When a component of an automated packaging line goes down, you need to be able to readily identify the source of the problem. Without some way to quickly visualize the source of the problem, you’re only alternative is to wander the line, checking equipment, looking at the programmable logic controllers (PLC) inputs and outputs, and possibly calling either the equipment manufacturer or the people who sold you the system.

Having visibility into your packaging automation system and all of its individual components is the key to being self-sufficient and minimizing down time. This can be achieved via a centralized monitoring system / visualization software module like that available through our FastTrak® Warehouse Control System software.

Each component used in an packaging automation system has an interface through which a monitoring system can receive real-time updates on equipment status. These updates might include information such as machine ready status, machine levels, machine offline/online status. FastTrak’s WCS visualization software module provides a graphical display of such equipment status, along with messages that can be used to help resolve problems when they occur.

Visualization software works by continuously displaying each component’s equipment status on a visualization screen. Interfacing with the system software, the visualization software module shares information with the warehouse control system software to display messages and provide tools that can be used to resolve issues when a problem arises.  Since the visualization software is remotely accessible, the visualization module can also allow us to see what you see, should you need outside support, further speeding recovery.

Machine Levels via Invata Intralogistics Visualization Software

Examples of equipment status and levels indicators provided by visualization software.

In short, the reasons for utilizing a centralized monitoring system with visualization software for your packaging automation project are simple: uptime, availability, productivity. It’s not just an inexpensive insurance policy against downtime, it’s a key system component that binds the disparate pieces of automated packaging equipment into a cohesive automated packaging system.