April 2008


Leveraging PackML in CNC applications

By David Bauman

The quest in manufacturing for a competitive advantage is never-ending. Cost savings and efficiency improvements are constant goals in production, but can fall behind by the lack of interface standards. Without interface standards, integration is costly due to patchworking custom code necessary to make incompatible equipment and software work together. In an effort to simplify integration and improve operational efficiencies, the OMAC Packaging Workgroup has developed the PackML guidelines. The OMAC Machine Tool Group believes PackML can be applied to CNC machine tool integration.

At the ARC Forum in Orlando in February, the OMAC machine tool group demonstrated the performance of a simulated CNC application, implemented using PackML. They monitored the CNC performance with an MES application that adapted the demo from a PackML packaging application.

Since PackML contains a flexible state model for how a machine operates, the state model appears to work as well in machine tool applications as it does in packaging applications. PackML was modeled after ISA88, which has become the standard in batch applications. In addition to PackML, PackTags is a comprehensive set of naming convention guidelines for communications between production machinery within the packaging industry. Using these consistent sets of tags enables easy integration of different parts of a packaging line. In this CNC application, using PackTags enabled easy integration between a CNC controller and the MES application.

Based on positive feedback from observers at ARC, the OMAC machine group plans to replace the CNC simulator with a CNC controller and to further evaluate using PackML and PackTags.


David Bauman is technical director at OMAC in Ft. Wright, Ky.