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We implemented these modifications on a trial basis in one oven. We processed batches in all eight ovens, seven of which were of the original design. In a period of two months, the trial oven did not fail at all, while there were three failures (all due to thermostats) in the remaining seven ovens. This was a vast improvement over the earlier performance, so we decided to modify the remaining seven ovens.


The results were satisfactory, and the laboratory was very pleased. We continued to have some failures of the ovens, but these had dropped to about two incidents per quarter. There were no failures attributed to airflow distribution.

While this work was going on, there were a number of production-related issues which needed resources and effort. Initially, it was difficult to justify the time and effort required to work on the laboratory ovens. However, it was clear that the knock-on effect of delaying the work on the ovens would eventually bring all production to a halt. From an implementation point of view, it was not complex and the time required to do the modifications was in days rather than weeks or months. The costs involved were quite low, so from all aspects, it looked a good candidate. In the event, this judgment proved right and with this success the maintenance department's profile rose significantly.

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