Automation is only as powerful as the operator that runs it, and packaging and processing companies are searching for intuitive automation to add accessibility on the plant floor.
Many of these companies are struggling to simplify the operator experience though, according to PMMI Business Intelligence’s 2023 report, “Sustainability and Technology – The Future of Packaging and Processing.” Over a third (36%) of company executive respondents said they had not successfully ensured their automated machinery was intuitive for lower skilled operators in a survey conducted for the report.
Of the two-thirds (64%) who said they had been successful, one director of engineering said they had focused on “making automation easier to understand and operate.”
A senior engineering manager of a Fortune 50 multinational advised companies to “keep the operation simple and easy to operate with clear operating procedures.”
Describing their successful intuitive automation program, an engineering and project manager explained, “We installed some retortable machines, with a program with many visual aids, tutorials, and 4.0 technology installed directly on the PC of the machine that facilitates its operation and maintenance.”
Human machine interface (HMI) is being used successfully by one food company to make jobs easier, while a bakery firm is utilizing new automation equipment with panels offering video training to support its workforce.
Far less information was provided about why programs had been unsuccessful. Some of these companies still appeared to be in the early stages, so cultural and technological changes may have not yet taken effect.
SOURCE: PMMI Business Intelligence, 2023 Sustainability and Technology – The Future of Packaging and Processing
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