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Problem Statement - Food Grade Product Issues

Essay by   •  June 6, 2011  •  Essay  •  794 Words (4 Pages)  •  2,042 Views

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Problem statement

It was noticed by the quality assurance department that there was metal shavings contaminating the product that was being packed. This, unfortunately, was late as a number of cans of product where already packed prior to the discovery. This was a serious problem as this was a food grade product and had to be recalled from the distribution centre. The major problem which needed to be addressed was where were the metal shavings coming from? An urgent meeting was called up to discuss the way forward. A group was formed amongst the engineering and management team. The group was tasked with finding out where the metal shavings where coming from.

Problem solving.

Using the fish bone method, the problem was investigated by the group to determine the underlying causes. It was also used to prioritize the tasks that were obtained from the problem solving session. It was decided that the team had to initially look at the source of the problem which was easier to do on the process drawings whilst deciding on how to detect the metal. Then the problem would have to be fixed and the solution sustained.


The processing team looked at all possible areas on the process flow charts of the plant from where the problem could arise. This was a quick way to pin point the areas where there could possibly be metal contact with product. Extraction pots, blending tanks, rework tanks as well as the drying processes where targeted as potential areas where the contamination could have taken place.

During the investigation a plan was developed and agreed on how to detect the metal shavings. All pumps would be stopped and the inner covers inspected. All tank inlets would have temporary magnets installed onto which the liquid extract could pass and thus catch any metal shavings. All the fans and drying equipment would be physically inspected to see if they were worn out. The teams were given a 24 hour period to report their findings.

The extraction, blending and rework sections of the plant were in perfect condition however it was found that the drying section was the cause. The fines return fans shaft became loose and resulted the fan being unbalanced and thus catch the covers which resulted in the metal shavings being reintroduced into the dryer along with the fines.

Now that the cause of the problem was found, measures had to be put in place to ensure that this does not happen again. The engineering department had to have more stringent checks which would occur on a daily bases. Routine vibration tests on all fans where to be conducted as early warning systems.

Willem Catsman

While working in the construction industry, a major problem experienced by the company is material shortages during the progress of work. Material includes cement, brick-force,



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