AMK Blog

6 Quick Takeaways from PACK EXPO International®


Dec 3, 2018

By: Guest Author
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“What’s missing?” we asked as people walked by, stopped and then watched a series of balls travel up, down and around inside a curious plexiglass encasement. You could see the earnestness in their stares. They didn’t expect something so, what’s the word, culturally challenging at the recent PACK EXPO International® show in Chicago.

The most common response: “I don’t know.”

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TAKEAWAY #1: People Enjoy Discovery

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Thousands of people studied the “kugelbahn” — German for rolling ball sculpture — in a state of childlike wonder. PACK EXPO suddenly took on a museum quality feel as art and manufacturing technology commingled.

The big reveal: there’s no control box. Instead, the demonstration featured AMK decentralized solutions, including the AMKASMART iSA decentralized machine controller that controlled the rolling balls. When a machine builder includes an iSA with one of the AMK motors, they have created a full motion control system without a space-hungry control cabinet.

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TAKEAWAY #2: Simplicity Matters in a Complex World

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Our fearless leader Tom Jensen was his usual smiling, charismatic self. “Nobody thought conveyor systems could be so simple and programmed more quickly,” he said. “When they realized there was no cabinet, they would say ‘wow’.” He adds: “And our software can run multiple conveyer operations simultaneously.

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TAKEAWAY #3: People in Manufacturing Are Hungry for New Ideas

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This sounds like a “gimme,” but change is hard — until someone really shows you firsthand why it’s better. This was the key takeaway from Hannah Witopil, our end-user business development lead from Richmond, Va. She said it was great to see “so many end users who are willing to consider new options like AMK when investing in new technology. Our ball machine was a real eye catcher.”

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TAKEAWAY #4: Smaller Companies Are Looking for Greater Agility

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One show takeaway for control engineer Dan Kirkman was that smaller companies can see the benefits of AMK’s middleware and automation technology in a three-axis system. Bam! It’s done. And our software makes changes while the machine is running. We’re seeing that size does not matter when it comes to agility because, as smaller companies grow, they are leaning on technology to help them scale. While we’re all used to expensive upgrades and, even worse, end-of-life issues when it comes to technology architecture, AMK is giving greater flexibility to those in growth mode.

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TAKEAWAY #5: Shared Ideation is the New Concept Behind Strategy

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No one works in a box anymore. But they used to. Engineers would figure out one part of the problem. Marketing would be in their corner to sell it. The sales team took marketing’s collateral and ran. Customers had a “client-facing” person they knew. At PACK EXPO, AMK’s key account manager Larry Culpepper was taken by the fact that manufacturers of machines are “looking for new ideas. I sense that the spirit of innovation is increased as the economy is doing better. Trade shows have been rather depressing over the past 10 years, but this one is exciting. Everyone is energized.”

We think the deliberate sharing of ideas is one reason why.

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TAKEAWAY #6: PACK EXPO’s Energy = Industry Optimism

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AMK has put its best foot forward at PACK EXPO, according to Dan Christensen, sales executive “This show has been better received than all the shows where we’ve exhibited combined. Customers and potential customers were impressed with our middleware launch and our centralized, decentralized and hybrid controllers.”

I think the teams’ observations are spot on. Booth traffic was high, people were interested in our products and our location was great.

Of course, it took all 50,000 attendees and 2,500 exhibitors to create that kind of hyped up energy. It was awesome to feel and share. This last thought is more than a takeaway, it’s a reset for manufacturing.

Back to our original question: What was missing? When it comes to PACK EXPO, the takeaway is: not much!

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QUESTION 1

DOES YOUR MACHINE REQUIRE MORE THAN IP65 PROTECTION?

QUESTION 2

HOW’S THE TEMPERATURE IN YOUR MACHINE’S ENVIRONMENT?

QUESTION 3

ARE THERE ANY MOTORS THAT MOVE A LOAD GREATER THAN 10nM?

prod-illustration-centralized-500x373.png
YOU PROBABLY NEED A

CENTRALIZED SYSTEM

Based on your answers, the most effective and stable motion control framework for your machine locates PLC and drive components in a control cabinet. However, it may be possible to modify certain motor sizing decisions to use a hybrid framework.

prod-illustration-hybrid-500x373.png
You probably need a

Hybrid System

Based on your answers, a hybrid motion control framework will provide the best system. By combining decentralized drives, power supplies and other components with a selective use of cabinet-based components, you can create a smart machine design with modular flexibility.

prod-illustration-decentralized-500x373.png
YOU PROBABLY NEED A

DECENTRALIZED SYSTEM

Based on your answers, your machine seems eligible for a “cabinet-free” or decentralized motion control system. This could simplify many of your engineering, cabling and installation challenges, and free you to design an automated manufacturing system with maximum value.

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