Packaging Automation Benchmark Study, Part 2: Machine builders influence, interpret packagers’ needs

Packaging is big business—and it's growing. Control Engineering and Packaging Digest set to investigate this dynamic market through the Packaging Automation Benchmark Study, a three-part, year-long research project conducted by Reed Research Group. This comprehensive view of the state of packaging automation reveals the technology, market drivers and business issues affecting packagers...
By Control Engineering Staff August 22, 2008
Sidebars:
Research Methodology
Key Findings
Other articles in this study

Packaging is big business—and it’s growing. Control Engineering and Packaging Digest set to investigate this dynamic market through the Packaging Automation Benchmark Study, a three-part, year-long research project conducted by Reed Research Group. This comprehensive view of the state of packaging automation reveals the technology, market drivers and business issues affecting packagers, machine builders, and system integrators.

This is Volume 2 of the Packaging Automation Benchmark Study, focusing on packaging machine builders and the state of the market from their point of view. These machine builders have a unique role in the market, both influencing and interpreting the needs of packagers and the offerings of automation component and software vendors. In Volume 1, published in April 2008, research results came from the packagers themselves. In Volume 3, research will focus on the system integrator community, providing insight into how their interaction with both packagers and machine builders is driving innovation. A key focal point for that study is a view of technology adoption and strategic use of data acquisition. Survey outreach will begin in late fall 2008, with results published in December 2008.

Complete research results, as well as Webcasts, podcasts and other resources based on the research can be found online. Access all at www.controleng.com/automationresearch or www.packagingdigest.com/automationresearch .

Top 5 markets represented
• Food 51%
• Beverages 47%
• Pharmaceuticals 38%
• Personal care/cosmetics 36%
• Household chemicals/products 36%
• Machinery, electronic equipment 31%
Number of people employed by company
• Under 20 12%
• 20– 99 26%
• 100– 249 24%
• 250– 499 11%
• 500– 999 10%
• 1,000 or more 17%
2007 sales volume
• Under $10 million 25%
• $10 million – $24.9 million 24%
• $25 million to $49.9 million 12%
• $50 million to $249.9 million 15%
• $250 million to $999.9 million 13%
• Over $1 billion 12%
Location of corporate headquarters
• United States 78%
• Europe 13%
• Canada 3%
• Asia 3%
• Central or South America 2%
• Other (please specify) 2%
• Mexico 1%
Locations where OEMs have production
• >United States 90%
• Europe 31%
• Asia 25%
• Mexico 13%
• Canada 12%
• Central or South America 9%

Typical type of packaging performed by your machines
• Flexible packaging 54%
• Cartons 45%
• Labeling/labels 36%
• Shrink wrap 30%
• Cases 28%
• Folding carton 28%
• Rigid plastic 26%
• Bottles (plastic) 24%
• Bottles (glass) 21%
• Cans 19%
• Stretch wrap 19%
• Blister Pack 15%
• Tube 15%
• Clamshell 13%
• Other 9%
Ethernet protocols supported
• EtherNet/IP 95%
• Modbus TCP 29%
• ProfiNet 24%
• SERCOS III 23%
• EtherCAT 15%
• PowerLink 10%
• Foundation Fieldbus 8%
• Other 4%
With whom do you collaborate on new packaging machine designs
• Customers’ packaging engineers/designers 73%
• Automation suppliers 54%
• Internal packaging engineers/designers 51%
In-house system integrators 40%
• Materials suppliers 37%
• Other OEMs 31%
• Contract system integrators 26%
• No one, do not collaborate 7%
Typical build time for new equipment (from contract signing to acceptance test signoff)
1– 3 months 30%
4– 6 months 40%
6 months to 1 year 24%
More than 1 year 5%

Standard Optional Total
Instrumentation and control components
• Components and connectors 74% 13% 87%
• Safety 76% 10% 86%
• Process sensors 62% 16% 78%
• Instrumentation and analysis 49% 26% 75%
• Vision systems 21% 54% 75%
Application and programming software
• Programming applications (such as HMI) 54% 21% 75%
• Data historian/data analytics 25% 36% 61%
• Enterprise integration and analysis 16% 36% 52%
• ERP 15% 24% 39%
• MES 15% 23% 38%
Motors, drives and motion control
• Motors 80% 8% 88%
• AC drives 73% 12% 85%
• Servos 70% 13% 83%
• DC drives 56% 23% 79%
• Steppers 60% 19% 79%
Machine and embedded controllers
• PLCs 69% 17% 86%
• Safety 73% 10% 83%
• Discrete sensors and readers 56% 26% 82%
• PACs (controller integrating motion and logic) 41% 28% 69%
• Embedded/board-level controllers 43% 24% 67%
• Multi-axis motion controllers 39% 28% 67%
• Robotics 27% 37% 64%
Networks, communications hardware, software
• I/O products and cabling 69% 15% 84%
• Safety 66% 10% 76%
• Network software and diagnostics 40% 32% 72%
• Switches, routers and gateways 43% 27% 70%
• Wireless solutions 15% 43% 58%
Process and advanced control
• Electronic work instructions 34% 31% 65%
• Barcode 22% 41% 63%
• Advanced control (e.g., simulation) 23% 29% 52%
• Process and batch control 32% 28% 60%
• RFID 11% 36% 47%
HMI and industrial PCs
• HMI hardware 57% 20% 77%
• HMI software 52% 22% 74%
• Industrial PCs 40% 34% 74%

OEMs Agree Users Agree
Our customers require increased flexibility in packaging systems 53% 23%
Automated packaging lines are critical to maximizing our customers’ capacity 56% 43%
In the next five years, sustainability will become a major driver for automation of packaging lines. 38% 37%
Global availability and international standardization of packaging lines are essential to packaging end users. 20% 26%
Customers see packaging machine flexibility and integrated automation as a key competitive advantage. 44% 51%
Our customers place a high value on packaging operations as a strategic competitive advantage 36% 51%
Our customers should take greater advantage of flexibility in packaging systems to improve time to market 38% 40%

Top three reasons to automate packaging processes
OEMs say
• Control labor costs 77%
• Gain production efficiencies 52%
• Gain competitive edge 28%
Users say
• Control labor costs 81%
• Gain production efficiencies 74%
• Gain competitive edge 48%
Main benefits expected when deciding which processes to automate
OEMs say
• Removing production bottlenecks 49%
• Access machine diagnostic data 40%
• Ability to access production data 39%
• Recipe-driven/tool-less changeover 38%
Users say
• Ability to access production data 48%
• Recipe-driven/tool-less changeover 44%
• Ability to access diagnostic data 42%

Percentage of customers who specify brands of controls
Less than 10% 37%
10% – 49% 36%
50% – 74% 11%
75% – 89% 11%
90% or more 6%
Percentage of customers accepting alternative recommendations
Always 8%
Frequently 37%
Sometimes 52%
Never 4%
OEMs perception of the value customers place on being involved in selection of components
Great value 23%
Moderate value 53%
Little value 19%
No value 5%

OEMs can use the criteria shown to determine the Key Buying Factors packagers consider in a purchase decision. Multivariant analysis like this allows a business to consider both importance and satisfaction on a number of factors, giving an OEM a much better idea of where they can direct their marketing efforts.


ONLINE extraOther articles in Packaging Automation Benchmark Study, Part 2

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Research Methodology

Data for the Packaging Digest and Control Engineering 2008 Packaging Automation Benchmark Study was gathered over a two-week period in the beginning of June 2008. Respondents came from the subscriber base of the following publications’ print magazines and E-newsletters:

  • Packaging Digest

  • Control Engineering

  • Plant Engineering

  • Converting

E-mail invitations were sent to the subscribers inviting them to complete a Web-based questionnaire. Over 3,900 industry members responded to the invitation for the second phase of the study. Respondents were qualified as to their company’s role in packaging, with 198 respondents who meet the qualifications as an Equipment Supplier/OEM. Another 1,046 respondents met our qualifications as purchasers of packaging equipment and participated in a supplemental study. All results are posted in aggregate, and individual results are kept strictly confidential.

Key Findings

Business Demographics

  • 19% said their company’s revenue is totally derived from the packaging industry.

  • Almost 60% of OEMs derive less than half their business from the packaging industry.

  • An overwhelming majority of OEMs believe packaging will stay the same or grow in terms of its overall share of their company’s business in the next five years.

  • Those companies currently deriving 25% to 75% of their business from the packaging industry are expecting the highest growth.

  • The United States, followed by Europe and Canada, are currently the top markets for packaging among respondents.

  • In the future, respondents expect the most growth to occur in Asia, followed by the United States and Europe.

Machine design and functionality

  • The most typical types of packaging performed on the machines built are flexible packaging, cartons, and labeling/labels.

  • The most common type of packaging equipment made by OEMs is package handling, conveying, and cartoning.

  • Packaging equipment types expected to grow most over the next 5 years include product inspection, robotics, and form/fill/seal.

  • OEMs are incorporating the following types of automation most in their machines:
    – Instrumentation and controls
    – Motors, drives, motion control
    – Machine and embedded controllers
    – HMIs and industrial PCs.

  • Designing new packaging machines is a highly collaborative process, with 73% of machine builders collaborating with customers’ packaging engineers, 54% collaborating with automation suppliers, and 51% collaborating with other departments internally.

  • OEMs say there are two main reasons end-users are not currently using all the automation features their machines offer: knowledge level of the workforce (77%), and automation features exceed customer needs (57%).

  • The majority of equipment manufacturers mention they are addressing this problem by offering onsite training, and creating easy to read manuals.

OEMs and end users disagree most in these areas

  • Currently, most OEMs customers are not too involved in specifying brands of automation controls. In addition, OEMs state their customers are willing to accept some level of alternative recommendation.

  • OEMs believe that automated packaging lines are more likely to be critical to maximizing customer capacity, while end users are less likely to agree with this.

  • OEMs think customers place less emphasis on the competitive advantage that integrated automation can offer, while the end user survey says they value the competitive advantage.

  • OEMs believe their customers don’t place much value on packaging operations as a key strategic advantage, while end users have indicated that they do.

  • Most OEMs customers do not specify brands of automation controls. Among packagers who do specify brands, it is less likely they will accept an alternative recommendation. They also put greater value on being involved in the selection of components.

Research Methodology

Data for the Packaging Digest and Control Engineering 2008 Packaging Automation Benchmark Study was gathered over a two-week period in the beginning of June 2008. Respondents came from the subscriber base of the following publications’ print magazines and E-newsletters:

  • Packaging Digest

  • Control Engineering

  • Plant Engineering

  • Converting

E-mail invitations were sent to the subscribers inviting them to complete a Web-based questionnaire. Over 3,900 industry members responded to the invitation for the second phase of the study. Respondents were qualified as to their company’s role in packaging, with 198 respondents who meet the qualifications as an Equipment Supplier/OEM. Another 1,046 respondents met our qualifications as purchasers of packaging equipment and participated in a supplemental study. All results are posted in aggregate, and individual results are kept strictly confidential.

Research Methodology

Data for the Packaging Digest and Control Engineering 2008 Packaging Automation Benchmark Study was gathered over a two-week period in the beginning of June 2008. Respondents came from the subscriber base of the following publications’ print magazines and E-newsletters:

  • Packaging Digest

  • Control Engineering

  • Plant Engineering

  • Converting

E-mail invitations were sent to the subscribers inviting them to complete a Web-based questionnaire. Over 3,900 industry members responded to the invitation for the second phase of the study. Respondents were qualified as to their company’s role in packaging, with 198 respondents who meet the qualifications as an Equipment Supplier/OEM. Another 1,046 respondents met our qualifications as purchasers of packaging equipment and participated in a supplemental study. All results are posted in aggregate, and individual results are kept strictly confidential.

Research Methodology

Data for the Packaging Digest and Control Engineering 2008 Packaging Automation Benchmark Study was gathered over a two-week period in the beginning of June 2008. Respondents came from the subscriber base of the following publications’ print magazines and E-newsletters:

  • Packaging Digest

  • Control Engineering

  • Plant Engineering

  • Converting

E-mail invitations were sent to the subscribers inviting them to complete a Web-based questionnaire. Over 3,900 industry members responded to the invitation for the second phase of the study. Respondents were qualified as to their company’s role in packaging, with 198 respondents who meet the qualifications as an Equipment Supplier/OEM. Another 1,046 respondents met our qualifications as purchasers of packaging equipment and participated in a supplemental study. All results are posted in aggregate, and individual results are kept strictly confidential.

Research Methodology

Data for the Packaging Digest and Control Engineering 2008 Packaging Automation Benchmark Study was gathered over a two-week period in the beginning of June 2008. Respondents came from the subscriber base of the following publications’ print magazines and E-newsletters:

  • Packaging Digest

  • Control Engineering

  • Plant Engineering

  • Converting

E-mail invitations were sent to the subscribers inviting them to complete a Web-based questionnaire. Over 3,900 industry members responded to the invitation for the second phase of the study. Respondents were qualified as to their company’s role in packaging, with 198 respondents who meet the qualifications as an Equipment Supplier/OEM. Another 1,046 respondents met our qualifications as purchasers of packaging equipment and participated in a supplemental study. All results are posted in aggregate, and individual results are kept strictly confidential.

Research Methodology

Data for the Packaging Digest and Control Engineering 2008 Packaging Automation Benchmark Study was gathered over a two-week period in the beginning of June 2008. Respondents came from the subscriber base of the following publications’ print magazines and E-newsletters:

  • Packaging Digest

  • Control Engineering

  • Plant Engineering

  • Converting

E-mail invitations were sent to the subscribers inviting them to complete a Web-based questionnaire. Over 3,900 industry members responded to the invitation for the second phase of the study. Respondents were qualified as to their company’s role in packaging, with 198 respondents who meet the qualifications as an Equipment Supplier/OEM. Another 1,046 respondents met our qualifications as purchasers of packaging equipment and participated in a supplemental study. All results are posted in aggregate, and individual results are kept strictly confidential.

Key Findings

Business Demographics

  • 19% said their company’s revenue is totally derived from the packaging industry.

  • Almost 60% of OEMs derive less than half their business from the packaging industry.

  • An overwhelming majority of OEMs believe packaging will stay the same or grow in terms of its overall share of their company’s business in the next five years.

  • Those companies currently deriving 25% to 75% of their business from the packaging industry are expecting the highest growth.

  • The United States, followed by Europe and Canada, are currently the top markets for packaging among respondents.

  • In the future, respondents expect the most growth to occur in Asia, followed by the United States and Europe.

Machine design and functionality

  • The most typical types of packaging performed on the machines built are flexible packaging, cartons, and labeling/labels.

  • The most common type of packaging equipment made by OEMs is package handling, conveying, and cartoning.

  • Packaging equipment types expected to grow most over the next 5 years include product inspection, robotics, and form/fill/seal.

  • OEMs are incorporating the following types of automation most in their machines:
    – Instrumentation and controls
    – Motors, drives, motion control
    – Machine and embedded controllers
    – HMIs and industrial PCs.

  • Designing new packaging machines is a highly collaborative process, with 73% of machine builders collaborating with customers’ packaging engineers, 54% collaborating with automation suppliers, and 51% collaborating with other departments internally.

  • OEMs say there are two main reasons end-users are not currently using all the automation features their machines offer: knowledge level of the workforce (77%), and automation features exceed customer needs (57%).

  • The majority of equipment manufacturers mention they are addressing this problem by offering onsite training, and creating easy to read manuals.

OEMs and end users disagree most in these areas

  • Currently, most OEMs customers are not too involved in specifying brands of automation controls. In addition, OEMs state their customers are willing to accept some level of alternative recommendation.

  • OEMs believe that automated packaging lines are more likely to be critical to maximizing customer capacity, while end users are less likely to agree with this.

  • OEMs think customers place less emphasis on the competitive advantage that integrated automation can offer, while the end user survey says they value the competitive advantage.

  • OEMs believe their customers don’t place much value on packaging operations as a key strategic advantage, while end users have indicated that they do.

  • Most OEMs customers do not specify brands of automation controls. Among packagers who do specify brands, it is less likely they will accept an alternative recommendation. They also put greater value on being involved in the selection of components.