A. IntroductionCE1.1 This first episode occurred from March 2009 to June 2009. I started to work at “ENVASES PET, C.A.” in March 2009 and I worked there until August 2010. The Company, based in Valencia City (Venezuela), was dedicated to the manufacturing of plastic bottles for vegetable oil, detergent, beverages, liquor, and so on. During this period I worked as a Maintenance Engineer, and my first task was to study the stops times of polyethene and polypropylene production lines and provide and implement solutions for downtime reduction.B. BackgroundCE1.2 “ENVASES PET” was part of a group of companies dedicated to manufacturing plastic containers; bottles, logistic boxes, butter and soap containers, among others. The group was integrated by “ENLIVEN”, which produces thin-walled plastic containers, and “ENVASES INDUSTRIALES DEL CENTRO”, where they produce plastic boxes for logistic purpose. CE1.3 In the company, they had seven main production lines; two for PET bottles, three for bottles made from polyethene, and two for polypropylene bottles. Moreover, all the machinery was from the same brand; UROLA and the process (especially in the extrusion-blow lines) was very similar, except for material used. CE1.4 There was a new Maintenance Manager, so the department was changing, and they decided to make me join to study the process; to identify main failures in machinery, operations and to reduce stops time. I focused my first month on understanding the process, the mechanism and to know the personnel involved. It will be my first job as a Mechanical Engineer, and I wanted my performance was upstanding.CE1.5 Among my responsibilities as Maintenance Engineer were:• Develop and document procedures for assembly, disassembly, start-up, operation, and shutdown of rotary extrusion blow molding machines.• Provide technical direction to supervisors, and technicians.• Continuously follow up on lines efficiency and KPI (Key Performance Indicators) for schedule compliance.• Ensure corrective and preventive maintenance to reduce downtime. CE1.6 Since I was assigned to start with this task, I acquired the following additional duties:• Investigate equipment failures to diagnose faulty operation and make appropriate maintenance recommendations.• Optimize production lines and to reduce maintenance’s stops.CE1.7 Organizational structure chart:C. Personal Engineering ActivityCE1.8 Firstly, I got familiarised with the machinery, and I made a list of most common stops according to my observation. With a list of 15 common failures, I designed a report form to obtain the data for my study. After creating this report sheet, I taught supervisors and operators how to fill it up in other to start the research. I spent one (1) month in the recollection of data while I was making some procedures such a start and stop, change of presentation, parameters charts, among others.CE1.9 Once I’ve got the data, next step was to analyse it and then apply the Pareto principle, which states that “for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes”. In this case, 80% of the stops are associated with the 20% of the possible failures. I’ve learnt how to use this technique while I was cursing Industrial Maintenance in the University and I find it truly helpful when you are starting in any maintenance position, as a way to improve quite a lot in a short time. By doing that, I will quickly find which causes to attack first to decrease the number of stops and, consequently, the time spent on it.CE1.10 In figure 2 is showed the results of this analysis. As you can see, three main items were causing most of the loss of time in production; change of presentation, contamination of material and defects inherent to the bottle.Figure 2. Pareto ChartCE1.11 Every time we have to change presentation (to produce a different bottle on the same machine) we spent too much time doing so. A presentation’s change involved mould changing, parameters adjustment, colour change (if required), and dimensional conveyor adjustments to name a few. However, some of these activities were external activities; that is to say, activities that we can do without stopping the machine. So I had several meetings with personnel (operators, supervisors and mechanical fitters) to solve this problem. We did a brainstorming about the activities involved in this process and how to improve it. I taught them how to segregate an internal and an external operation to reduce the time spent on this task. CE1.12 After that, I developed a step by step procedure for mould changing and conveyors adjustments to standardise it. In this method, I detailed how to do the change of moulds, which pieces they will need to use or change, and which tools they will need. Also, I was very meticulous about prior preparation (including what exact tools they might use) and the time they should spend doing so. Moreover, the prior preparation of moulds now was going to be done before to stop the machine, so the new moulds needed to be ready to be fitted into the equipment previously.CE1.13 I asked the quality manager about the parameter chart for each presentation, and I made a folder with this information and kept it in every production line, so everybody will know which parameter exactly to change instead of guessing all the time. Moreover, I published the start and stop procedure that I did before, and trained supervisors and operators in these matters, in other to optimise this activity and that everybody could do it in the same way and take the same time.