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How electronic controls impact equipment costs

In mid-December, the top engineering management at Hershey Foods, Hershey, PA, asked Rick Lidington of R.A. Jones to give a presentation that touched on some current packaging equipment trends. Packaging World was invited to listen in.

Pw 16522 News Hershey Jones

Some interesting tidbits cited by Rick Lidington, R.A. Jones' executive vp: • Ten years ago, machine controls accounted for about three percent of the total machine cost. Today, with the increasing use of motion control, that figure is between 30 and 50% depending on the application. However when implemented correctly, the use of electronic motion control can actually [I]reduce[n] the overall cost of building a machine, according to Lidington. • European packaging machine buyers are far less likely than their U.S. counterparts to specify the brand or type of controls, leaving that decision to the machine builder. One major reason for this, according to Lidington, could be that European packagers have extremely well-developed apprenticeship programs, which permits them to be more self-sufficient than U.S. packagers. • One U.S. food producer found that forcing machinery builders to adhere to the company's internal standard added 30% to the cost of its equipment with no measurable increase in output.

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