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Trends in Packaging Automation, and Building Better Packaging HMI and SCADA Applications

This week we are taking a close look at the packaging automation market, and discussing ways in which InduSoft Web Studio applications can be developed for the packaging market.

When developing applications for the packaging automation market, either as an OEM or as the application developer for a product packaging line, it’s important to look at some of the emerging trends of the packaging market, and develop applications that not only meet your current requirements, but have the flexibility to develop and change along with the industry. Here are a few trends that InduSoft has seen developing across the packaging industry:

Easily Customizable HMI Templates – One trend that is applicable to both OEMs and application developers for the packaging of a product line is the standardization of HMIs, and the creation of template applications that can be easily customized. An HMI with a standard look and feel greatly reduces the learning curve required for training machine operators. Template HMIs designed to offer a consistent look and feel make it incredibly easy to reduce both development time and training time for the end user. When creating standardized HMIs and customizable HMI templates, plan navigation and screen options for a wide variety of uses, so that screens can be customized for different machines quickly and efficiently.

Template applications developed with InduSoft Web Studio can easily be made to keep processes within compliance of standards such as PackML.

Better Alarming Capabilities to Reduce Downtime – Packaging solutions providers are increasingly requesting better diagnostic and alarming capabilities that will assist in reducing machine downtime and product waste. Many machine builders and packaging solution providers are including alarming capabilities that will allow packaging machine operators to view and acknowledge alarms from wherever they are, via smartphone or tablet. Because one operator may oversee several machines, it’s important that they be able to access individual machines without actually being present at the HMI panel. Developing applications capable of sending alarms to a mobile HMI can be one way to allow one operator to move down the product line as the product does, and oversee the process from start to finish. Indusoft has the ability to render and use most project screens in HTML5 in our SMA Client which can be viewed or operated on any Mobile or portable browser that can render HTML5.  Additionally, InduSoft can provide alarming data and the ability to acknowledge alarms remotely through the use of our Mobile Access (MA) client through pre-built widgets, providing extremely light-weight applications that are visible on virtually any device with a browser.  Finally, InduSoft has partnered with ScadaGuard which has the ability to call and alert your personnel when an alarm condition exists. Check out ScadaGuard OEM here which has special introductory pricing through the end of the year.

A Focus on OEE Dashboards – Another trend in packaging is a greater focus on OEE (overall equipment efficiency), especially now that OEE data can be displayed directly on the HMI as an easy-to-read dashboard, or shared through the Cloud to plant-floor managers who can make decisions during packaging. With access to tablets and smartphones, it’s possible to share OEE data from each machine on a line, and then read that data in easily understood graphics that can enable quicker decisions. HMI/SCADA Software such as InduSoft Web Studio can offer ways to quickly and easily develop OEE capabilities for an HMI or SCADA system, in addition to offering a BI (Business Intelligence) Dashboard Template Add-On that can be used to enhance your OEE application.  Check out the BI Dashboard Template here.

Predictive and Preventive Maintenance – In addition to OEE and the Business Intelligence Dashboards, properly built HMIs and SCADA Systems include applications of predictive maintenance within the design, allowing equipment to maintain higher levels of operational efficiency.  Perform maintenance at specified maintenance intervals instead of having equipment down-time during production runs.  Indusoft can help you design you application to incorporate the latest science in predictive maintenance.

Improved Integration – When packaging trends change quickly, many machine builders and managers worry about obsolescence and a lack of flexibility in packaging machines. Many machine builders and packaging solutions providers are meeting the need for more flexible packaging lines by choosing HMI/SCADA platforms that can be integrated easily with disparate hardware and systems such as MES and ERP. InduSoft Web Studio and InduSoft EmbeddedView serves as an excellent platform for these highly integrated systems thanks to patented SQL database connectivity and over 240 native drivers for every major manufacturer of PLCs and controllers, along with industry standard drivers and gateways to other HMIs and platforms.

Increased Safety Regulations, and Product Traceability – Product traceability is a growing concern among manufacturers, particularly in food, beverage, and pharmaceutical industries. This is especially true in emerging markets, such as China, India, and Latin America. Packaging solution providers and machine builders can help customers meet this need by developing applications that include automated reporting capabilities that generate detailed reports for each packaging line. In addition, RFID and barcode data can be stored automatically. Additional traceability measures such as operator logins and password protection can improve accountability. InduSoft is a leader in providing assistance in creating applications and projects needed in creating Food and Pharma 21CFR Part 11 facilities.  Browse through our case studies to find out how InduSoft helped create a groundbreaking solution for the industry.

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