PMMI Crowns the Winners of Inaugural Technology Excellence Awards
Triangle Package Machinery Co., Evolabel, and Pearson Packaging Systems are among the winners of the inaugural Technology Excellence Awards at PACK EXPO International, October 14–17; McCormick Place, Chicago), according to show organizer, PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies.
“No other packaging event in the world this year matches the size and scope of the combined PACK EXPO International and Healthcare Packaging EXPO, making these winners truly the best in their respective classes,” says Laura Thompson, senior director of expositions, PMMI. “We look forward to the Technology Excellence Awards becoming a staple of our PACK EXPO portfolio of trade shows, showcasing cutting edge innovation for our attendees.”
Below you can find the 2018 Technology Excellence Award Winners
Baking & Snack
Triangle’s Changeover Wizard converts the art of the changeover into science, evaluating all machine adjustment settings stored within the carton recipe. If operator intervention is required to shift or change a part, the wizard alerts the operator with photos identifying the part, as well as text instructions.
Evolabel eliminates the e-commerce bottleneck from traditional print and apply systems with its new QuickTamp solution. The fast and flexible label printer applicator is based on Evolabel’s Tactile apply solution. Movement is continuously monitored and controlled, making the system safe for any user or object accidentally getting in its way.
Pearson’s robotic pack solutions are custom designed and scalable to meet product, case, pack pattern and speed requirements. The robotic horizontal and vertical pack system showcases a variety of Pearson’s secondary packing capabilities and overcomes the challenges associated with retail-ready packaging.
Investment in Automation Benefits Consumer
On the other hand, PMMI released its findings on automation’s impact on consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies. The organization’s new survey “Automation in CPG Companies” finds that as automation increases in importance and usability in the manufacturing sector, collaborative robots (cobots), artificial intelligence and big data can be three distinct drivers of investment and performance.
Those that are utilizing automation—particularly in the packaging sector—find themselves with a distinct competitive advantage over competitors taking a “wait and see” approach. And it appears that CPGs are aware of the growing chasm. 44% indicated that they are at least planning to increase investment in one key area driving enhancements in automation—big data analytics capabilities—in the next 18-24 months, according to the report.
“Every day that companies delay implementing automation and big data solutions is a missed opportunity as those that are using it are finding immediate, and profitable success,” says Bryan Griffen, director of industry services at PMMI and former group engineering manager at Nestlé.
As PMMI says in a press release, no subsector of automation in the packaging industry is maturing like cobots. Unlike robots, which are traditionally isolated from workers and are programmed to follow specific instructions without regard for humans, cobots operate in cooperation with humans in a shared workspace.
“[Cobots] have evolved out of the core robotic market, growing significantly over the past 10-15 years,” says Jack Uhl of the consumer products group for Yaskawa America, Inc.’s Motoman Robotics Division. “From integrated vision capabilities to mimicking human kinematics, to the utilization of simple teach pendants, today’s cobots are equipped to help CPGs fill labor gaps, maximize a smaller footprint and mitigate worker safety and product contamination risks.”
Now the fastest growing segment of industrial automation, cobot use is expected to jump tenfold to 34% of all industrial robot sales by 2025, according to the International Federation of Robotics.
While growth is projected, PMMI’s survey found cobot use in packaging, remains relatively low with just 10% claiming adoption. However, of those that are embracing the technology to address workforce and efficiency, an overwhelming 86% report an increase in productivity. Within that 86%, nearly one in five users indicate significantly increased productivity. From a return on investment point of view, 78% report that whether it be a decrease in labor cost or an increase in output, cobots directly increase their company’s earnings.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the significant attributes driving cobot use, freeing robots from guarded situations to allow them in the immediate proximity of humans. In addition to its use in cobots, 63% of PMMI’s survey respondents using AI believe it’s essential to their ability to address challenges on the packaging line. This momentum further supports the findings that automation and big data are increasing in use so that CPGs can keep pace with their competitors.