Since the first industrial revolution began, back in the mid 18th century, the world of technology has changed beyond all recognition. Now, we have arrived at the time of Industry 4.0, which is often referred to as the fourth industrial revolution. It’s a time when computing and the Internet links with modern automation systems to create smart factories.
In 2013, Minipack®-torre joined the latest revolution with the development of its PRATIKA range, which includes the first 4.0 packaging machine. These machines, developed in collaboration with partners including Schneider Electric, are certified as 4.0 compliant.
Industry 4.0 – what does this mean?
You may not be familiar with the term Industry 4.0 but you will be aware of its constituent parts. These parts include cyber-physical systems, the cloud and cognitive computing. In smart factory processes are managed by cyber-physical systems that communicate with humans using the cloud. All of this is done in real time,vastly improving productivity efficiency. There are four factors that are central to Industry 4.0:
- The ability for machines and people to communicate effectively (interoperability)
- The creation of a virtual copy of the physical world by IT systems (information transparency)
- The ability of systems to support humans in decision making and the completion of tasks (technical assistance)
- The ability of cyber-physical systems to complete tasks independently (decentralized decisions).
How Minipack®-torre met the Industry 4.0 challenge with its Pratika range
It was within the context of Industry 4.0 requirements that Minipack®-torre created its range of packaging solutions. The company has always been at the forefront of packaging, since it was founded in 1971. It’s a global brand with four production units; one of these units is fully automated. The aim of the company has always been to produce high quality products at optimum productivity levels.
The PRATIKA range of machines is no exception to this. These automatic shrink packaging machines produce packaging that is highly effective and looks good. There are two models in the PRATIKA range, Angular Machines which are designed with a high level of versatility and quality in mind, and Continuous Sealing Machines which enable users to produce a high number of packages without using large amounts of energy.
Looking back to the requirements of Industry 4.0, it’s easy to see how the PRATIKA shrink packaging machines fulfil the ethos of the fourth industrial revolution:
- Interoperability – The machines in the PRATIKA range have a control logic which can be managed by the computer systems of the company that is using them. They also have a user friendly interface which includes a touch screen control panel. The interface can be customised to suit user requirements
- Information transparency – The control logic means that the real world of production can be replicated in the cyber world
- Technical assistance – PRATIKA machines can be remotely maintained and controlled, thereby assisting the work of human operatives
- Decentralized decisions – All PRATIKA machines are fully automated and can make independent decisions to carry out tasks such as adjusting the height of the triangles and sealing bar.
You can see how Minipack®-torre has met the challenges of Industry 4.0 with the manufacture of its PRATIKA shrink wrapping machines. All of this comes together with an emphasis on safety, including built-in features designed to protect humans who are working in the same environment as the machines. The PRATIKA range is 4.0 certified and can be used in a variety of industries, including food and pharmaceutical production.