OEMs explore automation trends at PACK EXPO
Four leading OEMs participated in a panel discussion hosted by Rockwell Automation Tuesday, Oct. 31 at PACK EXPO in Chicago. Laurence Oldacre and Rob Holl, ATS; Nick DiFabio, Bradman Lake Group; Peter Fox, Delkor Systems and Darren Elliott, R.A. Jones & Company addressed packaging trends, machine design challenges, robotic control technology and OEM relationships with end users.
“For machine makers and their partners, the manufacturing marketplace is changing the way they must meet customer demands,” said Mike Wagner, business development manager for Rockwell Automation and panel moderator. “The panelists shared insights that helped attendees better understand how OEMs and their partners can be better positioned to handle a market evolution that includes globalization and standardization.”
While machines in developing countries can get by with lower automation levels, it’s not practical. As production speeds increase, plants in these countries are unable to place enough workers on the line to handle the output, so automation must keep up with production. Global companies are another driving force for machine automation. Because they transfer machines between countries as production needs change, they have established global specifications for automation levels compatible with more advanced countries. OEMs also support standardized automation across their lines.
In other show news, Markem Corporation announced the launch of its enterprise coding and traceability solutions
“Consumer goods manufacturers today face many demands that affect product identification,” said Markem president Jeff Miller. “From the drive to reduce recalls to food labeling regulations to retailer requirements, these requirements are always growing. It is no longer enough to have stand-alone coding and labeling machines running independently from information systems. Leaders need to get ready with enterprise-level solutions.”
The company is offering SAP- and Microsoft-certified solutions. Among the products are RFID, track-and-trace, pallet labeling, coding integrity, centralized coding management and pharmaceutical compliance.
“This is the future of tracking and tracing products,” Miller concluded.