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Foodmach's chief customer officer Earle Roberts discusses the role of line integration and programming standards in Industry 4.0 implementation success.

We’re often asked: ‘Can you make our existing factory Industry 4.0 compliant?’ The answer is - it depends.

You may have found that your existing equipment does not easily integrate, and that having each individual OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) supplier on your production line upgrade their control systems to suit Industry 4.0 is expensive.

In addition to this expense, the result is often clunky and fails to deliver the full benefits of a ‘smart’ line.

To address this issue, Foodmach has developed specialisation in adding functionality to existing individual machines, regardless of their make, through the creation of a Line Management Execution System (LMES) which can deliver high-performance connectivity.

Using high-level control architecture (OMAC) and open-source packaging machinery language (PackML), we work through original equipment manufacturers’ proprietary platforms so that all equipment is networked through the IIoT and can provide useful, translatable information.

Foodmach started using the OMAC and PackML programming standards a decade ago. This long history now means we’re at the forefront of OMAC and PackML programming in Australia.

Our specialist team of programmers use OMAC and PackML to get all the machines on a packaging line talking to each other and providing consistent, useful data. This is an important step towards Industry 4.0 – open communication standards that simplify system designs.

In our experience, OMAC compliance for new equipment needs to be carefully investigated when looking to buy equipment. The standards to claim ‘OMAC compliance’ are very minimal for OEMs so the real test is what effort is required to integrate the equipment and communicate with it.

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