Succinct and to the point, this comment by R&D equipment engineering manager Paul Redwood of Church & Dwight echoes the sentiments being expressed these days by engineering leaders and executives at a number of major Consumer Packaged Goods companies. Redwood, who has 25 years of experience in the CPG arena, will expand on his ideas about how valuable standards can be in his May 23 presentation in Chicago at The Automation Conference. Other automation and controls observations from Redwood include these:
• Servos are the way forward, yes, but in expanding their use you have to know your business, know the plants, know the processes involved. Wherever you introduce new technology, it helps to assume the role of an advance scout. Be incremental about it. Turn the heat up gradually and let people in the plants get used to it. Even if your goal is to implement servos everywhere, you can’t do it all at once.
• There’s a tendency for CPG companies to only allow local plants to use what local suppliers have available. The better approach is to use what’s best for the business, and one of the good things about OMAC and its open-architecture foundation is that it promotes the acceptance of this “best-for-the-business” viewpoint. It helps CPG companies move information horizontally across the line. But it’s also about getting information up into other networks in the business, such as the MES layer, so it’s good for moving information both horizontally and vertically.
• Church & Dwight’s involvement in the OMAC Packaging Workgroup isn’t about us communicating the notion that we are early adopters. Rather, it’s a matter of being informed about what’s next on the technology curve. It will make our decisions about manufacturing and automation easier as we move forward.
Redwood’s presentation is just one of many thought-provoking and educational sessions that will be on tap at The Automation Conference, May 22-23 in Chicago. For full information, visit The Automation Conference Web site