Packaging Machinery Customers Drive Machine Redesigns

Packaging-machinery manufacturers had record growth year in 2011, with annual average growth at 19 percent, says Jorge Izquierdo, vice president for market development for the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute (PMMI, www.pmmi.org), Reston, Va.

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But 2011 was a one-time event that liberated pent-up demand, Izquierdo says; “now, economically, for 2012, we’ve estimated 3-5 percent growth.” While that’s a significant drop, it’s still positive growth, he emphasizes. Just three months ago, he said economic stagnation stunted growth.

Another positive development may be early adoption of the Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA), signed by President Barack Obama on Jan. 4, 2011. Izquierdo notes that while FSMA regulations are not being officially implemented, “we’re finding that many consumers of the packaging machinery are starting early to reach compliance.” That’s mainly for brand protection, he says. He also says no one expects any surprises from the federal government, because Izquierdo believes it’s clear in which direction the FDA will go.

What’s also not surprising is that packaging-machinery manufacturers are now redesigning their products to accommodate new needs from their customers. “Equipment has to be easier to clean. It has to be easily validated. In the processes, it’s also important to keep ongoing monitoring of process parameters,” Izquierdo explains. And, he adds, the equipment needs the ability to feed data, upstream and downstream, into manufacturers’ different networks.

>> C. Kenna Amos, ckamosjr@earthlink.net, is an Automation World Contributing Editor. 

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