The case of the slipping capThe case of the slipping cap
October 21, 2015
Aly came into the office and showed me a bottle cap.
"It looks scuffed up," I told her.
"It is, and I don't understand why. It has been running fine for years and all of a sudden the chuck starts slipping. When it slips, it scuffs the cap."
I rode with her out to the plant and we were soon looking at the capper. "It's been running fine until recently?" I asked
"Yes. No problems at all."
"Something has changed, Aly. What?"
"No, KC, we've not changed anything. Same machine, same operators, same settings."
"Aly, when a machine is running well and starts having problems, there is always something that changed. Right now we need to figure out what it was. Have there been any supplier changes?"
She looked thoughtful. "Not that I know of but we can check with purchasing.”
A few minutes later the purchasing manager was telling us that, yes, they had moved to a new cap supplier but the caps were exactly the same. Since it was the "same" cap, there had been no need to tell packaging about it.
Back on the line, we fitted old and new caps into a chuck.
"Fiddlesticks on 'same' caps," I exclaimed. "There's your problem. The serrations on the cap and chuck don't match any more. They don't lock together mechanically like they used to. Now all you have is friction and the cap slips.
"You need new chucks or old caps. That'll fix it. You know how you like to be 'in the groove'? So do your chucks."
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