Key Technology

July 2013

Plant performance can be measured by profit, production capacity, throughput, and a number of other indicators. Organizations use these indicators to keep their plant and processes at the performance level required to exceed their goals. The highest performing organizations use measurements throughout their processes in order to have a complete picture of performance and to know where to focus resources to ensure the plant operates smoothly. In this issue of the Service Advisor we will examine plant performance and what it means to measure it in order to reach your performance goals. 

The "Five Whats"

The Plant Services website recently published an article about understanding the “Five Whats” of plant performance improvement.

The five questions outlined in the article are also ideal for evaluating the performance of specific pieces of equipment:
  1. What is the performance level you want to achieve?

  2. What indications will there be to let you know if you are achieving the desired performance level?

  3. What data do you need to develop the indicators of performance?

  4. What has kept you from putting the processes in place and collecting the data needed to achieve higher performance levels?

  5. What internal and external support do you need to achieve higher performance?

Performance Graph
In this issue of the Service Advisor we will address how the first two questions apply to Key Technology equipment and their effect on your productivity.  In next month’s addition, we will focus on the last three questions.

Key Technology vibratory conveyors (shakers) are custom designed for your specific product application. Factors such as the size and weight of the product, the length of conveyance, and the required throughput (e.g. 10 tons per hour) are used to determine the optimal solution. These factors also determine the speed and stroke at which a shaker will operate. This is directly related to the answer of the first question: what performance level do you want to achieve?

The indicators of performance for your shaker are the speed and stroke at which it operates. These can be monitored and measured to verify that it is operating at the designed speed and stroke. This can be accomplished through a manual check of the stroke indicator and measuring the RPM, or automatically via a SmartArm monitoring system.

Valuable information is available from the OPC server built into the sorter’s software can help you meet the performance level you want to achieve. Information such as defect counts and ejection activity can be used as indicators that something in the process upstream of the sorter has changed. For example, the incoming product may have higher levels of defects and foreign material, or an upstream piece of equipment such as a washer or green bean snipper, may not be functioning properly.

You probably already have a number of performance indicators in place for your plant operation, but you should evaluate each part of your processing line for performance improvements.  Understanding how each piece of equipment can provide an indicator of performance and what changes are necessary will take time and resources; however the improvement opportunities will be worth the investment.  Some companies choose to partner with outside contractors or suppliers to assist with this process.  Please contact us if you are interested in learning more about identifying the critical performance indicators for your Key Technology equipment. 

Thank You!

Our global services team is here to assist you with all of your training, service and parts needs.
Contact us at:

Europe, Middle East, India & Africa +31 (0)345 509900

Australia & New Zealand +61 03 8710 8200

North America and other regions +1.877.UPTIME1 (+1.877.878.4631)


Your Service Team
Key Technology, Inc.


Key Technology 150 Avery Street, Walla Walla, WA 99362 USA | +1 509.529.2161 |

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