OMAC Packaging Workgroup, World Batch Forum forming joint group

Chicago, IL—World Batch Forum (WBF) recently held a meeting with the Open Modular Architecture (OMAC) Users Group’s Packaging Workgroup (OPW) to form a joint working group to identify common goals and how they might work together.


Chicago, IL— Immediately following this year’s World Batch Forum (WBF) conference, WBF held a meeting with members of the Open Modular Architecture ( OMAC) Users Group ’s Packaging Workgroup (OPW), and the two organizations agreed to form a joint working group to identify common goals and how they might work together. The group’s first topic will be the fea-sibility of incorporating the PackML Guideline, which is based on the S88 standard, into the ISA standard. It was also agreed that OPW would participate in WBF’s European conference to be held Oct. 11-13 in Mechelen, Belgium.

WBF promotes the exchange of information related to the management, operation and automation of batch process manufacturing. Consequently, it’s also organizing an initiative, as part of the ISA S88 standard, Part 5, Recipe—Equipment Interface, which will include guidelines for packaging machinery and other discrete control applications. This is an area of common interest for OPW’s members, whose mission is to maximize the business value of packaging machinery by developing guidelines that lead to the most appropriate application of advanced automation technology.

Business drivers, participants abound
The initial meeting sought to identify which bodies of existing work could be harmonized, such as PackML and WBF’s work with S88, S95 and S99 standards. The PackML state model is derived from the S88 batch process model. Nearly 40 attendees took part in the five-hour explora-tory session, which uncovered common business objectives for batch and discrete automation strategies.

Unilever’s Andy McDonald, OMAC’s co-chair and a WBF member, cited innovation rollout, maximizing of asset utilization, and globalization of supply chains as common business drivers. For example, downloading standardized batch and packaging recipes can help drive down costs, when enabled by flexible control systems and machinery.

Dave Emerson, of Yokogawa, noted that businesses produce SKUs that may require some continuous, batch and discrete processes. As a result, the ability to run all three from one produc-tion schedule and the horizontal passing of data is highly desirable.

Willie Lötz, of SAB Miller, gave a preliminary report on its new Cape Town, South Africa-based packaging line, consisting of 13 machines from various suppliers, all equipped with the PackML state model. He reported that the state model has provided great benefit on the line, which was first announced at Pack Expo 2003. Each machine’s operator panel allows the status of the entire line to be viewed, along with the potential causes of problems inside any given ma-chine. Operators don’t need to be retrained from machine to machine because the look and feel is the same for all. And the machine builders noted that they were able to overlay the state model on their existing code without significant effort.

Upcoming opportunities
Interested parties are encouraged to visit to become involved by joining a PackTeam of interest or attending monthly teleconferences. The next scheduled event is the PMMI Partners in Packaging lunch meeting on June 30 in Rosemont, IL.

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jim Montague, news editor

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