Volume 4 Issue 10 October 2022

In this Issue

Welcome to Industree 4.0 for October, 2022, exclusively sponsored by SAP.


By Judy Cubiss


What's Next for Industry 4.0: Sustainable Packaging Manufacturers In The Midmarket

Midsize packaging manufacturing companies have always focused on running highly efficient operations while keeping costs as low as possible. But given current economic and industry conditions, many are beginning to see their traditional Industry 4.0 investments in a new and more strategic light.

Facing a short supply of raw materials, labor, and financial resources with high energy prices, midsize industry players recognize that sustainability can help them grow revenue, improve operational efficiency, and mitigate risks. And they are looking to the application of Industry 4.0 technologies and practices – including the Big data, process automation, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and virtual and augmented reality – to drive this new shift in strategy.

This application of Industry 4.0 represents an exciting opportunity to get more out of the operational and business data already available and turn it into a competitive advantage.

Catalyzing sustainable business models

Sustainability has certainly become more important to customers. For that reason, packaging manufacturing companies are amplifying the value of their Industry 4.0 investments by going beyond business model efficiency and cost reduction to facilitate a broader responsibility to the environment.

Prioritizing sustainability may seem at odds with traditional mandates for high efficiency and low costs. However, considering midsize manufacturers often have much smaller profit margins and financial reserves than their larger competitors, this shift can help safeguard the supply chain from unnecessary operational disruptions.

Think about the requirements for tracking of food packaging, where any deviation from the regulations can lead to significant financial and reputational damage. Accordingly, customers in the food industry expect from their suppliers a complete traceability of origin but also of sustainability, CO2 emissions, legality of their raw materials. An example of this is the EU plastic tax proposed as part of the "EU Green Deal", which aims to reduce the consumption of raw materials and waste and promote the transition to a circular economy. On the other hand, the sustainability and recyclability demanded by end customers are placing new demands on the development of packaging, which medium-sized packaging companies in particular can exploit for themselves through innovative solutions. On the other hand, the requirements for environmentally friendly packaging from governments are also increasing as shown by the example of the EU plastic tax, which was proposed as part of the "EU Green Deal" and aims to reduce the consumption of raw materials and waste and promote the transition to a circular economy.

With Industry 4.0 technologies, this approach to reverse supply chain logistics can help businesses navigate current constraints on some raw materials and subcomponents with tremendous speed, clarity, and intelligence. It delivers more visibility to the supply chain, unraveling process complexity and bringing hidden opportunities and risks to light. As a result, organizations can operate with the deep, data-driven insights they need to make informed and effective decisions when making trade-offs between costs, supply availability, and environmental impact.

In addition, packaging manufacturers can become more responsive to internal and external shifts as decision-making capabilities are brought closer to the plant floor and the customer location. This improvement is made possible by automating routine processes based on predefined business workflows and tolerances and capturing and analyzing performance status data from factory machines and installed equipment in real time.

Moving forward without neglecting what matters most

While no two midsize manufacturers are precisely the same, it is safe to say that all of them are watching their bottom lines, especially in these challenging times. However, as revealed by SAP Insights' research data, sustainability something they should pay more attention to gain an even more significant advantage.

They can help address future challenges to the development of sustainable products and mitigate risk in the supply chains, in addition to the most pressing challenges such as energy efficiency, emissions reduction, and responsible consumption of water and natural resources. 

This is where investments in Industry 4.0 can play a tremendous role. By combining the data generation and automation capabilities of supporting technologies, midsize manufacturers gain critical business-wide insights needed to negotiate trade-offs that can make a difference for the business, customers, and the environment.

Discover how manufacturing leaders from midsize companies are rethinking organizational priorities, opportunities, and risks in the SAP Insights research study, "The Transformation Mindset: How Manufacturers Are Balancing Profitability and Efficiency with Sustainability.

SASI 2023

By Pat Dixon, PE, PMP

Vice President of Automation, Pulmac Systems International (pulmac.com)

Last year at this time I posted an article about a program at Miami University to prepare students for internship assignments in automation. This program is called Systems Automation Springboard to Internships (SASI). This is an effort to address the “silver tsunami”, in which many experienced industry professionals have left industry and there is not enough new technical talent to meet the demand. As we become increasing reliant upon automation with a diminished workforce, this problem is a growing concern. SASI has an opportunity to turn this around. This article is intended to make industry aware and continue to grow SASI.

The program does not intend to produce automation experts. It is an intensive 3-week workshop to present students with the full spectrum of automation, from field instrumentation to the top of the enterprise. The purpose of SASI is to not only prepare students to enter an internship/co-op assignment in automation, but also to spark interest in pursuing a career in automation. The workshop is conducted by a team of faculty and industry experts, with lab assignments. Students do get exposure to PLC and DCS programming, but clearly SASI cannot prepare a student for every system in industry. The program is meant to make students fluent in the language of automation and facilitate learning on the job during the internship.

The program also includes important non-technical topics in automation, such as project management, writing and interpreting specifications, managing change, and advice from experienced industry professionals on automation as a career.

SASI will be entering its 3rd year in January. Based on feedback from the last 2 years, SASI has been very successful. The companies that sponsored these students gave high marks for the SASI program. For example, one of the sponsoring companies stated "You have a very strong intern with a wide range of knowledge.” Every sponsoring company said that the SASI intern came up to speed rather quickly.  The students also enjoy the program and see the value of preparation for their internship.

Miami is looking for companies to express an interest in sponsoring a SASI intern. Sponsoring companies will get resumes and interviews with prospective students to select an intern, and the compensation terms are determined by the sponsoring company. There are 2 components to sponsor a SASI intern:

  • fund the $1500 fee for the students to participate in SASI

  • provide one or more process control/automation internships in the summer of 2023 for the student


Details on SASI can be found at https://www.miamioh.edu/cec/sasi/, including testimonials from students that completed SASI last year. Contact Gary Rudemiller, Executive Director of the Paper Science & Engineering Foundation at Miami University at rudemigr@miamioh.edu for further information.

Don’t get swept away by the silver tsunami. Invest in a SASI intern to fill your pipeline of automation talent.


International SAP Conference

For Forest Products, Paper and Packaging

I am just from the SAP Conference in Madrid and I have to tell you my head is still spinning. One cannot understand the rapid advancement being made in business and process software unless one listens to the users.

I think back to the first PLC I ever saw and then consider how far we have come in fifty years. It is like comparing a Model T to a Tesla. The comparison is incomparable.

Today's systems can make quality and efficiency routine in paper production with little operator input. Changes in additives can be optimized. Transparency to the mill, or to customers (if desired) of all business and process parameters are just a screen away.

At this point, being just a few years out of date is being a long way out of date. Controlling your business in a holistic manner is here.

IT/OT Convergence: More Than Just Connecting Networks

By Luigi De Bernardini

See where the industry is at concerning IT/OT convergence and the need for creating an organization where responsibilities are unified with common goals and targets. 

Read the full article here

IOT Testing: Approaches, Challenges, and Tools

By Joy Anderson

The IoT industry is growing rapidly, and it is already a multi-billion dollar industry. However, the industry spends billions of dollars on recalling defective devices. And it is estimated that almost $10 billion will be spent to recall defective devices by the end of 2022. If you don’t want to suffer from such losses, then you must conduct IoT testing. This will ensure all your devices and their functionalities work as expected and allow the entire IoT network to work in sync. Let’s take a look at IoT and then discuss various testing approaches and the IoT testing tools widely used.

Read the full article here

Why is the IOT the future of manufacturing

By IOT Business News

The digitalization of production has long ceased to be an extremely expensive innovation: now, it costs several times less than ten years ago. Today, the Industrial Internet of Things not only solves production problems with security, theft, and rejects but also allows you to save significantly on the operation of the plant.

Read the full article here

IIoT vs IoT4I* (5G-IoT vs LPWA-IoT) – what’s the difference, why everything has a place

By James Blackman

A helpful snapshot of the developing IoT market, from a presentation at The Things Conference in Amsterdam a couple of weeks back; Paul Pinault, vice president of platform and market strategy at France-based Braincube, took to the stage to draw interesting, possibly important, distinction between how IoT sensors are deployed in industrial processes, in the task of making things, and in industrial environments, to bring additional context to their production.

Read the full article here
Industree 4.0 is exclusively sponsored by SAP