Interpack Highlights

By Fabian Wanke

Company and Product News

In May, the world’s biggest trade fair for the packaging sector and related process industries, interpack 2017, took place in Düsseldorf, Germany. It reported a record participation of 2,865 exhibiting companies and a record attendance of 170,500 visitors of which approximately 74% traveled to Düsseldorf from 168 countries. Like most of the exhibitions in these days Digitalization, Industry 4.0 and Sustainability were the hot topics of the Interpack.

Industrie 4.0/ IIoT

Companies were highlighting digitalization, showing analytic solutions, connectivity between machines and other IIoT approaches along the value chain.

The project ChoConnect showed an example for M2M-Communication: Four locally distributed machines (by Loesch, Sollich, Theegarten Pactec and Winkler +Dünnebier) were connected to a virtual production line for chocolate products without the use of an MES system, information is exchanged by using OPC UA.  According to Bosch the system is not a substitute for MES systems but it is primarily used for communication at the shop floor level. Instead of copying or replacing existing mechanisms of control systems, the current status of the modules system is distributed directly via OPC UA. Bosch was also showcasing fully integrated systems that handle everything from product infeed to secondary packaging.

IMA showed projects that represent their evolution towards the Smart Factory, Smart Products and Industry 4.0 with highlights from different areas, like pharma, dairy & food, life and personal care as well as their own smart sensors.

Augmented Reality

Several companies showed Augmented Reality (AR) solutions/ proof-of-concepts, especially for maintenance and service (Optima, Uhlmann, IMA), but also for operation of machines (Optima). Many companies are still in the concept phase.  They do not roll out AR solutions, yet, but want to push this further in the future as they see it as a competitive advantage.

Additive Manufacturing

An interesting application of 3D-printing was presented by Schubert Packaging Systems.  They explained that in the near future, format parts like holders for bottles and other vessels, which today are made of premium steel, will be printed with a 3D-printer as a service or direct at the customer. Just 3 fast steps are then required. 1. The machinery builder receives the drawing/ new design of the bottle from the user. 2. The machinery builder is designing the holder and sends those data to the end user. 3 The end user prints the holder and can change his production quickly and affordable.  Sustainability was ever-present at the interpack 2017.  Resource efficiency concepts were showcased by using less and even alternative packaging materials and how digitalization can increase the OEE of manufacturing processes. 

Without a question, the interpack is a must-go event for companies and interested parties in this industry.  ARC is looking forward to visiting the Interpack 2020.

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