A new research study, conducted by PMMI, focuses on automation implementation across the processing and packaging industries. It offers insights and strategies for end users and OEMs looking to incorporate greater levels of automation technologies to stay competitive.
While the packaging and processing industries have always been key adopters of automation technologies, there is a growing trend across these industries to use greater amounts of automation than they previously have.
According to a new report from PMMI, “The Evolution of Automation 2017” for the processing and packaging, food, beverage, pharmaceutical and personal care industries, there are six key trends driving greater plant floor automation use across these industries. (Editor’s note: PMMI Media Group, publisher of Automation World, is owned by PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies.) Those trends are:
Though these factors are driving greater interest in and use of automation across the industries surveyed, the actual implementation of automation technologies in these industries is progressing at a moderate rate due to several factors. The PMMI report highlights the following reasons for the steady, yet slow, adoption of increased levels of automation across the packaging and processing industries:
One chart in the report, “A Projection of How Automation Will Advance in Processing and Packaging Companies,” (shown above) indicates that all aspects of machine and software automation will increase significantly over the next decade. This prediction is based on the collective average response of survey participants, with larger companies automating and integrating faster; small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are also investing more, but at a slower rate.
The report notes that SMEs are embracing automation not just to optimize production processes, but also to survive in an increasingly faster-paced market driven by supply chain partner and consumer demands. Though one of the drawbacks to greater automation use for SMEs is the cost of the technology, the report highlights three key benefits that can help offset a significant portion of those costs:
When it comes to spending on automation technologies, over half of the end users taking part in the research said, “There is not a separate line item specifically for automation, but capital budgets are increasing.” Despite this lack of spending clarity from a majority of respondents, one quarter of respondents noted that they do have a budget specifically set aside for automation investments.
Breaking out respondents’ comments to assess spending trends across the vertical industries covered in the study, the PMMI report shows: