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The Hidden Truths Behind Digital Twin for Packaging Production

When it comes to designing or optimizing a packaging line, “digital twin” is all the rage today. How is digital twin different from decades-old computer simulation?

One of the best pieces of advice I got from my dad during the 1970s as I was finishing high school was to learn how to use a computer. He was an engineer with AT&T and used a computer in his job. Seeing how it helped him, he realized the potential of computer power for other careers. Even for journalism, which was my interest even back then.

Today, I couldn’t do my job without a computer, even if it’s just to connect with sources via email (few people answer a phone these days). I would imagine many of you would say the same about needing a computer to do what you do — whether that’s designing an entire new packaging line or simply ordering replacement parts for your case packer.

There’s no denying the benefits of the advancements in computer technology for packaging, both for design as well as for optimizing production. “Digitalization” and “digital twin” are among the top technologies in recent years for helping to improve packaging production.

I had the pleasure of exploring the topic of digital twin with Robert States, Partner with Stress Engineering Services, at The Pack Place Theater during EastPack 2023.

Among the insights you’ll learn from the video interview:

• Why they’ll be many more companies leveraging digital twin in the near future.

• How regulatory agencies are often spearheading projects.

• For a digital twin project to succeed, a company needs leadership that supports it and an organization ready to receive it.

• The problem with how artificial intelligence programming is done for use in packaging applications is that “the domain expertise is missing” — something I’ve suspected all along.

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• We’re seeing the Democratization of Automation, as data from sources is more easily collected, shared, and analyzed.

• Digital twin projects could help institutionalize engineering knowledge within a company. As older staff retires, being able to keep what they know after they leave, and in a format younger employees prefer (digital), saves their intellectual property (their expertise) for the next generation of employees.

About the Author(s)

Lisa McTigue Pierce

Executive Editor, Packaging Digest

Lisa McTigue Pierce is Executive Editor of Packaging Digest. She’s been a packaging media journalist since 1982 and tracks emerging trends, new technologies, and best practices across a spectrum of markets for the publication’s global community. Reach her at [email protected] or 630-272-1774.

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