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PackSpec 2.0 Promises to Standardize Packaging Machinery

PackSpec 2.0 Promises to Standardize Packaging Machinery

Organization for Machine Automation and Control (OMAC) is pushing forward PackSpec version 2.0 with a goal of providing packaging machinery users and OEMs templates to more easily create comprehensive machinery specifications. The PackSpec initiative has been a multi-year effort, but now there is mounting support to move beyond the written standards in the first version of PackSpec to standard documents that can streamline and strengthen the creation of packaging machinery specifications used to build new systems.

"The next step is PackSpec 2.0," Tom Jensen, co-chair of the OMAC PackSpec committee, told Design News. "After the release of PackSpec 1.0, the feedback we received from both OEMs and end users is that [it] is a good reference document, but not really a template.

"PackSpec 2.0 is an effort to create a "cut and paste" document, so that the adoption of the concept is easy. Of course, the effort needs feedback and support, but currently has a strong base of OEMs, end users, and suppliers from the machine-building community powering it forward," Jensen added.

Describing the potential impact of the new specification, Tom Doney, chair of OMAC PackAdvantage and architect of PackSpec, wrote to Design News, "Following the revisions pending final ISA ratification to simplify and clarify aspects of TR88.00.02 (OMAC PackML), PackSpec version 2 seeks to better align with the technical report and provide clarity around the two possible levels of PackML compliance. Also, additional content will be provided as a guide to develop a truly comprehensive machinery specification from the end user's and machinery builder's points of view."

When the effort of PackSpec started over four years ago, Jensen said it was in response to the question from machine OEMs: "What is in the OMAC standard for us?" This was a very good question, and, although the OMAC standards for making more consistent machines help the end user community, the burden falls squarely on the OEMs (and their technology suppliers). As a result, the PackSpec committee was formed to explore ways to help OEMs (and end users) apply the OMAC guidelines and standards in a way that would make their lives easier. 

"What we discovered is that if the community applied the OMAC standards in their specifications, there was a large gain that could be found for end users that directly improved the bottom line for their OEMs," Jensen said. "Conversely, if OEMs built machines to a common spec, buying machinery based on functionality became much clearer." 

According to Jensen, the effort in creating such a model resulted in the PackSpec 1.0 template, which lines up the data from an OEM's build specification to a standard specification package that any end user can use. PackSpec 1.0 has been released for about a year, and provides the following benefits:

Reduce Cost of Qualification - The alignment of specifications means that OEMs spend less time validating their machines to myriad end user specs and can use the time for actual design and engineering.

Promotes Innovation - Because OEMs are not handcuffed with minutia (what button or wire tie brand to use), they are able to use best-in-breed products and build a support structure to guarantee the longevity machinery users demand.

Shifts Focus of Machine Specifying - As a tradeoff for getting less expensive, more innovative machines, end users have to change the way they qualify machinery. Instead of creating vendor-based specifications, end users should now consider qualifying third-party suppliers based on expertise within the scope of supply, MTBF, MTTR, obsolescence plans, and, most important, feature sets. Machines can be offered by OEMs based on a list proven suppliers (no forced one-offs that make support painful).

Standardize the Transactional Process - The goal is that the machine-buying conversation becomes one of feature set and support, not of this color or that color. The result is machines that are prepared for the environments they need to work in, validated with data generated through PackML-compliant systems.

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Al Presher is a veteran contributing writer for Design News, covering automation and control, motion control, power transmission, robotics, and fluid power.

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