The opportunity for packaging machine builders in India is to take advantage of the automation components, technology, software and skills training available from world-class vendors who are established in the country in order to build efficient and intelligent machines. We ask leading packaging automation expert Dinesh Mungi of B&R Industrial Automation in Pune to reflect on the real possibilities of ‘configuring more and programming less.’
PSA – Could you highlight the recent trends in packaging that the industry is experiencing?
Dinesh Mungi – Consumer demand for customized products is on the rise with customers considering paying extra for personalized packaging. A product’s packaging plays a crucial role in its success and the success of a packaging machine depends on how quickly, and easily, it can adapt to new trends. Mechatronic development, robotic integration, safety and security, inspection and traceability, maximum uptime, remote maintenance, higher Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE), better quality and maximum sustainability are some notable trends affecting global packaging industry.
PSA – What are the opportunities for the Indian packaging industry today, for improving machine efficiency?
Dinesh Mungi – The efficiency of packaging lines is crucial in order to improve productivity and maximize resource utilization. Digitization and advanced automation creates enormous opportunities for manufacturers to improve machine efficiency. In addition, machine vision is playing a vital role in various applications in packaging. With implementation of advanced automation concepts, machine builders are able to reduce costs and time to market while improving the reliability and performance of packaging machines. In addition, these next-generation automation solutions enable packaging machines to reduce downtime, boost productivity and enhance quality on packaging lines used by brand owners.
Earlier, machine vision was always an add-on system with a machine’s controls independent of vision inspection. Machine vision was never integrated in the machine controls. B&R’s integrated machine vision is seamlessly integrated in the machine controls along with motion, robotics and product transport systems. It communicates with the controls over Ethernet POWERLINK enabling it to synchronize with all elements of machine logic. Machine builders save costs and achieve higher performance over conventional architectures of implementing vision applications in packaging machines.
B&R’s Secure Remote Maintenance makes diagnosing and maintaining machines easier than ever. The solution utilizes the latest IT and security standards and allows for significant savings with low investment costs. B&R offers condition-monitoring solutions, which makes implementing predictive maintenance in a machine very easy. Condition monitoring allows end-users to forecast and plan service more efficiently to maximize machine’s uptime, thus, reducing unplanned downtimes.
PSA – It’s increasingly evident that end users demand more flexible, efficient yet easy to operate systems. How does B&R’s integrated automation contribute to this approach?
Dinesh Mungi – Machine manufacturers are coming up with special-purpose machines with several machine variants. One machine series might differ from the other based on performance, throughput and selection of controls or the range of available functions. With such different variants, machine manufacturers are faced with the challenge of economically and efficiently developing and automating the machines. B&R Automation Studio, a single tool for programming all B&R hardware, makes managing machine variants simple. Together with Scalability+, machine manufacturers address these challenges and fulfill end users’ demands of flexibility, efficiency and ease of operation.
All B&R hardware is interchangeable right from simulation, PLC, panels, HMI to PCs. The machine builder has the freedom to pick the appropriate hardware for his application. B&R relies on high-performance industrial communication standards such as Ethernet POWERLINK, openSAFETY, OPC UA for real time, safe and secure field, machine-to-machine and higher-level networking.
PSA – Personalization has become a necessity for consumers. Do you think robotics plays a vital role in supporting this trend?
Dinesh Mungi – The demand for personalized packaging is on the rise with B&R’s versatile industrial product transport technology enabling machine builders achieve mass customization by offering more agile and adaptive packaging lines. These systems allow packaging lines to move products more efficiently while simultaneously improving quality. With POWERLINK and B&R’s Generic Motion Control (GMC), it is exceptionally easy to integrate and synchronize robots in any industrial transport system. B&R’s industrial transport technologies, ACOPOStrak and SuperTrak, are a generational leap in intelligent, flexible product transport systems producing small batches efficiently and enabling higher margins on personalized products. Such systems with synchronized robots revolutionize the packaging industry by offering an unprecedented level of robustness and provide a human interference free operation.
PSA – Today, software is differentiating products and services. What benefits do your software offer for packaging machine builders?
Dinesh Mungi – Software is a differentiator and is an indispensable part of any machine. This software governs the behavior of any machine or system. B&R Automation Studio is a single uniform programming tool for every aspect of an automation project in machine building – right from controls, PCs, HMI, motion, diagnostics to simulation. Its sustainable and efficient approach of software development helps machine builders to enhance software quality, reduce engineering costs and time-to-market even in the face of ever-increasing design complexity. With B&R Automation Studio, developers can program, test and optimize open and closed control loops and algorithms, movement sequences and visualization interfaces – all in a single development environment.
Together with mapp Technology, B&R has revolutionized the creation of software for industrial machinery and equipment. Complex algorithms are easy to manage with programmers focusing entirely on the machine process. mapp Technology helps machine builders to drastically reduce machine development by 67% and software developers are able to configure more and program less. mapp Technology comes in the form of plug-ins for Automation Studio supporting all IEC 61131 programming languages as well as C and C++ are supported.
Dinesh Mungi is the packaging expert at B&R Industrial Automation India in Pune