Equipment Snapshot: Harpak-ULMA has introduced its latest smart, connected packaging solution: the Trave line, built by G. Mondini, which utilizes Rockwell Automation’s Integrated Architecture (Allen-Bradley) production control and information system.
Harpak-ULMA also announced G. Mondini’s commitment to standardizing on a single automation platform in North America. The move reflects a growing awareness that a smart, connected automation platform delivers significant competitive advantages over traditional automation approaches - which often embody a mix of components from different automation suppliers.
Kevin Roach, Harpak-ULMA’s CEO, stated that the updated Trave line also represents a great opportunity to highlight Harpak-ULMA’s Augmented Reality strategy. He complimented Giovanni Mondini’s leadership foresight. “I have tremendous respect for Giovanni’s brilliant intuition – he has a knack for identifying the “next big thing” that will shake up the packaging industry. Adopting a smart, connected strategy in North American operations helps solidify Harpak-ULMA’s thought leadership by delivering real value for customers. It also is another important milestone in Harpak-ULMA’s technology vision and roadmap to introduce disruptive innovation across our served markets,” Roach said.
“Smart, connected machines play an essential role in a manufacturer’s digital transformation process,” said Mike Wagner, global OEM business manager for Rockwell Automation.The Integrated Architecture platform dramatically accelerates and eases integration with advanced software applications, such as augmented reality (AR). Harpak-ULMA’s deployment of PTC’s Vuforia AR software, part of the FactoryTalk InnovationSuite, powered by PTC, guides staff maintenance or production activities through 3D step-by-step work instructions using available tablets, smartphones, or glasses. AR applications dramatically reduce staff learning curves while improving maintenance outcomes. Harpak-ULMA joined the Rockwell Automation PartnerNetwork as an OEM Machine Builder to facilitate Roach’s vision for delivering smart, connected packaging solutions that leverage digital technologies to improve producer agility or emerging capabilities such as cloud-based data models that enable predictive maintenance.
Standardizing on the Rockwell Automation Integrated Architecture platform for controls offers several immediate, tangible producer benefits. Allen-Bradley replacement parts and controls technicians are widely available through the company’s extensive distribution network. Such widespread availability, combined with easy access and modification of the control’s software, means producers have more options when it comes to resolving maintenance issues that might otherwise result in extended line downtimes, or limit them to more costly repair options. In addition, the combination of rich information access and easier integration with other systems is proving attractive to producers that place a premium on the competitive advantages of a more connected enterprise.
“We are excited to have Harpak-ULMA in the Rockwell Automation PartnerNetwork. They continue to pursue innovative solutions that respond to the demand for smart, connected equipment,” Wagner said.
The approach further enhances G. Mondini’s rugged, heavy duty Trave line of tray sealing machines, already renowned for high reliability, low maintenance requirements, and the industry’s longest warranties. The Trave line uses an elegantly simple electro-mechanical lifting and sealing design that replaces failure prone pneumatics and employs a unique, patented multi-film handling system. The extremely accurate servo-screw, torque-based lifting and sealing technology ensures repeatable, high-quality sealing process control. Harpak-ULMA’s Trave line is the only domestic tray sealer available today that accommodates multiple film handling technologies on the same machine, including Sealed Air’s Cryovac Darfresh On Tray vacuum skin packaging that achieves zero scrap loss. The Trave’s design enables the highest output speeds available today, and its ‘open design’, full wash down/sanitary capability is unique to the market. Mondini’s reputation for innovation-driven packaging solutions dates to 1972, when it pioneered the use of rigid packaging food containers. The company continually invests in people and technology, while constantly monitoring market trends in served geographies. Mondini executive leadership noted a surge of demand by U.S. and Canadian producers for smart manufacturing-enabled packaging solutions as the impetus for adopting Rockwell Automation’s Integrated Architecture control and information platform in this region.