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Packaging Automation Forum to Offer Look Ahead

Packaging automation users can learn from other users at the May 20 event, which also features an optional training and hands-on activities covering OMAC standards and guidelines.

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Stirling Medical Innovations is implementing a Manufacturing Execution System (MES) that Stirling project leader Colin Boyd calls “the way of the future.” At the third annual Packaging Automation Forum, set for Tuesday, May 20, in Schaumburg, Ill., Boyd will describe the benefits that this implementation brings to packaging operations at Stirling, whose parent company is Inverness Medical Innovations, Waltham, Mass. 

Boyd’s presentation is only one of multiple sessions scheduled for Packaging Automation Forum 2008—jointly sponsored by Automation World and Packaging World—that are designed to provide a glimpse of the future for packaging automation professionals. This year’s Forum also offers an optional training session covering the Make2Pack standard and Connect-and-Pack guidelines developed by OMAC, the Open Modular Architecture Control Users Group. 

Forum keynote speaker David Atherton, director of TIMQ and Supply Chain Engineering at Unilever, will discuss how today’s technologies can be used to maximize asset utilization, reduce unplanned downtime, and leverage packaging machinery to increase overall supply chain efficiency. Other sessions at the one-day Forum will cover packaging standards and how they enable the flow of real-time data between packaging lines; efficient integration of processing and packaging; and how China’s Mengnui Dairy is using sophisticated controls and integration strategies to boost efficiencies on its newest packaging lines. 

Up close, hands-on 

The optional OMAC training session for attendees will be held in the afternoon on Monday, May 19, the day before the Forum. Dave Chappell, chairman of Make2Pack and former corporate technical section head at Procter & Gamble, will facilitate the Make2Pack Workshop. Joining Chappell will be several technology providers that will provide Connect-and-Pack demonstrations, followed by a hands-on session for attendees. 

The Make2Pack project aims to develop conceptual models and terminology for industrial automation that can be consistently applied to the total manufacturing process, including packaging. Implementation of standards will enable end-users to reduce overall costs and enhance responsiveness to changing business requirements. Workshop attendees will gain a better understanding of the intent of the standards, the benefits, and implementation details.  

Connect-and-Pack guidelines are designed to make packaging operations more effective by simplifying customization and integration, which enables world-class packaging operations. When the guidelines are implemented, packaging companies and their partners gain a competitive advantage as they leverage an integrated supply chain to optimize operations. 

During the hands-on session, attendees will get an opportunity to see how the participating technology providers will be implementing one or more of the functions (control, human-machine interface, MES) using the Connect-and-Pack guidelines. 

For more information, or to register for Packaging Automation Forum and the Make2Pack Workshop and Connect-and-Pack Demo, please visit

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