‘Connected’ machines click with young packaging engineers

Lisa Pierce in Packaging Research on July 23, 2016

In coming years, we’ll be seeing more remote access and more “connected” packaging machines as the next generation of food and beverage packaging engineers tap the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and similar technologies to optimize production or improve automation.

Respondents to our exclusive Food & Beverage Packaging: 2016 Community Report, conducted this spring, answered a number of questions dealing with packaging issues, challenges and opportunities. One question centered on technologies to optimize production or improve automation. Specifically, we asked “What technologies is your company currently using on packaging lines in your manufacturing plants to optimize production or improve automation and which does it plan to use in the next two years?”

The top choice in both cases—currently using and plan to use in two years—is Fully automated equipment; no real surprise there. But when we look at the rank of technologies by age of the respondent, we see some interesting differences.

Among packaging engineers younger than 45 years old, the Internet of Things jumps from the bottom of the “currently using” list to number three on the “plan to use in two years” list. Are they a bit optimistic in thinking their companies will embrace the idea of “connected” packaging machines? Or will they be successful in convincing decision makers to invest in this technology because of its many benefits? Since we were asking about the near future, we won’t have to wait long to find out.


Additionally, Serialization/track-and-trace rises to the No.2 position on the “plan to use in two years” list for these rising engineers. Food and beverage safety concerns, consumer demand for ingredient and sourcing transparency, and supply chain efficiencies all contribute to the growing need for more automated technologies to capture and share data.


This is just a fraction of the rich data contained in the Food & Beverage Packaging: 2016 Community Report. Other topics include vendor selection best practices, day-to-day challenges, decorating trends, social media use and useful resources. Click "Download PDF" below for highlights of the results of our exclusive research.



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