Re-invigorated OMAC Packaging Working Group Needs Your Participation
More than 45 people from across five time zones participated in the OMAC Packaging Working Group webcast meeting, held on August 4, 2011. Bryan Griffen, E&A Group Manager at Nestle, who currently services as the OMAC Packaging Group Chair, led the meeting with assistance from Tom Egan of PMMI and John Kowal of B&R Automation. The meeting's purpose was to explain and discuss the group's initiatives and to seek volunteers interested in actively supporting these initiatives. Bryan explained the importance of packaging machinery standards to Nestle and indicated that the company is moving forward to put PackML in its User Requirement Specification (as P&G and other CPG companies have already done.
Before actually discussing the initiatives, Bryan explained that the group plans to have three face-to-face meetings each year. These will be at Pack Expo in October-November, the ARC Advisory Group World Industry Forum in February, and a midyear meeting in Europe. He also plans to hold bi-monthly teleconference meetings. A number of people began volunteering even before the specific initiatives were even discussed.
OMAC Packaging Working Group Initiatives
The new or re-launched initiatives or working groups are PackML, PackConnect, PackSafe, PackSoft, PackAdvantage, PackSpec, PackAdopt, PackAbility, and PackLearn.
The PackML working group responsibilities include harmonizing PackML 3.0 with ISA TR88.00.02 and include the MES definitions in this effort, and expand the effort to include development of an OEE cost savings calculator. The group is also responsible for coordinating additional PackML workshops with PMMI events and promoting the user implementation guide. Rob Aleksa reminded the group to check out the updated PackML Wikipedia page.
- The PackConnect working group responsibilities include investigating the applicability of recent network initiatives or standards efforts to improve machine and line performance. These include wireless Ethernet, MT Connect, network security (ISA S99), and machine safety, as well as reaching out to other network standards organizations.
The PackSafe working group, a newly formed subcommittee of the PackConnect working group, is responsible for investigating the applicability an IEC-compliant open safety protocol and coordinating these activities with PMMI safety resources and activities.
The PackSoft working group is responsible for investigating potential adoption of the latest OPC UA and PLCopen developments, as well as looking into the feasibility of other emerging technologies such as UML (Unified Modeling Language), simulation, and automatic code generation.
The PackAdvantage working group is responsible for promoting the business benefits of the PackML standard. This includes promoting an OMAC-developed tool that companies can use to help justify and apply PackML, such as the soon-to-be-developed OEE/PackML cost saving calculator. It is also responsible for coordinating the ongoing effort of the PackML World Tour, during which OEMs that support PackML meet with ends users to present the business benefits and discuss ways each party can increase deployment of the PackML standard. For further information, or to participate in the PackML World Tour, readers can contact John Kowal at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The PackAdopt working group, a newly formed subcommittee of the PackAdvantage working group, is responsible for achieving worldwide adoption of the OMAC Packaging Working Group initiatives by working with other packaging associations around the world. These would include SCIPAG-EMBALCO in France, VDMA in Germany, UCIMA in Italy, and PPMA in the United Kingdom.
The PackSpec working group is charged with further refining and simplifying the OMAC Packaging Implementation Guidelines and developing a more unified, vendor-neutral functional specification based on international standards to maximize compatibility and interoperability. The guidelines must also include information on requirements that cannot be standardized, such as international electrical codes and wiring specifications.
The PackAbility working group is responsible for developing more sustainable and standardized approaches to machine design and sustainability metrics and monitoring, in addition to promoting sustainability and energy efficiency in packaging machinery and packaging operations. This includes developing a practical method for measuring total packaging system carbon footprint and, in conjunction with PMMI, investigating the applicability of such standards as ISO5001 and the evolving US Machine EnergyStar program.
Although not discussed at the meeting, the PackLearn working group is responsible for working with educational and training institutes to promote development of PackML training courses.
Readers wishing to participate in any of these initiatives should contact Bryan Griffen at email@example.com or Tom Egan at TEgan@pmmi.org.
PackML Adoption Increasing
Adoption and deployment of PackML-based machines is proceeding at a continually increasing pace. With increasing support from major global consumer goods companies and machine builders, ARC expects to see even more rapid adoption over the next few years. CPG company supporters include Procter & Gamble, Nestle, Frito-Lay, SABMiller, and Arla Foods. Machine builders include ADCO Manufacturing, Pearson Packaging Systems, Pro Mach, Inc., and Ilapak. Recognizing the importance of machine automation and machine automation standards, Tom Egan, Vice Present of Industry Services at PMMI, leads the effort to work with other packaging associations to further adoption of global packaging automation standards.
Without standards, CPG manufacturers' high-volume, high-throughput packaging operations will become increasingly difficult to maintain or improve. As CPG manufacturers deploy a wider variety of machines from more machine builders across the globe, support costs will continue to rise. It will also become increasingly difficult for manufacturers to achieve more consistent product quality and throughput and respond effectively to constantly changing retailer requirements. Early-adopting machine builders recognize that PackML has provided them with a strategic competitive advantage over their "wait and see" competitors.
The reinvigorated OMAC Packaging Working Group represents a welcome major step forward toward the development and adoption of global packaging machine standards.
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