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Food and Pharma Execs Should Embrace Automation Benefits

OEMs are partnering with technology providers to deliver smarter machines, says a new study from PMMI Business Intelligence. Engineers need to make the ROI clear to C-level executives.

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As OEMs partner with automation suppliers, technology improvements in processing and packaging machines benefit food and pharmaceutical operations by addressing worker safety, electronic documentation, energy savings, quicker changeover, improved performance, clean-in-place, lower maintenance costs, mobile access and more.

Though actionable data is gathered and shared with the enterprise, communicating benefits to financial management can sometimes be a challenge for engineers, and the return on investment for automation needs to be made clear, according to a new study from PMMI Business Intelligence, 2017 Evolution of Automation. The study also stresses the investment is long-term, and there are barriers to overcome.

The 58-page report details specific goals for OEMs and control suppliers to deliver smarter machines to processing and packaging teams:

  • Clear and simple instructions on the human-machine interface (HMI)—intuitive, with graphics and a dashboard view.
  • More mobile connectivity, enabling viewing of the HMI dashboard from a smartphone or tablet.
  • Sensors should move 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 overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). Download a free OEE calculator.

For more information, download the executive summary or full report of 2017 Evolution of Automation.


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