Need efficiency? Make the move…
My recent trip to a big box store made me aware of just how fast packaging options change. Public demand has driven a huge range of packaging options—different shapes, sizes, convenience packs, and a fleet of enviro-friendly packaging choices. It changes so fast. How can packaging machine builders and packaging companies keep up?
Some leading companies are opting to move outside the standard control structure to an “On-Machine” topology. There are newer technologies coming out every day that are combining communications, power, and control into small form factors and quick connection capabilities that can be mounted directly on packaging production machinery. Imagine reducing costly control panels while increasing uptime. Maintenance staff can very quickly diagnose and troubleshoot downtime issues without having to work inside a control cabinet.
Consider the possibilities. Each day FDA approved products are being developed to meet the needs of the industry and can range from sealed connectors with stainless coupling nuts to full stainless steel enclosed I/O blocks. Cables that have pre-terminated sealed ends are much easier to plug into a receptacle on an IP67 I/O block mounted on the machine rather than having someone with a cumbersome tool belt strip wires and terminate in a panel using a screwdriver. While there is additional cost for IP67 components, the savings becomes obvious when contemplating hundreds, if not thousands, of field wireable terminations that would otherwise take much longer and present higher potential for error on startup.
As global demand for food and beverage and consumer goods continues to grow at a rapid pace, it only makes business sense for product producers to target solutions that will assure the least amount of downtime as possible. Meanwhile, machine builders need to find a way to produce more machines to meet market demand. I have never met a buyer who prefers to wait a long period of time for equipment delivery. So how do control engineers, maintenance staff, production managers start moving towards solutions that are smaller, faster, and ultimately more profitable? Make the move now toward greater efficiency!
*The author of this posting is Rick Griffin a Global Business Development manager at Molex. Visit the Molex booth# S-7115 at PackExpo 2011 to learn more about Molex Brad® Industrial Automation products.