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The case of the swinging doors

Article-The case of the swinging doors

The case of the swinging doors

"These swinging doors are killing me, KC."

"That sounds like a Merle Haggard song to me," I told my buddy Gail. "I love ‘The Hag’ but the packaging line is not the right place for him."

"I hear you but I don't know what to do. Come help me out."

A couple days later I was watching her case packer side-load 12 boxes of cereal into a corrugated case. A pair of swinging doors or gates guided the boxes in. I could see that the doors seldom aligned properly. This caused jams and mechanics spent a lot of time tinkering with them.

"Stop the machine," I told her and she did. Once locked out, I grabbed a door and moved it back and forth about half an inch.

"Fiddlesticks on swinging doors. These bearings are shot and have also damaged the shafts. With this much play, there is no way the mechanics can ever adjust them properly. Shafts and bearings need to be replaced right now."

"But KC, we are running 24/7 and just don't have time to do that. We've been trying to limp along until summer shutdown."

"And how much downtime are you losing right now, every day? Did you ever hear about the lumberjack and the dull axe?"

"Yes, KC. I've heard the story," she sighed. "We'll get this fixed right away."

Saloon or plant floor. Watch out for those swinging doors. They can be trouble.

Known as the Changeover Wizard, John R. Henry is the owner of, a consulting firm that helps companies find and fix the causes of inefficiencies in their packaging operations. He has written the book, literally, on packaging machinery ( and is the face and personality behind packaging detective KC Boxbottom, the main character in Adventures in Packaging, a popular blog on


See a host of new ideas in packaging machinery, materials and more at WestPack 2016, Feb. 9-11 in Anaheim, CA.


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