There are major changes happening in the packaging/processing industry today, with the onslaught of new technology and the trend of leveraging the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). IoT is the connection of computing devices embedded in equipment via the Internet. This network shares data, which is sent to a central system such as a CMMS, where it can be analyzed and acted upon.
The power of IoT has lead to the growth of automation in packaging plants globally. Research has found that labor is being replaced with machines in depalletizing, unpacking, as well as quality control inspections. This trend has shown an increased demand for more specialized workers to operate automated systems, and performs as system administrators. Ultimately, automation works to make packaging plants more efficient at every level of processing. There are a host of additional benefits of automation to consider.
Inventory Accuracy – Automation in a warehouse inventory environment can help to keep everything organized and accounted for. Users have seen a reduction in lost parts, and greater insight into expiration and spoilage dates.
Waste Reduction – Regardless of their skill level, machine operators cannot match the accuracy and repetition of automation processes. With automation technology, parts are created with upper and lower tolerance limits, and automatic alerts can be provided if processing is close to those boundaries. This leads to reduced scrap and additional work for employees.
Increased Safety – In 2015, statistics estimated that for every 100 full-time employees, three injuries were reported. OSHA notes that companies pay about $1 billion weekly on workers’ compensation. Automation in warehouses can help keep employees safer, and reduce costs for organizations.
Streamline Reporting Processes – With the ability to connect equipment to systems to CMMS, users can leverage tools such as eMaint’s reporting and KPI dashboards. This means that technicians and operators spend less time on administrative tasks, and more time on doing their jobs. Reports and dashboards help turn data into business insights to help make data-driven decisions.
Automation Success Story
Orange County Container Group (OCCG) is a manufacturer of paperboard and paper-based packaging. With their prior maintenance management system, OCCG was experiencing poor mobile connection and limited inventory quantity visibility which caused inaccuracy.
OCCG leveraged automation capabilities for inventory replenishment based on minimum/maximum levels. The link between eMaint CMMS and equipment automation helped OCCG gain complete control of their multi-site inventory, and improve the efficiency of its maintenance operations.
The influence of automation on the modern industrial world is undeniable, and shows no signs of slowing down. With benefits ranging from waste reduction to streamlined processes, keeping up with this trend can mean staying competitive and savvy in 2017 and beyond.