OEM Spring 2024

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Voice of the Customer | 8 End user hesitations about remote services. Sales Focus | 36 Post PACK EXPO is the time to revisit potential customers. Perspectives | 44 Revolutionizing OEM manufacturing with AI Women in Packaging | 46 Negotiating as a woman in a man’s world. SPRING 2024 Can Humanoid Robots Aid in the Labor Crisis? Advanced AI and full-body mobility could allow general- purpose robots to fill in on packaging and processing lines | 16


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8 Remote Services

End users weigh the benefits and drawbacks.


12 Potential Tax Breaks

NAM-backed tax package passes House.


14 Research-Driven Marketing

Three key research areas can support marketing e orts.


36 Post-Show Outreach

Beast practices for following up a er PACK EXPO.


38 Register for the Executive Leadership Conference

Learn how to leverage your membership.


44 AI in Manufacturing

A historical perspective and current limitations


46 Learning Circles

The nuance of negotiation


48 The Year Ahead

Important deadlines for upcoming shows



Check out the latest product innovations.


84 PMMI Advantage

Straight from the President’s desk.

SPRING 2024 2 MANAGEMENT 16 Humanoid Robots
advanced AI so ware, dexterous “hands,” and full body mobility, could humanoid robots answer the labor shortage on the packaging line? OEM PROFILE 28 Robopac USA
voice of the customer drives R&D innovation across a range of case packers, palletizers, stretch wrappers, and laserguided vehicles. NEW MEMBER PROFILE 32 PharmaMed Tackling old pharma and medical device problems with new ideas. 2023 PARTNER LEADERS 49 Automation Supplier Profiles Companies specializing in bringing OEMs the innovative products and services they need. 28 16 VOLUME 7 • ISSUE 1 32


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Lisa Hunt CEO, Plexpack

Greg Berguig VP, Sales and Marketing, PAC Machinery

Rick Fox III Director, Engineering Services, Fox IV Technology

Brian Ormanic Senior Applications Engineer, Pearson Packaging Systems

Colin Warnes Director Sales Engineering & Project Management, ADCO Manufacturing

Tom Ivy CEO, FoodFlow Automation Solutions

Stacy Johnson VP Business Development, Hoosier Feeder Company


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Nothing to Fear

As I was finishing up my first issue of OEM Magazine since Stephanie Neil’s passing of the proverbial torch, I can’t help but think how this and all jobs will look in the future. Not a news cycle goes by in the mainstream media that doesn’t contain a look at the rise of Artificial Intelligence. For someone who uses writing to put food on the table and a roof over my family’s head, I’ll fully admit that Generative AI like Chat GPT bordered on terrifying when it first arrived on the scene.

Not long after, I saw a presentation from new OEM contributor David McGraw (Revolutionizing OEM Manufacturing with AI, Pg. 44), where he explained that those who aren’t embracing AI as a tool in their toolkit are actually at risk of falling behind the competition.

Our cover story takes a fascinating look at how robots, once confined to cages on packaging and

processing lines, are quickly evolving even beyond collaborative robots. These humanoid robots use artificial intelligence—there are those words again—and human-like features to offer the possibility of truly working alongside a human worker. Will it happen overnight? Of course not. But Liz Cuneo (Are Humanoid Robots the Processing and Packaging Labor Force of The Future? Pg. 16) lays out a very compelling case that it may not be as far off as we think. I’m old enough to remember when society was worried that robots were coming to replace humans and leave people out of work. At a time when hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs continue to remain unfilled, it’s ironic that one of the potential solutions is the very solution we all feared.

I hope you enjoy the look and feel of my first foray as the leader of OEM Magazine. If you have any story ideas or any comments, good or bad, please don’t hesitate to reach out at sriley@pmmimediagroup.com.


End-Users Weigh Benefits and Drawbacks of Remote Services Technology

Remote services can help smooth end-user operations and simplify training, but current drawbacks like cost and cybersecurity concerns are slowing investment.

End-users are flocking to remote services technology for machinery support, training, and maintenance at the click of a button, but OEMs need to grapple with the technology’s drawbacks to support further adoption.

That’s according to PMMI Business Intelligence’s 2024 “Trends in Remote Services and Monitoring” report.

Remote services are a set of services and tools that end-users can use to support their operations remotely, either internally or through a connection with equipment suppliers.

The technology can be delivered with a variety of methods, including real-time video streaming and augmented reality (AR). This allows suppliers to provide support when needed rather than making CPGs wait for costly in-person appointments.

Remote services use cases for end-users

The most crucial reason behind end-users choosing to invest in remote services is reducing machinery downtime, with around 92% of those surveyed saying it is either somewhat or very important.

“Any downtime is very [expensive] and very critical, so being as quick as possible is key,” says one representative of a large food CPG.

Optimizing machine and operation performance is the second

43% of end-users say cybersecurity is a main barrier. . . along with 90% of OEMs.”

most popular reason for end-users to invest in remote services, with about 90% saying it is somewhat or very important. That’s followed by increased speed of support, which about 87% of respondents claim is at least somewhat important.

Combining tools such as remote monitoring and predictive maintenance can dramatically reduce the frequency of stoppages, while remote support provides the means to solve issues quickly.

The ability to use predictive maintenance is considered somewhat or very important by about 83% of end-users. This indicates that the appetite for this service exists for end-users and presents a great

opportunity for the 75% of surveyed OEMs who do not currently offer it.

Investment reasons, with between 75% and 95% finding them important, include limiting the impact of skills gaps and workforce shortages, decreased reliance on on-site technicians, and less cost and time spent on travel.

Decreased cost of ownership, usually a very important metric for end-users, is seen as the least important attribute when looking to invest in remote services and monitoring. About 75% of survey respondents still find this important, though.

Remote services as a skills gap solution

For many end-users, skills gaps have meant they have had to rely more heavily on support from OEMs for simple mechanical and technical problems that would have previously been handled in-house.

Neither end-users nor equipment suppliers want to waste time and money on OEMs sending technicians to plants for minor issues. This is a significant driving force behind the rising use of remote support, with over 87% of end-users finding the technology very effective in helping address skills gaps, along with about 97% of OEMs.

Remote training is a major aspect of remote services as a skills gap solution. About 89% of endusers think that remote training is



either somewhat or very effective at mitigating skills gaps in their operations.

Augmented reality is an emerging technology with the potential to bridge the gap between remote and in-person training.

End-user technicians and operators can be given on-screen special markers, step-by-step instructions, and real-time videos while being trained on machinery. Just under three-quarters (70%) of end-users see this technology as either somewhat or very efficient for remote training.

Reasons given for end-user reluctance to embrace AR technology for all training included older staff members (often the leaders of maintenance teams) being less enthusiastic about its use.

A hybrid approach is likely to be the most popular option soon. This will involve a combination of initial in-person training, where technicians and operators can get involved with the machinery and ask questions directly to the equipment supplier’s team. Subsequent instructor-led or self-paced online sessions will consolidate learning.

End-users are hesitant about the cost of remote services

Most end-users are aware of the benefits of remote services and monitoring, but significant barriers still keep some from adopting the technology.

Cost of service is the most common barrier for end-users, who cite it as over 10% more than other barriers like limited IT skills and cybersecurity risks.

The additional cost of remote services is small compared with the cost of purchasing new packaging machinery. Despite this, about 60% of end-users see it as a barrier to investment.

Cybersecurity is also a top concern

End-users are also wary of taking on the risk of cyberattacks through remote services investments. About 43% of surveyed end-users say cybersecurity is a main barrier to investment in remote services, along with 90% of OEMs.

The main fear among end-users regarding cybersecurity is malware, cited by about 77% of respondents. Most surveyed OEMs agree, with nearly 90% saying they are somewhat or very concerned about malware.

Although it is possible to retrofit old machinery and update operational technology (OT) systems, this can take a long time due to the technical complications, running the risk of an extended period of machine downtime.

There is also the incompatibility issue with some machines, particularly older ones.

As one medium-sized enduser explains, “We have a couple (machines) on our system that are over 40 years old. You’re not going to be able to retrofit that with […] anything digital because it just wasn’t built with that capacity.”

Some end-users would rather wait for machines to run through their lifecycle and replace them with updated models that already have remote services and monitoring capabilities installed rather than commit to the cost of retrofitting.

As machinery reaches the end of its lifecycle, Business Intelligence researchers expect end-users to explore replacements fi tted with remote services and monitoring capabilities.

Supply chain attacks are another top concern among end-users, with about 73% saying they are somewhat or very concerned with the threat. About 85% of OEMs feel the same.

Close behind in end-user concerns are data theft and tampering, which about 72% cite as a concern. About 90% of OEMs also worry about data theft and tampering.

What the future holds for remote services

The landscape of remote services is evolving rapidly in reaction to opportunities presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. The adoption of various remote services has increased significantly, reflecting the industry’s response to workforce challenges or adaptation to the new normal.

Despite the evident benefits, barriers to adoption, like the cost of service and cybersecurity concerns, persist.

The future of remote services appears to be a hybrid model. While certain functions, like remote troubleshooting, may become more prevalent in years ahead, in-person interactions remain crucial for tasks like FATs, commissioning, and initial training. ■

For the full report, visit pmmi.org/report/2024-trends-remoteservicesmonitoring.

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House Passes NAM-Supported Tax Package

The critical bill for manufacturers now goes to the Senate for review.

Packaging and processing OEMS, as well as manufacturers in general, secured a major victory on Jan. 31 when the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan tax package containing provisions critical to the industry, according to the National Association of Manufacturers.

What’s going on:

The House voted 357–70 to pass the bipartisan Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act. The bill includes three important manufacturing priorities:

• Restoring immediate R&D expensing for domestic research.

• Reinstating full expensing (also known as 100% accelerated depreciation) for businesses’ capital investments.

• Returning the U.S. to a pro-growth interest deductibility standard.

What it means:

The measure will enable manufacturers to invest in their businesses, create jobs and compete in the global marketplace.

• The bill is particularly important for small and medium-sized manufacturers, many of which experienced significant tax increases as a result of the expiration of these pro-growth provisions.

• “While it was once a paid expense, R&D is now a cost that many small businesses cannot afford,” said Rep. Carol Miller (R-WV), in a speech on the House floor last month.

• The overwhelming majority—89%—of respondents to the NAM’s Q4 2023 Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey said higher tax burdens on manufacturing would make it more difficult for them to hire, buy new equipment and expand their facilities.

What’s next:

It’s critical that the Senate now also pass the measure, the NAM said.

• “Manufacturers thank [House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA)] and [House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (R-MO)] for their leadership in passing the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act—and the bipartisan work in the House and Senate to secure progress for America’s manufacturing workers,” NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons said in a social post after the House voted.

• “Manufacturers are now counting on the Senate to act quickly to restore these provisions that are absolutely critical to strengthening America’s competitiveness and growth of manufacturing in America.”

• Added Ketchie President and Owner and NAM Small and Medium Manufacturers Group Chair Courtney Silver, “This just isn’t about numbers on my financial statements and my tax returns—this is about taking care of the people here [at Ketchie] and in communities across this country…. Let’s restore some common-sense tax provisions, and let’s support our American manufacturers across our country.” ■

CISA Recommends Getting Rid of Default Passwords

The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is urging manufacturers to change or even get rid of default passwords altogether on the equipment and so ware they manufacture. The agency said that “studies by CISA show that the use of default credentials, such as passwords, is a top weakness that threat actors exploit to gain access to systems, including those within U.S. critical infrastructure.”

CISA has also released a new work product that guides secure-by-design open-source so ware development in a broader e ort to secure the so ware supply chain.

The document focuses on recommended practices for implementing open-source so ware as well as tracking the use of open-source code through a concept known as a “so ware bill of materials.” The document also provides guidance on how to select open-source so ware, conduct risk assessments, maintain open-source so ware, and respond to vulnerabilities and threats.

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Research-Driven Marketing: Unlocking Success in Three Key Areas

Three key research areas - market trends, benchmarking, and customer feedback – can strategically support your marketing efforts.

Are you harnessing the full power of research to fuel your marketing strategy and drive your company’s growth? We’ll delve into three key research areas - market trends, benchmarking, and customer feedback - and show you how to apply it strategically to support your marketing efforts.

Market trends

Marketing research that identifies industry trends and market growth can help you plan where to invest your sales, marketing, and product development dollars.

Market trend data may be freely accessible, or it may require a subscription or fee to access.

Within packaging and processing, PMMI Business Intelligence reports are an excellent source of industry insights. All reports are free to access by any employee of PMMI member companies. By leveraging the information in these reports and other industry resources, you can make informed decisions about entering new markets, setting growth goals, and targeting new customer segments.


Benchmarking reports are a valuable tool for assessing your performance and identifying areas for improvement within your industry. One way to start is by measuring your performance across different marketing channels.

To access benchmark reports, you can search for publicly available marketing channel benchmark reports specific that cover marketing as a whole or focus on a specific channel like email, social media, or websites. It’s important to note that benchmark data may vary from source to source, so it’s best to consistently use the same data source.

To gain more specific insights and compare yourself to your competitors, consider investing in a PMMI Media Group custom research project. Another option is participating in a Packaging World ad effectiveness study, where your ad will be included in a reader study measuring ad recall and interest against all participating ads.

In addition to marketing channel benchmarks, sales performance benchmarks are valuable for evaluating your market share and validating your return on investment.

Customer feedback

In addition to external benchmarking reports, don’t forget to tap into the primary research available through your own customer database, website, and social media channels. Customers and prospects are often willing to share their feedback if they see value in it.

When asking participants to complete longer surveys (10 questions or more), it’s essential to offer something of value in exchange. This can be a small incentive for each participant or the first X number of participants, a raffle entry for a larger prize, or access to the survey results when published.

Another effective approach is to survey contacts more frequently with fewer questions. You can integrate single-question surveys into your emails, ask for feedback via social media, or add to your website forms or pop-ups. Consider asking participants about recent promotions, their interest in specific products, or their plans to attend upcoming events.

By leveraging primary research and engaging with your audience directly, you can gather valuable insights, keep your data up to date, and make informed decisions for your business.

In conclusion, research-driven marketing is a powerful tool that can fuel your marketing strategy and drive your company’s growth. ■


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Are Humanoid Robots the Processing and Packaging Labor Force of The Future?

With advanced AI so ware, dexterous “hands,” and full body mobility, will humanoid robots be the answer to the shortage of labor on the packaging line?

What exactly are humanoid robots, and are they a viable labor force solution? Can they operate sophisticated equipment or only perform simple tasks? How much faster are they than human workers?

Humanoid robots, or robots that look and move like humans, still look like a thing of the future, but they’re already being used in some industries today and have the potential to report for duty on the packaging line in the near term. General-purpose robots like humanoids differ from the robotics and automation we typically write about. We’re not talking about one piece of equipment that does one thing (albeit very fast and efficiently). We’re talking about a robot that can be programmed and “taught” to do many things, like kitting, material replenishment, order picking, palletizing, and lifting/loading. Is there a place for a general-purpose robot in packaging facilities today?

General purpose means greater functionality

Apollo shines in tasks that are considered “gross manipulation,” or gross motor function, like grabbing something with both hands. Photo courtesy of Apptronik.

The robots mentioned above are programmed to do one task and do it well. General-purpose humanoid robots such as Phoenix, from Sanctuary AI, a Canadabased robotics company, can handle a variety of tasks thanks to its full body mobility. This gives users the flexibility of using the humanoid robot to automate any pressing task at any pressing time.

Phoenix is the company’s sixth-generation robot designed to overcome the challenge of bringing a general-purpose robot to market. Phoenix can

perform daily tasks such as picking and can work alongside humans. Phoenix is 5’7”, weighs 155 pounds, and can lift up to 55 pounds. Perhaps the robot’s most impressive feature is its hands, which feature “20 degrees of freedom and haptic sensors” that allow it to perform tasks that require dexterity.

“A critical component needed to make robots truly general-purpose is dexterous hands,” says Geordie Rose, CEO & co-founder of Sanctuary AI. “This is an area that Sanctuary AI has been intently focusing on. Each with 20 degrees of freedom and proprietary haptic technology, Phoenix’s hands are designed to be as close as possible to human hands in their dexterity and fine manipulation capabilities. Our haptic technology provides the robots with a sense of touch which is essential to perform tasks successfully.”

Sanctuary AI isn’t the only robotics company with



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“You’ve got about a million jobs unfilled in logistics, material handling, [and] manufacturing.”

a humanoid in the market. Apollo, from Apptronik, an Austin, TX-based robotics company, is a humanlike robot that is designed for use in manufacturing. Apollo is 5’8”, can lift up to 55 pounds, and can operate for four consecutive hours.

“Apollo will solve many of the near-term manufacturing and logistics use cases that have not been addressed by special-purpose automation solutions to date. This includes automated lineside/work cell delivery or machine tending of totes in manufacturing as well as trailer unloading, case picking, or palletizing,” says Jeff Cardenas, co-founder and CEO of Apptronik.

According to the company, Apollo shines in tasks that are considered “gross manipulation,” or gross motor function, like grabbing something with both hands. As technology develops, Cardenas predicts that

Digit uses its claw-like hands to grab and move empty tote boxes, removing this mundane and repetitive task off human workers. Photo courtesy of Agility Robotics.
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the robots will be able to move to finer dexterity tasks (complex tasks) over time. Specific to the packaging line, Cardenas says that Apollo would excel at material replenishment tasks like loading blank cartons into a cartoner, adding a new roll of film to a form/fill/

seal machine, and even handling simple packaging machine changeover.

Look at real-life applications

Another robot in market today is Digit from Agility Robotics, an Oregon-based robotics company. This humanoid robot can unload and load totes (up to 35 pounds) and put them on a conveyor. Amazon is already experimenting with Digit in its warehouses today. Digit uses its claw-like hands to grab and move empty tote boxes. According to Melonee Wise, CTO of Agility, Digit could also handle material replenishment tasks like picking up a box of containers and dumping it into an unscrambler. However, loading several containers by hand into a case would prove more difficult.

“Digit is really good at moving box-like or tote-like containers; that’s Digit’s superpower. It gets trickier when we talk about stacks of things or individual objects that we have to potentially pinch. A lot of Digit’s manipulation is more like tongs, less like bi-manual hands,” says Wise.

Sanctuary AI says that Phoenix is in the pilot stage, yet is ready for real-life application and can learn from demonstration by users wearing a VR headset to

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A critical component needed to make robots truly generalpurpose, is dexterous hands. Photo courtesy of Sanctuary AI.

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“. . . we’re building generalpurpose robots that can do any work a person might be reasonably expected to do.”

“show” the robot a new task. This remote control allows workers to operate the robot from home, decreasing their need to be on site, or from handling the task themselves. Sanctuary demonstrated the potential of robot remote work with a pilot test at a retail store in January where a human guided the robot through 100 tasks.

“Not only could Phoenix fill one of those roles, it could be used to perform any and all of them, which is unique,” says Sanctuary AI’s Rose. “Historically, many of the popular and successful robots that we’ve seen over the last several years have been on the special-purpose end of the spectrum. For example, an automated case labeling machine could perform the singular task of labeling boxes repeatedly, but by design these use cases are exclusive. At Sanctuary AI, we’re doing something entirely different — we’re building general-purpose robots that can do any work a person might be reasonably expected to do.”

It turns out many humanoid robots can handle both changeover and operating an HMI. These general-purpose robots, like Apollo, have the capability to manage the HMI interface (depending on what’s on the screen) and handle changeover, but due to its sophisticated technology, may not need to interface with the HMI like us humans.

“The robot can directly connect to the back end… it doesn’t necessarily need a touchscreen interface like we do because it can just connect to the computer,” says Cardenas.

When I reached out to Melonee Wise of Agility Robotics, she expressed the same idea.

“Most likely Digit would just do it telepathically… Digit would most likely look at a system without even having to look at the touchscreen, and just ask the system and the network it’s connected to. That’s how we do it today,” says Wise.

Robots as a labor solution

So, what’s driving the adoption of humanoids in the workplace? Experts agree that the number one motivator is labor shortages, followed by the desire to remove ergonomically challenging tasks from human workers.

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“It comes down to the labor gap. You’ve got about a million jobs unfilled in logistics, material handling, and manufacturing. And when we talk to customers, their big pain point is that 1 in 3 people don’t show up for a shift, and they have 20 open jobs… they just need to get the work done,” says Wise.

“We see a massive opportunity here, given there’s such a clear need for labor in manufacturing,” says Sanctuary AI’s Rose. “At the onset of the pandemic, the manufacturing industry lost roughly 1.4 million jobs and currently has around 700,000 job openings, representing 7% of the overall 9.9 million job vacancies in the U.S. Our robots are designed to help address labor shortages across industries, including manufacturing and packaging, as well as take on roles that are boring or unsafe for people.”

“Based on a 10-hr, two-shift operation that runs 5-6 days a week, we can achieve a payback, or ROI, of less than two years.”

while one is charging, others are working.

Are humanoid robots the future of packaging?

The functionality and capabilities are clearly there for humanoids to be deployed successfully in various places along the packaging line, and the evidence supports that they can help solve today’s workforce issues and provide automated labor where needed.

So, the final question is this. Is there a future where humanoid robots are used more and more in packaging facilities? While not too surprisingly, the robot manufacturers are more optimistic about this future than the CPGs I spoke with.

Removing dangerous tasks and filling the labor gap is one thing, but then there’s increasing throughput. Since robots can perform strenuous or repetitive tasks longer than humans, without the need for a break, Wise says that the general throughput of humanoid robots is higher than that of human workers. But there is the issue of battery life and charge time. While some companies I researched report four hours of battery life, Digit lasts about two hours, depending on what Digit is doing, and it takes about one hour to charge. Agility says that it is working on improving the battery life but also pointed out that typically, companies deploy a fleet of Digits so that

“The idea of using humanoid robots in the packaging facilities has not crossed my mind but humanoid robots do present good opportunity,” says Daniela Garcia, a packaging engineer in the dairy industry. “They have potential for implementation in areas where repetitive motions that cause fatigue over time are common. My mind goes to the loading of case packer magazines or the general replenishing of materials for equipment that is manually loaded today. Although this is the initial thought, such implementation requires thorough understanding of the limits and capabilities of humanoid robots.”

Camron Franklin, senior parcel account manager, Conveyor Solutions, agrees that there is value in tak-

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ing repetitive motions off human workers, but the question on everybody’s mind is cost.

Many robot manufacturers like Sanctuary AI and Apptronik will be deploying their robots through a Robotics-as-a-Service (RaaS) model where customers can lease the robots for an ongoing fee. Pricing varies based on the size of the operation and complexity of the tasks being performed and companies I spoke with are not eager to give out exact numbers. Even a Google search won’t net you exact numbers on humanoid robot pricing.

• Choose from custom designed or standard, 24/7 workhorse conveyors for simplistic to complex packaging applications.

• Our goal? Maximize productivity; increase throughput; minimize footprint; factor in future growth.

• We connect mechanical engineering & electrical so your OEM equipment “talks”.

• Accumulate, rotate, elevate, decline, merge, curve, divert, reject, flip, grip, hand pack, stack, sanitary, what’s that? Just tell us what you need. It’s that simple.


Humanoid robots like Phoenix o er users the flexibility of deploying the robot to automate any pressing task at any pressing time. Photo courtesy of Sanctuary AI.

Paxton’s high efficiency drying and blow off solutions improve the drying of cans and bottles for high quality labelling and coding, while using 60–80% less energy – typically giving a one year ROI. And with Paxton’s PowerDry™ Drying System, you can significally reduce downtime and quality rejects.


“Our robots are designed to help address labor shortages across industries, including manufacturing and packaging . . .”

Cardenas from Apptronik says that deploying them as RaaS is meant to offer the robots at a price comparable with the “rates of existing workers” by offering them at a “salaried” rate.

“The target is, long-term, to produce a system that costs less than $50,000 per year—and what that does is open up the range of different opportunities, but we’re not there yet today. That’s the goal, and that’s part of the design of Apollo to enable that,” says Cardenas.

Paxton’s powerful air delivery devices and systems remove dust, particulates, and debris effectively and efficiently. And if static cling is an issue, Paxton’s Ionizing Rinsing Systems dissipate the static charges on the targeted surfaces and then blasts the contaminants away using a Paxton PX-Series Blower.


Robots-as-service is helpful for companies and allows them to try the robots out and learn their capabilities without a large upfront investment.

Right now, Agility is selling Digit CapX plus Saas, but will go to a RaaS model in the future. According to Wise, as expected, the robots are “pretty expensive,” and she cannot publicly talk about price at this time.

What about repair and maintenance? Apptronik says that right now it is doing all its own service and maintenance but is looking to partner with third party providers that are already doing a lot of maintenance for other automation systems at scale. But general-purpose robots like Apollo and Digit are created to be easy to maintain.

“One of the keys for a robot like Apollo is for it to be easy to maintain, easy to swap out parts, and modularity is a big focus for us as we move ahead to enable that,” says Cardenas.

The PX-series of centrifugal blowers, by Paxton Products, offers unmatched blower efficiencies as high as 80% – meaning you’ll use 33% less energy overall. In addition to this, Paxton blowers come with an unmatched three-year warranty.

Wise also says Digit was created to easily change out parts on the robots, simplifying maintenance and service. But what about TCO (total cost of ownership) or ROI?

“Based on a 10-hr, two-shift operation that runs 5-6 days a week, we can achieve a payback, or ROI, of less than two years,” says Wise.

If labor shortages continue and robot prices decrease, a robotic humanoid future becomes a little more plausible. While exactly what humanoid robot adoption will look like remains to be seen, the interviews I conducted helped me to realize a not-so-far-off future where these robots can fill in gaps along the packaging line.

We’re clearly in the early days for general-purpose robots as most are not yet available for purchase or hire in large quantities or with the exact skillset CPGs may be looking for. But these robotics companies are working hard on the technology to get them ready for scale and improve functionality in manufacturing, logistics, and even packaging.

As with all trends and new technology, time will have to tell us how broadly this will be adopted and in what capacity. ■



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Company Background

When established: 2001

Leadership: Filippo Gremese, CEO; Rodney Grounds, VP of Sales; David Brooks, National Distribution Sales Manager; Andrea Mantovani, After Sales Manager; Brad Dodrill, Controller; Derek Jones, Marketing Manager

Range of products: Automatic and semi-automatic stretch wrappers; Case packers; Palletizers; Laser Guided Vehicles

Production/shipping volume per year: $450M+ globally

Headquarters/manufacturing location(s): Global headquarters are in Bologna Italy; U.S. HQ is located in Duluth Georgia; 10 production facilities including one in Portland Oregon (for the TopTier palletizers)

Number of employees: 2000+ worldwide

Number of field service personnel: Globally: 280+; U.S.: 50+

Facility square footage:80,000

Geographic sales and support areas: Italy corporate office and manufacturing facilities; Subsidiaries located in U.S., Germany, France, Spain, UK, Russia, Brazil, and China

Company website: www.robopacusa.com

Annual revenues: over $100 million

Robopac USA’s End-of-Line Advantage

The company listens to the voice of the customer to drive R&D innovation across a range of case packers, palletizers, stretch wrappers, and laser-guided vehicles.

Stephanie Neil, Contributing Editor

Founded in 2001, secondary packaging provider Robopac USA is based in Duluth, Georgia, but it has deep roots in the packaging valley of Bologna, Italy. As a subsidiary of the Italianbased Aetna Group that started as a foundry casting aluminum in the 1930s, the company is built on a customer-centric partnership approach, delivering the end-ofline packaging equipment needed downstream to pack cases and stack pallets.

Robopac USA is best known for its portable semi-automatic stretch wrap machine, called Robot S7, now in its seventh generation, but the company offers everything downstream from the product being made.

“We manufacture, service, and support a complete line of end-ofline packaging equipment,” said Robopac USA marketing manager Derek Jones, noting the company provides the widest range of machines and technological capabilities across all of its product lines,

including case packing, palletizing, stretch wrapping, and laser-guided vehicles.

Customizable machines

Most of the case packing, stretch wrapping, and laser-guided vehicles are manufactured in Italy, but Robopac USA does have facilities in Portland, Oregon, where palletizing equipment and entry-level automatic stretch wrappers (LT Automatic) are made. In addition, on the semi-automatic stretch wrapping side of the business, they have around 250-300 of those machines in stock to keep lead times short. “Most semi-automatic stretch wrappers ship within 72 hours from receipt of the purchase order. Robopac also has over $2 million in spare parts with over 90% shipping the same day,” Jones said.

And the equipment is designed to be adaptable. For example, while its semi-automatic stretch wrapping equipment comes in different configurations, if a customer wants to add on capabilities, like roping

Prasmatic TC 500 Combination shrink wrapper and case packer

devices, Robopac is able to upgrade the equipment at its Georgia facility prior to shipping. In addition, the machines that go through an RFQ process—including case packing, palletizing, automatic stretch wrapping, and laser-guided vehicles—can be customized based on enduser requirements.

This level of flexibility, coupled with an increased demand for more automated end-of-line equipment due to a labor shortage in the industry, is why Robopac USA has experienced 30% to 40% revenue growth annually in the North American market over the past four years.

The company also continues to evolve its products, as Robopac invests over 6% of revenues annually into research and development. “New product development is often a matter of designing new options to fit a particular market need,” Jones said. “Oftentimes, our customers come to us with new primary packaging designs which require adaptations of our equipment to meet those needs. If these new product designs are believed to be a market trend, the Robopac engineering team will start developing these adaptations.”

Other times, it is a matter of listening to the voice of the customer, many of whom are asking Robopac to make the machines more user-friendly. For example, more people want “hands-off” experiences with the machines, but the automatic stretch wrappers would require someone to change the roll. As a result, the company created an automatic roll changing (ARC) device that can detect when the film has run out. It then automatically switches the roll itself, and when another load comes down the conveyor and enters the wrapping zone, it will trigger the photo eye sensor, and the machine will start back up and wrap another load.

Meeting market changes

There are other trends in the CPG industry currently happening around changes in shelf-ready packaging and materials that are impacting how Robopac is designing its machines.

Shelf-ready packaging is driven by the labor shortage in retail, where there is a need for more efficiency in the stocking of products on the store shelves.

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“Robopac has worked with corrugate manufacturers to come up with unique wrap-around case designs that provide a shelf-ready solution,” said Rodney Grounds, Vice President of Sales at Robopac USA. “Because the cases are designed as a wrap-around, our customers will see a reduction in corrugate use over traditional shelf-ready case designs. Typically, a customer can reduce the corrugate by 5-to-7% using this method.”

Another trend Grounds is seeing from the large consumer products companies is the reduction of plastics in their packaging materials. By using Robopac’s patented Cube film delivery system, they have consistently been able to show a 20-to-50% reduction in stretch film consumption while maintaining superior load containment, he said.

In addition, Robopac is on its own digital transformation path, using a stage-gate approach to new product development. One of the stages includes the use of digital twins, which allows engineers to simulate new product development to ensure the legitimacy of the prototype. But that is just one way the technology could potentially be used. “Robopac sees that in the future digital twins could be used as an artificial intelligence platform for maintenance and repair,” said Grounds.

The glo-cal advantage

Because this U.S.-based company is headquartered in Italy, there is a cross-culture influence. For example, Robopac USA has an Italian CEO who provides a nice balance of the Italian culture with the U.S. expectations around speed and service.

“We use a term called ‘glo-cal,’ that is global and local, a combination of how we want to present ourselves as an organization around the world, but also understanding that each market is different and we need to know what the needs are of the local area,” Jones said.

To that end, the company believes it is important to be present in the customers’ local markets. Therefore, they have regional sales engineers based geographically in North America. These sales engineers are assisted by a team of application engineers, each specializing in an equipment sector. In addition, each global business unit has a team of specialized project managers to make sure local customers are served properly.

This commitment to customers has been an important part of the company’s Italian history, and it will also lead the North American operations into the future as it continues to grow and expand operations. ■

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Company Background

When established: 2012

Range of products: Custom automation. Also, a line of standard products: blister sleever, blister accumulator, brush washer/dryer, vial tray loader, wallet sealer, compact case packer, robotic syringe de-nester.

Executive team: Dustin Hanson, President. Walt Stewart, Exec VP of Sales. Ryan Sorkness, VP. Mark Jenson, Project Manager.

Production/shipping volume

per year: 15-20 medium to large systems

Headquarters/manufacturing location(s): Fargo, ND.

Number of employees: 25

Number of field service personnel: Five service technicians

Facility square footage: 30,000 sq ft facility

Geographic sales and support areas: National and International

Company website: pharmamedinc.com

Annual revenues: 5 to 10 million

PharmaMed: Pharma-grade Automation

Tackling old pharma and medical device problems with new ideas.

Sean Riley, Senior News Director

Arecent addition to PMMI, PharmaMed has been the pharma and medical automation pride of Fargo, North Dakota, for over a decade. OEM Magazine recently spoke with its leadership team to help introduce the company to its fellow association members.

Can you provide a brief history of your company?

PharmaMed was founded in 2012 by Walt Stewart and Dustin Hanson. Both had extensive experience in custom automation in the pharma and medical industries. Their vision was to build a company focused on great customer service and where their employees were treated like family.

What sets your company apart in the industry—what makes it shine?

PharmaMed employs Passionate Problem Solvers who can solve even the most complex issues. Their dedication to customers sets them apart from the rest. PharmaMed doesn’t give up and is always willing to work with its customers to get things right.

What went into the decision to join PMMI?

At PharmaMed, we like the idea of doing things to benefit our employees and our business. We saw the many advantages of PMMI for our employees, like training reimbursement for our employees, name recognition, networking opportunities, and discounts for tradeshows we already attended.

Have you participated in any PMMI programs since becoming a member or have plans to in the future?

We bought our PACK EXPO 2024 International Booth since becoming a member. While we have not participated in any other programs yet, we plan to take advantage of the employee training and the tuition benefit for continued education in the near future.

What’s your approach to new product development? How do you come up with ideas for new machines and market-test them?

We are always paying attention to the products currently offered by other companies, and we listen to our customers’ needs. This helps us see gaps in the market. When we go to trade shows with sample machines, potential customers always ask us, “Where can we get one of those?”


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For more information or to register for our upcoming workshops, visit pmmiu.org


How has your product line broadened over the years?

We started with one small machine, a brush washer/ dryer. Over the past 11 years we have now expanded to offer seven standard products, including the brush washer/dryer, a blister sleever, blister accumulator, vial tray loader, wallet sealer, compact case packer, and robotic syringe denester.

Can you share your annual investment in R+D (% of sales)?

We always research new technologies and processes when running a custom automation company. We estimate that, on average, 10-20% of sales is directed toward R&D.

Where do you find most of your employees?

What sort of background or specific talents/skills do you look for?

Our philosophy has always been to hire someone with quality personality traits and train them to do the job. We find our employees through multiple channels, including North Dakota State University engineering interns. We look for people with good character traits like integrity and respect for others and people who are team players and hard workers.

Why do employees love working for your company?

At PharmaMed, we offer flexible schedules, a caring leadership team, challenging design projects, and a team-oriented atmosphere. We all work together to accomplish each project, and the leadership team works hard to make sure everyone knows their role is important.

How do you balance standardized machine configurations with those requiring customization?

We do mostly custom automation and bring in our other standard products as needed to fit into product lines. Our team of “Passionate Problem Solvers” does an outstanding job merging these together to make one functional line.

Are you incorporating lean manufacturing?

Yes, we incorporate lean manufacturing. PharmaMed has just moved into its new corporate headquarters, and so we have implemented protocols and SOPs to support a more efficient approach to running our business. As a facility, we recycle everything, including in our manufacturing process and operations. We recycle metal shavings, reuse metal that can be repurposed, and other similar things.

How do you approach project management?

We have a dedicated Project Manager for all projects. This person follows the machine design/build and is part of all discussions/communications with the customer throughout the entire project.

What’s your process for handling a customer’s initial inquiry and needs assessment?

When a customer reaches out to us initially and inquires about our products, we listen to their needs. If there is a potential match between the challenge and the solution, we write up a quote and give them an estimated timeline.

Once a customer issues a P.O., what happens next? What can they expect?

Once the P.O. is issued, we have a five-step process for our customers:

1. Discovery – This is where we learn what our customers’ needs are – because we do custom automation, this is a process where we must come up with a custom solution. This is where our Passionate Problem Solvers really shine.

2. Design and Engineering –

• Project Schedule

• Engineering

• Presentation of design

• Revision

• Procurement

3. Assembly and Debug

4. Delivery and Set up

5. Ongoing Support

How do you handle field service and training?

Do you have dedicated training personnel, or do Service Technicians typically conduct training?

All PharmaMed machines use our S/S/T Program (Setup, Startup, Training). Field service and training are done by our Service Technicians onsite with the majority of installations.

Do you have PMMI Certified Trainers?

We don’t currently have PMMI Certified Trainers, but it is one of the PMMI offerings that has piqued our interest. Now that we are members, we can work toward it. ■


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Whether new to leading a team or an emerging talent, PMMI’s Leadership Development Program equips employees with the skills to lead with impact. From mastering strategic decisionmaking to team management, we provide the knowledge and confidence to succeed.

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Maximizing PACK EXPO Momentum: Renewed Outreach Post Show

Best practices for the post-show follow-up.

As we move from another successful PACK EXPO event, attendees must reflect on the valuable connections and opportunities discovered during the exhibition. It’s tempting to do an initial follow-up and then slowly let those contacts drift from our minds. But that ignores ongoing opportunities for transforming promising leads into meaningful business relationships. Explore the importance of diligent follow-up, how artificial intelligence (AI) can enhance this process, and why the start of the new year presents a golden opportunity for rekindling connections.

Attending PACK EXPO is about more than just the products and innovations showcased on the exhibition floor. It’s a melting pot of industry professionals, decision-makers, and potential collaborators. However, the real magic happens after the event and not just in the immediate follow-up phase. Many opportunities may slip through the cracks if the leads gathered are not nurtured and developed through strategic initiatives.

The follow-up process is a crucial aspect of lead development. Continued involvement shows dedication, professionalism, and a genuine interest in potential collaborations. In a competitive market, the extra effort in the follow-up often sets successful businesses apart.

Are you still working the leads?

As we enter the post-PACK EXPO period, it’s crucial to ask: Are you still working on the leads you gathered during the event? With the hustle and bustle of daily operations, it’s easy for those promising connections to get an immediate follow-up and then be put on the back burner. However, consistent follow-up is critical to maintaining the momentum gained at PACK EXPO.

Are you utilizing all available channels, such as email, phone calls, and social media, to reconnect with potential collaborators? Establishing a systematic follow-up

approach ensures no lead is left untouched and allows you to prioritize and personalize your engagement based on each contact’s unique needs and interests.

AI-powered follow-up:

Incorporating AI into your follow-up strategy can be a game-changer in the digital transformation era. AI-powered tools can analyze vast amounts of data to identify patterns, predict behaviors, and provide valuable insights into your leads’ preferences. This enables a more personalized and efficient follow-up process, increasing the likelihood of converting leads into meaningful partnerships.

Consider employing AI prompts to automate routine follow-up tasks, such as sending personalized emails or scheduling follow-up calls. By leveraging AI, you can streamline your follow-up efforts, allowing you to focus on building authentic relationships and exploring collaborative opportunities.

The new year: a fresh start for follow-up:

As we approach the new year, it’s an opportune moment to rekindle connections and set the stage for future collaborations. The start of the year brings a renewed sense of energy and optimism, making it an ideal time to reconnect with leads and prospects. Perhaps your immediate follow-up did not sync with potential projects or budget cycles? The new year is a fresh reason to check in with your leads. Previously inopportune timing might sync up in the new year, and your outreach reinforces your interest in working with that prospect. The new year provides a clean slate for building relationships and exploring new business ventures.

By investing time and effort into a thoughtful follow-up process, attendees can continue nurturing the promising PACK EXPO leads into long-lasting and mutually beneficial partnerships rather than biding time until next year’s event. ■

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“With the market expansions that are happening in the Southeast, it makes so much sense to bring all the benefits of PACK EXPO to Atlanta so we can connect directly with customers. We’re looking forward to a successful first show in Atlanta in 2025!”

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Celebrate PMMI’s 90th Year Connecting the Industry

DON’T MISS PMMI’s 2023 Highlights – a digital look back on PMMI’s major accomplishments throughout the year. Through this interactive webpage, you and your team will gain a deeper understanding of the power of PMMI to help you move your business forward. Review the 2023 programs that impacted your business. Experience the success of our record-breaking PACK EXPO trade shows and meetings. Learn how we connected the industry to advance your business. Check out the site and share it with your team. Access 2023 Highlights at pmmi.org/2023-highlights.

Join Top Leaders and Elevate Your Business at Executive Leadership Conference

Kickstart Your Business in 2024 – Register Today

Join other packaging and processing leaders in Cancun, Mexico, April 14-17, 2024, for PMMI’s Executive Leadership Conference where you will:

• Exchange ideas with peers – Share best practices with 125+ like-minded, C-suite industry executives.

• Learn from top leaders - Hear from exceptional keynote speakers such as Brian Beaulieu of ITR Economics and gain insights to take your business to the next level in 2024.

• Grow your connections - Participate in over 15 networking events, providing opportunities to expand and share knowledge with fellow leaders.

Hear from expert speakers on topics that will move your business forward, such as:

- Economic Outlook – Brian Beaulieu, CEO and Chief Economist, Institute for Trend Research (ITR) Economics

- AI in Manufacturing – Tom Morrison, President & CEO, Tom Morrison & Associates, Inc.

- Workforces Across the Generational Divide –Jaime Notter, Co-Founder & Cultural Designer, PROPEL

Check out the full schedule at pmmi.org/elc.

Secure Your Spot in the 2024 Leadership Development Program

Available exclusively for PMMI member companies

The PMMI U Leadership Development Program supports PMMI member companies in developing the next generation of leaders and managers. This six-month program offers a comprehensive approach to leadership development, focusing on critical areas such as mastering strategic decision-making and team management skills.

Each participant will receive a personalized development plan, based on a multi-dimensional assessment measuring behavior, motivation, and leadership attributes.

Apply Now! Limited Spaces Available.

Registration Deadline: May 1

Program Begins: May 10

For more information, visit pmmi.org/young-professionals/program ■


Master Proven Selling Techniques with PMMI’s Onsite Sales Training

Take your sales to the next level and equip your sales professionals with industry-leading knowledge when you register your team for our member-exclusive Packaging & Processing Equipment Selling in Today’s Market workshop, May 8 – 9, Chicago, IL.

During this two-day, in-person training, your capital equipment sales professionals will learn systematic consultative selling techniques that will position them as trusted advisors to customers seeking packaging, processing, and automation equipment.

Hurry, seats are filling fast! Register today at pmmiu.org.

Don’t Miss These Workshops Happening in Montreal, Quebec

Field Service Essentials

June 18–19 (BellatRx Inc., Montreal, Quebec)

Field service technicians are the face of your organization. They spend more time with your customers than anyone from your operation. This two-day workshop explores the nontechnical knowledge and skills needed to be a great technician.

Certified Trainer program

June 20–21 (BellatRx Inc., Montreal, Quebec)

This workshop gives your company the strategies and tactics to become an effective and successful trainer across all employee skill levels.

Learn more and register for these workshops today at pmmiu.org

Maximize Your Exposure to Reach Target Customers in 2024

Are you prepared to optimize your competitive edge and present your solutions to the right audience? It’s time to update your PMMI ProSource profile!

With 75% of site visits involving filter-based searches, it’s crucial to ensure your company appears in relevant search results. By updating your PMMI ProSource profile and using applicable search filter checkboxes, such as automatic, semi-automatic, inline, rotary, and more, you’ll make it easier for potential customers to discover your business.

Your updated profile listing enables you to increase your company’s visibility, highlight your areas of expertise, and drive traffic to your company’s profile. Visit pmmi.org/prosource to learn more.

UnPACKed with PMMI’s Best of 2023

Did you miss out on our most downloaded podcasts of 2023? Don’t worry – you can catch up on all our podcast episodes anytime, anywhere. Tune in on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your pods –search for “unPACKed with PMMI” and start finding solutions to your operational challenges today!

Top 3 from 2023:

• PepsiCo Empowers Next Gen Workforce

• Special Six-Part Sustainability Series: Pt. 1 - Advanced Recycling

• Tackling PACK EXPO Las Vegas: Insider Tips for Attendees

Business Intelligence –Webinar Library

DIVE DEEPER into the latest industry research and hear from industry leaders with the Business Intelligence Webinar Library. These insights, found in the newest industry reports, provide a detailed look into the challenges and solutions in the packaging and processing industry.

View the full Webinar Library today: https://www.pmmi.org/webinars.

2024 Trends in Remote Services & Monitoring

Read the most recent insights on remote services and monitoring in the newly released 2024 Trends in Remote Services & Monitoring report. This report covers services


offered to customers, recommended attributes, and barriers your customers face, all discussed by key leaders in the industry. This report provides answers to remote services challenges, valuable industry benchmarks, strategic planning insights, and a better understanding of which remote services offer the greatest potential for revenue growth.

Read Full Report:


View Full Report:

Moving to Sustainable Packaging:

Closing the

Innovation Gap

Global sustainable packaging policies and swiftly changing domestic legislation are impacting the rate at which manufacturers need to change packaging materials. Discussions reveal a clear movement toward more sustainable packaging and practices, such as reducing carbon footprints.


Achieving Vertical Strategies

Successful vertical startups depend on several key factors: communication, involving all relevant stakeholders early in the process, ownership of tasks, and robust planning.

View Full Report: https://www.pmmi.org/ report/2023-achievingvertical-startups

Global Marketing – International Shows

In 2024, PMMI Global Marketing is ready to make a significant impact on the international stage with participation in key international shows. With collaboration, industry insights, and strong connections within the international packaging and processing community, PMMI Global Marketing is focused on helping our members succeed in the international sphere.

• Anuga FoodTec, March 19–22, 2024, Cologne, Germany

• EXPO PACK Mexico, June 4–7, 2024, Mexico City, Mexico

• ProPak Asia, June 12–15, 2024, Bangkok, Thailand

• Anuga FoodTec India, Aug. 28–30, 2024, Mumbai, India

Learn more about the 2024 show lineup and member resources at: https://www.pmmi.org/goglobal.

10 Things the PMMI Leadership Program Has Taught Me

A RECENT graduate reveals the benefits of participating in the PMMI platform.

I have been the marketing coordinator at Morrison Container Handling Solutions for about a year and a half. I joined the team after graduating from Purdue Northwest. My role at Morrison allows me to challenge my creative side and build on my strategic skills while shaping what our message is to the industry and our customers.

With my goals focused on continuing to grow while providing value to my company, I was allowed to participate in the PMMI Leadership Development

Full Page 8.375” x 10.875”

Program, and my journey has been nothing but transformative. Not only did this course provide me with a platform to refine my skills, but it also instilled new perspectives that have reshaped my approach to leadership. Here are ten things I learned in the process.

1. My Personality Breakdown:

As I started this class, I underwent an in-depth analysis that shed light on my personality type from many different angles, such as how I handle:

• Problems & Challenges

• People & Contacts

• Procedures & Constraints

• Pace & Consistency

Having this as a resource has been invaluable not only in my career but also in my home life. I can now take a step back, recognize my patterns, and address them in real-time.

2. How to Navigate Leadership Styles:

Exploring various leadership styles has broadened my toolkit, enabling me to adapt to different situations. Although, it’s not just about adapting to situations; it’s about understanding what resonates with me. This journey has given me the tools to recognize what I truly value in a leader and how I respond best in different scenarios.

3. Embracing My Strengths and Weaknesses:

In the business world, we are often advised to keep our weaknesses under wraps. However, this course was a game-changer for me. It gave me the tools to recognize my strengths and weaknesses and play them strategically. What surprised me most? Traits I used to see as weaknesses unfolded into unexpected strengths as the course progressed.

4. Mastering Communication Dynamics:

We all understand the significance of communication, but this course elevated my ability to communicate both within my team and with the world outside it. This program highlighted internal and external communication strategies and sharpened my skill in articulating ideas effectively.

A key lesson I wish I had known sooner is to become an active listener.

5. Leadership vs Management:

Plot twist – they’re not the same thing! Exploring the nuances of leadership versus management has been a personal value, but this course has elevated it to a lived principle. It’s not just about understanding; it’s about embodying a standard that has enhanced my leadership skills and shaped me into a more conscientious individual.

6. The Power of Presence:

Recognizing the importance of being physically and mentally present has changed how I look at most things. I often find myself repeating the expression “be where your feet are” as a reminder to live in the moment and give 100% of my effort to the task at hand. In our fast-paced world, getting caught up in a project or something said in a meeting is easy. If you constantly worry about what happened yesterday, you will miss the chance to conquer today!

7. Strategic Decision-Making:

Delving into effective decision-making strategies has empowered me to navigate challenges with confidence and clarity and elevated my value as an asset to my company. Trusting my decision-making skills, I now approach choices holistically, considering the bigger picture for impactful outcomes.

8. Adaptability and Resilience:

This program didn’t just teach me about adaptability and resilience in leadership; it became my guide to navigating change with agility. As a newcomer in this industry, I wasn’t always the loudest voice, but this course revealed something crucial – this industry is built on different perspectives, and this is what drives innovation! We need people who see things from different angles, or we will never evolve.

9. Networking:

Through this course, I had the privilege of connecting with incredible individuals who have become a valuable network of resources who understand my industry and its demands.

10. Fostering a Culture of Continuous Learning:

One of the many lessons from the PMMI Leadership Development Program is the significance of creating a culture of continuous learning within our team. Embracing a mindset that encourages ongoing development enhances individual growth and contributes to the collective success of the entire group. It’s not just about ticking off training sessions; it’s about sharing the excitement of growth and discovery. I’ve come to see that a culture that values learning is our secret sauce for sparking innovation, staying adaptable, and achieving lasting excellence in the ever-changing dance of our industry.

As I wrap up this transformative chapter, I carry with me new skills and a personalized roadmap for ongoing success in both professional and personal endeavors.

Interested in participating in the Leadership Development Program? Hurry, registration ends May 1. Learn more at pmmi.org/young-professionals/ program


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Revolutionizing OEM Manufacturing with AI

A historical perspective and current limitations of the game-changing technology.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has transformed the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) sector from a futuristic concept into a competitive necessity. With 96% of manufacturers planning to increase AI investments by 2030, it’s crucial to understand both AI’s evolution and current capabilities in manufacturing.

The early days: expert systems and automation

AI’s historical journey in manufacturing began during World War II with Ford’s use of electro-mechanical vision systems to inspect components, significantly reducing production cycle times. The post-war era saw further advancements with robotics and complex AI-driven processes like Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) and Statistical Process Control (SPC), becoming integral to manufacturing.

The rise of machine learning and advanced AI

In the 1990s, machine learning algorithms began to replace rule-based systems, introducing adaptive learning capabilities for more complex problemsolving and optimization in manufacturing processes. In packaging, AI has been instrumental for decades, revolutionizing processes from sorting work to traceable labeling. AI-driven validation systems, automated line inspection platforms, and depalletizing systems have greatly enhanced efficiency and traceability, ensuring product safety and regulation compliance.

The current era: IoT and smart manufacturing

The integration of the Internet-of-things (IoT) and advances in robotics have led to pervasive digitalization, ushering in the era of Smart Manufacturing and Industry 4.0. In this period, AI has played a vital role

in enhancing throughput, quality, and cost efficiency while ensuring a safe working environment. The implementation of AI, particularly machine learning, has been critical in processing the vast amounts of data generated in manufacturing, leading to significant improvements in productivity, quality, flexibility, safety, and cost.

• AI-Enhanced Manufacturing and Packaging Efficiency: AI plays a pivotal role in manufacturing and packaging by optimizing the performance of machinery through advanced analytics and machine learning. This includes predictive maintenance, which anticipates equipment failures before they occur, and process optimization, where AI algorithms continuously analyze production data to fine-tune operations. In packaging, AI-driven systems can dynamically adjust packaging processes based on real-time demand and supply data, ensuring more efficient resource utilization and reducing waste.

• AI-Driven Interactive Packaging: In the realm of smart packaging, AI takes consumer engagement to the next level. Beyond just being interactive, AI-enabled packaging can personalize consumer experiences. For instance, AI can analyze consumer interaction data gathered through QR codes or augmented reality features to offer tailored content, such as personalized instructions, product recommendations, or augmented reality experiences. This not only enhances the customer experience but also provides valuable consumer insights to manufacturers.

Generative AI and process manufacturing

In process manufacturing, Generative AI is emerging as a technology with the potential to significantly transform the industry. It is recognized for its advanced data interpretation and content creation abilities, offering new approaches to operational strategy refinement. The capabilities of Generative AI in product design and development are particularly promising. By employing machine learning algo -


rithms, it could potentially explore a vast array of design solutions, aiming to enhance operational efficiency, structural integrity, and optimize material usage.

The application of Generative AI in process manufacturing holds the promise of surpassing traditional design limitations, facilitating innovative and unconventional designs. With the ability to process specific design goals and constraints, it could generate diverse solutions that align with these parameters. This process, if realized to its full potential, could lead to a significant increase in design efficiency, open new avenues for innovation, improve overall performance, and potentially result in considerable cost savings. While still in the nascent stages, the capabilities of Generative AI suggest a transformative future for process manufacturing, where efficiency and innovation could redefine industry standards.

Current limitations of AI in manufacturing

While AI has brought numerous advantages, it also has limitations:

1. Cost: The initial implementation of AI can be expensive, particularly for startups and small companies. Ongoing expenses include maintenance costs and cybersecurity measures.

2. Expertise Requirement: AI requires skilled experts for sophisticated programming and main tenance. With AI experts in high demand, finding and employing such professionals can be challeng ing and costly.

3. Security Vulnerabilities: As AI systems become more sophisticated, they also become more vulnerable to cyberattacks. A breach can disrupt production lines and, in severe cases, shut down a business. Continuous updates and investments in security measures are essential to protect against these threats.

The evolution of AI in packaging and process manufacturing signifies continuous innovation and adaptation. While AI has revolutionized many aspects of these industries, understanding its current limitations is crucial for realistic and stra tegic implementation. Future articles will delve deeper into practical applications and upcoming AI trends in these specific sectors, providing comprehensive insight into this transformative technology. ■

David McGraw is a Senior Director at Alvarez & Marsal Private Equity Performance Improvement Group LLC.



The Nuances of Negotiation

The Packaging and Processing Women’s Leadership Network delves into some tips for mastering mediation.

As part of the Packaging and Processing Women’s Leadership Network’s ongoing Learning Circle series, Stephanie Neil, former Editor-in-Chief of OEM Magazine, Angela Hall, associate professor, Michigan State University, and Joyce Longfield, principal of HPP applications, Good Foods Group, discussed the nuances of negotiation. Here is a brief excerpt from their discussion. To watch the full Learning Circle, visit pmmi.org/womens-leadership-network/videos.

Stephanie Neil:

Negotiation is an important part of career development, but it doesn’t come naturally to many people. Is it a skill that can be learned?

Angela Hall:

You can develop your negotiation skills. What is important is that when you learn or try to develop these negotiation skills, you focus on a few things. One of them is to focus on what your own strengths are. What do you bring to the negotiation?

There’s something called the best alternative to a negotiated agreement. That means, “What’s your plan B if this negotiation does not work out?” You need to know where to go and what you want to get from a negotiation. You need to know the point at which you will walk away or the point at which you say, “This is not going to work.” You need to come in with your aspiration point. And your aspiration point is what you would dream about getting.

Stephanie Neil:

The other piece of it, too, is I was 33 when I started, and so old enough and mature enough to be more confident and comfortable in myself.

Stephanie Neil:

Are there other ways to learn to move your strengths into the business environment without it becoming too emotional? Because, as women, we don’t want to be too emotional in the work setting. Is there any other advice there?

Angela Hall:

I think that it’s important to know negotiation techniques that are successful in the workplace. How do you frame something? If you want to negotiate with your boss about giving you a different type of assignment, you should frame how it would benefit that person or will benefit the organization in the long run.

“ In 2022, women typically earned $0.82 for every dollar earned by men.”

Joyce, I would imagine you’ve had to negotiate a number of contracts. How did you learn?

Joyce Longfield:

I think it was two things. I did have two male mentors, which was a significant help. Especially because we were selling equipment, and sales is kind of like a negotiation.

Another type of framing technique is contrast. You can say, “Well, we can do this, and if we want to do a good job and we want to be successful, this is what I suggest that we do, as opposed to when we did that, and it ended very badly.” That’s also another technique called legitimizing.

So, how you can use these psychological techniques called influence tactics goes a long way at work and, frankly, in any other aspect of life where you’re going to do any negotiation.

Stephanie Neil:

Joyce, you said that earlier in your career, you had male mentors, and I’m just wondering, should men and women negotiate differently, work differently, communicate differently?

Joyce Longfield:

Yeah, I think that’s a fine balance, and it’s all a part


of doing your homework, reading the room, and just feeling the energy of the room. And obviously, women have been labeled as being emotional, being dramatic, being hysterical, this kind of thing. So, I think one of the skills that I learned is to control my emotions so that even if I feel myself getting upset about something or overwhelmed, I don’t want that being presented to the room because I don’t want anybody to start judging me or shut down or anything like that.

Stephanie Neil:

In 2022, women typically earned $0.82 for every dollar earned by men. Are there certain things and go-to’s that you can lean on in these situations to try to get higher pay?

Angela Hall:

That $0.82 on every dollar figure is the result of multiple factors. Part of it could be gender discrimination, and part of it could be the fact that women oftentimes leave the workplace or take lower-paid roles because they are the primary caregivers of their children. Others could be that they don’t negotiate that higher starting salary and then their subsequent raises are based on that. It’s so important that, to the extent that you can get the highest salary going in.

Joyce Longfield:

The art of conversation is so important. And when you were talking about money, I think money is something that a lot of women struggle with. Especially if they must walk into a room and converse with a male. To make the conversation more fluid and comfortable, I’m a big believer that the story you tell yourself is the story you live. [Rather than walking in the room] thinking, “I’m so nervous, I don’t know if he’s going to give me what I want,” maybe beforehand, write out a list of what this raise means.

What will they get out of it that will make them happy and want to pay you more? Build up your confidence before you go in there. “I’m going in there, and I’m going to tell them all about the wonderful things I’m going to be able to do and that this raise will motivate me” for whatever reason that you want this money. Maybe you feel like you’re being underpaid, and you want to be treated more equally; I still think you need to go into it thinking, “I have to show them that there’s a reason behind giving me this pay increase.” ■

help OEMs to focus on and optimize the other critical aspects of their application and machine, while we handle the containers. With over 25 engineers on the team, we offer a wide range of solutions that pair well with your equipment to make it run more efficiently and give you an edge up on your competition. TIMING SCREWS CHANGE PARTS TIMING SCREW DRIVE UNITS COMBINERS + DIVIDERS DENESTERS + RENESTERS ORIENTING + INVERTING VARIETY PACKS + STACKING DOWN BOTTLE REJECTS info@morrison-chs.com www.morrison-chs.com 335 W. 184th Street Glenwood, Illinois 60425 SUPPORT BUILT IN® EVERY STEP OF THE WAY HOW WE WORK with OEMs Let’s Grow TOGETHER GROW WITH MORRISON AS YOUR CONTAINER HANDLING EXPERT


PACK EXPO Save the Dates!

The next five events in the PACK EXPO portfolio of trade shows will be here before you know it.

With PACK EXPO East wrapped up, it’s time to set your sights on future shows. Remember to mark these essential dates in your calendar – you won’t want to miss out!




2024 –Mexico City - June 4-7, 2024

 For current EXPO PACK Mexico exhibitors, the all-new Exhibitor Resource Center is now available. Sign in to pay invoices, update company information, and more. Be sure to register your booth personnel and complete your online listing, as attendee registration is also now open.

For more information, contact Veronika Brumm, manager of international shows, at vbrumm@pmmi. org or by phone at (571) 612-3193.

PACK EXPO Southeast 2025 –Atlanta - March

10-12, 2025

 Priority space selection for the inaugural PACK EXPO Southeast was completed in February, and applications are now being accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Atlanta is not only a manufacturing hub but also an easily accessible meeting ground for packaging and processing professionals from across the South. You won’t find a more convenient location to meet with professionals from the region’s many consumer packaged goods (CPG) and life sciences companies.

Visit www.packexposoutheast.com to view up-to-date Floor Plans and submit your application to reserve a booth.

PACK EXPO International 2024 – Chicago - November


It’s time to start preparing for your exhibit at PACK EXPO International. Be sure to log in to your Exhibitor Resource Center (formerly known as the Exhibitor Dashboard). This tool is your gateway to access your payment portal, online listing, booth personnel registration, service manual, and more. Exhibitor registration is now available, and the Exhibitor Service Manual will be available starting in May. Check your Exhibitor Resource Center often for updates on upcoming webinars, deadlines, and resources as you prepare for the show.

Remember to add reply@mailpackexpo.com to your safe sender’s list to ensure you receive all showrelated communication. For more information, contact the Show Department at (571) 612-3200 or expo@pmmi.org.

PACK EXPO Las Vegas 2025 –

Las Vegas - September 29 – October 1, 2025

Space applications are now being accepted, and priority space selection will occur this summer. Be on the lookout for the Exhibitor Prospectus to be mailed to you – giving you all of the details you need to exhibit at PACK EXPO Las Vegas. In 2025, we will introduce the West Hall for exhibits – be sure to review the Floor Plan insert for locations, including show floor pavilions. Hurry, as the priority space selection application deadline is June 3. To submit your application, visit www.packexpolasvegas.com.

EXPO PACK Guadalajara 2025 –GuadalajaraJune 10-12, 2025

Space applications are now being accepted and priority booth selection will take place in April. For more information, reach out to Veronika Brumm, manager of international shows, at vbrumm@pmmi.org or by phone at (571) 612-3193.

Company Index www.oemmagazine.org T he following section, Partner Leaders, features profiles of leading packaging and processing automation suppliers that stand to deliver value to you, the OEM. These companies specialize in bringing you the innovative products and services that you need, such as controls, components, integration, and more. Plus, you’ll find a companion Partner Leaders box prominently featured on the homepage of OEM (www.oemmagazine.org), with a drop-down menu of the participating companies listed by product category. SPRING 2024 49 AMCI - Advanced Micro Controls Inc. ................................ 50 B&R Industrial Automation Corp. ..................................... 51 Carleton Helical Technologies ........................................... 52 CSS International Corporation .......................................... 53 Dorner Mfg. Corp. ............................................................ 54 Elesa U.S.A. Corporation ................................................... 55 Encoder Products Company .............................................. 56 Eriez ................................................................................. 57 Exor International Spa ...................................................... 58 Fenner Precision Polymers ................................................ 59 JAX INC. ............................................................................ 60 Lubriplate Lubricants Company ........................................ 61 mk North America, Inc ...................................................... 62 Morrison Container Handling Solutions ............................ 63 Multi-Conveyor ................................................................ 64 Novanta ........................................................................... 65 PAXTON, An ITW Air Management Company .................... 66 SEW Eurodrive .................................................................. 67 Slideways, Inc. .................................................................. 68 SMC Corporation of America ............................................ 69 SpanTech, LLC ................................................................... 70 VDG (Van der Graaf) ......................................................... 71 VEGA Americas ................................................................. 72 Wipotec - Weighing Technology ........................................ 73 Wire Belt Company of America. ........................................ 74 Yaskawa America, Inc. ...................................................... 75

Advanced Micro Controls Inc. (AMCI) MAChIne Control


Since established in 1985, Advanced Micro Controls, Inc. (AMCI) has been committed to bringing reliability, simplification, and unmatched performance to the automation industry. AMCI is a leading US based manufacturer with a global presence. Our focus has been to improve PLCbased automation systems with specialized position sensing and motion control technology. All of our products are designed and manufactured in house, enabling superior quality and innovation. We offer the best PLC integration available in the market.

AMCI’s products have a unique design that delivers superior performance. Our specialty I/O products not only expand functionality but introduce capabilities such as position sensing, motion control, stamping press automation, and packaging control solutions. Whether linear or rotary, our PLC-based interface products ensure user-friendliness, setting a new standard in the industry.

Furthermore, AMCI offers a comprehensive range of heavy-duty rotary shaft sensors tailored for the industry’s most demanding applications. Our product line offers a broad selection of heavy-duty resolver transducers, featuring single-turn, multi-turn, and redundant versions for precise absolute position sensing in harsh environments. Our stepper and servo motion control products provide optional network connectivity or seamless integration into existing systems, offering improved performance and reliability.

AMCI’s commitment to the industrial automation industry runs deep throughout all aspects of the company. Our goal is complete customer satisfaction and seamless solutions for your industrial needs. We provide quality products backed by comprehensive warranties/guarantees. Our dedicated technical support team ensures reliable service, offering assistance and training to help you identify the best product for your specific application needs.

CT Terryville
Controls ProduCts SPRING 2024 50

B&R Industrial Automation MAchIne contRol


B&R is an innovative automation company headquartered in Austria with subsidiaries all over the world. Including several offices across North America. B&R has been a business unit of ABB since July 6, 2017. Today, B&R is a leading global solution provider for automating machines and factories and is responsible for machine automation in ABB’s Robotics & Discrete Automation division.

As an industry leader in industrial automation, B&R combines state-of-theart technologies with advanced engineering.

B&R provides customers from a wide range of industries with complete solutions in machine and factory automation, drive and control technology, visualization and integrated safety technology. Solutions for communication in the Industrial IoT – above all OPC UA, POWERLINK and the open standard openSAFETY – round off B&R’s service portfolio. In addition, the Automation Studio software development environment is a signpost for future-oriented engineering.

The B&R ecosystem offers a uniquely comprehensive portfolio of today’s most advanced automation technology - including machine vision, robotics, digital twin simulation, and mechatronic product transportation systems. Our team has the knowledge and experience to combine these technologies in a way that enables manufacturers to adapt to all types of unexpected changes without sacrificing productivity. This is the crucial ability - known as adaptive manufacturing - that manufacturers can leverage to more efficiently handle the demands of direct-to-consumer and omnichannel business opportunities.

For more information and to learn more about B&R solutions visit www. br-automation.com

office.us@br-automation.com 770/772-0400
GA Roswell
Controls ProduCts SPRING 2024 51


At CHT, we take pride in providing top-notch customer service for all of our packaging machinery. From the moment our engineering team designs the equipment to installation and beyond, we stand behind the quality of our products. Our Customer Service department works closely with customers to ensure that all CHT packaging machinery is working optimally. We understand that downtime is costly for our customers, and our team is available to provide support and troubleshooting. With CHT packaging machinery, you can trust that you are making a reliable investment for your production line, backed by exceptional customer service.

Our team of experienced engineers understands that every customer’s cleaning needs are unique. That’s why we specialize in custom designing Ionized Air Rinsers to clean containers before they are introduced to downstream applications. Our cleaning systems are designed to manipulate containers for optimal cleaning, utilizing ionized air as a cleaning agent. With our In-Line Ionized Air Rinsers, you can be confident that your containers are thoroughly cleaned and ready for the next stage of production. CHT also offers the FG Rinser and GR Rinser.

Our advanced feedscrews and feedscrew drives are the perfect solution for a wide range of applications, including combining, dividing, rotating, collating, metering, dwelling, and de-nesting. Designed with state-of-theart software, our engineers have the precision necessary to manipulate containers along the production line with unparalleled accuracy.

The HP Invertors are a game-changer for businesses that require quick and efficient container inversion. With a small footprint of only 12-24 inches, the HP Invertor is easily integrated into any conveyor system with minimal alterations. Additionally, the Invertors come with the option of color coding and quick changeover, making them even more versatile for a range of applications.


Our team of experts is committed to providing top-notch service and support to ensure your success. New Britain sales@feedscrew.com 215.230.8900
Integrated equIpment SPRING 2024 52
Carleton Helical Technologies Conveying




With tool and die shop heritage our highly experienced workforce, great engineering expertise and commitment to quality materials provides the best solution for OEMs.


— Timing screws

— Bottom code and inspection diverters (unique with CSS)

— Quick change parts

— Drive units

— Side grip belt units — Vacuum reject systems

We are committed to providing the most cost-effective engineered solutions using quality materials to ensure long-term reliability. We customize our equipment and materials to suit line conditions. We test components prior to shipment to assure hassle-free installation as well as follow-up with our customers to guarantee satisfaction.

With over 75 years of experience you can be confident of the long term reliability of our products.

To learn more about our products, visit www.cssintl.com.

To place an order, contact sales@cssintl.com or call (800) 278-8107


Philadelphia, sales@cssintl.com (800)


At Dorner, our unwavering commitment is to revolutionize Conveyor Automation by delivering cutting-edge solutions with unparalleled support. This dedication, coupled with a storied history of proven excellence, has firmly established the Dorner Brand as a recognized leader in product handling for over 55 years. Our comprehensive range of customizable sanitary, industrial, pallet, and flexible chain automation solutions position Dorner as the go-to provider for conveyor applications.

Dorner’s conveyors are meticulously crafted to facilitate the seamless movement of products to precise locations at the right time and in the exact position required for the subsequent phase of the production line. Boasting industry-best product transfers and in-house belting capabilities, Dorner stands at the forefront of precision conveyance, facilitating the integration of conveyors with robots, personnel, and equipment with remarkable accuracy.

For more custom projects, Dorner’s Engineered Solutions Group (ESG) is transforming product handling with innovative solutions that are custom designed to solve customers’ unique needs. This full service team can provide systems for applications such as accumulation, indexing, positioning, product flow and much more.

Additional Dorner benefits:

• After sales support through services such as installation, maintenance, replacement part audits, and preventative maintenance programs.

• Industry best lead times with conveyors shipping in as few as three business days.

• Online Configurator (D-Tools) allows users to design conveyors and download 3D CAD assemblies for instant validation of fit.

Hartland info@dorner.com 262-367-7600
Integrated equIpment SPRING 2024 54
Dorner Conveying


www.elesa.com SPRING 2024 55

At Elesa, we understand the critical importance of streamlined packaging operations and the need for reliable machinery. We recommend integrating our exceptional range of standard machine parts into your packaging equipment and machines. By embracing standardization, we empower you to reduce the costs associated with product development while maintaining quality and performance.

Established in 1941, Elesa is the international reference in the design, production, and distribution of the broadest range of standard components in plastic and metal for the mechanical and machinery industries. Elesa boasts over 50 industrial design awards and 300 patented designs.

Elesa’s achievement stems from a dedication to advancing measurement and ergonomic technologies, and through strategically located subsidiaries and representatives across the globe, we guarantee direct communication and technical assistance to our customers both domestically and internationally. Our sales representatives are also ready to assist OEM customers and end-users on-site, providing competent consulting and customer service in multiple languages.

By leveraging Elesa’s standard machine parts in your packaging equipment and machines, you can unlock many advantages, including superior quality, extensive product range, precision engineering, versatility, and exceptional customer support.


Twinsburg info@elesausa.com
As a trusted partner, we stand by our mission to provide you with the best standard machine parts to support your engineering, procurement, and maintenance needs. We enhance efficiency, reliability, and overall performance while minimizing maintenance costs and downtime. Choose Elesa to enhance your packaging equipment, and we will deliver unmatched value, enabling your business to stay ahead in today’s competitive market. Elesa SUBCATEGORY CATEGORY



Encoder Products Company

At Encoder Products Company, we strive to serve you with expert service, quality products, and fast delivery. EPC specializes in encoders for motion feedback in industrial automation applications such as packaging, printing/ labeling, vision systems, food and beverage, motor feedback and more.

We understand that each industrial automation application is different and you need encoders that fit the requirements of your applications. That is why our encoders are highly configurable, offering a wide array of shaft or bore sizes, output types, connector types, mounting options and resolutions up to 65,536 CPR. You’ll also get an industry-leading warranty and fast delivery from Idaho, USA.

Encoder Products offers:

Competitor cross referencing and drop-in ready Direct Replacement encoders

Engineering services for your custom motion feedback needs

Tru-Trac® linear measurement solutions - an integrated encoder, measuring wheel and pivot arm in one compact unit

Draw wire units with wire lengths up to 42.5 meters

Robust mechanical housing for harsh operating environments, with stainless steel and corrosion-resistant options

Magnetic encoder modules with sealing to IP69K

Temperature ranges from -40°C to 120°C USA-based

EPC is ISO9001:2015 certified and we design, manufacture and assemble most of our encoders and accessories at our corporate headquarters in Idaho, USA. When you call EPC, you will speak to engineers and encoder experts who can help you find the right motion feedback for your application. Contact us today.

ID Sagle Sales@encoder.com

Eriez Vibratory Feeders,

Eriez’ electromagnetic Vibratory Feeders feature a highly efficient, unique magnetic drive circuit that is simple yet a powerful solution to difficult material feeding applications. These feeders, with their totally enclosed magnetic drive, can feed practically any bulk material from micron size to bulky chunks.

Model A Feeders, the smallest feeder in the line, this economical model will give precise feeding of the most minute amounts of materials. It is ideal for feeding a regulated amount of granular to small lump material from a hopper to a second process, in small packaging operations or laboratory use. These feeders control material flow from a few pounds per minute to 2 tons per hour.

Model C Feeders are larger than Model A Feeders. These units use the same drive that provides the best linearity in the industry. Special construction is also available for Class II, Group F and G installation.

Eriez Hi-Speed Feeders have been designed for exceptionally high speed feeding of light, bulky materials. They provide greater economy and efficiency in feeding, filling, etc., and are ideal for use in conjunction with many weigh scale and packaging machines. These feeders operate at speeds up to 75% greater than standard models; however, they do follow many of the basic tried and proven mechanical design and construction features of other feeders.

Model HD Feeders “High Deflection” Vibratory Feeders combine the higher deflection 4.8 mm (3/16-inch) and lower frequency (30 cps) advantages of a mechanical feeder with the trouble–free service of an electromagnetic feeder. The Model HD is designed to handle powders and leafy products that normally could not be fed successfully in an electromagnetic feeder. Feed rates of up to 24 m/min (80 ft/min) are possible for products with a bulk density less than .16 gm/cc (10 lb/ft3). Eriez has standard models for the majority of feeding applications. Special units such as multiple drives, enclosed trays or screens can be designed for the best solution to your application. A wide variety of standard and special trays also are available.


www.eriez.com/NA/EN/Products/Vibratory-Feeders-and-Conveyors.htm PA Erie



Exor International group stands at the forefront of innovation industrial automation and HMI solutions since over 50 years.

With a robust footprint through our subsidiary, Exor America INC, based in Hamilton (OH), we reinforce our global presence and enhances our capability to deliver cutting-edge technology and customized services to machine builders worldwide, adapting and advancing our offerings to meet the unique challenges of the American market.

At the core of our offerings is the X Platform, a holistic industrial automation suite that offers a robust framework for our hardware and software solutions and third parties technology, ensuring our clients have access to the most advanced, reliable, and efficient tools to propel their operations forward with a great impact also in transforming the service departments from cost to profit centers.

Coupled with JMobile for unparalleled interface flexibility and CORVINA for secure and scalable cloud connectivity, X Platform underscores our dedication to empowering clients with the tools necessary for both current and future success.

Exor America INC. is a strategic branch and a critical component of our global strategy, bringing Exor International’s innovative spirit and technological leadership to the American industrial market. Through the

Platform and our tailored solutions, we meet the current demands of our clients anticipating and shaping the future of industrial automation.

IT Verona, Italy
EXOR International HMIs and OpER atOR IntERfacEs Controls ProduCts SPRING 2024 58
045 8750404

Fenner Precision Polymers SUBCATEGORY

prpusmarketing@fennerppd.com 717/665-2421


Fenner Drives is a Fenner Precision Polymers company, home to three families of brands: Industrial Motion, High-Tech Coated Fabrics, and Air & Fluid Handling solutions. Industrial Motion is powered by Fenner Drives.


Food Processing

Fenner Drives serves industries from aggregate screening to 3D printing and much more. Among them is Food Processing. In this industry, Fenner Drive’s Eagle PU Belting, Wiremation, and Flexx Flow brands are market leaders. Flexx Flow belting is ideal for breading, cooking, battering, coating or almost any processing application from freezing up to +500F. Applications include processing meat, poultry, seafood, baked goods, cereal, and candy.

Flexx Flow Advantages:

* USDA Approved

* Easy to Clean - Flow through design allows for unrestricted wash down and inspection

* Light weight, Easy to handle

* Quick to install

Material Handling

Fenner Drives provides a full line of solutions that optimize throughput and reduce downtime. POWERTWIST link belts, Eagle Poly-V, and Eagle O-rings are each aimed at boosting Roller Conveyor performance with a focus on straight conveyors, roller curves, transfer conveyors, and spur & merge conveyors.

Eagle Poly-V and POWERTWIST ROLLER DRIVE are ideal on Roller curves because they are abrasion resistant. Fenner’s HT and HEHT O-rings bump up load capabilities compared to standard O-rings.

PA Lititz


Since 1955, JAX has been developing cutting-edge industrial and food grade lubrication solutions. From hydraulic and gear to compressor, conveyor, chain, and eco-friendly lubricants, we offer a comprehensive selection of top-quality grease and aerosol products – all proudly made in the United States.

If you are in need of specialized, high-performing food grade lubricants for your plant, JAX has solutions for bakeries, meat packers, beverage bottlers, and many other food processing settings. Since pioneering food grade lubricants back in 1963, we’ve developed hundreds of NSF registered lubricants, backed by ISO 9001 and ISO 21460 certifications.

At JAX, we have a dedicated team of technical service representatives, scientists, and chemists who are committed to providing continuous assistance for optimal equipment performance. Our field service representatives are available to provide in-plant support and offer training as needed, ensuring that your business runs smoothly.

In our JAX RPM Lab, our scientific team conducts extensive research and development activities to identify products and formulas that precisely meet your specifications. Additionally, we perform in-house used oil analyses to monitor performance and promptly address any potential concerns that impact performance and longevity.

Innovation is at the core of our business. We thrive on unique challenges, and our team is prepared to help you develop a tailored solution that meets your specific needs. Let us assist you in finding the perfect lubrication solution for your plant. Contact JAX today.

WI Menomonee Falls info@jax.com

MaChine CoMponents

Lubriplate Lubricants Company


Back in 1870, Lubriplate’s founders set out to make the highest quality, best performing lubricants available. In doing so, they helped pioneer the use of anti-wear additives that significantly increased lubricant performance through the years. Today, that innovative tradition continues with their complete line of ultra high-performance, 100% Synthetic,

Registered, Food Grade Lubricants.

Manufactured under strict NSF/ ISO 21469 Certified and ISO 9001

Registered quality control standards, these lubricants are formulated to deliver a number of significant, cost effective advantages, including; extended lube and fluid change intervals, multiple application capability, lubricant inventory consolidation and improved performance. Clean, safe and non-toxic, their use can eliminate lubrication as a critical control point in HACCP programs.

All Lubriplate Lubricants come with Lubriplate’s ESP Extra Services Package at no additional charge. Services include; a complimentary plant lubrication survey by a factory direct representative, color coded lubrication charts and machinery tags, a toll free technical support hotline and email, and follow-up lubricant analysis.

For more information contact:

Lubriplate Lubricants Company Newark, NJ 07105 / Toledo, OH 43605

Phone: 800-733-4755

E-Mail: LubeXpert@lubriplate.com www.lubriplate.com

NJ Newark LubeXpert@lubriplate.com 800-733-4755
Controls ProduCts SPRING 2024 61
When you are looking for more than a conveyor; better products. better solutions.



“At mk North America, we pride ourselves on understanding each of our customers’ unique challenges. We want to be the customer’s partner in developing material-handling solutions optimized for their needs.” Andreas Haussmann, President

mk North America, a leader in conveyor solutions since 1988, collaborates with customers to address unique challenges. As part of the mk Technology Group, we prioritize innovation and application engineering excellence. Our conveyors, built with mk’s modular t-slot aluminum, offer versatility for easy line expansion and integration with workstations and guarding.

Catering to diverse industries, our conveyors are suitable for piecehandling or pallet-handling and accommodate delicate to high-load oversized parts. Whether used for accumulating or precise indexing, mk’s conveyors provide flexible and reliable solutions.

Committed to delivering superior products and tailored solutions, we work closely with customers to understand project goals. Our conveyors, engineered and built in Bloomfield, CT, undergo rigorous testing before shipping, ensuring fast installation and customer peace of mind.

Let’s form a partnership you can count on. Connect with us at www. mknorthamerica.com.

CT Bloomfield info@mknorthamerica.com
Integrated equIpment SPRING 2024 62

Morrison Container Handling Solutions



Innovation in the pursuit of greater line efficiencies has kept Morrison Container Handling Solutions the leading manufacturer of automated container handling equipment for over 53 years, all backed with expert design and Support Built In®. In addition to being the leading manufacturer of timing screws in North America for OEMs and end-users, we design a variety of automated equipment that address many productivity-related items for other OEM equipment.

We offer a wide range of solutions that pair well with your equipment to make it run more efficiently to give you an edge on the competition when it comes to control of product. Whether it be to increase speed, automate container presentation, or a variety of other things, our products work with yours to present your customer with the best solution possible when it comes to packaging equipment.

With over 25 engineers on staff, OEMs often leverage our team to solve simple to complex challenges. Our standard product lines include timing screws, drive units [metering, feeding, turning, grouping], change parts, combiners, dividers, twist blocks, down bottle rejects, can openers, denesters, collating, stacking, multi-packing, orienting, and inverting systems. And when standard solutions won’t work, we provide some of the most robust, flexible custom equipment in the business.

With PMMI Certified Trainers on staff, we fully back our customers and your customers every step of the way. With every product, you receive expert-backed Support Built In® --- our personal customer service program for any general questions or technical support you need before, during, and after installation. It’s our promise to be there for you when it counts, so you can be there for your customers.

Let’s form a partnership you can count on! Contact us today to learn more about how we can pair our solutions with yours to help advance automation on packaging lines all over the world.

IL Glenwood
Conveying Integrated equIpment SPRING 2024 63



Renowned as a custom conveyor manufacturer, Multi-Conveyor’s products are multiple and unique. We’ve built some of the most complicated OEM conveyor requests ever imagined, yet provide simplistic conveyor solutions on a regular basis as well. We’re committed to providing a more technologically advanced conveyor, designed to meet or exceed the project requirements.

Technical: Multi-Conveyor’s upfront technical support is what sets us apart. Hands down. We work with OEMs to provide the technical conveyor strategic advantage needed to move product from process to case packer - and every step in between.

Concept/Design: Multi-Conveyor’s designers and mechanical engineers factor in productivity, ease of use, reduced overall footprint, safety, sanitation (as required), maintenance, longevity and future growth. We use quality components that match or surpass your conveyor project scope.

Engineering/Electrical: Our engineers make sure your systems “talk”. We integrate technology driven operator-to-controls communications. HMI interface and servos provide faster, more efficient changeovers. Adaptability to various shapes, weights and sizes allows flexibility to match our solutions to your products for increased throughput and future expansion.

Project Management: Concise approval drawings clarify functionality of equipment prior to fabrication. We facilitate the entire project from start to finish, often times adapting unforeseen equipment changes mid-stream. Ending with OEM or customer approved performance FATs prior to shipment.

Chances are, we’ve already built a system that’s similar to the project you’re working on right now - or made one pretty dang close. Let’s do this.

WI Winneconne info@multi-conv.com
Integrated equIpment SPRING 2024 64


Novanta Photonics develops laser processing solutions for OEMs and system integrators. Through our recognized brands in advanced laser processing, ARGES, Cambridge Technology, Laser Quantum, and Synrad we design and manufacture reliable laser sources, advanced beam steering solutions, and intelligent software and controls. Our products deliver extreme precision and performance, tailored to our customers’ demanding applications.

We are in the unique position as designer and manufacturer of high precision laser sources, beam delivery components, controllers, and software for the heart of laser processing machinery and systems. Our unique laser processing sub-systems help OEMs and system integrators get their machines and in-line laser processing systems up and running faster and easier. Save precious integration time and resources with proven, robust laser processing sub-system packages utilizing industry leading components from a single source.

MA Bedford

266.5700 Novanta Photonics SUBCATEGORY CATEGORY SPRING 2024 65

Paxton Products, an


Paxton Products manufactures high efficiency centrifugal air blowers and custom-engineered pneumatic air delivery devices that are used for drying, air rinsing, and blow off, to improve product quality through better cleaning, rinsing, labeling, marking, and coding processes. Paxton’s Air Delivery Devices, such as our high efficiency Air Knives, are customengineered to maximize and improve the quality of drying, blow off, and cleaning of products and surfaces. Our team configures the Air Delivery Device specifically for your unique application - sizing Air Knives, Nozzles, and manifolds for peak efficiency.

Available in both aluminum and 304 stainless steel, Paxton’s Air Knives and Knife Systems are designed to give maximum efficiency for high velocity drying and blow off applications. These systems feature a continuous, uninterrupted air slot design that gives uniform air coverage over the targeted area. Because of this, you’re able to significantly reduce the amount of product quality rejects for your business.

Coupled with Paxton’s high efficiency centrifugal air blowers and air delivery devices, Paxton’s Ionizing Rinsing Systems remove particulates, dust, and contaminants using powerful ionization. The Ionizing Rinsing System provides static control and static elimination so that dirt and dust don’t adhere to surfaces, and then blasts contaminants away using a Paxton PX-series centrifugal blower.

For drying, Paxton’s patented PowerDry Drying System sets the standard for a complete, power-drying and blow-off air system that can used for a wide variety of cans, bottles, jars, and pouches. By incorporating Paxton’s PX-series centrifugal air blowers, the PowerDry System lowers energy costs by as much as 80% through reduced compressed air usage in bottling, canning, and other packaging operations.

OH Cincinnati sales@paxtonproducts.com (513) 891-7485
LabeLIng Integrated equIpment SPRING 2024 66
ITW Company


As a world leader in drive technology and a pioneer in drive-based automation, SEW-EURODRIVE has established a reputation for quickly solving the most difficult power transmission and motion control challenges. Since introducing the combined gearmotor in 1931, we have been bringing the best in drive technology to our customers worldwide.


SEW-EURODRIVE offers much more than just components. We offer the expertise and expanded line of control components and software to drive them. Our team of automation experts understand the latest technology and can solve even the most complex motion control challenges.

Being a single-source automation partner radically sets us apart from others. Our team of motion control and automation engineers provides the expertise, project planning, software, commissioning, and worldwide support for your most challenging motion control projects. They can serve as a valuable extension of your engineering team, reducing the stress and demanding workload. Our experts provide a solution of perfectly matched SEW components that have been designed to work together seamlessly.


In addition to engineering excellence, SEW-EURODRIVE is also known for innovative new products. Proving the Automation Made Easy™ tag line, our MOVI-C® modular automation system is a flexible one-software, one-hardware automation platform that combines fully integrated drive components, control electronics and automation software – all from a single source. The key to this simple to use platform is that each of those components is designed to work together seamlessly, taking the hassle out of machine design, operation, and expansion.

The MOVI-C platform utilizes the latest automation technologies – from AC motors and gear units to ultra-efficient permanent-magnet servomotors, control electronics, and software. Machine builders will appreciate the seamless integration and prebuilt software modules tailored to the customer’s application.

(864) 439-7537 SEW-EURODRIVE DRIVES & MOtORS Controls ProduCts SPRING 2024 67
Lyman cslyman@seweurodrive.com 1


Slideways was founded in 1994 as a manufacturer of superior quality machined plastic components for the conveying, packaging and processing industries. OEMs appreciate our 2D/2W service standard. Customers receive quotes on custom parts in 1-2 days and finished parts in 2-3 weeks. OEMs rely on this standard to keep them on schedule.

Our core products are used in food and beverage, pharmaceutical, bakery, and conveyor applications.

Solutions that increase productivity and reduce cost.

• Engineering and Design Assistance

• Chain and Belt Guides

• Custom Machined Plastics

• Guide Rails

• Extruded Wear Strips

• Guide Rail Brackets and Accessories

• Levelers (Foot Pads)

• Bearings and Bushings

Service levels are supported by CNC equipment and ample inventory.

Slideways works with a wide array of machinable plastics offering the most advanced friction reducing, wear reducing, corrosion resistance and broad temperature range materials to suit most environments. We offer long and short run production with quick turnaround.

Slideways, Inc.
MA Worcester
Controls ProduCts SPRING 2024 68
MachIne coMponentS

PneuMAtiCS Technologies SPRING 2024 69


SMC Corporation is the leading global pneumatics and industrial automation components manufacturer. SMC supports processing and packaging customers with our vast catalog of over 12,000 standard products including over 700,000 variations.

• Air Preparation • Actuators • Chemical Handling • Connectors • Directional Control Valves • Electrical Products • Sensors & Switches

• Static Control • Temperature Control • Vacuum. This automation technology, including NEW product releases such as cobot end effectors, Air Management System, a combination electric rotary table/electric gripper, and battery-less absolute end coder for electric actuators, serves as solutions to the shortage of unskilled labor while creating new opportunities for technical talent. SMC’s commitment to sustainable products are designed to reduce unnecessary air and electrical consumption while still hitting rigorous performance expectations that meet or exceed existing specifications. By adopting the latest SMC technologies, we will help you lower energy costs and boost efficiencies, resulting in both cost savings and labor savings. SMC has a comprehensive approach focused on consuming less raw materials in our manufacturing process by making our products smaller, lighter and by extending the operating life thus reducing CO2 footprint. Our technical development centers in Japan, U.S., Europe and China house over 1,600 engineers. There are 560 sales offices (30 in the U.S. and Canada) supported by a sales force of over 8,400 in 83 countries and regions worldwide with domestic engineering, manufacturing and inventory. With its goal of ever more advanced automation, and using its many achievements as a base, SMC is developing high quality, highly reliable products to contribute to automation in industry, as well as in familiar areas of everyday life. SMC is dedicated to effectively delivering first-class business solutions to our customers through superior products and topnotch customer service. IN Noblesville sales@smcusa.com 800-762-7621
SMC Corporation of America


Span Tech Conveyors



Are you an OEM on the lookout for a reliable conveyor supplier that aligns perfectly with your production needs? Your search ends here!

We are Span Tech, your ultimate partner in conveyor solutions! With over 40 years of industry expertise and a proven track record of delivering excellence, we understand the critical role conveyors play in optimizing your manufacturing processes.

Why Choose Span Tech?

• Tailored Solutions: We craft conveyor systems that are precisely tailored to your unique specifications and production requirements.

• Cutting-edge Technology: Stay ahead of the curve with our state-of-theart conveyor technologies, designed for maximum efficiency and reliability.

• Unrivaled Quality: Our commitment to quality ensures durable, long-lasting conveyor systems that withstand the rigors of industrial environments.

• Seamless Integration: Our team works seamlessly with your engineers to ensure smooth integration of our conveyors into your existing setup.

• Cost-effective Solutions: Boost your bottom line with our cost-effective conveyor solutions, designed to optimize productivity without breaking the bank.

Whether you’re in e-commerce, food processing, pharmaceuticals, or any other industry, we have the expertise and capabilities to meet your conveyor needs with precision and excellence.

Elevate your production efficiency with Span Tech as your trusted conveyor partner. Contact us today to discuss your requirements and let us take your manufacturing operations to new heights!

KY Glasgow

Integrated equIpment SPRING 2024 70

DriVes & Motors


VDG is the leader in the design and manufacturing of high-quality, premium-efficiency conveyor belt drives for all types of belt conveyor applications. Manufacturing in-house in USA and Canada for 39 years, using cutting-edge production technology and automation, and with continuous improvements through R&D, VDG ensures product quality, fast delivery, and after-sales service.

The VDG Drum Motor has all drive components, including the electric motor, gear reducer, and bearings, enclosed and protected inside the drum, increasing energy efficiency, operator safety, and optimizing space. Designed for 80,000 hours of continuous operation before maintenance, the VDG Drum Motor minimizes downtime and reduces maintenance and operational costs.

VDG’s patented IronGrip™ lagging offered for VDG Drum Motors enhances the durability and lifespan of the conveyor belt and the lagging. IronGrip™ lagging eliminates uneven belt wear, improves belt tracking, increases belt traction by 40%, and has a 4-5 times longer service life compared to standard lagging.

For food applications, VDG’s all-stainless steel SSV Series Drum Motor features an IP69K sealing system and withstands pressure washdown up to 3,000 psi. For modular conveyor belts, the SSV Drum Motor has the belt profile machined directly onto the drum to drive the belt without using sprockets. The new SSV-XP Drum Motor has the belt profile machined directly on the removable drive sleeve, which can be exchanged for another profiled sleeve, offering the flexibility to use the same drum motor when a changeover to another belt is required for a different type of processing.

The IntelliDrive™ Drum Motor features new synchronous permanent magnet motor technology, delivering 40% increased electrical efficiency, a wider range of belt speeds without loss of torque, and an increase in electric motor lifespan compared to a traditional conveyor drive. It enables onsite diagnostics, full motor indexing speed control, and communications with other automated plant equipment.

MI Shelby Township info@vandergraaf.com (888) 326-1476 VDG (Van der Graaf)



VEGA Americas, Inc.

For more than 60 years, VEGA Americas, Inc. has provided industryleading products for the measurement of level and pressure. VEGA’s full product line of level and pressure measurement instrumentation allows us to provide one of the most complete ranges of measurement solutions in the industry.

VEGA’s continued innovation in radar, pressure, differential pressure, and point level switches ensures food and beverage operations of all sizes can continue to improve their processes and keep up with ever-shifting market demands. VEGA believes the future of instrumentation lies in the ability to produce high-quality, innovative products that keep pace with technology, and provide service and value to our customers in today’s competitive environment. Our measurement solutions have helped make more batches, maintain inventory of raw ingredients, and save energy. Always in pursuit of technology that improves operational efficiency for our food and beverage partners, VEGA created the VEGABAR 39 universal pressure transmitter for measuring gases, vapors, and liquids at up to 130 °C. Designed to aid in such processes as pasteurization and separation, the VEGABAR 39 employs inventive solutions like a 360° colored light ring for enhanced status readability from across a facility. Because integration can be just as important as operation, the VEGABAR 39 is also equipped with IO-Link communication for simple integration into control systems.

Located in Cincinnati, Ohio, VEGA Americas combines manufacturing, distribution, and service for products that represent the most sophisticated process measurement technologies anywhere in the world. VEGA Americas is a wholly-owned subsidiary of VEGA Grieshaber KG in Schiltach, BadenWürttemberg, Germany. VEGA understands the benefit of investing in community and employees, because it’s people who make the difference in achieving success. This success fuels future innovation and transfers to the solutions we provide to customers.

SEnSorS & VISIon Controls ProduCts SPRING 2024 72


www.wipotec.com/us GA SPRING 2024 73

Wipotec North America – weighing technology at its best. Wipotec North America is a subsidiary of the German weighing technology specialist Wipotec GmbH based in Kaiserslautern, Germany. Wipotec is a technology leader in the production of weighing and inspection systems. The company has a worldwide staff of over 1,000 employees, and subsidiaries in Europe, Asia, and the United States.

The core business of Wipotec is the development, production, and integration of ultra-fast precision weigh cells and high-tech weighing systems for high-speed applications.

Wipotec weigh cells are used in a wide range of industrial production processes. Application examples include checkweighing, product filling, dosing, price labeling systems, and integration into packaging machines. Furthermore, highly specific solutions, customized to customer needs, are implemented for the pharmaceutical industry in order to weigh capsules, tablets, syringes, and vials in dry or wet food processing and packaging.

Wipotec weigh cells work according to the principle of Electro Magnetic Force Restoration (EMFR). They are based on the monoblock technology which makes them extremely precise and fast and enables them to render accurate weighing results even at the highest speeds and under the most adverse conditions. Vibrations can be actively compensated within the weigh cell. The product range includes models which can weigh a mere microgram and others which can deal with loads up to 120 kg.

The heart of all Wipotec weigh cells is the monoblock, and it is manufactured in our in-house machining center using state-of-theart CNC milling machines. The in-house development and project engineering departments enable the company to support unique customer requirements. For example, numerous combinations of infeed, outfeed, and weighing conveyors are available for use with our weigh cells to provide complete weighing kits designed to easily integrate into OEM machines.

Lawrenceville info.wipotec.usa@wipotec.com
Certified to DIN EN ISO 9001. Wipotec North America WeighiNg Integrated equIpment


Wire Belt Company offers many styles and specifications of conveyor belts to suit your specific application and improve your processes efficiencies. After 8 decades, Wire Belt remains the source of quality conveyor belts that provide long life, ease-of-use, and easy sanitation.

Wire Belt Company provides conveyor belts for various industries such as Food Processing, Textiles, Electronics, Agriculture, Automotive, and more. Our first-class Customer Service and global presence means we can provide fast and simple distribution around the world.

Why choose a conveyor belt from Wire Belt Company?

• We are the most Trusted name in conveyor belt manufacturing – we have a team of Engineers that can help you with your application and provide you with the best conveying solution.

• Over 8 decades of industry knowledge- this means we have the right knowhow to make best belting solution to fit your specific applications needs.

• On-Time delivery that is second to none- with a record of over 99% on time to promised delivery date, we set the gold standard in getting your product to you when you need it.

• World class customer service- when you call us, you speak to a knowledgeable customer service representative who is ready to help you with your conveying needs. No automated systems here.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about our conveyor belts or would like to speak with someone about your application. You can also visit our website to learn more about the products we offer. We look forward to hearing from you.


When it’s all on the line …make sure it’s a Wirebelt! (603) 644-2500 | sales@wirebelt.com | www.wirebelt.com Bedford sales@wirebelt.com (603) 644-2500
Conveying Integrated equIpment SPRING 2024 74
Wire Belt Company of America


At Yaskawa, we help you explore what’s possible and open new doors to opportunity. Rather than accepting the status quo, we invite you to wonder, “What if …?” And then we make it possible. That dedication to engineering and innovation is what makes us different.

Experience is often the difference between solving a problem the right way and settling for “good enough.” Our global expertise is unmatched and unquestioned, with 100+ Years of manufacturing excellence, 30 countries with sales, service, and manufacturing locations, and $4.5 billion in global sales per year.

We provide both standard products and tailor-made solutions, all backed by proven quality and reliability. We continuously work to save you money, time, and energy, because we believe your machine can always run faster, smoother and more productively. It’s about making the correct diagnoses, creating the right automation machinery, and implementing it in the best way possible. From case packing to labeling, filling to palletizing, Yaskawa can increase pack rates, improve throughput, and simplify motion and robotic control to maximize the performance of your machine.

Yaskawa AC Servo Systems come to a precise position with a speed and consistency that is unmatched in the industry. Connect our rotary, linear, and direct drive servo motors to an advanced Yaskawa machine controller to achieve SINGULAR CONTROL: the ability to manage robots, servos and drives with a single controller and familiar IEC 61131-3 programming.

Over 540,000 Yaskawa Robots are at work worldwide, with 150+ models to choose from and the strength of decades of packaging application expertise. Yaskawa’s Motoman robots are successfully picking, packing and palletizing a wide variety of food, beverage and consumer products for global CPG leaders.

Yaskawa low and medium voltage AC Variable Frequency Drives cover every automation application need in the industrial plant, with power ranges from fractional HP to 16,000 HP and a legendary reputation for

www.yaskawa.com IL
Yaskawa America, Inc.
Controls ProduCts SPRING 2024 75
MAchIne control

NXAE2 Mini-Nexus Resolver Interface

AMCI’s NXAE2 Mini-Nexus Resolver Interface simplifies bringing resolver data into PLC-based control systems. Offering plug and play functionality and compatibility with various resolver sensors without the need for additional modules.


Future-proof performance for individual requirements


B&R answers the call for a compact, future-proof industrial PC with high-end power. The Automation PC 4100 sets new standards in terms of performance, scalability, and safety - making a strong contribution to sustainable and low-maintenance machine design.

Ionized Air Rinsers Provide a Powerful and Efficient Solution for Cleaning

At CHT, we have three different styles of air rinsing to suite the unique needs of each customer. With our custom-made options, our clients can tailor the Ionized Air Rinser to their specific needs. Visit www.Feedscrew.com for more information.

our profile on page 53

DIVERTERS (unique to CSS)

Provides bottom access on your existing conveyor line for base coding, printing, labeling, etc. when used with existing print or label applications. Path controlled at all times accommodating sizes up to 5 inches wide. Quick adjustment for different sizes of containers.

our profile on page 54

New Sanitary Table Top Conveyor from Dorner

The AquaGard GT is the ideal conveyor for food and bottling accumulation solutions. With stainless steel framing and FDA-approved plastic components this product is an ideal solution for integration into a high capacity sanitary line.

Discover our award-winning solutions today See

SPRING 2024 76
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ELESA proudly presents a comprehensive range of accessories and components tailored for the packaging, bottling, and labeling industries in the food and pharmaceutical sectors. Our engineering plastics and metal solutions ensure seamless operation and precision control. our profile on page 55

Two Absolute Encoders Now with EtherNet IP based Connectivity

Encoder Products Models A58HE and A58SE are EtherCAT®, EtherNet/IP™, or PROFINET®-ready, multi-turn absolute encoders designed for heavy duty industrial applications. They are particularly suited to applications where Ethernet-based connectivity is required.

Eriez Vibratory Feeders, Conveyors and Screeners

Eriez offers electromagnetic and mechanical vibratory feeders, conveyors and screeners for sanitary and general purpose material handling. Visit Eriez.com for all the details.

Effortless Control and Secure Remote Access with X Platform by

Our approach seamlessly integrates control and connectivity, covering all needs from IIoT components to SCADA systems. X Platform provides intuitive interfaces and secure remote access, ensuring optimal performance and future-ready solutions for industrial environments.

Power Up Your Conveyor Performance

Eagle Poly-V belts are designed to support your most challenging performance requirements. Their abrasion resistance, self-tensioning elastic reinforcement, resistance to oil, grease and chemicals means longer belt life, greater performance, and less downtime.

Cryoguard® Plus for industrial ammonia refrigeration systems

Superior lubrication

Enhanced wear protection

High temperature performance


Lubriplate offers a full line of quality lubricants to meet your needs.

Lubriplate’s High-Performance NSF H1 Registered Food Grade Lubricants include; High-Performance Synthetic Gear Oils, Air Compressor Fluids, Hydraulic Fluids, MultiPurpose Greases, High-Temperature Chain Lubricants, Spray Lubricants and Specialty Lubricants.

SPRING 2024 77
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See our
on page

better products. better solutions.

mk North America provides not only a better product, but also a better solution for all your conveying needs.

Since 1971, we’ve designed the timing screws, drive units, combiners, dividers, and other container handling equipment that helps prepare the product entering yours. Let’s work together to provide the total solution to your customer so you can focus on what you do best.



our profile on page 63

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Connect with mk at www.mknorthamerica.com our profile on page 62
We work with OEMs to provide the technical conveyor strategic advantage required to carry product from process to case packer, incorporating technology-driven operator-to-controls communications for increased throughput and future expansion. Let’s do this.
Upfront technical support. It’s what sets Multi-Conveyor apart.
Have Better Control Over the Containers that Enter Your Equipment
Check out our MOVI-C® automation platform that features fully integrated drive components, control electronics, and automation software – all from a single source – and all designed to work together perfectly! Automation made easy.
Tired of compatibility headaches?
Customized packages get machines and in-line laser processing systems up and running faster and easier. Save precious time and resources with integrated subsystems utilizing industry leading components from a single source.
New Laser Processing Sub-Systems for OEMs
Achieve full air coverage & maximum efficiency for high velocity drying & blow-off with Paxton’s Air Knives. Available in Aluminum & 304 Stainless Steel, Paxton’s Air Knives feature an uninterrupted air slot design to provide complete, all-over drying coverage.
Reduce Downtime & Energy Usage with Paxton Products

Components for Conveyors & Machinery

-Structural & Positioning Components

-Guide Rails, Chain Guides, Belt Guides, Wear Strips

-UHMW Options — Natural, High Temp, Oil Filled, MDNylon, PTFE (Teflon)

Air Management System

Why not reduce the wasted air generated by your factory equipment?

Level up your sustainability, digitalization, & condition-based maintenance.

See our profile on page 69

Conveyors. They’re kind of our thing!

When you need to get your products from point A to B. You need Span Tech’s innovative conveyor solutions to get the job done effortlessly and reliably.

New Generation VDG Drum Motor with Premium-Efficiency Electric Motor

Maintenance-free for 80,000 hours of continuous operation, the premium-efficiency VDG Drum Motor delivers a safe, efficient, and reliable conveyor belt drive solution. All components are designed and made in USA, ensuring product quality, fast delivery and after-sales service.

VEGAPULS 42 – Radar Measurement Technology in Compact Form. See our profile on page 72

Radar level sensing gains the upper hand in factory automation – the instrumentation manufacturer VEGA has concentrated its decades of experience into a compact sensor that meets all the requirements of modern industry.

Wipotec Weigh Cells are Better Than Load Cells

Wipotec weigh cells are used in all industrial production processes. In addition to integration in checkweighers and filling/dosing lines, they are also installed in packaging machines of all kinds. Our weigh cells are superior due to maximum accuracy and long-term stability.

See our profile on page 73

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Do you know a leader?

The Packaging & Processing Hall of Fame will be opening nominations for the Class of 2024 this spring.

Induction into the Hall of Fame is industry’s highest honor. The Hall of Fame was established in 1971 and welcomes professionals who have distinguished themselves by advancing the science, technology and practice of packaging, by expanding packaging industry knowledge and by volunteer service and leadership.

Nominations open March 18th.

SPRING 2024 80 Wire Belt Company offers many styles & specifications of conveyor belts to fit your application. After 8 decades, Wire Belt remains the source of quality conveyor belts that provide long life, ease-of-use, and easy sanitation. (603)644-2500 | sales@wirebelt.com | www.wirebelt.com The Worldwide Leader in Stainless-Steel Conveyor Belt Manufacturing See our profile on page 74
industries, these
high performance motors withstand high-pressure washdown with a smooth housing to minimize entrapment areas. Yaskawa Food Grade Servo Motors See our profile on page 75
for the food and baking
FDA-approved white epoxy-painted,
with promotional support from Learn more at PMMI.org/hall-of-fame

Hygienic Planar Motion

Planar Motor has released a new addition to the Planar Motor System: Hygienic XBots. These new movers are fully enclosed in 316-L stainless steel, ensuring cleanliness and washability. While maintaining all the high qualities of the original XBots, featuring 6 degrees of freedom capability and full Z-rotation, the Hygienic XBots o er aseptic performance and enhance any assembly process with unparalleled precision and adaptability. It is currently available in four di erent sizes and payloads, with more sizes coming in the upcoming months, and can cater to diverse operational needs. Whether it is handling raw materials or managing messy production, Hygienic XBots excel in environments that require e ortless cleaning and versatility. Planar Motor, www.planarmotor.com

Vacuum Suction Cups

Elesa’s components function through a vacuum generator that creates a depression within the vacuum suction cup, allowing it to adhere to the surface of the item to be moved. The grip on the load is sustained so long as the vacuum remains in the system. Elesa’s vacuum suction cups, available in various shapes (classic cup, flat, elliptical, bellows, or multi-bellows) and dimensions ranging from 4 mm to 125 mm, showcase versatility. They find applications across di erent sectors, including food packaging (especially in flow pack packaging with plastic films), electronics, paper converting (labels and sheets of paper or cardboard), automotive (handling metal parts or glass windshields), and medical/pharmaceutical. These suction cups are also suitable for handling various objects such as ceramic or clay tiles, marble or glass slabs, and items made from concrete, wood, and plastic components. Elesa, www.elesa.com

High-Volume Bulk Printing Solution

HP Inc. has unveiled its HP Thermal Inkjet (TIJ) 108mm Bulk Printing Solution, the latest advancement to its TIJ 4.0 Printhead technology. Boasting high speed, high resolution, and longer throw distances up to 10 mm, the HP 108mm Printhead is now available to support customers globally with various wide-swath, high-volume printing applications without stitching. From secondary coding and marking, late-stage packaging, wide-swath mail addressing, and specialty packaging, customers can leverage HP’s TIJ 108mm Solution to print more extensive 1D and 2D barcodes and characters vertically or horizontally at the highest level of barcode scores for its speed, as well as the required readability. The built-in pressure regulation in the Printhead creates added flexibility in design with the custom positioning of the ink delivery system. Powered by HP’s innovative Smart Servicing Solution, clean, crisp prints are consistently achieved with fresh ink guaranteed at the nozzle, even when the Printhead is le uncapped for 24 to 48 hours. The innovation is in the patented micro recirculation technology that reduces pen servicing while resolving decap issues.

HP, www.hp.com

Pro Crimping Tool

Weidmuller USA, a provider of smart industrial connectivity and automation products and solutions headquartered in Richmond, V.A., has developed and launched the PZ 2.5 S, the smallest professional crimping tool on the market for wire end ferrules. In control cabinet construction, cables of the most diverse cross-sections are fi ed with wire end ferrules. On average, 90% of these connections are in a cross-section range of AWG 14 (2.5 mm2) and smaller. A focus on this crosssection range makes the PZ 2.5 extremely compact and ergonomic—the small handle width and the opening angle, as well as the weight, make the tool easy to use without incurring fatigue in the hand, wrist, or arm.

Weidmuller USA, www.weidmuller.com


Embedded PCs

The new CX5600 Embedded PC series expands Beckho ’s machine control line with powerful AMD Ryzen processors, additional interfaces and operating system options. Retaining the same form factor as previous generations, these DIN rail-mounted embedded PCs provide the flexibility to support an even greater range of applications that require PLC, HMI, motion control, and more. The Beckho CX5600 series includes two device versions, both with AMD Ryzen processors: CX5620 (1.2 GHz) and CX5630 (2.0 GHz).

Beckho Automation, www.beckho automation.com

End-of-Arm Tool

Piab’s end-of-arm-tool piCOBOT has had almost a decade of prosperity on the market for cobot equipment. Parts of the success relate to the unit itself—its compact yet user-friendly design and unparalleled precision. And its capacity. Despite its limited weight, only 1.5 lbs [720 g], this EOAT is able to li objects of up to 15.4 lbs [7kg]. In 2022, the success was followed by the even more powerful model piCOBOT L, with a li ing capacity of up to 135 lbs [6 kg]. Since their respective premieres, piCOBOT and piCOBOT L have been suited to fit several di erent cobot manufacturers—one of which being FANUC—partner from some previous adaptations.

The new FANUC CRX configuration is a full package including a so ware plug-in, mechanical interface, specified cabling and compressed-air hosing, which as a whole will support safe and easy-to-use cobot interaction for the end customer. The setup is accompanied by a range of suction cups and accessories, ensuring tailor-made applications for any context.

PIAB USA Inc., www.piab.com

on over 75 years of manufacuring experience and our company’s tool and die heritage, CSS International has strong engineering capabilities for OEM applications. (800)278-8107 | CSSINTL.COM SALES@CSSINTL.COM NEW PRODUCTS SPRING 2024 82

OEM Magazine (ISSN# 2377-293X) is a trademark application of PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies. OEM Magazine is published four times annually by PMMI with its publishing office, PMMI Media Group, located at 401 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 1700, Chicago, IL 60611; 312.222.1010; Fax: 312.222.1310. Periodicals postage paid at Chicago, IL, and additional mailing offices. Copyright 2024 by PMMI. All rights reserved. Materials in this publication must not be reproduced in any form without written permission of the publisher. Applications for a free subscription may be made online at www.oemmagazine.org/subscribe. Paid subscription rates per year are $80 in the U.S., $125 Canada and Mexico by surface mail; $200 Europe, $400 Far East and Australia by air mail. Single copy price in U.S. is $20. To subscribe or manage your subscription to OEM Magazine, visit www.oemmagazine.org/subscribe. Free digital edition available to qualified individuals outside the United States. POSTMASTER; Send address changes to OEM Magazine, 401 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 1700, Chicago, IL 60611-3789. PRINTED IN USA by Quad Graphics. The opinions expressed in articles are those of the authors and not necessarily those of PMMI. Comments, questions and letters to the editor are welcome and can be sent to: support@oemmagazine.org. Mailing List: We make a portion of our mailing list available to reputable firms. If you would prefer that we don’t include your name, please write us at the Chicago, IL address. Volume 7 • Number 1

COMPANY NAME WEBSITE PAGE AMCI - Advanced Micro Controls Inc. www.amci.com 4, 50, 76 B&R Industrial Automation Corp. www.br-automation.com 5, 51, 76 Carleton Helical Technologies www.feedscrew.com 6, 52, 76 CSS International Corporation www.cssintl.com 53, 82, 76 Dorner Mfg. Corp. www.dornerconveyors.com 18, 54, 76 Elesa U.S.A. Corporation www.elesausa.com 30, 55, 76 Encoder Products Company www.encoder.com 45, 56, 77 Eriez www.eriez.com 20, 57, 77 Exor International Spa www.exorint.com 15, 58, 77 Fenner Precision Polymers www.fennerppd.com 19, 59, 77 JAX INC. www.jax.com 7, 60, 77 Lubriplate Lubricants Company www.lubriplate.com 9, 61, 77 mk North America, Inc www.mknorthamerica.com 31, 62, 79 Morrison Container Handling Solutions www.morrison-chs.com 47, 63, 79 Multi-Conveyor www.multi-conveyor.com 25, 64, 79 Novanta www.novantaphotonics.com 17, 65, 79 PAXTON, An ITW Air Management Company www.paxtonproducts.com 26, 66, 79 PMMI Media Group www.pmmimediagroup.com 21, 23, 27, 29, 33, 35, 37, 41, 43, 80, IBC SEW-EURODRIVE, Inc. www.seweurodrive.com 67, 78, OBC Slideways, Inc www.slideways.com 22, 68, 79 SMC Corporation of America www.smcusa.com 13, 69, 79 SpanTech, LLC www.spantechconveyors.com 1, 70, 79 VDG (Van der Graaf) www.vandergraaf.com Cover-1, 71, 79 VEGA Americas www.vega.com 11, 72, 79 Wipotec - Weighing Technology www.wipotec.com 24, 73, 79 Wire Belt Company of America www.wirebelt.com 3, 74, 80 Yaskawa America, Inc. www.yaskawa.com IFC, 75, 80


Use PMMI to Your Advantage

Your association is here to remind you that PMMI is more than just its portfolio of trade shows.

Each year, the Executive Committee, which this year consists of our Chairperson Patty Andersen, Vice President of Human Resources & After Market Services, Delkor Systems, Inc.; Immediate Past Chairperson Emmanuel Cerf, VP Sales and Marketing, Polypack, Inc.; Vice Chairperson Andrew Barrieau, President and CEO, Felins, Inc. and me, sets Priority Goals for PMMI. These goals are intended to be short-term and tactical or operational. Basically, it’s what the Executive Committee expects the PMMI Staff to accomplish in the upcoming year.

The goals could be about any number of areas that PMMI needs to focus on in order to grow, ensure our association’s success, and provide even more value to our membership.

At the same time, these goals must also always support PMMI’s Strategic Plan.

For 2024, the Executive Committee set four different goals, which include PMMI Media Group’s continued growth—including advancing PMMI Media Group’s newly launched events business—a review of our reserve policy, and member engagement.

The priority goal that identifies member engagement states that PMMI staff will make no fewer than 100 member visits to members who are either not engaged or under-engaged with PMMI. During each visit, these members will hopefully recognize the true extent of their PMMI membership via our PMMI Advantage presentation.

It’s no secret to us that most members believe that the number one and, in some cases, sole value of PMMI Membership is the show benefits. These, of course, are highlighted by the priority picking of exhibition space in the PACK EXPO portfolio of trade shows and a members’ discount. But I assure you that if you were to ask some of our more engaged PMMI members, they would be quick to reveal that PMMI

membership offers so much more than just a show.

The PMMI Advantage presentation provides an overview of all the other programs and services we offer members beyond our trade shows. These are collectively called the PMMI Business Drivers. These items include, but are not limited to, industry-specific Business Intelligence and research, Annual Meeting and Executive Leadership Committee networking opportunities, financial support and matching funds via PMMI U and the PMMI U Skills Fund to train your current workforce, find the next generation of your workforce and, via Global Marketing, expand into new markets.

Since we introduced the initiative, we have shared the PMMI Advantage presentation with members at PMMI meetings, and during many in-facility member visits. Almost without fail, even the most engaged members always tell us, “I didn’t know PMMI offered that!”

If you have not had a PMMI member visit recently by one of our staff offering PMMI Advantage, you just might say the same thing. If you are interested in a PMMI staff person visiting your plant and providing you with this presentation, please pick up the phone or shoot us an email letting us know. We can also provide the PMMI Advantage presentation via web conference. You really have nothing to lose as there is no obligation or cost and we guarantee that it will be time well spent.

The other major benefit of PMMI staff visiting with members in their facilities is we get to hear directly from you, our membership, on what you need, any challenges you are facing, or just what you would like more from PMMI and your PMMI membership. This is incredibly valuable information for us as we are here to serve you, and most of the programs that PMMI currently offers have come from a member suggesting them. ■

Jim Pittas is the President & CEO of PMMI. He may be reached at jpittas@pmmi.org or at linkedin.com/in/jimpittas.

SPRING 2024 84
Thank You To Our Sponsors GOLD SILVER BRONZE Show your support by becoming a sponsor today: sponsorships.pmmi.org

No coating. Save more green.

Coating-free aluminum gearmotors in the ECO2 design –ECOlogical, ECOnomical, and uncompromisingly sustainable.

ECO2: economical and ecological

The demand for eco-friendly products is growing. We have responded to this with our sustainable, coating-free drives and our responsible use of raw materials. ECO2 describes our high performance gearmotors made from uncoated aluminum. They’re both ecological − thanks to their environmentally friendly coating-free design − and economical, as a result of their cost-efficient manufacturing and assembly process. What’s more, components can be recycled more efficiently and sustainably at the end of their life cycle. All this is good for the environment and for your wallet.

*Available in select sizes and configurations.


Driving the world Download brochure
Aluminum reacts with oxygen to form a thin protective layer In a dry, neutral environment, aluminum and plastic are well protected from corrosion Drives in the ECO2 design: Efficient and reliable – In indoor spaces with a maximum humidity of 60% – At temperatures of -20 °C up to a maximum of +60 °C – The ECO2 design meets the requirements of ISO 12944 corrosivity category C1. 100% coating-free outer surfaces

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