If three people were to look at an object from different angles, they'd all have a different perspective. Of course, what they'd see would be correct, but they might miss some nuance afforded by the others' perspectives.
With the second of three planned reports on the 2008 Automation in Packaging Benchmark study by Packaging Digest and Control Engineering, we expand your perspective by giving you information about how the packaging equipment suppliers view the market. The full results of the just-completed second phase of the study are available at www.packagingdigest.com/automationresearch.
It's not surprising that OEMs see the packaging market in ways both similar and distinct from the packagers themselves. Automation is important to the packaging process, its use is growing and it can help U.S. packagers stay competitive. However, as the reports demonstrate, there are differences in how the two groups view automation benefits and future needs.
Interest in the automation studies remains high. This survey of packaging equipment suppliers, conducted in June, drew 198 responses, a significant number considering there are an estimated 660 packaging OEMs in the U.S.
The OEMs have a challenging role because they must interpret the needs of packagers and, at the same time, they wield considerable influence over the direction of machine innovation.
More than 1,000 packagers added comments on their expectations of the OEMs and how they are performing. Especially interesting are verbatim suggestions from packagers on how the OEMs can improve their products and services.
The third phase of the study, due out late this year, will address the role of systems integrators. It should complete your 360-degree view of packaging equipment, providing you an understanding of the automation market in a full context not previously available anywhere else.
Bernie Abrams, a longtime Packaging Digest editor, died July 12. Bernie was well-attuned to the aesthetics of packaging, taking particular delight in working with designers. With a nimble twist of words, he could turn the mundane to the magnificent. In more than 30 years of writing for Packaging Digest, Bernie penned countless stories that delighted readers. His wit, sonorous voice and skill with words will be sorely missed.