Sweet Choices Blend an OEM Competitive Concoction

Designing and building machinery and process equipment for manufacturers is one of the toughest businesses in the automation industry.

Anything that gives machine builders the slightest edge on the competition is welcome. This issue examines many ways in which these original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) find a winning mix—ranging from use of products such as machine vision to deployment of architecture designs that put control components directly on the machines.

Automation suppliers are providing numerous ideas and products to help OEMs gain that crucial bit of advantage. In an article beginning on page 30, Automation World Editor Gary Mintchell reports on the successes a number of machinery builders and other OEMs have had with a unique blend of automation products.

Machinery builders in the packaging industry are undergoing a “generational conflict.” Contributing Editor Kenna Amos defines the “third generation” of packaging machines, and how modern automation techniques, including integrated motion control, give them a competitive edge. Read his description beginning on page 36.

Embedded systems are hard to define and often hidden deep in a machine or product. In an article beginning on page 40, Contributing Editor Rob Spiegel looks at how advances in embedded systems, particularly the ability to integrate information at the base level of automation, provides advantages to those who exploit them.

Literally rising from the ashes, mattress core maker Latex Foam International has recovered smartly from a fire that destroyed its only plant, thanks to its use of the latest in integrated, automation technology at its new facility. In the article beginning on p. 44, Managing Editor Wes Iversen takes a look at how the company deployed automation to turn adversity into advantage.

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