“We in Packaging Valley are constantly driven forward and we are keen to discuss our ideas with the rest of the world!” With these words Bernd Hansen, Chairman of the Board of Packaging Valley Germany e.V., opened the third “Packaging Valley Days” last Thursday in Schwäbisch Hall. More than 200 visitors from all over the world attended the two-day event which took place under the motto “Virtuality meets Reality – Packaging Processes 4.1”. The target was to discuss future challenges facing the packaging industry. The response was positive.
Day One began when the futurologist Pero Mićić with his presentation, “Have a bright future”, gave his audience food for thought and inspiration for possible actions. The question is not “is technology relevant for me?” but rather “how can technology become relevant for me? A matter of entrepreneurial thinking.” He also added: “We must all work on the things that are going to be different tomorrow”.
The program continued on a theme that is becoming increasingly important: Track & Trace. In order to stave off counterfeit medications, serial numbers for packs sold in Europe have been made mandatory since February 2019. Nik Seidenader, consultant for the introduction of Track & Traces systems, together with a customer, presented a successful project.
With the increase in quantities of virtual and digital data in Industry 4.0 environments, data protection is more than ever a challenge. Gert Hansen, Software Specialist, demands that companies should draw up a contingency plan. He emphasizes the importance of secure communication channels and points out the requirements for security concepts which are not sufficiently fulfilled in many companies.
In joint discussions with the end customer, the companies in Packaging Valley exchanged information on the latest developments, challenges and the future focus points in packaging industry. The “talking machine” is of course a focus and just as important the standard language for better integration of different machines. The consensus is that there must be standards but these must not be allowed to hinder innovations.
An international perspective was presented by Thomas Dunn, Project Manager for IT Projects at the US company, Nephron. He emphasized the importance of fully-automated production lines and talking machines in order to minimize error rates.
On Day Two, visitors were able to experience firsthand the implementation of theoretic knowledge in real terms. Companies of Packaging Valley gave insights into their production facilities and demonstrated the technological versatility of the region. The huge flow of visitors showed high level of interest. The “talking packaging machine” was definitely a focus of interest, as were the virtual 3D-applications. One item in the program was the Virtual Reality Center, a joint project of Packaging Valley. With 3D-glasses, the public was guided through three-dimensional environments whereby the benefits of virtual commissioning of machines were described.
“For us, Packaging Valley Days is always a super platform to show what we can do as a Competence Center”, according to Kurt Engel, CEO of the Association. In order to remain informed of the latest developments in Packaging Valley he recommends a visit to FachPack in Nuremberg from 27th to 29th September where our regional packaging specialists will again come together under the “Packaging Valley” umbrella. Packaging Valley Days takes place for the fourth time in 2019.