SABMiller puts PackML to work

PackML standards are alive and well in a new line at SABMiller. So said Willie Lotz of SABMiller at the May 19 working session held by the World Batch Forum and the OMAC Packaging Workgroup.

Lotz provided a quick update on a new line at Capetown, South Africa, a line that probably represents the fullest implementation yet of PackML concepts. Though the new line has only been running since late March, the benefits are beginning to manifest themselves already, said Lotz.

“From any one of 13 machine stations, you can see what any of the 13 machines is doing,” said Lotz. “The PackML standard also makes it easier to identify the parameters that lead to faults. Operators can move from one machine to another without learning a new programming language. And these machines are from Germany, from America, from all over the world.”

SABMiller’s ability to embrace and implement PackML standards has been made easier, Lotz told the meeting attendees, by the firm’s earlier experience with S88 standards.

“Our people can see similar ideas being applied now in packaging that they already were introduced to in batch processing,” said Lotz. “You see similar reporting structures, similar principles. They get a packaging line overview that allows online optimization based on machine states. There’s a lot more work to be done, but the infrastructure is in place.”

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