Manufacturers throughout the United States are beginning to enjoy fully integrated systems. This doesn’t just mean integrated equipment lines, rather, it includes real-time ERP connectivity, connectivity to labeling software and systems, connectivity to physical warehouse via AGV interface and control, and connectivity to the finished goods storage. As plants need to deal with increased capacity requirements or added products, flexible packaging cells, multi-reel labelers, automatically-delivered materials for all portions of packaging, and flying line changeovers, integrated systems can help plants deliver on these requirements.
Generally, these manufacturing systems can be added, or capacity increased via the aforementioned equipment. However, today’s plants are running increasingly fast and complex packaging solutions that are not as easy to duplicate or extend. Thus, every second of uptime counts when getting the most from packaging assets. A system that is properly tuned to operate as an integrated system is one that provides immediate, relevant information and connects the machines, the personnel, and the maintenance software operations. For example, a line which can alert operators to pending or existing maintenance requirements, while simultaneously requisitioning the required parts and re-ordering those same supplies, is easier for the plant staff to operate holistically. The largest pitfall remains legacy equipment that cannot participate in the connectivity the way adjacent equipment or lines are able. Ultimately, the systems affect personnel and integrated systems help to have personnel more connected with the entire operation, and the true power of integrated systems is realized!
–Digitalization Team at PDA
The Digitalization Digest is written by Process and Data Automation and provides real-world thoughts through 1st hand experiences, speaking to the why and how manufacturing should move to a fully digitalized plant operation!
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