News

  • EPA launches system allowing public to receive agency lawsuit notifications
    by Headquarters, General Counsel (OGC) on May 21, 2019 at 4:00 am

    WASHINGTON - Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) General Counsel Matthew Z. Leopold announced the launch of a new system from EPA’s Office of General Counsel (OGC) to enhance transparency of the agency’s defensive litigation activities. […]

  • EPA, HUD and SBA Officials Tour the Creative Village Project in Orlando, Florida with the Executive Director for the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council
    by Region 04 on May 21, 2019 at 4:00 am

    ORLANDO – (May 21, 2019) Yesterday, in coordination with a visit from the executive director of the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council, officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. […]

  • EPA Administrator Wheeler Sends Cost-Benefit Analysis Memo to Assistant Administrators
    by Headquarters, Office of the Administrator (AO), Office of Policy (OP) on May 21, 2019 at 4:00 am

    WASHINGTON (May 21, 2019)  – U.S. […]

  • 7 steps to harnessing Big Data in your packaging operations
    on May 20, 2019 at 4:40 pm

    Most of us lead a data-driven life via our phones, watches and other devices. However, most of the time, we don’t harness much of the information that’s available to us. It’s either overwhelming or we don’t have the time to review the data. This is not only the case in our personal lives, but it holds true in our professional environments, as well.I’ll use plastic bottle making as an example, though this can also be applied to any packaging production operation. In our experience as PET bottle blowmolding operators and trainers, we’d venture that a very low percentage of manufacturing environments make full use of the relevant data available from equipment and processes in order to optimize production.And that leaves a lot of room for improvement.We also realize that a large amount of data can quickly become overwhelming if you are looking at too many metrics at once. Here are seven steps we recommend to get you started on a solid, systematic approach to reaching data-driven goals.1. Define clear goals.  What is your organization trying to do?  Are you trying to commercialize a new light weight package design that meets performance specs, disrupts the market or simply improve your bottle blowing efficiencies to generate more ROI?2. Zero in on key data.  Make sure you focus on information that is the most important/relevant for your organization.  Focusing your attention will remove data distractions and give you a better chance of achieving your goals.3. Make it a team effort. Companies frequently make the mistake of only involving manufacturing for issues relating to production. Pull in marketing, procurement and any other functions that have a stake in the output. For example, marketing may tell you that the new pinch-grip bottle is not receiving positive consumer reviews due to a performance issue that needs to be modified in production.4. Analyze data regularly. Also make sure to compare to historical data, which can be used to solve today’s problems.5. Monitor production windows. Different preform bottle combinations coupled with use of post-consumer recycled resin have different production windows. Some are wide, while others are more restrictive. Make sure your operators know what the operating window is so that critical decisions can be made on the fly so that downtime is reduced.6. Pay attention to efficiency metrics. Examples include amount of scrap produced and cycle times. Understand what impacts your efficiency (such as ambient conditions) and how to improve production efficiencies.7. Older equipment can be modified. Don’t think just because you don’t have the latest production equipment, you can’t access the critical data you need. Just like you can swap out the stereo in an old car, most equipment can be retrofit with the software you need to produce meaningful data for your operation.The goal is to find your production sweet spot—the area where your scrap is at an acceptable level and that your bottle meets desired performance attributes. Harnessing the data correctly in real time can dramatically impact profitability.Likewise, for packaging operations, the goal is to minimize your scrap levels while producing efficiently-made packaged goods that meet quality assurance requirements.Sumit Mukherjee, chief technology officer of PTI, has 25 years' experience in preform and container design, materials characterization, process simulation and modeling, and finite element analysis (FEA) for package performance prediction. PTI is a globally recognized source for preform and package design, package development, rapid prototyping, pre-production prototyping, and material evaluation engineering for the plastic packaging industry.___________________________________________________________________________________The full gamut of packaging technology can be found at PackEx Toronto June 4-6, 2019, where the latest machinery and automation solutions, innovative ideas in containers and design and free education at Centre Stage will be available. For more information, visit PackEx Toronto. ___________________________________________________________________________________&nbs […]

  • U.S. EPA settles with Del Monte Fresh Produce for ammonia release and emergency response violations in Sanger, California
    by Region 09 on May 20, 2019 at 4:00 am

    SANGER, Calif. – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a settlement with Del Monte Fresh Produce (West Coast) Inc. […]

  • EPA announces $26 million cleanup of Grand Calumet River in Northwest Indiana
    by Region 05 on May 20, 2019 at 4:00 am

    EAST CHICAGO / HAMMOND, IND. (May 20, 2019) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a $26 million cleanup will begin this month on Lake George Canal in the cities of East Chicago and Hammond, Indiana. […]

  • Manke Lumber Stormwater Settlement with EPA Will Reduce Water Pollution, Enhance Salmon Habitat
    by Region 10 on May 20, 2019 at 4:00 am

    (SEATTLE) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a settlement with Manke Lumber, Inc., that resolves alleged violations of the Clean Water Act. […]

  • Innovative Water Quality Project by New Jersey High School Student Wins EPA Award
    by Headquarters, Research and Development (ORD) on May 17, 2019 at 4:00 am

    PHOENIX (May 17, 2019) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that Harshal Agrawal, a senior at Dr. Ronald E. McNair Academic High School in Jersey City, New Jersey, has won the 2019 Patrick H. […]

  • Does Your Toothbrush Make the Environment Bristle?
    by webmaster on May 16, 2019 at 9:28 pm

    News From Future of Personal Health     Dr. Read more  » The post Does Your Toothbrush Make the Environment Bristle? appeared first on The Sustainability Consortium. […]

  • Recyclable stand-up pouch is circular-economy ready
    on May 16, 2019 at 3:01 pm

    With How2Recycle label acceptance and expected to be on-shelf next month, the grocery-store-bin recyclable #2 packaging available in pouch and roll form will be shown during PackEx Toronto June 4-6. Providing flexible packaging for nearly 50 years, Tempo Plastics Limited, Innisfil, ON, Canada, has added a sustainable twist to its portfolio: a recyclable structure available as either a multilayer pouch or rollstock material derived from a single polymer, high-density polyethylene, that can be recycled in the #2 high-density polyethylene stream. The packaging, which the company claims provides excellent barrier protection with premium, high-definition printed graphics for exceptional shelf appeal, will be on display during PackEx Toronto June 4-6.Promoted as “Guilt-Free packaging,” HARMONYPack was created for a circular economy while exceeding market criteria for cost, durability and other key performance measures of desirable packaging. “Our philosophy behind HarmonyPack is to build the circular economy by designing packaging to be easier to recycle,” says Leonardo Giglio, vp marketing & product development, who believes the timing is perfect for this type of packaging.“More than ever, the push to eliminate waste is at the forefront of mainstream media and the consumer’s mind,” he points out. “Major companies are making commitments to reduce their packaging waste to landfill. We see this as an opportunity to help our customers achieve these goals. In fact, sustainability seems to be a daily conversation among customers. We want to both educate and help our customers find these solutions.”Tempo Plastics recommends that customers can use the #2 recycling designation for identification purposes. In-store recyclable is currently the most accepted solution, explains Giglio, because different municipalities have different acceptance criteria so while the packaging is technically curbside recyclable, it’s not universally available. “Innovation on the collection side and reuse markets will follow,” he says.How2Recycle labeling adherenceNotably, the development allows the use of clear-to-understand How2Recycle labeling.“How2Recycle has prequalified HarmonyPack and will be issuing a How2recycle label specifically for this package,” explains Giglio. “However, brand owners that wish to use the How2recycle logo on the HarmonyPack will have to enter into a membership agreement. We can help facilitate that process at the start of the design process.”HarmonyPack is applicable for products for “everything that our traditional packages are capable of, ranging from small snack food to large-format dog food bags,” says Giglio. Specific markets include pet treats, confections, lawn and garden, nuts and seeds, coffee, frozen foods, bakery and snack foods.Released in February 2019, HarmonyPack is already gaining diverse customer interest.“Many companies are in the testing phase for non-barrier, barrier, shelf stable and freezer applications,” Giglio discloses. “Most of the opportunities we’ve received are from the food industry.”The first brand customer is expected to have pouches on-shelf by the end of June, Packaging Digest learned.Value-added options are the same for the recyclable packaging as with the company’s standard packaging, including durable flange-style press-to-close zippers and other handle variations.Details on the substrate’s thickness and layers are variable depending on the product and application.The packaging’s official launch into Canada will commence with HarmonyPack’s appearance during PackEx Toronto June 4-6 in Tempo Plastics booth #1168. That will be followed by the official United States launch during the Private Label Manufacturers Assn. (PLMA) show in the fall.For more information, visit TempoPlastics.com/harmonypackFor more on How2Recycle labeling, see How2Recycle label is growing—here’s who, why and how, published February 2019.&nbs […]

  • The Sustainability Consortium Welcomes Sprouts Farmers Market as a New Retail Member
    by webmaster on May 16, 2019 at 3:00 pm

    The Sustainability Consortium (TSC) announced today that Sprouts Farmers Market has joined as a new TSC member. The post The Sustainability Consortium Welcomes Sprouts Farmers Market as a New Retail Member appeared first on The Sustainability Consortium. […]

  • EPA Actions Protect and Restore the Delaware River Basin
    by Region 03 on May 16, 2019 at 4:00 am

    PHILADELPHIA (May 16, 2019) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency works to help protect and improve environmental conditions throughout the Delaware River Basin. Today, the Agency is announcing its award of a $602,000 grant to the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC). […]

  • EPA Joins Pennsylvania Partners To Support Sustainable Farming To Benefit Local Streams, Chesapeake Bay
    by Region 03 on May 16, 2019 at 4:00 am

    PHILADELPHIA (May 16, 2019) - Today, the U.S. […]

  • EPA Advises Facility Operators to Prevent and Minimize Chemical Releases during Hazardous Weather Events
    by Region 04 on May 16, 2019 at 4:00 am

    ATLANTA (May 16, 2019) – As hurricane season approaches, the U.S. […]

  • Oreo package co-brands for ‘Game of Thrones’ fans
    on May 15, 2019 at 3:13 pm

    With the airing of the final episode of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” quickly approaching, Mondelēz International has created limited-edition “Game of Thrones” packaging for Oreo cookies. The packaging design, which launched in early April, is in national distribution and will be available while supplies hold.The black package displays a sole Oreo cookie superimposed on the show’s Iron Throne, above which stands a silver Oreo logo rendered in the same font as the “Game of Thrones” title logo. Names of three of the show’s Great Houses run across the package, beneath the Oreo logo and Iron Throne graphic.“When developing this idea, it was imperative that the spirits of both brands were reflected in the Oreo ‘Game of Thrones’ cookie,” an OREO spokesperson explains. “As with all collaborations, Oreo wanted to ensure that the partnership reflected its playful personality, but also delivered something unexpected to the classic Oreo cookie.“Not only does the pack reflect the dark look and feel of the show, Oreo also paid tribute to ‘Game of Thrones’ through the cookies, as well. The Oreo ‘Game of Thrones’ cookies feature four unique embossments spotlighting both the iconic sigils of the three Great Houses still battling for the Iron Throne, as well as the enemy White Walkers beyond the wall.”The brand’s creative agency, 360i, designed the packaging and also a video based on the show’s opening sequence. This video, which features animated Oreo cookies and “Game of Thrones” music, includes a shot of the limited-edition packaging.Without revealing the exact size of the limited-edition’s production run, the spokesperson adds, “Given the popularity of ‘Game of Thrones’ and the anticipation for this final season, Oreo expects the cookie to be one of the brand’s largest [limited-time editions] ever, bringing an innovative snacking and viewing experience to fans everywhere.” ********************************************************************************EastPack 2019 (June 11-13) is the region's premier packaging event connecting professionals from companies like PepsiCo, Pepperidge Farms and Mars with suppliers offering the latest packaging technologies, including a range of automation solutions, from semi-automatic equipment to sophisticated "smart" systems. Register to attend today!&nbs […]

  • 6 riveting reads about packaging this spring
    on May 15, 2019 at 2:13 pm

    Amazon’s refillable packaging for ecommerce cleaners, packaging innovation for Heinz ketchup and new packaging trends we’re seeing are among the top articles read in the month of April 2019, based on high numbers of page views on PackagingDigest.com.We start from the bottom and work our way up to the #1 reveal…6. Evolution of a package: Heinz ketchupThis graphical timeline shows nine packaging developments throughout the life of Heinz ketchup, starting with 1876 and continuing to present day. Quick and easy to read, the history outlines how a major brand owner has leveraged packaging innovations over the years. NEXT: What is affecting packaging sustainability? 5. 5 factors affecting sustainable packaging moving forwardLast fall, Transparency Market Research identified these five areas in sustainability that currently affect packaging:• Increasing environmental concerns and effective regulatory policies implemented by governments will significantly boost demand for eco-friendly packaging in coming years.• Technological advancements in the production of green packaging materials that reduce harmful gases will fuel the market.• On the other hand, higher production costs associated with environmentally friendly packaging materials will affect profit margins. This factor may have a negative impact and hinder innovation in the sustainable packaging market in next few years.• In addition, limited awareness among people regarding types of sustainable packaging has limited its growth. However, concrete steps taken by governments to increase awareness and educate people about the positive effects of green packaging should make a difference.• According to the regional analysis, the U.S. is leading in sustainable packaging, with numerous companies operating in industrial and manufacturing sectors. Moreover, countries in the Asia Pacific region are also considered as offering lucrative options for the green packaging market. NEXT: Refillable packaging for Amazon’s private label4. Amazon chooses refillable packaging for Clean RevolutionWhen it comes to the “Rs” of sustainability—reduce, reuse, recycle—reuse has often been the least favored. Not so anymore, as seen with the debut of the Loop reusable packaging shopping platform.Ecommerce titan Amazon also believes in refillable packaging, having selected the Replenish bottle/pod system for its private label cleaning products. The package reduces the amount of water shipped by 90% and minimizes leaks during shipment, an important feature for the rough-and-tumble small parcel environment where packages could be positioned in any orientation. NEXT: Another half dozen winning packaging articles3. 6 gold-star stories about packagingOur compilations of the top articles of any given month are often high in the list of best-read articles for the next month, too. That’s the case here. In April 2019, packaging professionals reviewed these top articles from the month before:1. Nestlé clarifies its sustainable packaging vision2. Amazon chooses refillable packaging for Clean Revolution (Sound familiar? This was also the fourth best-read article in this list, for the month of April.)3. Most food cans no longer use BPA in their linings (Spoiler alert! This is also the second best-read article for the month of April. See more on the following page.)4. Nike’s new green lobster shoe box tests packaging limits5. How digital healthcare and packaging benefit users6. 5 packaging trends emerging in 2019 NEXT: Still high interest in BPA2. Most food cans no longer use BPA in their liningsThis February 2018 article continues to enjoy high readership, even though the news is more than a year old that at least 90% of today’s food cans have replaced linings that previously contained the controversial chemical bisphenol-A (BPA). This old news has made our “top” list for three months so far in 2019 (February, March and now April).Our packaging community is still discovering it though. The newest reader comment just posted on May 13:“NPR investigated the BPA alternatives for hardened plastics and the BPA alternatives were shown to leech estrogenic compounds more or less than BPA. ‘BPA free’ is just a marketing scheme because the alternatives are just named differently and expose estrogenic compounds in a similar way to you and your child. Obviously, the plastics industry is not going to do research on the alternative plastics, but use some logic and know that petroleum-based compounds are all bad for living organisms.” NEXT: What are the new packaging trends? 1. 5 packaging trends emerging in 2019With a little more time for sharing and reviewing within our packaging community, this article jumped from #6 in March to #1 in April.Charles Haverfield, CEO of packaging supplier U.S. Packaging & Wrapping LLC, shares insights into what’s driving these five predictable packaging movements:1. Flexibility (flexible packaging!)2. Changes in ecommerce3. Environmental awareness (sustainability) 4. Less is more (minimalism)5. The power of nostalgia (retro designs) ********************************************************************************EastPack 2019 (June 11-13) is the region's premier packaging event connecting professionals from companies like PepsiCo, Pepperidge Farms and Mars with suppliers offering the latest packaging technologies, including a range of automation solutions, from semi-automatic equipment to sophisticated "smart" systems. Register to attend today!&nbs […]

  • EastPack explores top packaging topics in the Big Apple
    on May 15, 2019 at 1:55 pm

    When EastPack lands in New York City June 11-13, the powerhouse packaging event will showcase emerging packaging equipment, smart technology, automation systems and other up-to-the-minute solutions.Taking place at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, EastPack is expected to welcome 8,000 attendees eager to get up close and personal with the latest innovations, trends and technology. More than 550 top packaging equipment, materials and solutions providers are slated to display their latest offerings.This year, exhibits and free educational sessions are organized into a number of hot topic areas, focused on trends and emerging technologies of particular interest to packaging pros. 3D printingWith interest and investment growing rapidly in 3D printing for packaging and other fields, show organizers have incorporated a number of sessions and exhibits focused on this. Sessions (Booth 102) touching upon various aspects of the field include:• “Getting Started on the Factory of the Future,” Tues., June 11, 11 a.m.• “3D Printing Success Stories,” Wed., June 12, noon.• “Behind Manufacturing’s Mass Customization Trend,” Thurs., June 13, 1 p.m. Robotics and automationAccording to show organizers, global factories will have put more than three million industrial robots to work by 2020. That’s why automated technology and solutions comprise another specialty area of EastPack 2019 in Booth 102. Highlights include:• “Digital Transformers—Real Examples of How First-movers are Innovating Manufacturing,” Tues., June 11, 3 p.m.• “Is Your Resume Better Than a Robot’s?” Wed., June 12, 1 p.m.• “ROI-based Smart Manufacturing,” Wed., June 12, 3 p.m. Food and beverage packagingPackaging must balance increasing demand for sustainability, interest in healthful eating, rising material costs, production flexibility and other concerns. To deliver and maintain profitability, industry professionals must seek out methods and technology that empower them keep competitive. Free sessions (Booth 2370) in this topic area include:• “How Packaging Can Position Your Product as a Healthy Snack,” Tues., June 11, 11 a.m.• “Sustainable Packaging—What Really Matters to Consumers?” Wed., June 12, 1 p.m.• “Trends in Snack Food Packaging,” Thurs., June 13, noon. Contract packaging and manufacturingContract solutions appeal to brand owners looking to partner with quality professionals who can meet their exacting standards while also conserving costs. This show section enables motivated professionals to network with potential partners. Exhibitors include:• Accumold (Booth 757)• AIP Precision Machining (Booth 453)• SteriPack USA (Booth 630) Injection moldingWhile innovators continue to work on releasing never-before-seen materials for the packaging industry, plastic remains the most used. Metal injection also remains popular. This focus at EastPack 2019 enables attendees to hone in on providers and advancement in this area. Suppliers include:• C&J Industries (Booth 1657)• Currier Plastics (Booth 667)• Liquidmetal Technologies (Booth 749)• Saint-Gobain (Booth 1815) LabelingConsumers expect labels to do a better job of informing them about a product than they have in the past. Also, demand for specialty films is on the rise, and producers need label production to be efficient and accurate. Exhibitors showcasing solutions in this area include:• AstroNova (Booth 2229)• Dartronics (Booth 2207)• Ward/Kraft Inc. (Booth 2421) EastPack 2019 registration is now open. Visit the website to sign up or to learn more. Freelance writer and former Packaging Digest senior editor Jenni Spinner is a trade journalist with more than two decades of experience in the field. While she has covered numerous industries (including construction, engineering, building security, food production and public works), packaging remains her favorite.&nbs […]

  • The Sustainability Consortium Celebrates 10 Years of Helping Companies Create More Sustainable Consumer Products
    by webmaster on May 15, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    TSC, cofounded by University of Arkansas and ASU, helps ensure that consumer products are made with sustainable guidelines for a growing population. Read more  » The post The Sustainability Consortium Celebrates 10 Years of Helping Companies Create More Sustainable Consumer Products appeared first on The Sustainability Consortium. […]

  • AI in packaging: Defining terms, assessing impact—Part 2
    on May 14, 2019 at 9:52 pm

    How packaging operations can improve by leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning. In Part 1 of this article, we discussed the history of artificial intelligence (AI), the converging factors that are making it possible and the many ways AI may be defined in packaging applications. This article will now focus on AI-related strategies and impacts for packagers, including machine connectivity, zero downtime and rethinking plant layouts. Connect the equipment, collect the dataMany manufacturers would like to increase the efficiency of their machines but face legacy equipment with different controllers. Some are collecting data but not enough to make a difference. Others are drowning in data with no idea how to process it. Most of all, manufacturers are hampered by conflicting “magic bullets” for collecting and extracting the value they need.Says John Rinaldi, CEO, Real Time Automation, “The largest cost for new equipment is software integration: integration with other machines, with enterprise business systems, and with Cloud applications. Today’s integration process is time-consuming and exceedingly inefficient. Do I choose the connectivity supported by my PLC vendor? What about Industry 4.0, is that important to me? How can our shop take advantage of AI or machine learning? What are my risks and my returns for investing in Amazon AWS or Microsoft Azure Cloud services?”There is something that manufacturers should do to alleviate at least some of these problems, he continues. Manufacturers should standardize on OPC UA and the Packaging Machine Language (PackML).OPC UA, (Open Platform Communications—Unified Architecture is a machine communication protocol marked by being more secure, open, flexible and reliable for collecting information from controls, monitoring devices and sensors that interact with real-world data and communicating with enterprise-wide systems (see image above).PackML is a standard for modeling machine behavior that provides a standard mechanism for monitoring and understanding industrial machine operation. PackML decreases the effort required to exchange data between machines and between users and machines via operator interfaces. Zero downtimeAsk any plant manager and they’ll tell you they have a lot on their plate, but the number one goal is productivity. Luckily, machine learning and other emerging AI applications are making the concept of zero downtime an achievable reality.Machine connectivity and AI applications are at the heart of Intelligent Edge Link and Drive (FIELD) system from Fanuc Robotics. FIELD provides advanced analytics and deep-learning capabilities for Fanuc robots, peripheral devices and sensors used in automation systems.Once FIELD software is loaded and configured, machine data from all automation equipment, including robots, can be accessible to application developers through an open Application Programming Interface (API). Easy access to machine data significantly reduces the effort for a third party to develop applications to run on the FIELD system, including a variety of monitoring, analytic and real-time functions.Zero Down Time (ZDT) is a Fanuc FIELD application that the company is using to collect data from more than 6,000 robots in 26 factories (in Fanuc’s facilities, as well as in its customers’ plants). ZDT monitors these robots to see if the application is causing abnormal wear that could lead to a failure and, if so, Fanuc sends parts with support to address the issue before any downtime occurs.With ZDT, FANUC also keeps track of robot usage and sends reminders at appropriate intervals to ensure important maintenance activities are completed on time. As the FIELD system and ZDT grow in the marketplace, Fanuc will be able to help more customers with intelligent condition-based maintenance notifications and help optimize the performance and life of their robots.Fanuc uses AI to monitor robots for predictive maintenance, what it calls Zero Down Time. Real-time, real-worldMike Chen, director of the Omron Automation Center Americas, concurs that interest is building in an AI approach to packaging but specifies it has to take place in the real world. “Whether it’s people or the technology making the decisions, it has to be based on real time in the real world—collecting, analyzing and utilizing the data, with all its intellectual, ethical and often safety-related implications.”Such an approach makes AI an effective bridge between IT (information technology) and OT (operational technology), leveraging the intelligence of human assets (manufacturing engineers, operators, quality and maintenance personnel) with device intelligence. “The entire process becomes more robust the more we decide what to do with both the data and the decisions we can trust technology to make,” Chen says.For example, devices such as Omron’s Sysmac AI controller are able to identify abnormal machine behavior without being explicitly programmed to do so. Since there could be many different factors and measurements that indicate an issue when observed together, automating the feature-extraction process saves a significant amount of time and resources. Leveraging machine learning results during production is key to ensuring end user-cost savings.Keeping that data safe from bad actors is also a factor. Omron’s Sysmac AI operates with its own CPU and function blocks, requiring no internet connectivity or cloud computing. Data collection and analysis is performed within the same hardware as the controls program, which also improves data-processing speed and accuracy.Controllers use and process AI applications at the device level—no internet or cloud necessary. Image courtesy Omron Automation. Remaking the packaging lineSmart machines are built on smart components. As Performance Motion Devices CEO Chuck Lewin puts it, software-based motor drives are increasingly becoming the norm. They will continuously collect data from the motor and provide output adjustment commands.From this wealth of measured motor behavior, algorithmic observers can be built that track changes in the motor, which in turn signal problems in the bearings and other mechanisms. Thus, AI will impact packaging equipment through motion drives that control conveyor belts, cappers, web tensioners, sealers and transfer arms that comprise machine mechanics.AI is also at the heart of rethinking the factory floor. For example, what would a packaging operation look like without conveyors? Denmark-based Mobile Industrial Robots (MIR) recently launched a new MIR 1000, a mobile robot that can deliver 1,000-kilogram (2,200-lb.) payloads throughout a plant. An industry first, according to the company, is AI-enabled capabilities for improved robot use.“Intelligent mobile robots make the new industrial layout much more flexible,” says Niels Jul Jacobsen, MIR chief science officer. “Replacing fixed conveyors with easy-to-change layouts mean users can train the system to their needs and changing customer demands.”Where AI comes in, unlike a traditional automated guidance vehicle (AGV), driving behavior and route planning can change via smart cameras that not only recognize obstacles, but together with machine software can predict blocked areas in advance and reroute. In addition, the MIR mobile robots integrate different top modules including pallet lifts, conveyors or cobots for flexible applications where the work can come to the equipment.AI-enabled mobile robots could inspire operations without fixed conveyors. Image courtesy Mobile Industrial Robots (MiR). With better content, better knowledgeWhere AI is concerned, proper planning and focus becomes paramount. Algorithmic efficiencies and event predictors are impressive, but the ultimate value is creating knowledge.Dwight D. Eisenhower famously said, “In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” In evaluating AI in packaging production operations, collecting data is useless. Collecting and analyzing the right data is everything. Ray Chalmers is founder and principal at Chalmers Industrial Communications, providing writing services for industrial technology providers since 2007. His career includes 10 years as an editor with the Society of Manufacturing Engineers and time as a staff editor on Packaging. ********************************************************************************EastPack 2019 (June 11-13) is the region's premier packaging event connecting professionals from companies like PepsiCo, Pepperidge Farms and Mars with suppliers offering the latest packaging technologies, including a range of automation solutions, from semi-automatic equipment to sophisticated "smart" systems. Register to attend today!&nbs […]

  • 5 appetizing trends in snack packaging
    on May 14, 2019 at 9:38 pm

    This infographic looks at a lucrative slice of the food market: snacks! Learn three bite-sized market facts before feasting on a handful of trends you need to know. Much more will be shared regarding the snack-craze and its packaging implications at EastPack 2019 (June 13-15; New York City) with related free educational sessions and the experiential Snack Shack. Register now to attend.CLICK IMAGE TO VIEW FULL INFOGRAPHIC&nbs […]