Blog : How to manufacture 75+ product recipes.
BWX, whose portfolio in 2021 included skincare brands Sukin, Andalou Naturals, USPA and Mineral Fusion, invested in a new factory to reduce product manufacturing costs.
At the time of this project, Sukin was arguably the top natural skincare and haircare brand in both groceries and pharmacies in Australia, with a presence in ten international markets.
BWX had stated the new facility would provide:
BWX approached the market for the design, supply and integration for:
Problem was... Sukin alone has an intricate range of products with 343 stock-keeping units (SKUs) across skincare and haircare. The new factory had to produce 75+ product recipes.
See how we solved the problem and provided a world-class solution for fully automated, sustainable manufacturing and Industry 4.0.
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BWX, whose portfolio in 2021 included skincare brands Sukin, Andalou Naturals, USPA and Mineral Fusion, raised $33 million to transfer its Australian operations from four facilities in Dandenong South to a greenfield site in Clayton, Victoria.
Investment in the new site followed a period of sustained growth for BWX, having increased its product range across a wide range of retail and e-commerce brands.
The new factory was designed to:
To achieve this, BWX sought expressions of interest from well-qualified, established suppliers.
The business had outgrown its multiple semi-automatic low-speed production lines and wanted to increase automation capabilities and streamline warehouse operations. The aim was to triple the manufacturing capacity of the existing arrangements.
BWX had stated the new facility would provide ’production efficiencies to scale current and future volumes; improved quality and consistency of product through modern compounding facilities; risk mitigation and enhanced control over end-to-end supply chain; and enhanced commitment to sustainability.’1
The issue was that the BWX personal care brand, Sukin, has an intricate range of products with 343 stock-keeping units (SKUs) across skincare and haircare. The new factory was to produce 75+ product recipes.
BWX approached the market for the design, supply and integration for:
Foodmach was awarded the project due to:
‘We’ve selected Foodmach based on its proven expertise and excellent references in the industry. We were looking for a turnkey solutions provider, equipment manufacturers and/or agents. In Foodmach, we’ve found all three.' Duncan Munro, Group Operations Director, BWX
BWX has a diverse range of products, from skincare to oils and haircare.
The company’s manufacturing headquarters required a flexible and highly efficient operation.
The product primarily being produced at Clayton was Sukin, an Australian brand of ‘skincare that doesn’t cost the earth’.
The products are one hundred per cent certified carbon neutral using biodegradable formulations with recyclable packaging made from recycled materials.
Most full-size products are packed in PET plastic; however, amber glass and PE tubes are also used. All packaging complies with the Sustainable Packaging Guidelines (SPGs) from the Australian Packaging Covenant Organization (APCO).
In addition, Sukin offers a wide range of products to cater to different skin types.
The new filling lines had to accommodate bottles, jars and tubes with a range of different closures, including screw tops, pumps, sprays and droppers.
Some products appear on the shelf in outer packs, and some do not, but all are required to be fully traceable across the entire supply chain, from ingredients through to labels, cartons, cases and pallets.
The filling lines for 75 different product recipes would require multiple product changeovers per day and replenishment of a vast array of raw ingredients and packaging materials.
As well, some of the products made are complex to fill, for example, facial clay, which is highly viscous.
A world-class Industry 4.0 facility
BWX’s new 18,000 square metre warehouse would operate with four high-speed production lines controlled by Foodmach’s Line Manufacturing Execution System (Line MES).
Foodmach collaborated with BWX over several months to develop the new installation.
Taking into consideration...
... Foodmach recommended Line MES, an industry-leading software package that provides absolute control of bespoke packaging lines.
The final state-of-the-art line upgrade installed by Foodmach included:
The production lines were supported by a robotic order picking system, supplied by Dematic.
Duncan Munro: ‘The ability of Foodmach technicians to combine OEM equipment from around the world into a factory that delivers Industry 4.0 connectivity and information is unequalled in this country.’
A best-in-class packaging line management system provides control of an entire packaging operation from one dashboard.
It’s the ultimate tool for reducing waste.
Foodmach’s Line MES (Line Management Execution System*) offers this flexibility.
It combines all the operational data from the sensors and controls of the various OEM machines in factory such as BWX Clayton into a single interface.
Instead of having to walk along the line and configure each machine individually for changeovers, it can all be done from just one window on a stationary or mobile device.
Line MES has become the gold standard in the beverage industry in Australia.
The use of recipes enables hundreds of different products to be set up and run with ease, which is exactly what BWX needed in their personal care business.
The Advanced Recipe module was used to completely automate changeovers and bring a new level of product traceability to the BWX operation.
Line MES enabled integration of a range of key equipment for BWX:
* What's an MES?
Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) bridge higher-level planning systems with plant floor control systems, acquiring data and providing it to all relevant parties in real-time. They enhance control and reduce response times to issues affecting production.
They also help regulated industries, such as food and beverage and pharmaceuticals, provide proof of processes, events, actions and documentation.
An award-winning full software stack developed specifically for the FMCG sector.
Using OMAC/PackML Packaging Machine Language standards, the Line MES suite delivers the following customer benefits:
The BWX project required the integration of equipment from multiple OEMS.
This is challenging because every machine vendor implements different signals from different brands of PLCs for interfacing, making it difficult to connect them to higher-level control and OEE systems.
Line MES has been developed for typical Australian market conditions, where partial line upgrades require a mix of old and new equipment. A key differentiator is its ability to work with different control platforms on the same line, enabling integration of many different brands of PLCs yet delivering a seamless operator experience.
The Line MES Machine Interface module takes in any signals available from 3rd party vendors and converts them to OMAC/PackML standardised packaging machinery language tags. This allows the most basic machines to become fully compliant to our MES, providing advanced intelligent control and OEE data for each unit on a line and enabling Industry 4.0-level data extraction.
FM Link is the digital bridge between the manufacturer’s ERP system, Line MES and the factory floor.
FM Link includes the following modules:
Line MES and FM Link ensure the consistent supply of all the data points needed for higher-level management systems and AI.
It’s not just an IIoT solution layered over the top of the line; it’s integral to the line itself.
Line MES makes large amounts of data useful. It polls all the machines on the line multiple times per second, using the standardised data across multiple production lines in real-time and machine learning algorithms to quickly identify issues and correct them. Dashboards crunch that data and present it visually to align operators and maintenance. Managers can drill into the results and look at trends, such as previous performance on the current SKU versus historical and set benchmarks.
Line MES can be accessed from anywhere by management with the right security protocols.
Other notable Line MES installations include Treasury Wine Estates in Barossa Valley and Pernod Ricard Winemakers’ combination glass and canning line in South Australia, the most complex filling line in the southern hemisphere.
A manufacturing operation that supported the BWX business goals.
Using best-in-breed OEM equipment and the Line MES Suite, BWX reduced waste across its entire operation.
With Line MES in place, a new SKU selection triggers new settings for all the downstream ancillary equipment on the line.
Time savings on some changeovers can be measured in hours and days.
Line MES ensures that the right materials and packaging are used for every SKU, and that they’re made available at the right time.
It can be further integrated with warehouse automation, ensuring that the right type and number of packaging medium, for example, closures and case blanks, are brought to the factory floor.
All details of individual products, including quality control data (weights, inspection photos, barcodes etc.) are captured and retrievable at the click of a button.
Quality control, supply chain and traceability benefits of Line MES were a considerable contributor to the ROI of BWX’s entire greenfield operation, even before factoring in the lean manufacturing savings it generates.
The addition of hand-held barcode scanners ensures that the right dry goods are used for the arriving SKU, for example, the operator can be required to scan the label on the box of closures before adding them to the filler.
This extra layer of control eliminates costly mistakes where a product must be dumped because it’s been filled in the wrong container or had the wrong label applied.
At the time of the project, Sukin was being positioned as a brand ‘perfectly positioned to leverage global consumer trends towards green beauty, underpinned by clean formulations, sustainability and ethics”.2
Earle Roberts, CEO, Foodmach: ‘BWX went from a contract packing style set-up with four co-joined factories and 20+ semi-automatic lines to fully automated, paperless manufacturing. The new Clayton facility with Line MES at the helm is such a step change for the business, it’s like going from riding a bicycle to piloting a jet fighter.’
‘BWX has a new manufacturing facility which is highly modern and automated. This facility will help BWX to deliver to its customer base quality product much more efficiently and fully under the Company’s control.
We have commenced manufacturing Andalou Naturals at this facility which has allowed the Company to move away from using third party manufacturing. We have the capability to rapidly develop new products. Innovation, quality and cost controls will serve BWX into the future and allow it to more profitably manufacture and distribute its product range to customers.
The margins that we will unlock in this new facility will allow us to invest into marketing and product development.”
BWX Limited: Chairman Address and AGM Presentation – 2022 AGM
‘... the Foodmach Line Manufacturing Execution System ... gave us capabilities we didn’t even think possible. BWX now has truly paperless manufacturing, a fully digitalised system that ensures our quality control is immaculate and we waste almost nothing.’
‘BWX prides itself on sustainable manufacturing principles and it’s been my personal achievement to have overseen the delivery of a batch plant that delivers on that ethos.’
Duncan Munro, Group Operations Director, BWX
Line MES is an essential tool for sustainable manufacturing.
It contributes to overall sustainability efforts by reducing waste at every stage of the packaging process, be it time, energy, materials, or human resources.
If every large manufacturer in the world used Line MES, vast amounts of product, packaging and energy waste could be reduced at every step of the FMCG and industrial packaging process.
‘Our new Operations Facility has an expected payback of four years. [It has provided] marked improvements to productivity and efficiency (supported by four high speed production lines), reduction in per unit costs and reduction in material waste by ~10%, helping to support enhanced sustainability goals.’
BWX Annual Report 2021
Despite a 10-week COVID-related construction delay, the project was delivered on time and within budget.
The goal of tripling production capacity from the old to the new site was met and exceeded, with capacity to grow. Seventy million units are produced across four lines that can handle bottles, jars and tubes. If running at full capacity, the factory could handle 45 million bottles, 16 million jars and smaller bottles, and 8.5 million units.3
‘Foodmach went above and beyond to integrate arguably one of the most sophisticated beauty and personal care batching plants in the southern hemisphere.’ Duncan Munro, Group Operations Director, BWX
Need some help with the integration of your personal care line?
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