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What does digitalization bring to packaging machinery (1)

Digital packaging machinery can not only provide greater output and stronger equipment flexibility, but also adds many new features, such as: remote maintenance, integration with the company's ERP system, and evaluation of production data.

Only a few years ago, no one would have expected the rapid pace of digitalization of packaging machinery. As the speed of the electronic process is getting faster and faster, there is a need to increase the distribution box. However, when the number of cables required by the bus system can be greatly reduced, coupled with the emergence of distributed computers, it means that there is no need to increase the volume of the distribution box. Nowadays, independent distribution boxes are no longer necessary in the packaging industry. Digital packaging machines take up less space than previous mechanical or electromechanical packaging machines.

Data sharing and remote maintenance

Now, in order to cater to the packaging machinery customized by different customers, the suppliers design the controllers differently. Therefore, standardization not only enables different manufacturers to exchange key components with each other, but also frees users from reliance on a manufacturer's proprietary technology. The so-called open control structure will undoubtedly have greater flexibility.

The internationally coordinated automation concept is elaborated by the OMAC (Open Modular Structure Controller) Packaging Machinery Working Group. This working group is initiated by machine users from the trademarked product industry. They cooperate with machine manufacturers and technology suppliers within the framework of OMAC, with the goal of making the hardware of the automation system interchangeable within a period of time. The next step should be to coordinate different systems, achieve information transfer between machines, and standardize operating principles.

Another trend is to establish a communication system solution between automation technology (AT) and information technology (IT), and its standards through data networks.

This means that the integration of information networks and vertical data is feasible from the trial and control stage to the production stage. Joint communication standards make the entire process from diagnosis and remote maintenance to the Internet and logistics (purchasing spare parts) smooth. This means that the information flow from digital packaging machinery can be used for more efficient production, including upstream and downstream business processes.

With the birth of remote maintenance, rapid information exchange saves working time and travel expenses, and mechanical failures can be solved online, reducing downtime. Equipment adjustments required to replace products or packaging materials also need to be adjusted remotely for software adjustments. Ideally, the digital packaging machine is equipped with a wireless system that can be connected to an external transmission medium to control the supply of automatic packaging materials.