OMAC announces Plug-and-Pack initiatives at Pack Expo 2002

At its annual Pack Expo International meeting, packagers involved in the OMAC Packaging Workgroup will share bottom line results, commercialized PackML compliant products, and packaging profiles for the SERCOS interface, plus progress on new initiatives in programming languages, connectivity, and performance metrics.


At its annual Pack Expo International meeting, packagers involved in the OMAC Packaging Workgroup will share bottom line results, commercialized PackML compliant products, and packaging profiles for the SERCOS interface, plus progress on new initiatives in programming languages, connectivity, and performance metrics.

The general session is open to the public and will take place Tuesday, November 5, 1-5 pm, in conference room S-106B at Pack Expo International 2002, at Chicago's McCormick Place.

''The benefits of participating in the Packaging Workgroup are becoming very tangible,'' says Jim Ramsey of Hershey Foods, the group's new chair. ''The not-so-subtle change over the past year is the availability of real products and standards-conforming tools that OEMs and users can specify to accelerate the cost savings we're achieving with servo-driven packaging machinery. What's more, our case studies are quantifying significant operational savings through the use of servo technology.''

The OMAC group has received an infusion of support from the Louisiana Center for Manufacturing Sciences (LCMS), in the form of product testing facilities and an executive director, outgoing Packaging Workgroup chair Keith Campbell. The role of this new professional position, made possible by LCMS funding, is to support implementation of the programs established by the volunteer leaders and members of the workgroup. LCMS is a non-profit organization headquartered in Shreveport, LA, whose objective is to strengthen the manufacturing science base through innovative research, development, and implementation of new state-of-the-art manufacturing systems.

The establishment of executive director positions accompanied an overall OMAC restructuring recently implemented by the Advisory Board. Reporting to the Advisory Board will be two industry-aligned workgroups, Machine Tool and Packaging, along with two technology-aligned workgroups, Architecture and Software. These changes will encourage cross-pollination of technology development and application guidelines. Highlights of the 2002 meeting will include:

  • Trademark registration for Plug-and-Pack, an initiative to more directly communicate the Packaging Workgroup's mission of achieving plug-and-play functionalities for the machinery in packaging lines

  • Commercialized control products that conform to the PackML state model to simplify setup, integration and operation of packaging lines

  • Results of PackML tests on actual machinery and progress on tag naming conventions

  • Results of a Packaging World survey on users' and OEMs' perceptions of trends in servo-driven packaging machinery

  • Progress on packaging profiles to simplify programming in IEC/EN 61131-3 and motion control networking via IEC/EN 61491 (SERCOS)

  • Progress on a controller-controller network specification

  • Results of recently compiled studies comparing the operating cost difference between comparable mechanical and servo-driven packaging machines in actual end user installations

  • Initial return on asset models to quantify cost savings and project revenue generation potential of packaging automation investments

  • Definitions for third generation servo-controlled packaging machinery characteristics.

The general meeting will be preceded by an OMAC track in the Pack Expo Conference, which takes place from 10:45 am to 12:15 pm.


of the packaging-intensive consumer goods market, founded the new OMAC working group to assure that motion control's potential productivity is fully realized.

OMAC Users Group was founded in 1997 by manufacturing technology leaders in automotive, aerospace, and related metalworking industries to create an organization through which companies could work together to promote development and adoption of open automation controls. OMAC Users Group membership is open to all manufacturing automation users, suppliers, system integrators, and technology providers.

Current members of the OMAC Packaging Workgroup include General Mills, Hershey Foods, Master Foods (formerly Mars), Nestle, Procter & Gamble, South African Breweries (Miller Brewing), Unilever, and a host of automation and machinery providers from the US, Europe and Japan. There is no cost for membership, but members are obligated to participate actively toward achievement of the group's objectives.

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Gary A. Mintchell, senior editor

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