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Foodservice and retail imbalance roils CPG industry.



How this hot melt equipment manager is helping his company innovate.



An OEM’s guide to navigating coronavirus while keeping up with production.



As conferences and in-person events go digital, OEMs need to leverage new messaging avenues. AS S OCIAT ION NE WS

43 THE LATEST NEWS FOR PMMI MEMBERS Check out new announcements, opportunities, and updates from PMMI.






How the packaging industry is approaching sustainability and augmented reality in the era of COVID-19.


Polypack has woven sustainability into every aspect of its company. Take a virtual tour of the secondary packaging OEM, and find out how it is dealing with production during COVID-19.


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As CPGs demand that OEMs meet shorter lead times, here’s how these manufacturers are getting it done.




Conagra’s Jim Prunesti addresses aging assets and data collection best practices.



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We Reduce Friction

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In Your Operation n On time delivery n Quality parts n Technical expertise

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PU BL IS HING Jim Chrzan Publisher/VP Brand Development Ricky Angel Associate Publisher (Sales) / 630 805 3892 Kim Overstreet Brand Operations Manager Sue DaMario Director of Marketing Amber Miller Marketing Manager Janet Fabiano Financial Services Manager

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Count on SLIDEWAYS from design to finished part, customer service to product performance. We Reduce Friction.

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Some Positive Outcomes of the Pandemic I truly enjoyed John Krasinski’s “Some Good News” YouTube show because it pulled the viewer out of the coronavirus confusion for a few minutes to celebrate the resourceful and resilient human spirit. And, as I look around our industry, I’m equally inspired. There are many examples of PMMI members rising up to help colleagues, partners, and the nation, as described by Jim Pittas in his column on page 60. There are also many examples of how technology will change the way we work in the future—in a very good way. Virtual factory acceptance tests (FATs) are on the rise as a result of social distancing, and we are hearing that they are working so well that it will likely continue even after the COVID-19 quarantine lifts. That would streamline the process and save a tremendous amount of time and money associated

with travel. OEMs are also reporting that customers’ IT departments are more willing to allow remote access into their sites for machine maintenance, which could naturally convert into new services with new revenue streams. And then there’s the evolution of the controllers, the brains of the machine, that are integrating more capabilities while easing programmability. In our cover story, we discover the power of the PLC and the opportunities that presents for OEMs building machines in the “new normal.” Flip to page 38 to learn more. Speaking of “new normal,” take a look at the redesign of OEM magazine, courtesy of associate art director Jonathan Fleming. Let us know what you think! Stephanie Neil is Editor-in-Chief of OEM Magazine. She can be reached at or

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We Must Adapt and Overcome To conduct our OEM profile for every issue, I usually visit a manufacturer’s facility in person to learn about the inner workings of a company and what makes them innovative. However, because of the coronavirus pandemic, I had to conduct my interview with secondary packaging equipment manufacturer Polypack over Skype. Unfortunately, these interviews aren’t the most ideal when I want to submerge myself into the culture and operations of an OEM to see the whole picture. But when it came to Polypack, I had the inside scoop already. My first day on the job in this industry was actually spent touring Polypack during PMMI’s 2015 Annual Meeting in Tampa, Fl. But the OEM has grown so much in just five years. The profile on Polypack on page 24 is the first OEM profile we have ever conducted virtually…and we would love to

take you along with us on a video tour. Walk through Polypack’s facility at: COVID-19 has drastically changed the way everyone is doing business. We have been closely monitoring the way OEMs are adapting and the struggles they are facing so that we can provide content to assist you. In our Industry News section, we have compiled a list of COVID-19 resources, as well as interviews with your peers about how they are conducting operations. See how you can leverage these resources on page 14. We have also made it really easy for you to share the pages of this magazine—while social distancing—with short and sharable links at the bottom of every email. Hang in there. Natalie Craig is the Managing Editor of OEM Magazine. She may be reached at or at

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COVID-19 Survey: Foodservice/Retail Imbalance Roils CPG Industry Some CPG and food/bev manufacturer respondents to Packaging World’s survey on COVID-19 can barely keep up with demand. Others lost huge customers overnight. Meanwhile, everyone shares workforce safety and labor concerns. Matt Reynolds Editor, Packaging World


n a March 26-31 survey, we asked Packaging World readers—highly targeted CPG and food, beverage, and personal products manufacturers—what their top challenge was in facing down the COVID-19 crisis. We received 105 qualified answers and was able to spend a few hours boiling them down to get the real gestalt behind their fully openended, unbounded responses. When taken down to their most basic level, it comes down to two things: People and Shifting Demand. It should be noted that these are all responses to a negative question. The precise language was as follows: “What is your company’s biggest challenge related to COVID-19?” Answers shouldn’t be expected to be bright and cheery; we’re talking about big problems that CPGs face. But mood and tone aside, the answers we received hold up a fairly accurate mirror to the CPG industry, since the answers are their own words.

People Within the people category, a few themes emerged when pouring over respondents’ answers. For those worrying about people, there were those worried about a.) safety, and b.) attendance or where to find labor.

Health and safety For CPG manufacturers, the number-one, most referenced worry or challenge around this pandemic is keeping people safe. Of the 105 respondents, 25% (26 people) directly reference worker safety and keeping workers safe. Of course, some of this is just basic altruism and care for your fellow person. On another level, this stands to reason in an era where qualified labor was already hard to find. The number one verbatim answer, and there were two dozen versions or permutations of it:

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“Keeping people/workers safe.” A more thought-out example was: “Making sure all employees stay healthy and continue to practice safe hygiene at home the same as done in factory. Also, worry if their families are doing correct sanitation hygiene and their surrounding environment.” But answers that expanded beyond the basic safety element worried about a few things more specifically. Communications was a common theme, with CPGs apparently challenged to effectively communicate to their employees facts about the pandemic, about when to come to work, and when to stay home. In fact, 13% of our respondents were specific when it came to the difficulties around worker safety. Said a few of their biggest challenge: “Communicating company updates regarding COVID-19 to associates and reacting to changes.” “...Ensuring anyone with symptoms does not come into work until cleared.” And quite a few answers were specific about how social distancing would work on a factory floor: “Social distancing of 6’ on the production floor,” said one, and refrained two others, “Keeping our employees separated, keeping the PPE they need, and keeping them and their coworkers safe.” One interesting response indicated some worry about how stress and strain might lead to mistakes. Said the respondent: “Ensuring the work force is healthy and not making mistakes due to crisis happening in the world.”

Labor shortage and attendance Of the 105 respondents, 23 said attendance and finding labor has been their biggest problem when it comes to COVID-19. This is the other side of the coin when it comes

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to CPGs top-of-mind-concerns about their people directly relates to getting people to come in, and keeping people there during a hiring freeze (46% of respondents, as indicated elsewhere in the survey, indicated a hiring freeze at their company is now in effect.) Most of these were simple answers, as evidenced below: “Employee attendance.” “Keeping our employees working and paying bills.” “Staffing issues.” And, ominously and provocatively said one respondent: “Today it’s labor. When we open back up it’s going to be credit.”

Shifting demand landscape Among 40% of the 105 respondents writing in, there was a tale of two problems. For about 21%, it was the problem of keeping up with demand. This fell mostly on the supermarket retail side. For the other 19% of respondents, the problem was the opposite. The closure of foodservice and non-grocery or non-essential retail locations meant that demand had plummeted. At least temporarily, the upsetting of the balance between supermarket retail and foodservice and other retail. This is felt most specifically for food and bev, but also in other sectors. While those with declining or held-up orders have it bad, those who are struggling to keep up have another problem to consider: supply chain disruptions that could shut them down when they are needed to be cranking the most. Consider these two thoughtful answers: “Since retail demand is so high and food service has declined, our biggest challenge is getting enough packaging film to repackage product for our retail customers that was supposed to go to our food service customers. Printers are so overloaded they can’t deliver enough packaging for our production plants.” and “Dropping/sporadic food service and industrial business demands, meanwhile skyrocketing retail food product demand; and still there is no way to predict what customer and consumers will do next. Glad people are still shopping for and apparently consuming food.” and “Manufacturing changes from foodservice/back of house SKU mix into retail mixture supporting in-store SKU mix has caused issues. Also receiving supply notices on ingredients sourced from heavily infected regions.”

Foodservice and other retail “have nots” These “have nots,” those who saw sales plummet, are rightfully worried. Here’s what they had to say: “Downturn in overall product sales due to retail establishments being closed.” “Cancellation of bulk (food service) orders.” “The impact that it has had on some of our largest customers in NYC has significantly reduced our revenues during this early stage.”

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The Numbers 38%

Working from home


Coming into the plant or office

Are you working from home or coming into the plant or office?

13% 80% 7% Yes


Not yet, but we are discussing

Are you retooling or focusing production specifically to deliver products to help government and health organizations combat virus? Producing masks, respirators, other medical supplies, etc.?





Have your supply chains been disrupted?





Are hiring and interviewing on hold?





Are any new capital expenditures on temporary hold?

5% 16%

Yes, we’ll do more of it


23% 56%

Yes, we’ll do less of it

Too soon to tell

Do you foresee ongoing changes to your capital equipment buying?

5/26/20 8:57 AM


“The closing of all bars and restaurants changing the focus on which packages take priority.” And in a magnum opus, one specialty bakery referenced food distribution holding up payment: “We are a wholesale specialty bakery. Our normal business mix is 90% foodservice and 10% retail. Our foodservice orders have all basically been cancelled in the last week (some hours before pick-up) and our retail has increased but not to the point that it can cover the lost sales. I have to lay some people off. Also, now my customers (large distributors) are holding up payments.”

The “haves” Of the 19% responding in this vein, there are some that are happily going like gangbusters, and just trying to keep up with demand. Here’s what they had to say: “Meeting the demand for our products, we have experienced a 274% increase over the past two weeks.” “Since we supply products to supermarkets, we are running seven days a week.” “Producing enough food to meet customer demands.” “Keeping up with the increased demand from our retail customers.” “... we produce snack foods and volume has increased over the last few weeks to astonishing levels never seen before.”

And the specter of scarcity But overlapping strongly with those who are doing so well (again, these were verbatim responses, so people could express, one, both, or neither of these ideas) are those who worry about supply chain disruptions and problems with logistics to keep them on track. Here’s what they had to say: “As a food manufacturer, our finished goods inventories are being depleted.” “Freight carriers.” “Worrying about ports and transportation of our product and whether we will have to shut down in the near future. “Supply chain risks and meeting unexpected increases in demand.” “Packaging supply.” “Bottle and label supply.”

Halting or restricting innovation Furthermore, those who are just trying to keep up with soaring demand aren’t going to be able to be innovating at the moment; they don’t have the time to decommission a packaging line for a week to add new or better equipment. Consider these two prophetic responses: “If we are going to add automated or update equipment on a production line, the production line will have to be shut down while the new



equipment is installed and validated. To allow for that down time required to install new equipment, we would run additional line time to build inventories. Right now, we are getting a strong demand for our products so our inventories are being depleted and we cannot build up inventories. We are just concentrating on keeping our DC’s supplied and our supply chain stocked.” Or more succinctly put: “We have stopped allowing vendors in our plants - this significantly impacts bringing on new production lines & new capacity. “We have stopped most trial work—this significantly impacts progress for new product / package innovations” Of course, the reverse should also hold to be true of those “have nots” who are seeing reduction of demand for their consumer packaged goods. After all, what do toy manufacturers do after Christmas, and candy manufacturers do after Halloween? Well-managed CPGs spell their slow times with equipment upgrades, new lines, plant improvements, and new innovations that will make them that much more efficient when the better days inevitably return. But that sentiment didn’t bubble to the surface anywhere in this 105-answer, hyper-targeted Packaging World CPG survey. Easily share this article with your peers:


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How Andy Karel is Making an Impact at Valco Melton Natalie Craig Managing Editor


ndy Karel, hot melt equipment manager for the northern region at Valco Melton, had no idea he would have a career in the packaging and processing industries when he studied finance at a small liberal arts college in Kentucky. But after connecting with the hot melt equipment manufacturer, Karel has since seen the value and opportunity that the industry has to offer—especially for younger generations. That’s one reason he has gone beyond his job duties of overseeing hot melt applications for the international company, which has more than 500 employees in 90 countries, to join PMMI’s Future Workforce Committee.

What does your day-to-day look like normally, and how has that changed during the COVID-19 pandemic? Usually, my position requires me to travel 60% to 70% of the time. I typically travel three days during the week. A lot of times I will attend an installation going on or I will travel out for sales meetings. When I am in the office, I interact with all of our different departments. So that way I can have conversations when I’m out in the field about things that are going on within our facility. The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly changed how we conduct day-to-day business just like everyone else in the packaging/processing industry. Customers have limited visits and travel of their corporate personnel, and as a result, we are only making visits to customers who consider us as an essential or critical visitor. The majority of meetings/installations have been cancelled and those are difficult to reschedule given the uncertainty surrounding the direction of the pandemic. Valco Melton has taken several steps to both answer demand while keeping our employees safe. I have been working out of my home office and many others are as well to minimize the number of employees who are working out of the corporate office at one time. We now have two production shifts to limit the number of workers on

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the production floor at one time. Valco has also expanded our Zoom capability as we have seen an increase in the number of video meetings since the outbreak. Our customers are busier now than they’ve ever been, so it is important that Valco Melton is able to meet their needs while also keeping employees and their families safe.

thought about until I entered this industry. And I can help my company innovate by bringing ideas and suggestions from the field back to our corporate office. By bridging the gap between our customers and engineering, Valco Melton is able to develop products and solutions based on their needs.

What has the time at your company been like? Have you had any promotions or had the opportunity to learn a different side of the business? I’d say it’s been constantly changing and evolving. I had a full year of training when I first started, which included a month at our European headquarters in Pamplona, Spain. I went into my current role after that, but there was a learning curve. I had so much to learn about—not only about our company and solutions, but the industry as a whole. It took a good two to three years to start to feel comfortable with what I was doing in my role. There’s always been a clear path and plan moving forward as the company continues to grow with new opportunities both domestic and abroad. I’m thankful to be based out of the corporate office, which allows me the opportunity to interact with all departments while continuing to learn about all aspects of our business.

What intrigues you about this industry? The complexity and the opportunities really surprised me about the packaging and processing industries. Valco Melton is just one small part of a packaging line. I always enjoy walking a line from the start to the finish and trying to understand how it all comes together. One of the responses I get when I tell people what I do is, “Guess there’s an industry for everything.” Packaging and processing is something that not a lot of people think or know about, but there are so many opportunities regardless of your background. Most companies have sales, service, engineering, accounting, etc., with great entry level positions and opportunities to move up.

How does your company support you as an emerging leader? Valco Melton supports me as an emerging leader in many ways. One of the first things they did was get me involved in PMMI where I am currently a member of the Future Workforce Committee. This has allowed me to network and connect with colleagues who have many years of experience in the industry. I am able to take this knowledge and experience and bring a new perspective or idea back to my company. Role and title changes and increased responsibility has also helped me emerge as a leader within Valco. What has your experience been like in PMMI’s Future Workforce Committee? We recently decided to rename the committee because really the focus is building a future workforce within the packaging and processing industries. We’re working with schools and always wondering how we can provide resources to PMMI members, like information on how to start an internship program so that kids can be introduced to the industry. So, once these kids graduate, they would consider coming into the workforce because they know that there’s good job opportunities for them at an entry level and room for them to grow. What is the most fascinating part of your job? The most fascinating part of my job is traveling to all the different manufacturing facilities and seeing the differences in technology from plant to plant and company to company. Also, being able to see how different products are made that we, as consumers, use in our daily lives will always be fascinating to me. It was something that I never

0220_Emerging_Leader.indd 12

As an emerging leader, what were some obstacles you faced in your career and how did you overcome them? Valco Melton and the packaging and processing industries require some level of technical ability. I grew up barely turning a wrench before I started my career at Valco. This was a huge obstacle for me and something I had to learn quickly on the job. Fortunately, Valco Melton and PMMI offered training and the tools to be successful in acquiring technical knowledge and learning new skills. I never thought I would be able to navigate myself around a PLC cabinet or through an electrical schematic. What advice do you have for other emerging leaders and veterans about getting involved? I know this industry is not the glamorous job someone may be looking for, but that doesn’t mean that it is not the right or best job out there for you. There are so many opportunities to work your way into this industry and with an aging workforce, there is a clear path for you to move forward. I never thought I would find myself in this industry but couldn’t be happier that I did. As a rising star in your organization, what is next for you? What are some goals you have? I have always wanted to work internationally so my goals are to continue to grow Valco Melton’s business here domestically and to get more involved as we continue to grow abroad. For more information on PMMI’s Emerging Leaders Network, visit:

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COVID-19 Resources for Machine Builders The coronavirus has completely changed the way OEMs operate. Here are resources from PMMI to support builders as they deal with the evolving pandemic. Natalie Craig Managing Editor


s the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly changed the way the entire world handled business, machine builders had to quickly adapt to keep production running while answering to increased demand and also making sure employees were staying safe and healthy. PMMI, the Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, continues to monitor the situation daily, while also following the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) guidance. For member companies, the association created a COVID-19 resources page to help keep OEMs updated on changes to its events, as well as provide information on how to navigate business during these challenging times. To access PMMI’s COVID-19 resources page, visit:


Here are some critical resources machine builders can use to inform their organization, empower employees, and protect their business.

Economy update and projections Even before the developments related to the two black swan events—COVID-19 and the international oil price conflict—ITR Economics was expecting a minor downturn in the industrial economy during the first half of 2020. However, the black swan events have exacerbated the downturn. ITR’s new forecast for the U.S. industrial production sector suggests that industrial activity will contract into at least late 2020 and potentially into the first quarter of 2021.

0220_Industry_News.indd 14

“While we are not forecasting a period of contraction that is comparable to the Great Recession of 2008-2009, we are expecting this to be the most severe decline since then,” says Taylor St. Germain, an ITR analyst. “But there is good news on the horizon. While the recovery is likely to be delayed as a result of the double black swans, we do expect industrial activity to be in business cycle ascent by mid2021. We expect expansion in U.S. industrial production to characterize the latter half of 2021 and the majority of 2022, with record output by the middle of 2022.” According to ITR, here are some considerations and actions OEMs should take during this time to position themselves for success. • As you fortify your supply chain, justify associated costs to customers by highlighting the value proposition of your increased resiliency. • Proactively communicate your response measures to relieve clients’ anxiety, generate goodwill, and establish your brand as a market leader. • Leverage technology and automation to mitigate risks related to workforce and sales channel vulnerabilities. • Make sure you are in contact with your banker and that they are aware of your cash position. Liquidity is still there, so it is possible to take on loans at low interest rates. Find out how to come out on top of a recession by visiting:

Free remote equipment access guide The OpX Leadership Network Remote Equipment Access: Options Analysis provides a common understanding of various industry methodologies for remotely accessing equipment installed in manufacturing facilities. The goal of this document is to help both OEMs and CPGs enable safe and secure remote equipment diagnostics and assistance. Access this free download by visiting:

Live updates: How is business? To better serve OEMs during this unprecedented time, PMMI is updating its How’s Business survey to measure business conditions on a weekly basis. Results are updated every Thursday to reflect any changes in operations, new orders, late payments, and quotation activity among PMMI’s membership. View the results at:

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cussed that many companies will transition as much of their workforce to teleworking arrangements as possible in order to keep the workforce productive. With this fundamental shift comes changes to business processes as well, particularly financial ones such as how companies approve and pay bills, receive payments, process wire transfers, or even purchase things like gift cards, since most employees are now approving and carrying out many of these activities remotely. “This allows hackers to exploit gaps in these processes and take advantage of the lack of internal controls and structure that would normally be present but are suddenly absent,” says PMMI’s director of IT Andy Lomasky. Even though the shift to teleworking and keeping businesses running remotely is happening rapidly, OEMs should not compromise on their level of internal controls or cybersecurity measures. Companies need to continue training employees on good security practices and common threats/scams to look out for, and communicate them often, even if it sounds repetitive. “Now is the time to ensure your cybersecurity foundation is in place. I recommend every company do an audit of its fundamentals,” Lomasky says. “Make sure your password policies are secure and consistent. Make sure your firewall and any VPN connections in use are secure. Ensure any solutions you’re deploying to facilitate teleworking are properly secured and make use of multi-factor authentication as much as possible. Encourage your employees to make use of secure password management tools while working remotely and recommend that they change them to longer and more complex passwords to make them more difficult to break. And finally, work to increase the level of vigilance of employees using a computer—they are your front-line defense against phishing and other cyberattacks, and can be the first to stop an attack from ever happening.” For more cybersecurity best practices for manufacturers, visit:

How your peers are handling operations PMMI’s new UnPACKed podcast series allows manufacturers to hear directly from PMMI member companies on how they are addressing key issues during the COVID-19 crisis – including helping employees stay safe, securing aid via the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, remote monitoring, and managing international business. Here’s how some leaders of North American OEM businesses, both large and small, are handling COVID-19. Mark Anderson, president and CEO of ProMach, talks effective communication across all ProMach companies, as well as handling facilities in other countries. “We’ve been dealing with COVID-19 for a while because we have facilities in China. We also have a large facility in Italy and France. We have a COVID-19 response team that is meeting every single day that has various different managers from different parts of our organization. We

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have a methodology of how we’re reaching out to all of our general managers at each one of our businesses so we can understand what’s going on on the ground in every single community that we’re operating in.” Pearson Packaging’s president and CEO Michael Senske talks about how its staying connected with its customers. “We utilize a lot of remote meeting technology like Microsoft Teams. We are encouraging our salespeople—where there are plant limitations or closures—to use that. It allows for audio, video, and document sharing, and most customers have responded very well to that. All of our robotic systems go out with hardware that allows remote access as a standard part of the offering. We are starting to leverage that capability, and we have noticed customers who were wary about remote access are now working through their IT departments to allow us to remotely access the equipment.” Morrison Container Handling Solutions CEO Nancy Wilson recognizes her company’s importance to the supply chain, but also acknowledges the safety of their employees and colleagues. “We have always been ahead of the curve in believing that COVID-19 was a real threat, and we were taking action very early on. We need our people to be here and be healthy. Every day, we have multiple meetings in small groups to communicate the importance of safety guidelines. We have staggered shift hours and breaks as we try to create more separation between people.” BellatRx Inc. president Alan Shuhaibar shares how everchanging mandates are affecting the Canadian market. “We did reach out to the state government in Quebec to receive permission to keep operating because we are considered part of the supply chain for essential services. On a daily basis, we have a general meeting and our employees receive updates on HR-related issues and a message from me updating them on the happenings at the company. We have seen less resistance from our customers regarding equipment connectivity and remote access, and we are finding that the technologies needed to perform remote maintenance are easy to use.” David Parker, vice president, Human Resources, Duravant, offers direction to the industry on ways companies are handling human resources in the time of coronavirus. “We have committed to frequent communication and keeping our people informed. We have a mobile communications app that we deployed a year ago to all of our employees. During the course of this crisis, that has been a very valuable tool for us. We also just started rolling out temperature testing at our facilities. We have had one confirmed case of COVID-19 in one of our smaller facilities in the UK. We had a facility response procedure developed and deployed in advance of that case surfacing.” Listen to UnPACKed by visiting: Easily share this article with your peers:

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Your Source for Marketing Strategies That Drive Results As conferences and client meetings increasingly cancel or delay, OEMs are having to rely more heavily on digital channels to serve those prospects conducting supplier and product research online. How ready is your team to meet new demands on email, video, and webinars? To help get the most from your efforts, check out this special section of PMMI Media Group’s Marketing Insights for a few basic pointers.

Easy Ideas to Boost Your Email Messaging Crafting the perfect pipeline email isn’t easy, from choosing the right offer to wording your message just so. Yet many marketers miss simple opportunities to get more out of these efforts. Sometimes just a little extra spin can return far greater rewards. Before you reach out to new prospects, check out these three message-boosting ideas.

3 Email message boosters Segment your message. Given so much competition for the inbox, relevancy is key to boosting opens. Something as simple as calling out the recipient’s vertical industry or job title in your subject line can help your email stand out from the crowd.

Give just as much attention to pre-header text as your subject line. Know that short blurb of intro text that appears beneath the subject line on your smartphone’s inbox? That’s your pre-header. Too many marketers either stick their opt-out information there or avoid using pre-header text altogether and simply allow their platform to scrape the email’s body text. Instead, a far more effective approach is to use this space to deliberately tease why your prospect should open the email, paying particular attention to including any key concepts or terms in the first 34 characters (factory settings for most cell phones will preview this much before truncation, allowing for around 60 characters in portrait view). Want to get a sense of how your email subject line with preheader will appear on the most popular mobile devices? Try this free tool: Include E-blast extensions. The key to good messaging is enough frequency to get—and stay—top of mind. While email is great for getting your brand in front of potential buyers, it unfortunately lacks staying power beyond the initial email open. One way successful marketers ensure their brand continues to stay on prospects’ radar is to leverage use of an “E-blast extension,” retargeting individuals who opened the message with web display ads. With PMMI Media Group eblast extensions, your ads will follow those who have engaged with your email for 30 days. Ads are served in four sizes across 130,000 brand-safe websites viewers visit. For more information, see, and search your brand for “E-Blast Extension.”

Like This Content? There’s More!

View more articles online at While there, you can also subscribe to the monthly Marketing Insights e-newsletter with latest educational offerings for marketers.

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Dos and Don’ts for Your Video Strategy When your prospects can’t directly witness your product in action, video is the next best thing. Yet too few marketers have a library of high-quality product videos to support desired pipeline and nurture strategy with potential prospects. Ideally, your base video library for bringing in new prospects should include: • Brief demonstrations of product capabilities and applications • “How to” evergreen content that trains prospects on ways to operate, maintain, or otherwise employ your product to help them best assess ease of use. • “Q&As” or other educational content with subject matter experts to position your organization’s expertise in managing current trends and aid reach with high-funnel prospects researching your product class. Over time, your team will likely want to supplement this base library with customer testimonials and case studies given the high importance peer validation plays in B2B buying. Notably, among end users researching equipment, case studies are the most preferred content type behind product spec sheets and product demo videos. (Source: Machinery End User Buying Insights, ).

Top video strategy dos and don’ts All approaches to video are not created equal. To get the biggest return on your investment, consider these key dos and don’ts. DO care about video quality. Prioritize video quality above all else. Grainy, streamed video reflects poorly on your brand,

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Record HD video easily and inexpensively from anywhere PMMI Media Group uses patented technology to record high definition (4K) professional-quality video right from your phone, tablet or computer. Bring your next product demos, expert interviews and plant tours to life—without crushing your budget. Each video package includes:

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no matter how strong the content may be. Instead, aim for high-definition quality, with a minimum of 720p and ideally 4K resolution. (See sidebar on page 19.) DO version for different channels. Filming and editing takes time and resources. To be most efficient, have a plan for creating different “cuts” for different channel output. Depending on its content, a video sent in an email or hosted on your website may hold the viewer’s attention for a minute or two. Paid social channels and pre-roll are suited for faster content consumption and therefore are far more constricting in their time standards. For these channels, you’ll want to develop something much shorter—no more than 15 seconds—for best engagement. DON’T heavily script your output. While you should always put planning into key points you want to discuss, don’t bury yourself in heavy scripting. With product demos, take a few moments to think through the basic set-up of your video. What machine, material, or service are you hoping to focus on? What pain points does your product address, and which key features will be of most interest to prospects? Put together a short bullet list of two to three talking points in advance and practice—but don’t create a formal script for

Tips for Webinars that Wow

Webinars present an ideal platform for the how-to information that end users crave. So it’s no wonder they’re a staple of many marketers’ lead gen efforts. To get the best performance, consider the recommendations below.

Webinar “Wow-Builders” Choose a topic that’s not too niche. One of the biggest mistakes marketers will make is not spending enough time thinking about topic. Dazzling slides will be meaningless if you don’t interest the right audience. Something too generic won’t feel compelling enough to draw prospects, while focusing too narrowly will inherently result in low attendance. One successful way to strike the right balance is to focus fairly broadly but also ensure enough practical information to be distinct. Often you can

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yourself. It may sound counterintuitive, but the best output tends to happen when simply having a natural discussion. DO have a plan for “B-roll” footage. Planning to intersperse close-up shots of different angles of equipment, or cut away from your presenter to show a busy plant floor? Then you need what videography professionals call B-roll footage. B-roll is essentially any footage that isn’t of your primary subject. If you’re filming an explainer video showcasing your product, B-roll footage might include different angles of your product, or an external shot of your offices, for example. Whatever footage you need, figure it out during the pre-production phase to maximize efficiency of your filming time and avoid situations in which you later need footage you don’t have. DON’T skimp on distribution planning. An all-too-common mistake is putting so much effort into creating a high-value content piece that you fail to give just as much attention to its distribution. Instead, think of your video assets like a car and your distribution activities are its wheels. Your message won’t go anywhere unless you’re also building in a plan for making use of channels such as email, web ads, social, pre-roll, directory listings, YouTube, and/or communications with relevant press.

Why PMMI Media Group Webinars? • Optimal promotion and audience • Opportunities for custom-tailored questions to be included with registration • On-demand presence for 12 months • One-on-one speaker training and practice opportunities as well as a pre-recorded format • Tracking of who has registered and viewed your content as well as their contact info • Options to develop your content into a PDF article to extend lead capture post-event For more information, view and search your desired brand for “Webinar.”

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accomplish this goal by featuring a case study where an organization or end user addresses a common or difficult challenge. Create clear slides that enhance and support your message. You’ll want to use slides to illustrate your points; don’t simply read content from the deck. (For tips and several free templates for a great presentation, read the article “5 Tips to Make Your PowerPoint Presentations Pop” at

Sarah Loeffler is Director, Media Innovation & Marketing Insights at PMMI Media Group. Let her know what marketing topics interest you.

Tease, don’t tell in your promotions. The most enticing webinar descriptions focus on key takeaways for attendees. Ask yourself: What will attendees learn/ be able to do that they couldn’t have been able to without advice from your speaker? Also, a common mistake is to summarize the entire presentation. You’ll get far more sign-ups by leaving prospects hungry to know more. Don’t forget to share content within your own circles. With content so strong, you’ll want to distribute it within your own channels. Consider the following checklist when examining ways to alert customers and prospects about your presentation (either when the event is happening or after the content is on-demand):  Post a description and registration link on your website  Post to LinkedIn (company page and/or individual employee pages)  Share a takeaway as a basis for Twitter promotion  Encourage technical staff to share the link with customers and/or prospects when discussing the topic or in presentations  Distribute as a value-add to those reading your organization’s articles or other content on the topic Reach out quickly after attendance. Leads grow cold after an event, so prompt follow-up is crucial to overall success. Include anything you promised to attendees, such as a copy of the slide presentation or related content. Have a plan for additional targeted prospect nurturing and sales outreach.

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Don’t Trip on the Way Down Learn how to get higher-level engagement and support while selling down the ladder. Jay Speilvogel CEO, Venator Sales Group, LLC.


his past week, I was reviewing some opportunities with an OEM’s sales team. During the review, one of the reps shared that he had reached a high-level general manager at an end-user customer. The sales rep explained that he was an account executive for an OEM that specializes in providing filling equipment solutions. According to the rep, the general manager responded with interest, citing concern with his existing equipment’s ability to keep up with demand. He enthusiastically suggested that the salesperson follow up with his internal operations person and even gave him the direct line to call. The salesperson “diligently” asked if he could reference this conversation when calling the lower-level report, and after receiving this final endorsement, moved to close out the call and thank the general manager for his time and interest. On the surface, this salesperson seemingly stumbled upon an amazing opportunity: speaking directly to a top decision-maker about his needs and concerns, and garnering excitement about how the rep’s solution could help the end user organization. How often does that happen? However, having witnessed this interaction and looking below the surface of the scenario, I couldn’t help but wonder, “What will happen when this salesperson calls the lower-level operations person?” Often, when salespeople are endorsed “down the ladder,” the person at the lower rung does not respond with the excitement and anticipation expected. I have seen too many lower-level people override the endorsement by either ignoring the calls or brushing the salesperson off. Naturally, the salesperson instinctively fights their way back up the ladder to report this challenge to the original endorser in this case, the general manager. Unfortunately, either because the moment is gone, or for political reasons, these attempts to regain access to the general manager are difficult. So, what’s the solution? The answer is to have what we call a “post-endorsement dialogue,” which consists of a few

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simple questions for the general manager to defuse threats: • “Have you discussed concerns with operations?” • “What were their thoughts on the issue?” • “Is there a possibility that they will not speak with me?” • “Is this issue critical enough for us to speak further?” • “Would you be willing to introduce us?” The objective would be to get the general manager more engaged and willing to help insure a successful outcome. Experienced salespeople may think, “I would always push to have the manager involved in the first meeting.” While this is the best-case scenario, the challenge is that it backfires when the lower-level person shows up. But why? Have you sold the power-person and then had the lowerlevel people justify their value by poking holes in your solution? Whether for self-protective reasons or simply to protect the status quo, they take a dominant role in the situation and act as an opposing gatekeeper. And then, you’re met with, “I appreciate your hard work here, but I have to trust the people who work for me.” Here again, the “post-endorsement” dialogue is the ounce of prevention that is worth a pound of cure. When the high-level stakeholder offers to introduce you to the lower-level report, these questions can help: • “What is the possibility they may pushback prior to, or during the meeting?” • “What would some of their objections be?” • “How would you feel about those objections and how would you respond?” • “How do you want me to respond to any pushback during the meeting?” The key is to create alignment with the higher-level stakeholder, prior to engaging with their lower-level reports. You can accomplish this by asking questions that will also allow you to explore and amplify the top-level person’s perspective on the issues, concerns, and vision. Ultimately, the objective is to evoke a sense of interest and urgency with the top person, so they protect us from tripping on the way down. Easily share this article with your peers:

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Take a virtual tour of Polypack’s facility at:

Inside Polypack’s Green Company Weathering uncertain times, the leaders of Polypack are handling growth and increased demand, while also keeping their eye on innovation and saving the environment through sustainable packaging, operations, and equipment. Natalie Craig Managing Editor


t the end of March, OEM Magazine sat down— via Skype—with Emmanuel Cerf, vice president of Polypack, a secondary packaging OEM focusing on shrink and corrugate bundling. By then, most major U.S. cities were already in lockdown as the novel coronavirus pandemic spread rapidly. Like many OEMs, Polypack was faced with balancing on-time production, supporting its customers who were experiencing increased demand, and keeping its employees safe and healthy. “One third of my employees are working from home right now,” says Cerf, emphasizing the biggest focus isn’t keeping up with production, but protecting employee health. “Thankfully, we’re doing fine. We make a point to reiterate the social distancing guidelines and the rules that are easy to forget and hard to follow on a manufacturing floor, but it’s working.” Classified as an essential business with many CPGs needing their product, Polypack follows all of the proper Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. And at the time of this interview, the measures seem to be

Photography by Jeremy Hester

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Polypack, Inc. Location: Pinellas Park, Florida Established: 1959 (France) 1982 (U.S.) Leadership: Alain Cerf, President, CEO, and Founder; Emmanuel Cerf, Vice President; Olivier Cerf, Vice President Revenue: $20 to $50 million Employees: 100+ Field service personnel: 20+ Facility: 82,141 sq. ft. Markets served: Global Industries served: Packaging, food and beverage Product range: Secondary packaging bundling equipment Standard controls platform: PLC - Rockwell Allen Bradley and Schneider Electric

Surrounded by employees Alain Cerf (President and CEO of Polypack) stands proudly next to a recently finished machine. Employees putting the final touches on assembly modules.

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working as zero employees had tested positive for the virus. “Our customers will be okay, and we will be okay,” Cerf says. “We’re not worried about having to close our doors, it’s more about the people aspect and the employees themselves that we have to make sure we can protect as much as we can.” Even as Polypack navigates the effects of COVID-19, the company remains steadfast in its commitment to sustainability—a pledge it made several decades ago that still guides every aspect of the organization. It’s mission to be a responsible corporate citizen follows it around the world as, through the years, the company has made some bold moves toward global growth. Listen to PMMI’s UnPACKed podcast to learn more about Polypack’s approach to handling remote service during COVID-19 by visiting:

Versatile DNA Polypack’s focus on export and serving multiple markets around the world like Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Central and South America has provided the OEM with stability during this pandemic because while some markets are down, others are up, Cerf says. Originally, Polypack was founded in France in 1959 by President and CEO Alain Cerf. After exporting so much of its equipment to North America during the company’s early years, Polypack opened a U.S. headquarters in Pinellas Park, FL in 1982. Shortly thereafter, in 1984, Alain Cerf sold the French division of the company to fully focus on growth in North America. Today, twin brothers Emmanuel and Olivier Cerf run Polypack with Alain Cerf still remaining active as president. And while much of the company’s growth still lies in North America, they are seeing more demand globally. To further support its international customer base, Polypack bought back Polypack Sarl, the French company Alain Cerf created,

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In 2011, Polypack placed 1,000 solar panels on the roof of its building to generate most of the power required to run the manufacturing facility, as well as the office space and attached automotive museum. Since then, the OEM has completely covered the facility’s roof with panels. Polypack’s facility was designed by architect, Alberto Alfonso and the statues surrounding it are part of an installation by local artist, Paul Eppling.

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in 2018. The acquisition added more than 3,000 end-ofline packaging machines to the OEM’s portfolio. The French facility provides a strong service and support center for Polypack in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. In 2014, the OEM established an office in Mexico to further develop business in Central and South America. The office now serves as support for Polypack’s install base in the area. The OEM has also established business in Colombia with its Latin America office in 2014.

Polypack’s green commitment The OEM still resides in its Florida facility, which it expanded in 2017 to handle growth and demand. The expansion added 24,000 sq. ft. and 1,000 solar panels, which allowed Polypack to double its production. From the outside, the 82,141 sq.- ft.-facility looks like an art museum, with a white, winding exterior with pops of yellow, blue, and red. On the inside, there’s a lot more going on. The facility itself is a tourist destination in the Tampa, FL area as it boasts an automobile museum— which was opened in 2005 by Alain Cerf—that’s open to the public. Alain’s private collection of cars from the 1700’s to the mid 1900’s is a celebration of advanced automotive concepts and the engineers behind them. The automobiles hail from all around the world, including places like Czechoslovakia,



France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, and the U.S. The early innovators who built the cars set the standards for the engineering of cars today, according to Alain Cerf. “Behind any machine, robot, computer, or automobile stands a human being. His or her ability to create and give life, albeit a very limited artificial life, to useful equipment will lead to the development of material progress,” says Alain Cerf on the museum’s website. And Emmanuel Cerf says this philosophy serves as inspiration to Polypack’s engineers as they continue to build innovative equipment. To Check out the Tampa Bay Automobile Museum, visit:

Just as inspiring is how renewable energy and sustainability is woven into Polypack’s DNA, from the environmentally-friendly building to the packaging materials produced to how the machines operate. Massive solar panels sit on top of the entire facility, which has allowed Polypack to power a vast majority of its operations. Emmanuel Cerf says the OEM gets a utility bill for only $15 every month. “We’re in an industry which is at the forefront of being sustainable,” he says. “Our company is big on the environment, and we’ve been green for 60 years. It starts with building the machines, which are all built using solar power. We get 95% of our energy through

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the sun.” In addition to the renewable energy the building runs off of, the company also innovates by focusing on how it can save on the materials being used in its machines and how it can give its customers a better package. “We don’t call it sustainability, we call it source reduction because the more you can take out of the of the equation, the more sustainable the machine and materials are going to be,” Cerf says. “You hear about biodegradable and recyclable films, which nobody buys because they’re too expensive. But the companies will save money by using less material and it’s better for the environment because you’re going to put less material into the world.” Polypack sources packaging materials for its shrink

wrappers from an international sister company, Film Source International. Customers can choose their own materials or opt for Polypack’s sustainable films as an addon service. No matter the case, Polypack evaluates how the equipment performs to help protect the environment and save customers some money. “I just downgauged a customer on the film that they were using for the longest time,” Emmanuel Cerf says. “They are now using a smaller and thinner film, and their machine is going to run longer and use less heat and power. True innovation is being able to reduce the materials that we put out into the world while keeping the packaged product safe.” As part of its commitment to sustainability, Polypack continuously researches plant-based films and discusses

The assembly section of Polypack’s facility is bustling as teams work together to assemble a stainless steel shrink wrap packaging machine, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. All employees are required to follow CDC social distancing guidelines and wear masks.

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A machinist enters precision settings for tooling Polypack machines. The OEM is vertically integrated, which allows the OEM to keep lead times competitive.

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recycling options with customers. The company continues to find unique ways to build sustainability into products, like its shrink wrap packaging with an integrated handle system. The bundle is mono-source, meaning it is recyclable as one source and very good for the environment. Polypack has also developed “Truly Green Film.” Derived from 100% sugar cane, the film runs seamlessly on the company’s “Jacket Pack” machine, which is designed to reduce materials while providing shipping strength to packaging.

Green machines On the machinery and assembly side, its equipment aims to make lines more efficient, smart, and automated. The OEM also comes up with new ways to use less electricity in the machine’s shrink tunnel so that the equipment will reduce energy consumption and usage in the enduser’s facility. A module on Polypack’s machines monitor the throughput and automatically switches the equipment to “slow mode” when there are no products going through to drive up energy savings. Emmanuel Cerf says Polypack has very little—almost zero waste—on the materials it uses to build its equipment. Want more information on how the industry is approaching sustainability? Visit:

A Polypack technician installs a key component into a new piece of equipment.

A Polypack technician adjusts the back pressure control of a machine.

Meeting industry demands Aside from sustainability, there are other demands that drive Polypack’s approach to creating machinery, for example, the need for fluid changeovers and shortened lead times. “The machines that excite us the most are the ones that can handle many different types of products,” Cerf says. “That is a huge push today with a lot of these companies that have hundreds, if not thousands, of SKUs. I can’t wait to see what kind of order I’m going to get today.” Polypack is vertically-integrated with a machine tool shop that takes

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A Polypack electrician wires electrical cabinet connections.

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up just as much space as its assembly and factory acceptance test (FAT) sections of the facility. The OEM has laser equipment and a variety of CNC mills, meaning they don’t have to rely on subcontractors to supply parts, reducing lead times. “Being in control of our parts and the quality of them is important to us,” Cerf says. “Our lead times are anywhere between eight weeks and 26 weeks, depending on the size of the machine. But I would like to be able to build some machines in four weeks and six weeks.” And the push for shorter lead times has been accelerated by COVID-19, as certain customers are pressed for equipment. “We’re shifting production, and we are trying to be as available as we can be to these customers, by shifting other customers who don’t need their machine now because they’ve either shut down temporarily, or they are busy churning out product to meet the supply chain needs,” he says. As the OEM has seen substantial growth in recent years, making sure its lead times stayed competitive was a challenge the company faced. Polypack uses a modular design process for all of its equipment, allowing them to pre-manufacture base machines in series. For example, if the OEM builds a machine for the pharma industry, they will first choose from three bases. Then, if needed, engineering can

Processing cessing



select modules that are specific and custom to the application. While aspects of the machine itself—the main pusher, the ceiling bar, and the shrink tunnel—remain relatively the same for most applications, these modules can be customized to handle different types of products and bundle configurations. This feature also helps Polypack’s customers with changeovers. “There’s a fine line between designing a machine that can do everything and designing a machine that’s efficient,” Emmanuel Cerf says. “It all points back to engineering and being able to supply a simple design to handle all the different parts and modules. Anybody can build a machine to handle multiple products, but you don’t want that machine to be a monster that’s impossible to maintain or changeover.”

Workforce As Emmanuel Cerf mentioned, engineering is the core of Polypack’s business, which is why the OEM’s engineering department is growing. “It’s very hard to find engineers and people with a mechanical background and skillset,” he says. “So, we’re working closely with the schools and that’s been pretty successful.”

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Polypack participates in training programs with local schools and offers engineering co-op positions to current students. Also, the OEM sponsors neighboring colleges to promote local manufacturing, while also gaining access to a pipeline of new talent. “Hosting internships have been the most successful for us and it also helps the students learn whether or not it’s something they want to do and whether they can perform in this environment because it’s not an environment for everyone,” Emmanuel Cerf says. “But I think it’s kind of a dream for an engineer to work here because they can see how we design machines for different markets around the world and for different types of products.” Aside from offering internships to attract new talent, Polypack encourages its employees to seek continuing education and assists with related costs. The OEM even hosts classes using its very own facility classroom. So, what does an ideal Polypack candidate or employee look like? “We’re very much a Type A company,” Emmanuel Cerf says. “But we really want people to come in and bring a skill set that we don’t have or try to learn new skills so that we can have this huge pot of new ideas all the time. I want people who want to jump right in and be a part of this, but not just do what they are told. We welcome bold ideas whether they are good or bad. It’s all about being creative.”

Looking forward While there seems to be a lot of uncertainty around how COVID-19 will change this industry and how it will impact packaging in the long run, Emmanuel Cerf says Polypack has new machines and concepts in the works, and plans to debut some of the company’s latest ideas at PACK EXPO International in November. To that end, the company is using this time to reposition itself to come out of the pandemic positioned for success. For more information on PACK EXPO International, visit:

“We’re going to be in business for another 60 years, so we can’t take any chances. Our number one priority is safety. Our number two priority is to look at our business model and then see what we can do to be better when we come out of this pandemic. Do we reorganize our marketing? Do we look at different applications? Do we look at packaging that will help protect the environment from such a disease in the future? You have to remodel your business. This is really a good time to do all the things that you were supposed to do last year but didn’t have time to do,” he says. Another main focus in the coming years is to grow within the markets Polypack already serves, while also growing its service and parts support in other countries. “Right now, our focus is on the Asian, Eastern European market, and Latin American markets,” Emmanuel Cerf

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says. “And we will always want to expand our facility here in North America more than the others because it’s more central and efficient. So, within the next couple of years, there will be new buildings at our facility to accommodate that growth. We just want to become better and bigger in what we do today. I’ve said throughout this year that the future has never been brighter for Polypack, and I still stand by that even though we have some challenges. I know for a certainty that we will be able to ride through this.” Regardless of the obstacles that Polypack faces—like most North American OEMs—Cerf says the mission stays the same day in and day out. “It’s all about doing things better than we do them now. And it’s not always about redesigning everything. It’s about building on top of the foundation of what and who you are. Alain, our 86-year-old father, is constantly asking for people to drop off samples of packaging every day. He is always trying to invent the next best thing in packaging technology, and he will not stop. That’s who our company is…always thinking about what we can do better.”

Polypack’s involvement with PMMI Emmanuel Cerf served on the PMMI Board of Directors for more than eight years before becoming the association’s chairperson this year. Not only has he helped PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, establish a large international footprint, but his involvement has also served his company well. “The organization we have here in North America is really unique,” Emmanuel Cerf says. “There is no other association like PMMI around the globe that can provide its members with all of the tools that are needed to run their business. But it’s also kind of a family for me. There is a network of peers and customers that I can share our challenges with, but also learn about theirs.” While Polypack itself has been a member company since the early ‘70s, Emmanuel Cerf started to get involved in the year 2000. “The association has helped the growth of North American companies, and it provides a lot of stability for members,” he says. “And PACK EXPO is one of the greatest tradeshows in the world for packaging and processing. We always gain so much from exhibiting, from new customers to new connections.” For more information on PMMI, visit:

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5/26/20 9:37 AM


  With the push from consumers in the generation of “now,� CPGs need support from their OEM partners to tighten equipment delivery times in the race to innovation. Ideas run the length of the project, from inception to installation. Aaron Hand Editor at Large

n today’s on-demand society in which consumers expect to get what they want, how they want it, and when they want it, consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers are forced to constantly adapt products to accommodate ever-changing requirements. That impacts how companies process and package goods, which in turn puts pressure on their OEM partners to deliver more flexible equipment in a timeframe that is faster than usual. Machine builders are between a rock and a hard place, says Bryan Griffen, director of industry services for PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies. “They’re being asked to build faster, deliver sooner, but also have more capability and efficiency built into the machines.� Machine builders have always put a lot of their resources into figuring out how to design equipment faster and provide better changeovers, but the push has been even greater lately, according to Bruce Larson, director of business development, BW Packaging Systems, which is the manufacturing arm of Barry-Wehmiller. “There is a real focus from our customers on speed to market,� he says. Although it might not be an ideal situation as CPGs turn those demands for innovations around

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onto the OEMs, it’s also a chance for the OEMs to shine. “Machine builders are in a position where they can really excel and use innovation to sell machines,� Griffen points out. As CPGs rush to get their latest innovative products out to consumers, they will look for the OEMs that can not only provide the necessary engineering capabilities—sustainability, efficiency improvements, and digitization—but which can also turn those machines around quickly. Standard equipment designs could allow OEMs to meet shorter lead times, but standard configurations just won’t do these days. “In most of the CPG companies, especially on the food side or personal care, for them, having differentiated packaging is life or death,� says Mike Wagner, global OEM manager for Rockwell Automation. “We are never going to go back to the days where things came in the same size tube and only the print is different on the box. That’s gone. You won’t survive.� So how do OEMs shorten those precious lead times—not only creating machines that will differentiate them from the competition, but delivering them at the pace their customers have come to expect? Industry observers have ideas that run the length of the process, from the frontend request for proposal (RFP) to design standardization methods, supplier relationships, inventory management, and on through to the factory acceptance test (FAT). And, ultimately, adopting best practices that speed turnaround times is beneficial to the machine builder as well as the manufacturer.

 Machine builders have every incentive to reduce lead times. “You don’t want to tell someone they will have a long lead time and potentially lose their business to a competitor,â€? notes John Kowal, marketing director for B&R Industrial Automation, which, as an automation supplier, is helping OEMs find ways to shorten those lead times. But it could come as an extra cost to CPGs. In most cases, customers aren’t interested in paying extra to speed up the process, notes Brian Ormanic, applications engineer for Arpac, which makes stretch wrappers and other secondary packaging equipment. However, sometimes it can be used as a negotiation tactic against penalty clauses. “We get a couple weeks’ grace, and we will agree to a penalty clause. But if we ship it off early, we want them to agree to an incentive clause,â€? he says. They usually laugh at that point in the negotiation. “It doesn’t happen too often in our business, but it occasionally does.â€? When it does happen, Arpac tries to make sure they have the people in-house to get the job done, paying them overtime to get things done quicker, which is preferable to outsourcing work to a machine shop. It’s the overtime pay that usually translates directly into any upcharge for expedited machine development, adds Tom Ivy, president for a number of packaging machine

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 Barry-Wehmiller’s Bruce Larson with his One Voice Ready certificates for RFP and FAT. He was the first OEM to get the new certifications. OpX’s FAT protocols help to define critical criteria that must be validated during a factory acceptance test.

companies that include F.R. Drake, RapidPak, and CV-Tek. And Stacy Johnson, director of marketing and strategic planning for conveyor manufacturer Dorner, adds, “In some cases, we can implement expedite fees to speed up the delivery, but it really depends on the materials. The amount they’re willing to pay depends on the size of the project and the urgency of the installation.� But for the most part, machine builders aren’t likely to get paid much more for innovative machines that eliminate waste, shorten changeover time, improve quality and throughput, and more, according to Rockwell’s Wagner. “You have to check all the boxes and, oddly enough, you are not getting paid a lot more for that,� he contends. “If you look at a machine that was sold 20 years ago that was considered a high-performance machine, what OEMs are getting paid today for those that are highly automated and have all these improvements is actually pretty close to where they were. It’s a real balancing act. There’s a lot of pressure on everybody.�

   Closer relationships with suppliers can lead to shorter lead times—whether communicating needs on an ongoing basis or working together on what parts could be supplied more easily. “We’ll work with suppliers to find a common thickness of sheet metal, for example,� Ivy says. “We’ll look at the design and see if we can mesh that design with what they inventory. We work with the design chain so that we

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can pull in materials rather than having to make them or fabricate them.� Similarly, Fox IV Technologies, which makes label printers, will anodize its aluminum machine walls in basic black if they need it quickly because the local shop they use always has a bath ready to go for that color. “They might move us ahead of another order to try to get it back faster,� says Rick Fox III, director of engineering services for Fox IV. “If I’m requesting red or orange, I know they’ll get it to me as soon as they can, but nowhere near the same kind of turnaround if they have to set up that process.� Regardless, being loyal to particular suppliers is a good start, Fox says, because they will cater more to their regulars when they need to push the timing. Having strong communication with suppliers is key to ensuring orders are built and shipped on time, Johnson adds. “We have a very good relationship with our suppliers, many of which have been with us a long time,� she says. “They understand our needs and we communicate well to ensure supply is readily available when needed.�

       How lead times are managed has a lot to with whether a machine is highly customized or more standardized. With standard machines, “it becomes more of inventory control and manufacturing planning, optimizing the resources, balancing what you make and what you stock on the shelves,â€? Ormanic says. “Inventory takes up space, which costs money. But if you could meet your inventory and keep people utilized with what orders are going out the door, you



could stock things as they are needed and shorten delivery times.� To help shorten lead times, Arpac uses a focused factory setup where everything needed to build a system is right there on site, Ormanic says. “Work bins are filled by automatic inventory, and a barcode scan triggers the bins to be refilled,� he adds. Those lines make typically 15 to 20 machines a week, with lead time on those running as in stock or a couple days. Some more advanced systems—such as faster machines or those with printed film—Arpac does not sell as many, but they are still essentially in stock. “What we do there is, when we get an order for one, we build three because we know we are going to sell those, so we stock them for a while,� Ormanic explains. “We realize the efficiencies of making three instead of one with only adding a little more time.� But even relatively custom designs at Arpac are largely constructed from standard building blocks. CV-Tek will also standardize where possible, Ivy notes, building subassemblies ahead of time, for example, and pulling them out of inventory for final assembly. “There are standard components that we build ourselves—we build those, inventory them, and then release them out for assembly,� he says. B&R promotes taking modularity to another level through its adaptive machine concept. “What we are doing with the adaptive machine is building from modules— modules that the builder can order rather than acting as a fabricator,� Kowal says. “Certainly, I have seen a number of machine builders who have been outsourcing tasks—metal

 CV-Tek will standardize on its machines where possible, building subassemblies ahead of time and pulling them out of inventory for final assembly.

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forming, metal cutting, and powder coating—but what they are really doing is they have their intellectual property in the design of the machine, in the functionalities of the machine, in the tooling, in the software, and in understanding materials, package types, and flow of material. They have their specialties and there’s not that much value added in metal fabrication.� Kowal argues that if you create a more flexible machine—one that can be reconfigured to handle different package types—then lead time becomes much less of a factor.

 Bookending the process, there are key ways that the industry has been collaborating to tackle lead times at the start and finish of any project. In particular are tools that have come out of the OpX Leadership Network, a group from PMMI that brings together experts from around industry to develop tools that facilitate communication between suppliers and end users. Two OpX tools that directly affect a machine builder’s ability to get equipment out the door quicker address guidelines and protocols related to RFPs at the beginning of the process and FATs at the end of the process. The OpX Request for Proposal Guidelines (RFP) for the CPG Industry document provides a process template that enables greater clarity and understanding of project requirements. This results in better outcomes for all parties involved, PMMI’s Griffen says, including a faster delivery because everyone fully understands what is required up front, reducing change orders and other delays. “Especially with newer engineers, they tend to not know all of the different things that have to happen to get a good proposal,â€? Griffen says. But even for experienced engineers, he likens the RFP guidelines to a pilot’s checklist, done as a matter of routine before each flight. “All it’s doing is standardizing what the RFP could look like, making sure the CPG doesn’t forget something.â€? Some companies have developed their own ways to standardize their RFPs. For example, conveyor manufacturer Dorner has created an online configurator that generates RFPs instantly for standard (build-to-order) systems; and guarantees a 24-hour turnaround on an RFP for modified standard conveyors, Johnson says. In OpX’s case, the RFP checklist was developed jointly by the end user community, and that’s typically where the RFP starts. But it’s worthwhile for machine builders to be on board with these guidelines as well. “It is valuable to [the OEMs] because then they know what to expect,â€? Griffen explains. “They know how it’s going to be organized, and they can start to build the portfolio‌without having to start from scratch every time.â€? Barry-Wehmiller is using some of the RFP guidelines as a template on the front end to save time when a project is initiated, Larson says. “Included in the RFP guidelines

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would be an evaluation of expectations from a contract standpoint, terms and conditions, warranty details, delivery times—anything that could be negotiated on the front end under that umbrella of reasons for purchase.� Larson marvels at how well the RFP tool can work— provided both the OEM and CPG are acquainted with the details. “So now, when a project surfaces, we go to work immediately on an RFP,� he says. “We don’t need to spend three to four weeks negotiating [the parameters of] the contract.� Certainly, the RFP will be modified to some degree, Larson notes. “But 90% of what needs to be done is out of the way,� he says. “And it clearly, clearly shortens the lead time to manufacturing machinery.�

 OpX’s Factory Acceptance Tests: Protocols for Capital Equipment in the CPG Industry helps contribute to shortened lead times from the back end of the process. “It provides a checklist template for defining the critical criteria that must be validated during an FAT prior to the equipment being shipped,â€? Griffen explains, noting that the criteria should be defined during the RFP process. “Doing so ensures that there will not be misunderstandings and the need for redoing the FAT (which is a very common problem), thus reducing delivery lead times.â€? Griffen describes the FAT document as a workbook that OEMs and their customers can fill out together during the RFP process. “What are we going to do in this FAT that’s still probably months and months away?â€? he explains. “Who should attend? What products are we going to run and how many?â€? Both the RFP and FAT tools were developed for the end

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user to initiate, Griffen says. But OpX has heard comments back from several PMMI members about how the tools have greatly reduced change orders and confusion about what they’re going to be doing when they meet with the customer, he adds.

   It’s not enough just to have the tools available, however. They need to be more widespread. “Getting these types of speed-to-market options implemented across the entire packaging industry is going to be a major task,â€? Larson says. “It will take a concentrated effort from both the CPGs and the OEMs to understand the value of these programs and to take full advantage of them. However, they are available and they are free to PMMI members.â€? So OpX is in the process of trying to educate more of the industry about the available tools. Part of the way they’re doing this is through the One Voice Ready certification program, introduced late last year. The training certificates are awarded based on knowledge of specific industry solutions and best practices, including certification in RFP and FAT. “It’s not a participation award; it’s actually an assessment,â€? Griffen emphasizes. The earned certificates stay with the individual, not the company. But the certificates can still be considered brag-



ging rights for an OEM whose employees have them. In fact, CPGs have said that OEMs with certification will get preference in future bids, Griffen says. But not a lot of OEMs are on board yet. “There needs to be a level of education,� Larson says. “And that’s one of the reasons I went ahead and took the certification.� After Chad Sayles, director of corporate engineering at Hormel Foods, became the first CPG to receive the One Voice Ready certificates for RFP and FAT, Larson decided he would do the same, becoming the first PMMI member to get both certificates. “After studying the content for the certifications, I quickly realized how much we could streamline the process if we would just adhere to the standards that our CPGs and OEM teams had collaborated on,� Larson stresses. “From where I sit right now, the RFP and FAT programs are the speed-tomarket solutions that can be utilized and will be effective in shortening lead times.� For more information on the OpX Leadership Network initiatives and certificates discussed in this article, visit: Easily share this article with your peers:

Nominate a leader for this year’s Hall of Fame. The Packaging & Processing Hall of Fame will celebrate a new class of inductees this Fall at PACK EXPO International 2020. The Hall of Fame was established in 1971 and welcomes professionals who have distinguished themselves by advancing the science, technology and practice of packaging or processing, by expanding industry knowledge and by volunteer service and leadership. Nominate your leader through June 30th. Pictured above are the Class of 2018: Chuck Yuska, Timothy Bohrer, Michael Okoroafor, Susan Selke and Keith Pearson.

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5/26/20 11:05 AM

PLCs Gain Esteem as the Brains Behind the Machine Next-generation controllers are offering multifunctional automation with more intelligence and connectivity, opening the door to new opportunity for machine builders. Stephanie Neil Editor-in-Chief


odern packaging machines must be made to adapt to new configurations, new materials, and shorter runs to accommodate an everchanging product landscape dictated by consumer demands. To accomplish this, machines are being made to be modular while still being able to be integrated into a line. And, with the Internet of Things (IoT) making its way into machines and onto the plant floor, there are way more things to manage and control. While this may mean redesigning the machine, all of this presents an opportunity for OEMs. “Next-generation machine builders want to differentiate themselves,” says Vibhoosh Gupta, senior portfolio

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product manager for Emerson’s machine automation solutions business. And the technology available now can provide that critical differentiation, as long as packaging OEMs start to think differently. Specifically, rip a page from the Tesla playbook, he says. “Tesla is teaching us that the relationship between OEM and customer is not a onetime transaction. If a machine is smart, you can make it a multi-touch transaction by providing [new] capabilities and service to the customer.” The big question is: How have the machine controls— the programmable logic controllers (PLCs)—evolved to accommodate the need for more flexibility, connectivity, and functionality? In fact, machine control technology

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→ has progressed tremendously over the years as suppliers

add machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), analytics, cloud connectivity, simpler programmability, and even virtual operating systems. PLCs and programmable automation controllers (PACs)—which are similar in functionality but use different programming interfaces—have long been thought of as just a specialized computer designed to collect data from inputs to then execute an action. They’ve been hailed for high-speed deterministic machine control. But now these controllers are integrating more capabilities, which positions them as multifunctional mechanisms that are the real brains of the operation. Of course, when it comes to brains it’s all about processing power—and maybe a little bit more. Thanks to Moore’s Law, which simply states that processor speeds for computers will double every two years, industrial suppliers are using faster, multi-core CPUs in their automation controllers. A multi-core processor is a single integrated circuit that contains two or more processing units, each of which can read and execute program instructions thereby offering parallel computing and better overall performance. In addition, coupling multi-core technology with virtualization technology means the platform can run multiple operating systems (OS) on the same processor, including the real-time operating system (RTOS) required for deterministic control. Emerson recently rolled out an edge controller, which is basically a PLC with embedded IoT capability that uses real-time virtualization to add analytics and cloud connectivity at the control level. Within the quad-core CPU, two cores are dedicated to traditional high-speed deterministic control, and two cores are dedicated to another OS, like Linux, to run different applications in a safe and cooperative manner, making sure that deterministic control is not impacted by anything that happens on the Linux side. Edge controllers like this will feed the brains of the machine with IoT information that adds to the overall intelligence and scalability. And, referring back to Gupta’s original comment, will enable that Tesla-like multi-touch experience between the OEM and the end user. Adding an edge controller—including many smart sensors and instrumentation—will also usher in a new way to make machines. “In the future, instead of replacing machines, you can upgrade it over time with IoT,” says Rich Carpenter, general manager of product management for Emerson’s machine automation solutions business.



competitive advantage, but also position them for a digitization transformation. “To achieve the next level of machine performance, the control platform is going to have to be much more capable than the legacy PLC,” says John Kowal, marketing director for B&R Industrial Automation. Manufacturers will not be buying the same packaging machines that they did several years ago, simply because e-commerce and mass customization has changed the way products are designed and made. And that means the way the machine is designed and made must change as well. “It is going to require a change in mindset. You’re going to have to make your machines more adaptive, and it starts with the capability of the control platform.” Kowal points to the ability to engineer multiple machine applications within a single unified control environment. In November, B&R announced the integration of ABB robots into its automation portfolio. Blending robotics with machine control into one unified architecture will help execute smaller lot sizes for mass customization. In addition, B&R integrates a vision system into the machine controller so that it works on the same real-time network as the machine in order to respond faster. By merging robotics and vision with machine control, there is more precise synchronization. “That same PLC has the power to control all aspects of the machine, process our integrated vision data, control our track systems, integrate networked safety including collaborative robotics, run digital twins, you name it,” Kowal says. Today’s controllers are multitasking machines—just like the systems they automate.

Pondering next-gen PLCs

For the most part, machine builders have settled in to their tried-and-true PLCs, rarely attempting to change to a new control system or upgrade the technology because, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it, right? That may have worked in the past, but now is the time for OEMs to adopt more advanced control technology that will not only provide a

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Take the Mitsubishi Electric controllers. The MELSEC iQ-R Series is designed specifically for advanced applications around productivity, engineering, maintenance, quality, connectivity, security, and compatibility. The iQ-F, on the other hand, is designed for machine builders. It is a compact PLC that still has some of the characteristics of the more advanced version. It is an all-in-one power supply, CPU, and I/O with built in features for high-speed counters, positioning outputs, Ethernet, and SD card slot, a safety extension module can be connected, as well as various communication modules including a CC-Link IE Field Network intelligent device station module. “It is designed to be an all in one unit with everything you’d need from a controller,” says Lee Cheung, product marketing engineer for Mitsubishi Electric Automation Inc. In addition, the latest generation of the controller enables machine-to-machine communication between iQ-F CPUs without any programming. “If you want to connect PLCs or devices, [typically] the programmer would have to write a program just to do the communication and handle data transfers and handshaking to make sure the data passes back and forth,” Cheung says. “But with this functionality built-in to the CPU, all the programmer has to do is use a wizard-based drop down menu to select what data is to be transferred.” Mitsubishi Electric has also made it easier for the user to see the status of the machine via a built-in web server on the PLC. “And we’ve made it possible to create custom web pages,” Cheung says. “So OEMs can create their own web page that shows all of the information as it relates to the machine.” The next-generation controller will have even easier usability, more flexible connectivity and communications, and some of the advanced functionality that is affiliated with Mitsubishi Electric’s higher performance PLCs, including even more coordinated motion control. “Packaging machines rely on high speed, high accuracy, and all of the axes have to be coordinated. And this is one of the key features of iQ-F and one of the reasons that a lot of our packaging customers use this product,” Cheung says. Beckhoff Automation, too, has an integrated offering as part of its TwinCAT 3 automation software for PC-based control. Newly announced TwinCAT Vision adds image processing to a universal control platform that incorporates PLC, motion control, robotics, high-end measurement, IoT, and HMI. “When you have an external vision system it grabs an image, communicates over fieldbus to the controller and after processing, the controller may issue resulting commands to a robot, for example,” explains Mark Ruberg, packaging industry market manager for Beckhoff USA. “So there is latency in the communication from the camera to the processor. Beckhoff’s TwinCAT Vision has removed all communication latency by

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embedding the vision algorithms into our real-time kernal. Thus, control loops around vision can be in microseconds as opposed to milliseconds, an order of magnitude faster.”

The network and the need for speed

Speed in the fieldbus network is also important because all of this processing power doesn’t matter if the data gets stuck in traffic. Beckhoff’s EtherCAT, which was developed in 2003 and has an independent technology group with over 5,600 members, is 100% deterministic—and fast. In 2018 EtherCAT G was announced, offering Ethernet transmission rates of 1Gbit/second. EtherCAT G10, currently in development, delivers 10 Gbit/second data rates. “EtherCAT is still the fastest industrial fieldbus available, but data transmission needs are constantly increasing for vision, analytics, machine learning, and communication to the cloud, driving greater bandwidth requirements,” says Ruberg. “EtherCAT G and G10 are there to fill this developing need, before it becomes a bottleneck.” Carrie Lee, product manager, controllers at Omron Automation Americas echoed Ruberg saying, “EtherCAT has great network performance. It is super fast, and moving into the future it streamlines what we are trying to do.” What Omron is trying to do is create a data sharing environment that a controls engineer can easily understand without having to become an IT expert. Through its Sysmac Studio and Integrated Development Environment (IDE), Omron provides a single operating environment to setup, program, debug and maintain an entire machine solution. It’s one software suite for configuration, logic, motion, vision, safety, drives, networks and I/O. Last year, the company announced the Sysmac Artificial Intelligence (AI) controller that integrates machine learning into an edge-level industrial controller. It runs in parallel with the standard controller, sharing a backplane to leverage machine learning and AI to monitor what is happening in the machine and to detect something out of the ordinary in order to react to it programmatically. “It means when it detects that something happened, rather than shutting down the line or wasting product, the machine will detect the anomaly and go to an alternate run mode to protect the product and processes,” Omron’s Lee says.

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Empowering Innovations for Machine Builders

Maximize the value of your machine and your business. Mitsubishi Electric’s iQ-F Series is a compact control platform ideal for small- to medium-sized machines, with access to real-time data, enabling faster decision making, along with improved accuracy and throughput. But our solution extends beyond the control platform with our commitment to bring quality, performance, and efficiency to our customers through our extensive product portfolio. The goal is to right-size what is important to you and develop a partnership based on substantiated activities that add value.

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B&R has its own answer to network speed. First, it starts with I/O slices with their own processing power inside. “It’s like the PLC distributed down to the I/O slice with fast response time [because] it’s not going up to the CPU to make a decision, it’s doing it right there,” Kowal says. B&R, like many other automation suppliers, is also adding OPC Unified Architecture (UA) over Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN) to its automation portfolio. OPC UA is a platform independent service-oriented architecture that provides the security and the semantics for multi-vendor machine-to-machine communication. TSN is an IEEE 802.1 defined standard technology that provides deterministic messaging on standard Ethernet. And OPC UA over TSN enables high-performance motion control traffic and bandwidth-intensive IT traffic on a single cable without interference between them. For more on Time-Sensitive Networking see: “On the Network, Timing is Everything:”

For Rockwell Automation, OPC UA over TSN is not adding speed and determinism to its own Ethernet/IP reference architecture, which company officials say is designed to ensure the network is not overloaded. But it could solve a couple of problems inherent to the automation community. “One is communication from controller to controller when supplied by different vendors,” says Paul Brooks, Rockwell Automation’s manager of technology business development. “As an industry we’ve never agreed on a single mechanism for controllers to talk to each other. The second thing is, as a community none of us have a good solution to communicate from a device to software applications. Communication from the controller to software apps is a well-solved problem, we have no problem getting information out of the Logix controller into a software app and into the cloud. But if you have a Kinetix drive it is a more difficult problem. The OPC community is working to solve the communication from an automation device to software applications…making it easier to get information out of those devices.” And the bigger opportunity is the ability to seamlessly move machine information to the cloud, which can increase a recurring revenue stream for an OEM. “That means they can take a much greater degree of responsibility for ongoing maintenance support,” Brooks says. There are other ways to collect that information now, of course. Mitsubishi Electric’s iQ-F controllers, for example, integrate with the company’s IoT gateway, so that the PLC can have connectivity to the Internet and push data to an online portal that allows the OEM to manage all of the machines in the field through a centralized point. “OEMs can see all of the different usage information about each machine as well as OEE stats at each location so they can give recommendations when they see that a machine is underutilized or overutilized. It also allows them to do remote maintenance through a tunneling functionality,” says Cheung.

This is not your father’s PLC

And so we are back to the theme of multi-touch service based on more capability embedded within the PLC. It’s what Emerson calls a “true” edge controller, and it truly changes the definition of what a PLC can do these days. In fact, with so much power, intelligence, and speed built-in to automation controllers, B&R’s Kowal finds the name “programmable logic controller” a bit obsolete these days. “I guess the term PLC today is kind of like my parents calling the refrigerator the ice box,” he says.

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ASSOCIATION NEWS Sean Riley Senior Director, Media & Industry Communications

Nancy Wilson Selected as a 2020 STEP Ahead Awardee

Nominate Rising Young Professionals

A champion of growing and developing women and the next generation in the workplace, PMMI board member and CEO of Morrison Container Handling Solutions Nancy Wilson was selected as a 2020 STEP Ahead honoree. Convened by The Manufacturing Institute, the annual STEP Ahead Awards recognizes women in science, technology, engineering and production careers who exemplify leadership within their companies. Wilson’s outstanding work as a manufacturer and leader in her community earned her recognition as a 2020 honoree. “Nancy is known in the industry for her unwavering commitment to growing and developing the roles of women and the next generation in today’s workforce,” says Tracy Stout, vice president, marketing and communications, PMMI. “PMMI is honored to have Nancy extensively involved in our organization and we look forward to celebrating her achievements during the STEP Ahead Awards.” An active PMMI member for more than a decade, Wilson helps drive the strategic plan for the industry as an elected member of the Board of Directors. As Chairperson of the Future Workforce Committee, she led the group in establishing $500,000 in matching funds to help members work locally to build the future manufacturing workforce.

Do you have a young professional in your company displaying extraordinary leadership qualities? Recognize this individual's achievements by nominating them for PMMI's On the Rise Awards. Winners will receive complimentary airfare, registration, and hotel stay for PMMI’s Annual Meeting, Oct. 5-7. • Candidates must be 35 years old or younger by July 31, 2020 • Entry-level young professional(s) employed by a PMMI member company for at least one year • Demonstrates leadership qualities and achievements in their role, and shows potential to lead the future of packaging and processing • Individual displays a desire to advance their career in packaging and processing • Only one employee can win per member company • Prior winners are excluded from consideration Submit a nomination at: oemgo. to/ontheriseawards

Organizations with Effective Leaders Outpace Competitors

The PMMI U Leadership Development Program was designed to assist PMMI member companies develop the future leaders and managers in their organizations. The program features a personalized leadership development plan for each participant, based on a multi-dimensional assessment measuring behavior, motivation, and leadership attributes. Help your future leader(s) stand out from the crowd and nominate them for PMMI’s upcoming Leadership Development program, starting virtually on June 12. To learn more about the Leadership Development Program and how to register, visit: leadershipdevelopment

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PACK EXPO Green for a More Sustainable World Launching at PACK EXPO International and Healthcare Packaging EXPO 2020 (Nov. 8-11; McCormick Place, Chicago) the PACK EXPO Green Program will highlight the commitment of PACK EXPO and all of its partners, vendors, and exhibitors working together to create a more sustainable world. Exhibitors providing sustainable solutions, either via new materials or technology such as biodegradable packaging or new packaging reduction processes, can highlight these efforts to reduce the carbon footprint with the new PACK EXPO Green Icon. Log into the Exhibitor Dashboard at and click the PACK EXPO Green tile to get started or contact the PMMI Show Department at

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Risk Assessment: What Do You Really Want to Know? By Devon Colianni, Industry Services Coordinator at PMMI

PMMI has been coordinating risk assessment workshops for years, both as part of the PACK EXPO Portfolio of Trade Shows and more frequently onsite at individual member locations. The umbrella of risk assessment is so large that people often get lost in a sea of terminology and processes. Risk assessment touches technical, legal, and procedural aspects, plus many national and international industry safety standards. For attendees to get the most out of a training program, Bruce Main from Design Safety Engineering, Inc. and Fred Hayes from PMMI, begin by asking what attendees most want to learn. What topics need addressing so that each attendee, upon completion of the training, believes they are better prepared to handle a risk assessment. By starting to train this way, they steer the agenda for each person and company to have a personalized portion dedicated to their topic of choice. Collected throughout five risk assessment trainings, the following are the most requested discussion topics from PMMI members. The most common topic was understanding the risk assessment process and how to do a risk assessment. This topic often comes from people wanting to learn more and familiarize themselves with the content before getting lost in the weeds. Having a workshop that clearly lays out the steps of risk assessment and engages individuals with in-depth walkthroughs provides attendees with an ideal educational setting for optimal retention. This interest is mentioned in almost every training session because understanding what risk assessment is and how to apply it to your company remains one of the most challenging topics of discussion. Another question frequently noted during the workshops is related to international machinery compared to U.S. safety practices. Applicable to a lot of companies who either buy or sell machinery overseas, there needs to be a level of comprehension on this topic so that participating companies can effectively compete with other businesses internationally. Knowing the requirements and applying them effectively leads to better, safer, and more efficient machinery. The third reoccurring topic is how to lead a company in deploying risk assessments. Stepping into a catalytic role in your company about changing its culture of safety is not easy. What are the steps needed to create change in the company’s current machinery safety program? Direct

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guidance and professional counsel are key components to approaching inquiries like this. These workshops best prepare attendees on how to handle these difficult processes with their own staff. These are just a few examples of the many different discussion topics requested at risk assessment training. Companies have their personnel attend these training workshops to identify better fact-based answers to pressing questions, in a manner that is much stronger than an online search. Participating in training sessions at your facility provides an open line of communication between industry experts and your company, which is incredibly beneficial to improving a machinery safety program. Live advice, feedback, and face to face assistance and guidance is what makes a difference in teaching someone about risk assessment and addressing their specific concerns. Call PMMI to set up a training session at your facility or register for the next open class training at Learn about the PMMI U Skills Fund for matching funds that support member training opportunities by visiting: skillsfund

New One Voice Ready Assessments Available

Three new One Voice Ready assessments are now available from The OpX Leadership Network. Based on knowledge of the following OpX solutions, these assessments can have a positive impact on operations, with particular relevance during the COVID-19 pandemic. • One Voice for Hygienic Equipment Design for LowMoisture Foods • Workforce Engagement • Worker Safety Readiness for the CPG Industry Visit the One Voice Ready webpage to access the tests at: Early adopters receive half-off pricing through PACK EXPO International.

NAM Health Care for Select Members

PMMI is excited to announce an association healthcare plan for its members, extending affordable health care to small and medium-sized manufacturing companies in approved states. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM ) Health Care plan meets the unique healthcare needs of manufacturers. In states where these plans are available, businesses with two to 99 employees will be able to choose from a variety of health plans. Learn more by visiting: oemgo. to/nam

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service programs. The new machine design is also easier to clean, which further improves hygiene.

The health of industry

Grosse kicked off the virtual show by providing a glimpse into the company’s own health, noting for its 2019 fiscal year it generated annual sales of 1.33 billion euros, which was slightly above the previous annual figure. Of course, a lot has happened since the end of 2019, speStephanie Neil Editor-in-Chief cifically, the pandemic, which has impacted Syntegon’s customer base. “Our customers are experiencing particularly he processing and packaging industries—and the high demand during the corona crisis,” said Grosse. “To world—are experiencing enormous changes as a support them, Syntegon has expanded its customer service result of megatrends like the coronavirus pandemic activities. These include increased spare parts deliveries and a sustainability call-to-action that puts pressure on and providing customer service via digital solutions. We corporations to do their part to protect the environment. have been conducting key meetings within the scope of In times like these it requires business agility and operacustomer projects virtually, including model presentations tional flexibility, and Syntegon Technology is becoming an and factory acceptance tests.” expert at both. In pharma, variations and dosage forms are becoming The company has recently gone through its own mega more versatile and specialized drugs are being produced in transformation when, in January, it announced the global smaller quantities. Pharma is playing a critilaunch of a new brand. Syntegon Technolcal role in combating the COVID-19 crisis in ogy, formerly Bosch Packaging Technology, a the form of finding vaccines. division of Bosch Group, was acquired by CVC “Syntegon is aligning itself with these Capital Partners at the end of 2019, becomdevelopments,” said Uwe Harbauer, a meming an independent company headquartered ber of the company’s executive board. “Using in Waiblingen, Germany. Shortly thereafter, our highly flexible systems, which can enter in March, Dr. Michael Grosse was appointed production without long lead times, our cusas the new CEO. Grosse was most recently a tomers quickly bring new products to market. member of the management board of Tetra Our modular systems with fast delivery times Pak. and efficient start-up processes also allow Syntegon is an OEM that caters to the companies to adapt dosage forms, product food and pharmaceutical industries, providformats, speed, and volumes at short notice.” ing a variety of processing and packaging In the food segment the company has machines, as well as robotics and advanced noticed an increase in product variety in the technologies ranging from track and trace to double-digit percentage range, noted ClemIndustry 4.0 to hygienic design, and more. At Michael Grosse, Syntegon CEO ens Berger, an executive board member. “And the center of it all is a commitment to sustaine-commerce is growing rapidly. As a result, demand for ability, which was a major theme at the company’s virtual smaller quantities is increasing within the context of small show that ran from May 7-13. The online exhibit served as orders. Existing shortage of skilled workers and rising a platform to showcase the company’s latest innovations— labor costs are leading to increasing automation. We expect including the unveiling of a new machine design—which that the market demand for robot solutions to more than was scheduled to be on display at interpack 2020. double in the coming years.” “Syntegon stands for synergy, technology, and a focus on the future,” said Grosse. “The new corporate color green The future is bright underscores the importance of sustainability and health. These aspects are also reflected in our new machine deGrosse said the company draws on experience in sign.” developing and integrating software, and uses connected An important feature of the new design is a user-friendly components enhanced with artificial intelligence. “Our interaction zone highlighted in white. It creates a clear user machines not only look good, they also embody intelligent interface and generally makes the machine easy to operate. and sustainable technology. Our focus will continue to be The new design includes an optimized HMI, the logo, which on this in the future.” is seamlessly integrated into the surface, the type designation, and a status indicator. In the future, it will integrate To learn more about the products introduced additional components, such as a wireless charging staat the Syntegon virtual show go to: tion for tablets that can be used to run augmented reality


Member News

Syntegon Unveils Sustainable, Intelligent Machine Design at Virtual Show



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Welcome to PMMI’s Virtual Executive Leadership Conference

From meeting sustainability demands and initiatives to leveraging leading technology to optimize operations, here are the most up to date resources you can use to empower your people and your business. Every year, PMMI, the Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, hosts an Executive Leadership Conference (ELC), which brings North American OEMs together to learn about the latest trends, equipment demands, and potential obstacles from industry experts and CPGs. This year, PMMI is offering a digital version of the conference, which is packed with insightful presentations from thought leaders on how not only to meet emerging demands, but also how to adapt to operational changes during COVID-19. The topic of sustainability is a hot button issue in the packaging industry right now, but as the coronavirus spread to North America, many wondered if the industry’s commitment to sustainability would be paused to meet more pressing supply chain demands and the need for protective packaging. To answer this, OEM Magazine spoke with Donna Ritson, president of DDR Communications, a

The Shifting Sustainability Model

A new PMMI report on packaging sustainability outlines how CPGs and OEMs are responding to consumer demands for environmentally-friendly packaging—even as questions arise about how COVID-19 will impact the future. Stephanie Neil Editor-in-Chief For the past few years, manufacturers have been concentrating on sustainability efforts as part of a promise to consumers to do their part to help save the environment. Subsequently, PMMI, recently conducted research on how this industry is responding to the packaging sustainability call to action. The result is a business intelligence report released in March called Packaging Sustainability: A Changing Landscape. The report, which is available for download, is based on 60 interviews completed in early 2020 with food, beverage, consumer packaged goods (CPG), and pharmaceutical manufacturers, as well as contract packagers, OEMs, and material suppliers. It concludes that packaging sustainability has moved beyond a trend and is now a global shift.

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market intelligence firm that conducted research on behalf of PMMI for its latest sustainability report. To find out what the outlook for sustainability will be like after COVID-19, read the story below. Another insightful ELC presentation shows OEMs how to implement virtual and augmented reality to keep up with demand while also making sure operations are in accordance with social distancing guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). OEM Magazine has reported on how virtual and augmented reality can practically fit into OEM operations, as well as how builders can use the technologies to better assist customers during the pandemic. Now, Michael Campbell, the executive vice president of augmented reality at PTC, shares how the company’s partnership with Rockwell Automation makes it even easier for OEMs to adopt altered reality technologies. Flip to page 48 to read the full story. Take a digital front row seat at PMMI’s virtual Executive Leadership Conference to learn more about how you can prepare your company to withstand the pandemic, as well as meet emerging demands at: “This is the time to look at our businesses in a different way,” says Emmanuel Cerf, vice president of Polypack, Inc. and chairman of PMMI. “Business models are changing. The future looks very different, we all need to assess and adjust.”

The findings: Companies, in general, want to respond to consumer demand for more environmentally-friendly packaging. They are tackling it from different angles—by either minimizing packaging to reduce waste, using sustainable materials that can be recycled and remade into new products, or adopting durable packaging designs that can be returned and reused. And, approximately one in four CPGs interviewed are making machine purchases specifically to address these packaging sustainability goals, and many more are making machine modifications. That, of course, was before COVID-19. “This pandemic is giving us a whole bunch of new questions to ask,” says Donna Ritson, president of DDR Communications, a market intelligence firm that conducted the research on behalf of PMMI. “What is the outlook for sustainability after COVID-19? In this time of uncertainty everything will be different. The trends in this report are still valid, but the question is, are some packaging sustainability goals going to accelerate and are other sustainability goals going to take a back seat? We don’t know.” Already, the business dynamic has changed drastically due to coronavirus, including a hyper awareness of safety and hygiene, plummeting oil prices, and a marked increase in e-commerce. The latter two issues greatly influence packaging

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practices. Specifically, when oil prices drop, the prices of oil-based raw materials used in plastics are also reduced, which could offer the opportunity for CPGs to use virgin packaging vs. recycled packaging, which in some instances, can affect how machines perform. In addition, a spike in e-commerce is creating more waste in secondary packaging and an increased usage in single-use plasListen to the Packaging Sustainability webinar presented by Rebecca Marquez, manager of PMMI Business Intelligence and Donna Ritson, president of DDR Communications. The webinar is part of PMMI’s virtual Executive Leadership Conference.

tics, at least in the short-term. And, then there’s the safety aspect of packaging and keeping plant workers safe. While it’s still unclear how long the virus can actually spread via a contaminated surface, it’s best Credit: Packaging Sustainability: A Changing Landscape report to be conscientious when it comes to packaging as there are reports that coronavirus can last on cardboard boxes for 24 hours and machines will have to be more reliable, more flexible, and plastic packaging for up to three days. This might have more automated. For example, in primary packaging there CPGs changing the direction of sustainability. may need to be modifications to machine tolerance as CPGs “Brands might need to build safe packaging messages adopt post-consumer recycled (PCR) materials or thinner into their branding,” Ritson says. “It might be a new direcmaterials that can break easily during form fill seal (FFS). tion for sustainability to say [the product] was manufacAnd secondary packaging machines must be able to handle tured and packaged safely.” And that could possibly mean material reduction strategies such as lightweight corruthat beyond the normal safety precautions of ensuring gated materials, and new bundling and shrink wrapping proper labels and inspecting packages for foreign materisolutions to reduce the use of corrugated materials. als, there could be a safety check for the virus on the packMachine builders should proactively understand the aging. “Will brand leaders have to emphasize cleanliness of problems that CPGs face and help them find a solution. their production and packaging? Or will packaging choices “Nearly half of the CPGs we interviewed agreed that overfavor designs and substrates that can demonstrate hygiene coming machine handling issues related to new materials to address consumer safety concerns?” was part of the process,” Ritson says. “They understand There are so many new questions as a result of the panthey can’t swap out a material for something that doesn’t demic. Nevertheless, consumers remain environmentallyhave the same properties and expect it will perform the conscious, therefore CPGs will still need to respond to those same.” needs. “Will sustainability continue to thrive?” Ritson asks. Now more than ever, brand manufacturers are hoping to “From all indications, it certainly will.” drive a collaboration within the industry to bring manufacturers, OEMs, and suppliers into a close alliance. The partnership could include testing new materials and tweaking machines as PCR content increases to see how it changes According to the newly released PMMI report, the global the performance of the machine. sustainable packaging market, as reported in total value But before it even gets to that point there are things that of revenue, was estimated at $220 billion in 2018 and is OEMs can do right now to offer guidance around processpredicted to reach $280 billion by 2025, growing at a CAGR ability, machine design, and compliance with regulations. of approximately 6%. To start, Ritson points to suggestions outlined in the packThe commitment to “green packaging” means that

The OEM opportunity

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aging sustainability report that focus on three strategies: Investigate, initiate, and innovate. The investigative stage starts by getting involved early and asking the right questions. “Ask to be involved and come to the design table as the concepts are being discussed in order to understand what is on the CPGs’ minds,” Ritson says. “And inquire not only about packaging but also label changes, the ink, adhesives, caps. Every part of a package has to be recyclable.” OEMs should then initiate ideation meetings with customers and material suppliers, creating a community to exchange best practices. “Candidly discuss what modifications will be needed on a machine to help CPGs get sustainable products out to the marketplace,” Ritson says. And then innovate by having machine modifications ready to go. “OEMs and material suppliers should work together to know what the machine performance will be and what changes will be needed, or if an entirely new machine is required for some substrates.”

How Augmented and Virtual Reality Are Saving the Day During COVID-19

During PMMI’s virtual Executive Leadership Conference, PTC shed light on how OEMs can use altered reality technology to help customers and employees while practicing social distancing. Natalie Craig Managing Editor Augmented (AR) and virtual reality (VR) have been used in the automotive and aerospace manufacturing sectors for years to streamline production, and even in recent years, many packaging and processing OEMs have implemented the technology to conduct remote service—end-user willing. But altered reality technology may finally be getting its moment to shine in the packaging and processing space as the COVID-19 pandemic has prohibited OEMs from traveling to customer facilities to service machines while also forcing builders to implement strict social distancing measures for their own employees as they work to fulfill machinery orders. Michael Campbell, executive vice president of PTC— a computer software and services company—gave an insightful presentation during PMMI’s virtual Executive Leadership Conference to PMMI members about how this technology could assist in many of the issues OEMs are having to grapple with during the pandemic. As the general manager of the Vuforia industrial AR software business at PTC, Campbell has been focused on augmented reality strategy and how manufacturers can practically implement the technology. One way the compa-

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There are many things to consider in any sustainability program, but Ritson says one of the biggest—and often overlooked—aspects of any effort is education. The average consumer doesn’t realize the significant commitment and contribution CPG companies are making to move the world toward a more circular economy. And the average consumer doesn’t understand the role that they must play to make this work. “Over half of the CPGs we talked to agreed that consumers need to be better educated and understand how to recycle. And that may mean adding labeling to give the consumer clear instructions of how to recycle, compost, or return it.” But first, as an industry, there must be a commitment to adopt sustainable packaging regardless of what’s going on in the world. The infrastructure—including how consumers participate—will ultimately follow. Download the report Packaging Sustainability: A Changing Landscape

ny is reaching packaging and processing OEMs is through its Vuforia Studio, which can take an OEM’s existing CAD and Internet of Things (IoT) data and create detailed AR experiences to increase productivity, reduce the cost of errors, waste, and accidents, and improve customer experiences. And, in 2018, Rockwell Automation made a strategic investment in PTC, adding Vuforia to Rockwell’s FactoryTalk Innovation Suite and making it more seamless for OEMs to have access to augmented and virtual reality technologies. Campbell confirms that AR and VR are OEM-ready, and they could be the technology that saves the day as COVID-19 runs its course.

AR for training

There are many use cases for AR and VR in manufacturing, but employee training seems to be top of mind for OEMs—specifically the next-gen workforce as a large amount of baby boomers plan to retire within the next couple of years. Within the PTC Vuforia suite, its Expert Capture feature helps OEMs train new employees by literally capturing the tribal knowledge of senior staff who will retire soon and packaging it into training content. Using Expert Capture, a senior employee could put on a piece of digital eyewear that has AR capabilities—like Google Glass or Microsoft HoloLens—or use a mobile device to capture tasks while using their voice to explain technique and guide the viewer. The eyewear or mobile device can record this and can later be uploaded to a computer to polish up the information and broadcast it out onto the web or to a trainee via their own eyewear or mobile device. “We are all familiar with the problems around the aging workforce, but now we are also faced with travel bans and social distancing, which makes it all that much harder to

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Using PTC’s Vuforia Chalk, OEMs can communicate with coworkers and customers for training, as well as to service machines.

transfer knowledge than it was three months ago…and three months ago, it wasn’t all that easy either,” Campbell says. “You have employees who have all of this knowledge, learned over the course of 30 years on the job. How do you transfer that knowledge, so it doesn’t just walk out the door? Instead of sitting someone in a training class for six hours with all kinds of scenarios, Expert Capture provides information to people just in time, right where they need it.”

AR for communication and service

Another way OEMs may be leveraging altered reality technology during the pandemic is by using it to communicate with coworkers who are socially distanced throughout the facility or to help service a customer’s machine. Vuforia’s Chalk program leverages augmented reality to enable offsite and on-site employees to collaborate in the operation, maintenance, and repair of equipment. This peer to peer communication tool allows voice, video, and real-time annotations, which provides OEMs with the resources to help their customers service a machine from a remote location or connect people on the plant floor. “What if an employee needs help from an expert who’s not there or has to socially distance?” Campbell asks. “In the age of social distancing and travel bans, augmented reality is remarkable. We are seeing a huge uptake in it.” A barrier to entry many OEMs face when it comes to implementing augmented reality technology is investing in expensive eyewear. However, Campbell says users can turn their mobile device into an AR platform by downloading the Vuforia Chalk app. On the app, OEM employees can connect with coworkers or customers to train or service machines from anywhere using video and real-time annotations. “Digital eyewear is not a prerequisite,” Campbell says. “Our strategy is to allow people to view our content on their favorite device, and we spend a lot of energy making sure that it works on the device they already have in their pocket. More than 87% of AR that is consumed with PTC’s technology today is delivered on phones and tablets.” To help OEMs during the pandemic, PTC is making Chalk available for free. For more information on how to get Chalk for free, visit:

While some OEMs may fear that AR and VR technology is a gimmick, Campbell says the PTC users who find the most value in this technology are in service and manufacturing.



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A Powerful Resource to Ensure Trade Show Success Jefferson Davis President, Competitive Edge


xecuting an exhibit program that supports your company’s core business objectives and delivers measurable value beyond cost requires a very sharp focus and a whole lot of effort. In my experience, the average exhibitor spends 95% of its pre-show efforts on the logistics and operational side of their exhibit program. They have to book space, order show services, get the booth, graphics, products, and people to the convention center, get it set-up, tear it down, and send it home— on-time and on budget. Unfortunately, spending the lion’s share of your time on logistics and operations only guarantees that your booth, products, and people show up. It does not guarantee you will get the maximum from the big investment of human and financial capital you are making. So, where do you need to invest more time to ensure your exhibit program is a success? Based on working with companies of all sizes and all types, we’ve identified five critical exhibiting success factors: • Clearly define meaningful business outcomes • Identify and attract enough of the right people to the expo and your exhibit • Manage and deliver a high-quality visitor experience • Manage your leads more effectively • Measure and report exhibiting performance, value, and return on investment (ROI) PMMI views its relationship with you and your company as a long-term partnership to help you achieve your business goals. Because of this, it has invested in a new value-added award-winning exhibitor program, called the Exhibitor Success & ROI Center, which is designed to help your company maximize your ROI. The online ROI center contains a tremendous amount of useful resources, including sections on

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planning your booth, managing show logistics, promoting your booth, presenting a seminar, asking tradeshow experts for advice, and enhancing your knowledge through exhibitor media group resources. The centerpiece of the Exhibitor Success & ROI Center is the time-tested and proven-effective “Five-Step Exhibitor Success Program.” The complimentary exhibit management tools, timed pre-show planning exercises, and topical knowledge resources are organized in a content consumption plan that will help you address the right strategic exhibiting issues at the right time frames in the PACK EXPO show execution cycle. Step 1 - get control: Download free planning and measurement tools: • 16 Week Trade Show Planning & Management Tool • Exhibit Budgeting & Cost Control Tool • Exhibiting & Financial Performance Metrics Tool Step 2 - plan to win: Complete planning exercises at recommended time frames: • Define your outcomes – at least 16 weeks prior • Identify & attract your ideal visitors – 12 weeks prior • Manage your visitors’ experience – 10 weeks prior • Lead management – 6 to 8 weeks prior • Measure your performance & ROI – 4 to 6 weeks prior and update after the show Step 3 - watch and learn: Live webinars to prepare you for success: • Setting Up and Adding to Your Exhibitor Directory Listing/Company Profile • Using the Customer Invite Program Effectively • Maximizing Your Exposure Online Pre-Show • How to Attract Enough of The Right Attendees to Your Booth • How to Order Booth Services and Furnishings • Improving Lead Management for Higher Sales Conversion Step 4 - read and learn more: Articles provide additional ideas and insights: • Plan for Success • Promote Your Participation • Create an Effective Exhibit • Prepare Your Staff • Lead Management • Measurement Step 5 - ask our team of trade show experts: Submit your exhibiting questions and a team of Tradeshow Experts, including Certified Trade Show Marketers (CTSMs), will provide answers. The new PACK EXPO International and Healthcare Packaging EXPO Exhibitor Success and ROI Center is all free and it’s a part of your exhibit package. Visit: to access all of the resources. For many, PACK EXPO will represent the first opportunity to reconnect with customers and online resources are the ideal place to start. Map your show and online content on, can provide the crucial primary connection during a time when customers are taking advantage of virtual opportunities. If you have any questions, reach out to the PMMI Show Department at 571-612-3200 or Jefferson Davis is president of Competitive Edge, a highly-specialized consulting and training firm on a mission to inspire, lead and direct businesses on how to more effectively use exhibiting to visibly support core business objectives and generate measurable financial value, far beyond cost. Easily share this article with your peers:

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5/26/20 11:12 AM





Top Challenges Facing Food Manufacturers Today Addressing aging assets and data collection best practices are two requirements for manufacturing excellence in today’s rapidly changing landscape. Kim Overstreet Content Strategist, Alignment, PMMI Media Group


here are a variety of operational improvement challenges faced by food manufacturing companies today. Jim Prunesti, vice president of engineering at Conagra Brands, addresses which issues he sees as being front and center. The first challenge, Prunesti says, is an aging asset base. According to publicly available information, food manufacturing equipment in use today currently maintains an average of about 56% of its original value. In addition, these aging assets, says Prunesti, are in conflict with current manufacturing trends. For example, companies must adapt to the changing consumer needs, profiles, and product attributes that a wide generational span requires. These consumer needs across the generations often results in SKU proliferation and products offering a wider variety of flavors, different textures, and different experiences. Another factor changing manufacturing trends today is the retail outlet landscape. With big-box stores, c-stores, e-commerce, and curbside pickup driving the need for different package formats and packaged counts, flexible assets that can handle quick changeovers for the different drivers are needed. Prunesti asks, “How do you cost-effectively adapt an old asset base to be able to support the needs of both the manufacturer, the retailers and the consumer? How far do you drive automation? Is it fixed automation or flexible automation? And how do you balance that with speed?” Factoring into these questions, says Prunesti, is the cost structure of products in the industry—which is often based on producing mass product at high speeds. If late stage differentiation for different package needs causes the manufacturer to compromise speed, then there could be a resulting product cost issue that can’t necessarily be passed through to the consumer. This creates a conflict wherein an investment in upgraded assets must be made in order to stay competitive in the marketplace. However, “there are

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factors that are helping to provide economic justification return,” Prunesti says. One of those factors is wage rate inflation, which occurs from base pay, benefits, low unemployment, and the demand for qualified labor. “I think between wage inflation, labor shortages, and the lowering costs of technology, there are new opportunities that are becoming available for how to implement automation across the existing asset platform or upgrading the existing asset platform to provide that automation and flexibility,” Prunesti says.

Asset upgrade strategy When economic factors enable an upgrade, the next question is: Where do you start? According to Prunesti, marketplace need and understanding where the bottlenecks in your line meet that marketplace need is what drives where you start. “If it’s unique flavors and textures and ingredients, then you have to start on the front end of the process. A lot of the original food plants were built for long runs and larger batch sizes, but as additional SKUs are added you have to get to smaller batch sizes and faster changeovers.” And, he added, faster

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changeovers bring their own set of challenges with CIP systems or cleaning systems and allergens, which adds in more complexity. A key factor to mitigating these complexities and handling asset upgrades is working closely with OEMs. “It’s a factor we have to work on relentlessly and constantly with our OEMs. And it’s a balancing [act] because you can buy equipment that has full flexibility trying to anticipate what you might need in the future, which has its risks associated along with its costs,� Prunesti says. “Or can you buy equipment that has the capability of being retrofitted in the future with change parts or other features that you can add, which may reduce the costs and complexity? We’ve looked at it both ways and we make different choices based on the application.� Data collection is another topic that’s top of mind in the food processing world. Prunesti likens data collection to an analogy of a car and says, “A lot of data, such as OEE, is looking in the rear-view mirror, which is important, but I want to look out the windshield of the car and see where I’m heading versus where I have been. And the question is, how do we look at automation platforms that can give us that forward-looking view of line performance versus the rear-view mirror view?� Prunesti says he sees a “refocus� going on in the mar-


ketplace of how to do more targeted work and look at what is critical data and collect the right amount of data versus collecting all the data. “How do you collect it so you can use tools that will help you identify future opportunity areas?� Another challenge that comes with collecting data is how and where it is stored. Storing critical data in the cloud comes at a cost and knowing how much to collect and how many data points is critical. “It’s more about how to have the data in a timely way to the operators so they can make on-time decisions that affect the current operations versus collecting data that measures how you did the last one or eight hours. Because that’s rear-view mirror versus looking through the windshield,� Prunesti says. Looking for tools to help with planning asset upgrades? Check out OpX Leadership Network’s Capital Projects page for free downloads on Total Cost of Ownership, Factory Acceptance Tests, and Request for Proposal. Or, look to the Focus on Operational Performance page for help with quality projects like Clean in Place, OEE and Remote Access, and Sustainability. For more information, visit:

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Company Performance Depends on Diversity Research shows that businesses with gender diverse leadership teams have better results. So why are there so few women in the C-suite?


t PACK EXPO East, PMMI’s Packaging & Processing Women’s Leadership Network (PPWLN) hosted a networking breakfast with two keynote speakers who addressed the power of parity in business. Kweilin Ellingrud, a senior partner at McKinsey & Company, and Kelly Coyne, vice president of global women’s strategies at Pax Ellevate Management, each presented information for the meeting theme: “Financial Empowerment and Fixing the Broken Rung,” a nod to a McKinsey report that states the biggest obstacle to advancing women’s careers is not the glass ceiling, but rather it’s the entry level position where women get stuck. Following the presentation, OEM Editor-in-Chief Stephanie Neil sat down with Kweilin and Kelly to continue the conversation on PMMI’s UnPACKed podcast. The following is an excerpt from that discussion. Content has been edited for space considerations. To listen to the full podcast, visit:

Stephanie Neil: Kelly, I was really surprised at the statistic you mentioned from a survey that showed that 95% of companies have no female CEOs and here we are in 2020. Why do you think that women are still not represented in the C-suite? Kelly Coyne: That was from a study done looking at 22,000 companies globally and there are many reasons as to why women aren’t moving through the ranks, up the corporate ladder into that specific C-suite position. Perhaps women aren’t raising their hand for that position. We know that there are plenty of qualified women to fill C-suite positions. But what is the company doing to either attract women into that position and find the top talent or maybe from looking within the organization, what kind of development pipeline might they have built throughout to have a pool of candidates, both men and women, that would be highly qualified to take that position. Kweilin, you mentioned some of the research as to why

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Kelly Coyne, Vice President of Global Women’s Strategies at Pax Ellevate Management

Kweilin Ellingrud, a Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company

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some women aren’t raising their hand for some of those senior level executive positions, and what kind of culture might lead to it not looking attractive for some people of color, some women, and even some men as well. Kweilin Ellingrud: One is there’s only one in five people who report to a CEO. So members of a C-suite who are women to begin with is a very narrow pipeline. And then within that pipeline, when you ask women and men, “Do you want to be a top executive?” oftentimes the answer is no because the tradeoffs, the 24/7 culture, the intensity of it is frankly not attractive. And so, how do we widen the pipeline so it’s more than one in five women at that C-suite level and make that role a more attractive role where you can bring your full self to work? Interestingly, when you look at women of color, it’s only one in 25 women who report to the CEO. That would be black, Latina, and Asian woman all added together. That pipeline is literally little droplets of water. Stephanie Neil: And why do you think that is? Kweilin Ellingrud: The drop off between the 21% of the C-suite that are women and then the 3% of the C-suite that are women of color is really challenging because the entire pipeline is skewed. And women start off at almost half of the entry level roles, women of color about 18% at that entry level, but it drops dramatically by five to 10 percentage points at every promotion level. And that’s the challenging part. When you get to manager, senior manager, VP level equivalent, SVP level equivalents, and then finally get to the C-suite where people are reporting directly to the CEO, by that time we’ve dropped off so low in representation that we really don’t have a robust pipeline to pull from in terms of talent. Stephanie Neil: One of the things that I really wanted to touch on is the research that McKinsey has done with and the whole broken rung theory. Can you explain what that is? Kweilin Ellingrud: The broken rung refers to that first promotion to manager from an entry level employee where women make up about 48% across industries, down to 38% of managers. And if you index that and have men’s first promotion, if 100 men are promoted to manager, only 72 women and 58 black women are promoted to manager, and it’s that differential in the promotion rate that is this broken rung we’re describing. And it’s such a broken rung that frankly we can’t make up for that lost ground in the rest of the pipeline. That’s why at the C-suite, at more senior levels, we’re looking at decades of that compounded. In fact, if you add up that broken rung over five years, that differential between men’s promotion rate to manager versus women, generally, and then black women, that’s equal over five years to 1 million missing women in leadership positions. And compounded over time that results in the talent pipeline that we were just describing. Stephanie Neil: That is unbelievable, that number. Kelly, I want to switch back to you in talking a little bit about

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investments. You noted that companies with more women leadership have greater innovation, increased productivity, higher employee satisfaction, and higher employee retention. So why is that? How is that measured? Kelly Coyne: What we have been able to pinpoint is that when you have diverse leadership teams in place, specifically gender diverse leadership teams, you see better business results occur at those companies, both quantitative and qualitative. Not that women make better decisions than men, it’s that diverse teams, gender diverse teams, make fuller decisions where they have that greater long-term focus you mentioned, they have greater client focus. The results that occur are just incredibly meaningful and affect the bottom line of the organization. We also see improved profitability and performance and greater return on equity when you have these kinds of teams in place. And most of the research too, to be specific about what teams we’re looking at, are focused on the board level positions and the diversity there. And also, the senior management team, which includes the C-suite. So that identifies companies that might just have the token woman on the board, just checking that diversity box might not be enough. We want to make sure when we’re looking at a company, they have a diverse board, but they also just as importantly have a diverse management team because that’s how you get the full picture of the company. Stephanie Neil: When we talk about checking that diversity box, it can’t be one woman. What’s the percentage of women that should be in the mix to really be classified as a diverse culture? Kelly Coyne: There’s research that talks about 30% or roughly maybe three women on a team as being a tipping point where you see even improved business results take place. I would say the companies that we look to invest in certainly have hit that 30%. Of course, we’d love to see 50%. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of companies out there that meet that criteria, but most of the research likes to see roughly around 30% team gender diversity. Stephanie Neil: What is the underlying problem here? Is it that women are more likely to sacrifice their career in order to raise a family, or is there a broader systemic problem here in terms of getting a pipeline of women into the workforce and up the corporate ladder? Kweilin Ellingrud: There’s a broader systemic problem. A lot of people, when we first looked at the data thought, well this is just women voting with their feet, right? They’re going and they’re taking care of their families. No. It turns out that women and men are staying in the workplace at the same rates. Women are just stagnating in role. A woman is much more likely to have been in the role for seven years before getting promoted versus four years potentially for a man, as an example. And women, when you ask women and men, do you plan to leave your company? They say yes at roughly the same rates. And when you ask why that is, is it to take care of family? Is it to leave for another company?

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They are looking to take care of family also at very similar rates. So I think there’s a lot of talk about potentially women leaving the workforce for family that is not born out in the data. Stephanie Neil: Are there other things going on in the organization? You talk about microaggressions in your presentation. What were you referring to and how does this impact women at work? Kweilin Ellingrud: Microaggressions are small things that could be conscious, could be unconscious, but an example would be that my comment was attributed to somebody else, or it was my idea but somebody else was given credit for it. My expertise in my area of expertise was questioned, or my judgment was questioned. I’m mistaken for somebody much younger than I am, small things, but they add up over time in the course of a workplace. And what we found as we looked at microaggressions was that men also experience microaggressions, but at a much lower rate. White women are next most likely to experience microaggressions all the way to Latina, Asian, lesbian, and then black women most likely to both experience microaggressions frequently and multiple times throughout their career for sure. Stephanie Neil: Kelly, when we talk about changing a culture, that has to happen at the top. Are there things that we can do as women in entry level or middle management jobs that can foster this more inclusive culture? Is there something as an individual we can do? Kelly Coyne: Definitely. I think there’s a role individuals play at the company to support a stronger culture that supports diversity. I also think you totally need buy in though from the senior management team. I think there are multiple prongs to see successful diversity take place from an individual standpoint. It is your responsibility to create an inclusive culture. Whether that means you’re a manager or you’re more of a lower level employee, what you can do is have conversations, call things out when you see them take place, some of these microaggressions that Kweilin mentioned, start to bring it to people’s attention. Because typically it’s not evil people wanting to put anybody down. Often they’re not even noticing it. I think starting to call some of this to people’s attention will create some changes on the lower level, start to look up to your manager, to their manager, and see where the diversity falls on their priority list. To see big changes at companies, you need the leadership team to have it listed pretty high as something that they want to see change, and so having really good policies in place to support an inclusive culture is important, but then having the culture that actually has the buy in and the employees that are fostering it is critical as well.

Patty Andersen Poised to Be First Female Chairperson in PMMI History PMMI, the Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, recently announced that Patty Andersen, co-owner and vice-president of human resources and after market services for Delkor Systems Inc., is the first female elected to PMMI’s Executive Committee in its 87-year history. Andersen will serve as vice chairperson of the PMMI Board of Directors, followed by a term as chairperson. Andersen joins Emmanuel Cerf, vice president of Polypack, Inc., who was elected chairperson of the Board, and Mark Anderson, president and CEO, ProMach, Inc. remains on the Executive Committee as the immediate past chairperson. An active proponent for industry education, Andersen has a passion for developing the packaging and processing workforce and preparing the next generation. She serves on the Foundation Board of Directors for Hennepin Technical College in Minneapolis and consults as an advisor for several other colleges. For the past four years, she has chaired the Workforce Development Committee for PMMI while also serving on the executive council of the Packaging & Processing Women’s Leadership Network (PPWLN). “It’s a true honor to have been elected to the Executive Committee,” Andersen says. “PMMI is on a journey changing embedded industry norms, and their selection of a female executive for this leadership role is a sign of that evolution. It’s a shift in perspective and embraces modifying how we think about things and how we value the impact of leadership diversity and inclusiveness. I look forward to working with PMMI staff and association member companies at this new level of responsibility.” As co-owner of Delkor, Andersen has played a crucial role in guiding the company’s strategic vision and direction. Recognized as one of the leading U.S. manufacturers of robotic packaging machinery, Delkor won Minnesota Business Magazine’s 2018 Best in Class award for a midsized manufacturing business. “My goal is to be an inspirational leader and a champion of women’s participation and leadership in our industry,” she says.

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Performance Advantages for ServoClass Couplings Zero-Max,

These ServoClass couplings are designed to provide reliability and misalignment advantages in servo motor- and stepper motor-driven applications. Demanding applications require a coupling that holds up to shock loads caused by rapid acceleration and deceleration, start/ stop conditions, and torque reversals in these servo driven systems. According to Zero-Max testing and field experience, the products provide the durability and reliability necessary for longer life and increased machine uptime in these applications compared to other coupling styles.

Medium Voltage Drives Simplify Integration and Operation

Rockwell Automation, Using a common control platform across an entire installed base of variable frequency drives lowers integration, operation, and maintenance costs, according to Rockwell Automation. The company’s new PowerFlex 6000T medium voltage drive shares the same powerful control hardware and firmware as PowerFlex 755T low voltage drives. The PowerFlex 6000T also has an add-on profile in the Studio 5000 design environment. The Add-On Profile is the preconfigured data translator, visual user interface and data configurator all rolled into one. It is also the primary tool that sends drive data to the common control system.

Pre-Assembled Torque Limiter Sprockets U.S. Tsubaki,

U.S. Tsubaki’s torque limiter sprocket combines Tsubaki’s sprockets and overload protection devices to create a single device that provides a long-lasting torque limiting solution. The method for purchasing torque limiting devices required end-users to assemble the limiting device, springs, bushings, and sprocket by themselves. But Tsubaki now offers all these components pre-assembled and bored-to-order in U.S. Tsubaki’s Wheeling, IL facility. End-users can now simply install the fully assembled unit to the shaft, set the torque limit, and move forward with operation.

BETTER THAN A LOAD CELL FAST WEIGHT CAPTURES EASY INTEGRATION Weigh cells deliver faster weight captures with a higher accuracy. Our extensive weigh kit portfolio with numerous infeed, outfeed, and weighing conveyor options simplifies integration into your machine and controls.



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5/26/20 11:32 AM




Programming Software Promotes Ease of Use ABB,

Wizard easy programming is a graphical programming method designed to enable users to quickly create robot application programs for ABB’s single-arm YuMi collaborative robot, without the need for specialized training. This easy programming software is built on the concept of Blockly, an open-source visual coding method that is made to present programming language or code as interlocking blocks. By using this simplified approach Wizard allows users to program and use the Single-Arm YuMi robot without prior experience.

Ball Screw Linear Actuators

Laser Time of Flight Photoelectronic Sensors

PHD’s new Series ESU Electric Ball Screw Linear Actuator features an enclosed design with a high capacity rail bearing system, which should deliver strong moment and load capability. Designed to be available in three sizes, with travels lengths up to 1,000 mm and speeds to 3,200 mm/s these, along with the ESU-RT Belt-Driven actuators, can be combined to create a system that meets Cartesian robot needs.

Carlo Gavazzi recently launched its Photoelectric Laser Sensors with Integrated IO-Link Communications. The LD30 Series are laser sensors that are designed to feature background suppression based on the Time of Flight (ToF) sensing principle. These series of photoelectric sensors are made with a sensing range of up to 1,000mm for either dark or white objects. The background suppression has been increased four times compared to previous versions, says the company. In addition, the LD30 sensors come in a compact housing meant for locations with limited space and for use in an IO-Link network or in standard non IO-Link systems. When these sensors are used in an IO-Link network, important data points, like the actual distance to the target, can be obtained.

PHD, Inc.,

Small And Mighty Accurate, Stable and Fast Weight Processing

NEW! d s an M E O for uilders d e eB ign Des achin M

Carlo Gavazzi,

Thermal Condition Device Provides Continuous Monitoring

Omron Automation, By providing continuous, remote thermal monitoring of electrical panels and other components, Omron’s K6PM thermal condition monitoring device is meant to lower the time and cost required for critical equipment inspections and minimize the risk of unplanned shutdowns.

• Powerful, Ultra Fast & Accurate Weight Processing: even in systems plagued with mechanical vibration • Tiny Footprint: At just 2”x3”x2”, takes up virtually no cabinet space • Color Touch-screen Interface: intuitive, easy to set-up, use and maintain • Weightless Calibration: simple 1-button calibration, no need for test weights

Weighing Solutions for Process & Packaging for More Than 100 Years

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2020 PACK EXPO International and Healthcare Packaging EXPO •


Aurora Bearing Company






Bishop Wisecarver









Encoder Products Company






Hardy Process Solutions



Heat and Control, Inc.






The Kondracki Group



Lubriplate Lubricants Company



Matthews Marking Systems



Mitsubishi Electric



Packaging and Processing HALL OF FAME

Parker Hannifin



Paxton Products



Pepperl + Fuchs, Inc.






SEW Eurodrive, Inc.



Slideways, Inc.






Pearl Technologies



Van der Graaf






Yaskawa America Inc.



Zero-Max, Inc.





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 300, Chicago, IL 60611; 312.222.1010; Fax: 312.222.1310. Periodicals postage paid at Chicago, IL, and additional mailing offices. Copyright applied for 2015 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 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 Free digital edition available to qualified individuals outside the United States. POSTMASTER; Send address changes to OEM Magazine, 401 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 300, 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: 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.

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Response Speaks Volumes to Industry Resolve PMMI staff leadership began holding COVID-19 Task Force meetings about the coronavirus immediately before, and during, our most successful PACK EXPO East to date. With all that has occurred since that first week of March, PACK EXPO East feels like it existed during another time. I read almost daily that the world has changed, and words like “unprecedented” and “uncertain” have been repeated on a constant loop. With all that has and is happening, one thing never changed and that is the resiliency and reliability of our membership. The food, medicine, and critical supplies that our processing and packaging manufacturing capabilities provide never skipped a beat. Your plants and factories became the frontlines. When states began forcing essential businesses to close, the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency issued guidance deeming many manufacturers to be “essential business” so that our members could maintain their normal work schedules and continue to provide lifesaving goods and services. This kept the supply chain up and running while many businesses in other arenas were sheltering-in-place. From the earliest days of the pandemic, PMMI members found time to not only offer support to fellow members but I can’t count how many called or emailed to check in on the PMMI staff. In spite of your own crises, you took a minute to check on the staff and we really appreciate the concern. Many of you came forward and volunteered to serve as a resource for your industry via special UnPACKed with PMMI podcasts and on our weekly Virtual Town Hall webinars. More impressive was the fact that not one member said no to participating. The dependability and steadfastness of our members put us in a good position when the U.S. government turned to manufacturing when it became apparent the country would need assistance keeping up with the needs arising from the pandemic. At the request of the White House and together with The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), PMMI member companies were asked to shoulder even more of the load. We forwarded a survey from NAM to all our members to ask for help with the production of criti-

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cal supplies. Within hours of sending this via our multiple PMMI and PMMI Media Group channels, PMMI members replied with ways they could help. Emerson’s ASCO and AVENTICS divisions immediately added additional shifts to aid in the production of its pneumatic valves, crucial to breathing treatment devices like ventilators. Polypack, Inc. staff volunteered to come in on Good Friday—a day that the facility is traditionally closed—to make face shields for Florida-area emergency and medical centers. Many of our members—like Spee-Dee Packaging Machinery Inc. and OMRON—took advantage of their 3D printing capabilities to supply parts for face shields for hospital and medical professionals. With N95 respirator masks in short supply around the country, SencorpWhite modified its equipment normally used to make deli takeout containers and other plastic packages to produce 300 masks per minute. That wasn’t enough, however, as engineers at SencorpWhite immediately worked on a newly-designed mask machine that cuts the need for any handwork, speeding up manufacturing. Soon after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted emergency approval, distilleries across the country started producing hand sanitizer to combat the spread of COVID-19. This product needed labels, or the bottles and their ingredients would be unsafe for distribution. Bizerba North America responded to an urgent LinkedIn request for hand sanitizer labels from a distiller in Texas. They quickly printed and shipped labels, enabling thousands of gallons of the potentially life-saving fluid to be distributed to those who need it most. I could go on and on. These are just some members who dropped everything to help, and I know the list is long of members who are doing things like this that we don’t yet know about. Tell us your story via PMMIResponse@pmmi. org. We want to hear about your good work. I have always been aware of the merits of our industry. Now the rest of the world knows too, and I could not be prouder to be a part of it. PMMI is here with you and for you. We look forward to getting through this crisis together, stronger than before. Jim Pittas is the President & CEO of PMMI. Reach him at or at

5/26/20 10:15 AM

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