Unlocking plant-floor packaging data at Unilever

Accurate, timely information on which to make business decisions is already on the packaging floor, according to Unilever's Andrew McDonald, global automation and control manager.

Pw 14766 Unilever

The trick is to access the data and convert it into useful information. How? Standards.

Unilever claims it has already reaped many benefits from the S88.01 batch control standard in its processing operations. It is currently contributing to the development and testing of PackML, an emerging packaging machine language standard that promises to simplify packaging line integration. But what's next?

Unilever is closely looking at the S95 batch processing standard to provide a roadmap for integrating plant-floor packaging data into higher-level Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, says McDonald. The goal: turn data into usable information that can be acted on by marketing, production, quality control, maintenance, and other departments.

Details were presented by McDonald at the OMAC Packaging Workgroup meeting held in Orlando, FL, in mid-February. The presentation can be download from the OMAC Web site at www.omac.org. McDonald also published "Definition and Format of Recipes for the Packaging of Consumer Packaged Goods" at the 2003 World Batch Forum (www.wbf.org) this month, which is related to Unilever's work with S95 in packaging.--DN

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