Pacepacker Services is teaming up with Festo to offer Automation Awareness Workshops for its customers, involving all those with a stake in the automation process in smoothing the journey, while maximising the benefits and, ultimately, ROI.
Launched at the PPMA Total Show, the workshops will focus on how customers can integrate systems and extract full benefit from them quickly and efficiently. The half-day events will be free to a given number of attendees from each company.
Increasing numbers of manufacturers in sectors such as food and drink are recognising the benefits of automation, whether in terms of output, yield, reliability, product quality or traceability. However, fewer are aware of the less obvious factors influencing how readily that desired result can be fully achieved.
Pacepacker’s Business Development Manager Paul Wilkinson explains: “From upstream machines, which affect the efficiency of the rest of the line, to missed opportunities in enlisting the positive support of the workforce, it is important that we educate our customers and increase overall awareness as part of the process of integrating automation.”
Each workshop is specifically crafted to be useful and relevant to the specifics of each company’s operations, with full engagement from key company stakeholders, from operators and line supervisors, to engineering team members and directors.
Other opportunities the workshops will highlight include practical preparations for installation and how to manage training or recruitment to ensure customers have the correct in-house expertise to meet the needs of automation.
Maximising return on investment
Paul says: “This is about smoothing the process of automation inside the factory, it’s about you and your team being ready, and it is about external factors which may affect how the overall system performs. The end result may be all to do with speed, product quality, reduced wastage and rejects or a combination of all of these and more. Ultimately, this is about maximising return on investment (ROI), in the shortest possible time.”
In practical terms, this new approach to automation awareness could well reduce the period when the line is either not running at all, or running below its optimal performance.
Paul adds: “From Pacepacker’s point of view, we want satisfied customers. This is yet another way we can demonstrate the high levels of support we consistently provide our customers with.”
Festo, though known principally as a manufacturer of automation systems and components, has a strong track record in training and consultancy rooted in its real-world experience. In fact, the company runs 2900 courses worldwide every year, training no fewer than 42,000 individuals.
The Festo-designed workshops will bring together attendees from different companies at Pacepacker’s head office in Essex. For larger customers, there will be the opportunity for cross-site events where representatives of different operations will be able to pool their experiences and observations.
Neil Lewin, Senior Consultant for Festo Training & Consultancy, explains: “Pacepacker is in alignment with our objective to look beyond the supply of components and solutions and to help our customers not just succeed, but to excel in their markets. The course will raise awareness of the complete approach required when engaging in automation projects, and provide customers with a strategic plan for implementation of automation in to their plant. The end result being a solution that meets its promises on ROI and sustainability.”
A white paper and ‘automation checklist’ will perform a similar function for businesses installing smaller systems. For further information about the Automation Awareness Workshops visit www.pacepacker.com.