The Internet of Things is likely to boost the world’s industrial production by 20 per cent over the next three years, so that it will grow to nearly US$124 billion. Photo: Messe Düsseldorf, Constanze Tillmann
Internet of Things in the packaging market
The worldwide industrial market for the Internet of Things is developing at an amazing speed. According to estimates, we can expect some steady 20 per cent growth over the next three years, when it will reach nearly US$124 billion. This is on the assumption that Europe will continue in its current leadership role. Since the introduction of the Machinery Directive, there has been steady progress and ongoing development among EU member states. Nevertheless, the industrial market for the Internet of Things is still being used extremely differently within the individual segments of the packaging industry.
What is an IoT-capable product?
Products in the industrial market for the Internet of Things distinguish themselves by a range of electronic components, such as transmitters, memories and processors. Devices and humans interact within the same network, and there is an increase in safety, productivity and sustainability. Big Data technologies and machine learning models are applied, boosting the communicative abilities and potential automation of manufacturing machines and also of the actual packaging.
The use of new technologies will increase the safety, productivity and sustainability of industrial processes. At the same time, machines and humans will become connected, thanks to electronic components such as transmitters, memories and processors. Photo: Messe Düsseldorf, Constanze Tillmann
EU regulations for higher safety standards
The necessary legal regulations are already in place. The EU Machinery Directive (2006/42/EC) was approved in June 2006, and after a transitional period came into force in December 2009. It warrants the free movement of machinery within the European market and stipulates strict safety standards. This affects all products launched on the EU market for the first time. The regulation specifies that manufacturers must equip their machinery with the necessary safety features. Countries outside the EU have their own regulations.
Developing and emerging markets have seen an increase in demand for smart packaging machines. Photo: Messe Düsseldorf, Constanze Tillmann
Smart manufacturing machines
In 2016 German manufacturers alone exported packaging machines worth nearly EUR 5.4 billion. The increase over the previous year was around three per cent, a development that was mainly caused by demand from emerging and developing markets. The machines themselves are getting increasingly smarter. While, in the past, safety precautions still largely took the form of physical barriers, it is now possible to make changes during production, through remote control and monitoring and without stopping the process. The bottom line is less servicing, fewer downtimes, better safety, increased flexibility and improved networking between the operator, the manufacturer and the end user.