OMAC Promised Interoperability- Automation engineer Robert Martell knows the value of standards in his work in pharmaceutical packaging at Pfizer, Inc.(www.pfizer.com).Unlike his colleagues in food and consumer goods packaging, his industry faces the additional requirement of validating packaging machinery to meet FDA guidelines for current good manufacturing practices. "The final cost of the effort to validate a system is really shaped back in the design phase," Martell says. "A well-documented, modular design approach, followed through on the physical equipment as well as the controls, hardware, and software, lays the groundwork that really can streamline the validation process."
Packaging Standards Gain Momentum- End users of packaging equipment, regardless of their industry, have several interests in common: lower software integration costs, reusability and portability of code, ways to reduce the software learning curve for both engineers and technicians, and connectivity to drive and factory data networks. The Packaging Industries Working Group of OMAC (Open Modular Architecture Controls,www.omac.org) User Groups says IEC 61131-3 can help .It 's a standard for programmable controller programming languages for packaging machinery, and earlier this year, the PackSoft Subcommittee of the OMAC Packaging Workgroup endorsed it.
The Heavenly Packaging Machine- When packages can 't take a beating, profits do. So it was for Peabody, MA-based mail-order operation Christian Book Distributors. The company, which sells anything with a "good Christian value," was seeing many unhappy returns of its bibles after they had suffered damage in the mail. The padded envelopes the company used just weren't cutting the mustard. Christian Book needed a machine that could tightly package orders on the fly. Trak-n-Pack turned out to be the answer to its prayers. A specially designed machine by Rogers, AR-based Delta Systems, it wraps orders in sized-to-fit corrugated packages at a whirlwind 30 packages per minute