500 quart jars per minute is a lot of mayonnaise

Jack Mans, Plant Operations Editor

January 30, 2014

2 Min Read
500 quart jars per minute is a lot of mayonnaise

One of the more challenging projects I worked on during my 10 years at Kraft in the 60s and 70s was a new packaging line to run 500 quart glass jars of mayonnaise per min. Installed at Kraft’s plant in Decatur, GA (which is long-since closed), this was not only the fastest line in the company by far, but it also was the first line at Kraft to run bulk glass. All of the other lines in the company received their jars in reshipper cases. 

As was always the case, once money was approved for the project, everyone was very anxious to have the line in operation. This wasn’t the first line project I had worked on, so I agreed to a very optimistic completion date. Wrong! Because of the line speed, nearly every piece of equipment on the line was brand new for the company, so we had no experience with it. Plus, we had to learn how to handle the bulk glass. Everything took longer than I had planned. The installation went smoothly, but getting everything to run satisfactorily was another story.

This project had drawn a lot of attention because of the line speed and the bulk glass, so when the official startup date came around, it turned out that not only were the plant manager and most of the supervisors there to watch, but the vp of production came down from Chicago as well. We had done a couple of trial runs with some success, so I crossed my fingers and we started it up – slowly. There were a few glitches, but things were going fairly well, when the vp of production says, “Okay, speed it up. Let’s see what she’ll do.” Of course, at that point, Murphy’s law kicked in, and things began to go wrong. Jars began backing up on the conveyors, some were breaking, for some reason the filler timing wasn’t right, and there was mayonnaise and broken glass all over. After watching for a while, the vp says, “My god, 500 quart jars a minute is a lot of mayonnaise and a lot of glass!”

Ultimately, that line became a nice operation, but the vp would still bring it up occasionally. “I never saw so much mayonnaise and glass on the floor in my life,” he commented to me once.

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.  Harry S. Truman

About the Author(s)

Jack Mans

Plant Operations Editor

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