These technology improvements in processing and packaging machines benefit the operation by addressing worker safety, electronic documentation, energy savings, quicker changeover, improved performance, clean-in-place, lower maintenance costs, mobile access, etc. And this actionable data is gathered and shared with the enterprise for analysis.
Communicating benefits to financial management can sometimes be a challenge for engineers, and the ROI on investing in automation needs to be made clear. The study also stresses the investment is long term, and there are barriers to overcome.
The 58-page report, The Evolution of Automation 2017, details specific goals for OEMs and controls suppliers to deliver smarter machines to processing and packaging teams.
- Clear and simple instructions on the HMI; intuitive, with graphics and a dashboard view.
- More mobile connectivity in order to see a dashboard on the HMI from a smart phone or tablet.
- Sensors are moving from optical sensing into more magnetic sensing to achieve greater reliability.
- Open safety; fully automated safety communications for flexible production lines.
- Intuitive programming software. Software compatibility to achieve more production and less maintenance.
- Rapid changeover and cleanability for flexible production.
- Self-tuning or self-calibration for more machine flexibility for varied product applications.
- Digital simulation in controllers to simulate robotics and motion control on the line.
- Greater access and analysis of real-time machine performance data to calculate OEE. (Download a free OEE calculator here.)
Source: The Evolution of Automation 2017, PMMI Business Intelligence. Download here.