape of metal container to another is a huge consideration when it comes to line efficiency. The FHA 3000 or the FHA 5000 are two depalletizers with 20 potential container sizes of the same material type all on one control panel. With just one touch, you can adjust the levels on your machine and move right into your next run. If you have a lowerator that conveys your containers to your filler, this adjusts with a simple turn of a hand crank. The FHA 3000 and 5000 are also adjustable for pallet sizes 44×56 and 40×48, which allows for even more flexibility, which ultimately will aid your overall return on investment.

4. Insist on superior equipment customer support
A team that has your back from the initial sales call all the way through your install and
maintenance years down the line will ultimately ensure that your machine is running in tip-top shape and how it was envisioned. Selecting a team that is easy to connect with is one of the most important things you can do to maximize throughput and overall system efficiency. Choosing a company that is nimble and responsive reduces your time trying to get someone on the phone and instead allows you to spend that time towards forward momentum.

For more information, or to speak to our sales team at Ska Fabricating, contact us at

The Magic Bus depalletizer has a motorized infeed/outfeed system.

The PLC allows for multiple container recipes/presets to be added for ease of changeover between container types of the same material on the FHA 3000 depalletizer.

The FHA 3000 is one depalletizing solution available from Ska Fabricating: it unloads pallets weighing up to 1,000 pounds. Check it out in action here.


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