We are in plants every day to support coding requirements, and as we explore the numerous advantages of coding automation with our customers, it is not uncommon to hear. “We don’t have the infrastructure. We’d have to drop CAT cables to each printer!” We all recognize the future of automation and data exchange , but upgrading ones infrastructure has become the elephant in the room that no one wants to address. So I thought I would take a moment and speak to some of the perceptions related to Coding Automation.
“We don’t have the Infrastructure”: In a previous blog post, I wrote about leveraging existing technology. Exploring what you have first in terms of their capabilities and connectivity, before investing in more technology. Furthermore, the adoption of Coding automation is not a single person or department. It involves many to work together with the same objective as individual silo’s impede on the very concept of the open data flow. The primary objective is to reduce the likelihood of coding errors occurring, throughout the production process. In order to achieve this, it is important to audit the coding creation and deployment processes and identify potential sources of error. Process flow diagrams and data flow maps can help to flesh out the individual stages in the process, which can then be assessed. The involvement of quality departments within this process can also be valuable in targeting and prioritizing the risk areas. – So IT, Quality Control, Production…everyone has a stake in the game, and EVERYONE will benefit. It starts with that first meeting to acknowledge that coding automation wipes out the human error side of the packaging production. It sounds daunting but it’s really not and working with a supplier who “gets it” can help facilitate this process.
“We’d have to drop CAT cables to each printer”. Maybe, maybe not. Maybe it is as simple as connecting directly to a switch in a control panel that your printer is already connected to. As per Control Engineering, “An industrial network can be a beautiful thing. If done correctly, it can facilitate the flow of information between the plant floor and the boardroom. It is part of your core infrastructure backbone that makes so many of your organization’s efficiency and information technology (IT) initiatives possible”. With the advancements of technology today, and dependent upon your own network, it may not be as complicated as you think. Domino has been able to successfully work with numerous companies and typically it takes only 1 full day to get the automation piece completed. The disruption to your plants is minimal but the tangible and intangible benefits immeasurable.
So here is the question back I tend to propose to our customers. Why wouldn’t you be exploring your options? We already know with the evolution of Industry 4.0 the clear advantage of interconnecting your large equipment to exchange data and determine line efficiency, bottlenecks, and what is being produced. What about to have the ability to compare lines plant wide (or even across all facilities) and adjust for maximum output? Well it seems worth some of that legwork upfront, doesn’t it? So feed that elephant in the room his peanuts and tell him to be on his way, as you have some planning to do….
Adem Kulauzovic, Director of Coding Automation
Domino North America