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Library will simplify packaging applications

01 March, 2006

Library will simplify packaging applications

A standardised library of software elements for use in packaging applications has been agreed by the Packaging Workgroup of OMAC - the Open Modular Architecture Control Users` Group. At the same time, three automation suppliers - Beckhoff, Bosch Rexroth and Siemens - have announced packaging-specific software libraries that support the new PackAL standard. The libraries can be downloaded from their Web sites.

The PackAL library creates a common look-and-feel for packaging machinery software. It is intended to help in the design, programming, debugging and maintenance of packaging machines. It includes 23 functions: 13 cover machine operations such as wind/unwind, dancer control, registration, and indexing; nine deal with network-independent, machine-to-machine communications; and one standardises the programming of the PackML machine state model.

"The benefits are considerable, both for machine-builders and for end-users," says Gerd Hoppe, Beckhoff Automation`s chief technology officer, who also leads the PackSoft technical sub-committee that developed the library. "The organisation of machine communication and commonly used functions facilitates seamless machine programming across control platforms, and between machines from different vendors.

"Horizontal machine integration becomes easier, and a common coding platform is maintained for machine builders," he adds. "End-users are freed from unnecessary programming efforts, and more of their valuable time can become available for process-specific solutions".

PackAL is being added to OMAC`s Guidelines for Packaging Machinery Automation.

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