Practical Approaches to Automation Standards

April 9, 2016
A new Machine Technology Day workshop offers user-specific PackML implementation training.

When it comes to competition, manufacturers need to focus on their products. And while the use of technology can be a differentiator, the underlying architecture used to make and package goods should not be the “secret sauce” that sets them apart. Instead, machine control should be based on standards and best practices to enable more efficient production.

That’s the purpose of the Organization for Machine Automation and Control (OMAC), which was formed in 1994 as a way for manufacturers, OEMs, system integrators and technology providers to work together to drive common practices and open, modular control architectures.

One of the key standards that OMAC backs is the Packaging Machine Language (PackML) which is designed to bring operational consistency to all machines that make up the packaging line in a batch control environment. Integral to a successful deployment of PackML is education and training across the industry.

To that end, two new user-specific sessions will take place next month in Chicago during Machine Technology Day—a partnership with The Automation Conference & Expo 2016, produced by PMMI Media Group’s Automation World and Packaging World.

This year’s workshop, entitled PackML – Practical Approaches to Implementation includes separate sessions for OEMs, packaging end users and integrators to allow more intense training and individual attention on key tasks and strategies in typical user applications. The goal is to provide attendees with information for PackML implementation steps they would take in their business.

Specifically, the workshops include:

  • End User and Integrator Workshop led by Geoff Gooding, senior packaging process specialist at Nestlé and Todd Ebert, food & beverage industry manager for RoviSys Automation and Integration Solutions. The two will provide a hands-on session focused on end user and integrator tasks in implementing PackML. They will demonstrate how information is exchanged in machine and unit integration across a system, PackTag structure, and approaches for implementing PackML.
  • The OEM Workshop with Chris Thomas the director of controls technology for Axon and Tom Dorward, production engineering manager at Mettler-Toledo. They will lead a hands-on session focused on specific OEM tasks and the Make2Pack approach in implementing PackML. Experts will demonstrate a full implementation of PackML within a machine/unit down to the component level and the benefits of reusable modules.
  • Presenting PackML within Your Organization with John Kowal the director of business development at B&R Industrial Automation Corp. John will discuss presenting and managing PackML projects in your organization and a review of the day’s breakout sessions.

The full Machine Technology Day program takes place on May 23 from 1:00-5:00 p.m. at the Chicago Marriott O’Hare. In addition, the Automation Conference, taking place on May 24th and 25th at the same location provides opportunities for attendees to learn about and share best practices in automation, manufacturing systems, engineering, software development, machine design, line integration, operations, and performance.

The PackML Workshop is available exclusively for registered attendees of Machine Technology Day. The Automation Conference requires an additional registration fee. OMAC members receive a $100 discount for each event. For full cost information and registration, please visit: