Thursday, August 22, 2013

Pneumatics and Packaging Presented at IEOC 2013

At the 2013 Industry and Economic Outlook Conference in Wheeling, IL presented by the National Fluid Power Association (NFPA) last week, Donna Ritson of DDR Communications was one of the speakers.  Her subject was  Market Technology Trends - Packaging.  In her presentation, she reviewed the worldwide packaging industry stating that it is a $500 billion business divided roughly equally between North America, Europe, and Asia/ME/Africa.

Foods packaging comprises about 36% of the overall industry with beverages coming in second at 24%.  Animal food has shown the largest gain in manufactured product shipments in a 5 year trend.  Some of the trends in packaging that Donna reviewed are reducing cost/improving efficiencies, automated integrated smart technology, global shifting, worldwide consumers, dwindling techincal workforce, and global regulations/counterfeiting/safety.

Machine builders are requiring more efficient machinery to improve operating efficiency.  They are utilizing greater automation for new products, increased production, changing primary packaging styles, replacing aging equipment, reducing labor, and lowering energy consumption.  Smart machines lead to greater productivity by performing different tasks and monitoring for predictive maintanance.

In her report about the worldwide usage and outlook of pneumatics, Donna reported on the choice that designers have between servos and pneumatics.  Three out of four participants in a survey conducted say that a combination of both mechanical and electrical controls are used in packaging machinery more than 50% of the time.  In the survey conducted at the Pack Expo 2012, the findings show that 62% of respondents prefer the Mechatronics approach using mechanical, electrical, control, and computer.

Pneumatic sales and servo sales are both showing decline.  The usage of pneumatics on machinery breaks down in this way:  40% secondary/transport, 37% primary, and 23% process.  Examples of the types of machines that use pneumatics includes fillers, sealers, case packers, and palletizers plus many more.  The primary reason to choose pneumatics over electric drives is cost.  The primary reason for choosing servos over pneumatics is precision.   Donna went on to compare functionality and technology advancements.  She also gave a predictoin for the next 5 year and gave an outlook for the packaging machinery industry.

This was one of the highlights of the IEOC 2013 because of the data presented fromt he packaging survey.  I will have a link available soon to more information from the results.