Recently in this space we presented a summary of a Webinar in which Nestle’s Bryan Griffen, manager of electrical and automation engineering and chairman of the OMAC Packaging Workgroup, outlined Nestle’s perspective on the business value of OMAC PackML. We included Griffen’s comments about Nestle’s plan to create a standard HMI template so that HMIs on packaging machines around the world will begin to have the same look and feel for the operators, mechanics, and technicians who interface with them. The story generated a number of comments and inquiries, including this from Dennis Fox, controls engineer at Haumiller Engineering.
“Wow, there were so many styles of HMI interfaces at the last Pack Expo. If PackML was difficult enough to standardize on, the user interface is going to be even more complicated. To specify the use of a user interface that is lacking or excessive [is bound to be problematic]. All the same, I agree that there is too much variation, and some of it is very poorly executed. So I would welcome an HMI standard. Might I suggest that as many OEMs as possible are queried as to their HMI design practices?”
We also received this question from Jerry Buthmann, a member of the engineering team at Concept Systems, Inc. “Procter & Gamble set a precedent by making their PackML standards and applications available for download from the PackML Website. Will Nestle follow suit and make their HMI standards available to promote openness and further the state of the art?” Here is Griffen’s response:
“The simple and definitive answer is: Yes! What we don’t want to do is create another customized approach that no one else uses. That won’t benefit anyone. We would much rather gain widespread adoption of a standard HMI look-and-feel coming from machine builders. We are currently working with OMAC and some of our fellow CPGs to finalize the HMI templates. The goal is to distribute these as a part of the toolset coming from OMAC, and eventually have them built into the standard toolsets available from the automation suppliers. This will help to ensure consistency across the industry. We are hoping for an OMAC release by the end of this year. As you can imagine, there are still coordination efforts to do to meet the needs of the OMAC member companies. However, we are moving in the right direction and are confident we will have the solution as planned.”
Speaking of OMAC member companies, it was recently announced that MillerCoors has joined OMAC. Says Steven Abramowski, senior manufacturing solution specialist at MillerCoors, "As a company focused on quality, we believe that OMAC's mission to establish and implement universal machine specification standards across industries is vital to improving productivity and is necessary in order to remain competitive."