To accommodate more predictive planning and more flexible business needs, the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry will expand the level of intelligence derived from plant floor machinery. In fact, machine automation and line integration are growing in every industry and at every stage of manufacturing, according to the 2017 Evolution of Automation report from PMMI Business Intelligence. Sensors are getting smaller, actuation is getting faster, vision inspection is more reliable, robotics is moving out of packaging and improving efficiencies up the line—all to maintain maximum uptime.
All of this will have a major impact on how OEMs design machines, how data management systems are implemented, and how lines are integrated with communications, the report notes. But getting there will require some work. “Disparate platforms, languages, and a lack of standards are all hurdles to overcome,” says one automation supplier.
But automation is moving forward and there seem to be no insurmountable hurdles to greatly hinder its growth, according to the report.
Four key characteristics of smart machines include efficiency, which encompasses self-awareness and data management; safety and cybersecurity; flexibility such as modular design, plug and work, and reusable design; and connectivity, including network and digital mobility.
For more information, download the executive summary or full report of 2017 Evolution of Automation.