Packaging automation survey
Over the last 10-15 years, the packaging industry has seen a dramatic change in the amount of automation incorporated into packaging machines. Much of this change has been driven by a move from mechanical driveshaft-driven machines to servo-driven machines. In many applications, the servo-driven machines provide cost, flexibility, and performance benefits that have driven this shift.
That is why the OMAC Packaging Workgroup (OPW) will collaborate with Packaging World Magazine to conduct a survey on packaging automation from end users of packaging machinery and machine builders.
The packaging industry has also seen the move to better integration of packaging machines, which is made easier by the availability of control networks and the OMAC packaging standards (PackML and PackTags). Some packaging systems today are also gathering real-time information to measure packaging line performance and provide production data to corporate ERP systems.
The group conducted a similar survey in 2006, providing insight into the state of packaging automation. The 2006 survey found not all users and machine builders are leveraging the benefits of packaging automation. The 2006 survey found only 37% of packaging lines were networked together. That survey also found most packaging lines have little or no data acquisition implemented. The new survey should help evaluate how much progress has been made in some of these areas in the last three years.
OPW members will present analyzed survey results during the OPW Users Meeting at PACK EXPO in Las Vegas in October and post on the OPW web page (www.omac.org/packaging) in mid-October.
The end users in the OPW know that to run a world-class packaging system, they need systems that are reliable, flexible, and cost effective. To achieve these goals, packaging systems need to be well integrated, use the servo technology to give them the performance and flexibility needed, and be able to gather data from the packaging machines on performance to keep these systems running reliably. The 2006 survey found many machine builders do not provide the kind of machines to support world-class packaging operations. The survey also found users are building packaging systems where the performance and reliability will likely be impacted because of the way the systems are implemented. The new survey should help provide insight into the progress that has been made since 2006.