Packaging controls standards group formed

The movement toward standardizing motion controls for packaging machinery took a small but critical step forward in early February. An official working group for standardizing on motion controls in packaging machinery was created at the recent Open Modular Architecture Controls (OMAC) end user meeting held in Orlando, FL.

The working group’s formation follows a widely attended meeting on the topic held in October ’99 at Pack Expo Las Vegas.

Many participants at the recent February meeting acknowledged that they were rehashing many of the same issues raised in Las Vegas and reported in Packaging World (see PW, Dec. ’99, p. 33 or packworld.com/go/omac). However, Hershey Foods’ Keith Campbell, who volunteered as the working group’s chair, says the group can now move forward by identifying concrete goals.

“The goals should be stated in terms that are measurable and that have an impact on the user’s business,” Campbell told PW shortly after the meeting. Examples include “reducing lead times [required to build equipment] by 50 percent, or increasing throughput by 50 percent, or reducing [material] waste by 50 percent.” Campbell emphasized that the goals shouldn’t be dictated in terms of “bits and bytes.”

Campbell, director of automation & integration for Hershey Foods, has long been an outspoken proponent of standardizing on controls to reduce costs in packaging equipment.

The charter of the working group, along with its future agenda and proposed goals, was expected to be posted on the OMAC Web site at www.arcweb.com/omac. The next step is to choose the final goals and mission statement at the next meeting, which will be held at National Manufacturing Week in Chicago, March 13-15 (see the OMAC Web site for details).

The group is expected to meet again at Pack Expo Intl. 2000 in Chicago, Nov. 5-9. Campbell hopes for increased OEM involvement at that meeting.

About 50 people attended the February meeting, including representatives from Frito-Lay, Hershey, M&M Mars, Ralston-Purina and Procter & Gamble. Machinery builders, though few in number, included prominent OEMs such as Bosch Packaging Machinery, CCL Label, Klöckner Packaging Machinery, Nordson, R.A. Jones, Rovema and SIG Pack. A technical representative from the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute (PMMI) also attended, as did many controls suppliers.

OMAC is an all-volunteer organization comprising end users in a variety of industries, along with their machinery builder suppliers and controls suppliers. It is voluntarily facilitated by ARC Advisory Group (Dedham, MA), a technology research firm.

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In this eBook, you’ll learn how to guard against the traps that CPGs sometimes inadvertently set for themselves when implementing robotics that lead to automation “brittleness.”
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