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.