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Simulation and the Future of Packaging

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By Jon Santavy, Arena International Partner Manager

The high-speed packaging industry is getting faster, and more flexible driven with innovative disruptor technologies.

In the past, packaging lines were limited by complex changeovers and limited flexibility.  But with new technology, companies are able to increase production rates, enhance flexibility and decrease system maintenance.

Rockwell Automation is driving a lot of this advancement with new products like iTRAK® and MagneMotion.

Here’s a nice video of iTRAK

We all know change doesn’t come easy, CapEx justification, design, layout and operation changes challenge leaders in this space.  So how does the packaging industry adopt new technology as they face with new challenges?  I’ll answer with another question – Why wouldn’t a leader adopt new technology in the face of new challenges?

Working with executives in the industry we see two main reasons:

  1. Uncertainty in the new technology, and
  2. No clear timeline for the ROI.

These two challenges show up through a fewthe questions asked by every Plant Manager and Executive adopting new technology.

  • “How do we prove that a new design will meet our production requirements and provide an ROI?” 
  • “How soon will we see a return?”
  • “How much equipment do we need?”
  • “How should we lay out the new equipment?”
  • “How do we schedule mixed production runs?”
  • “How do we meet production goals with planned and unplanned downtime?”

How do you answer all of these questions with limited investment?

Leaders in the packaging industry use simulation to understand how new technology will impact their system, determine the ROI, and develop operating procedures so they can be confident in their investments.

This is the future of packaging:  Design the right line and optimally run it from the first day of operation to the last.  

Here’s a great video of Arena in Packaging.

In the March Issue of the Arena Newsletter we focused on using simulation to drive change. This issue shares a similar theme of how simulation is driving the future of the packaging industry.

I invite you to learn more by reading further into the April Issue of the Arena Newsletter.  We feature a case study from PepsiAmericas in which they evaluate optimizing their keeping their existing technology or investing in new technology.  In the Consultant's Corner, Darrell Starks introduces the technology that we’ve developed in Arena to quickly model complex packaging lines.  In Tips and Tricks, Gail Kenny dives deeper into a common challenge for simulating packaging lines – modeling pucks in your simulation. 

You can contact us with any questions at Arena-Info@ra.rockwell.com, and don’t forget to sign up for the Arena Newsletter .

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