Harpak-ULMA Packaging, PTC & Rockwell Automation demonstrates the power of augmented reality

Harpak-ULMA automated packaging line unveiled at PTC’s Corporate Experience Center
Ribbon cutting ceremony

Ribbon cutting ceremony

Photo - Business Wire

Harpak-ULMA and Rockwell Automation (RA) joined with PTC reveal the newest product of their continuing collaboration. The automated, AR-enabled packaging line demonstration, a centerpiece exhibit at PTC’s Corporate Experience Center (CXC), is designed to show the impact of augmented reality on frontline worker productivity, downtime avoidance, and mean-time-to-repair (MTTR) of packaging assets.

The February 28 ceremony marked a nearly two-year hiatus for the CXC as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The ceremony was conducted as a combined in-person employee / virtual customer event, and focused on the unveiling of a state-of-the-art smart, connected packaging line demonstration enabled with PTC’s suite of Augmented Reality (AR) tools. The companies collaborated for over a year and a half to develop the showcase demonstration of digitally enabled, commercially available technologies that help minimize unplanned downtime and improve mean-time-to-repair (MTTR). The exhibition combines Rockwell Automation’s smart, connected controls automation, PTC’s AR software, and Harpak-ULMA’s machine-centric AR experiences library. Together these three leading technology suppliers have created a powerful example how digital technologies can drive 30-50% gains in frontline worker productivity, improve producer self-sufficiency, and decrease total cost of ownership for modern packaging lines.

Jim Hepplemann, PTC’s chief executive officer, kicked off the ceremony recognizing the strategic significance of the three partners’ efforts. “This exhibit brings to life some of the core principles PTC lives by. We believe that digital transforms physical. That means the digital technologies we make help transform the physical products and solutions that companies such as Harpak-ULMA provide. They transform how they’re engineered and manufactured, how they’re operated and how they’re serviced,” said Hepplemann.

Kevin Roach, president and chief executive officer of Harpak-ULMA recognized the efforts and support of both Rockwell Automation and PTC. Both firms played a role in helping the company bring to fruition its multi-phase, multi-year strategy and technology roadmap designed to facilitate customers’ digital transformation of packaging operations. “All three leadership teams joined together to realize a common vision of how digital technologies can impact our customers. We believe that together we can unleash frontline workers productivity in a major way, not only with the tools you see here today, but along with the content we produce together. This is a very tangible example of how we enable the connected enterprise to better address many of the long-standing challenges producers face when trying to optimize packaging operations,” Roach said.

Following the introductory remarks, Harpak-ULMA and PTC personnel conducted an end-to-end demonstration of the new exhibit. Harpak-ULMA presented an overview of the TFS500, a thermoforming machine capable of packaging a wide variety of food, industrial products, and medical devices. Automatic product loading and unloading is accomplished with two Fanuc Cobots (Collaborative Robots). The team emphasized the degree of product intelligence possible by combining smart controls and PTC’s software applications with Harpak-ULMA’s technical and product expertise. Higher packaging process IQ is the key to identifying, diagnosing, and resolving issues that create unplanned downtime as well as optimizing line performance. In the final presentation the team executed several role-play scenarios to demonstrate AR-enabled maintenance tasks, including guided remote service and complex troubleshooting and repair using augmented reality.

PTC’s Seaport Corporate Experience Center (CXC) is located at 121 Seaport Boulevard Boston, MA 02210 and is open by appointment. Visit https://www.ptc.com/en/about/visit-ptc/headquarters to schedule.

For more information on Harpak-ULMA packaging solutions and view the event and demonstration:

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