Top AI Applications in Packaging and Processing

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There’s a new tool available to packaging and processing professionals in the form of artificial intelligence (AI). The one question is, how to use it?

That’s according to PMMI Business Intelligence’s 2024 report, “Transforming Packaging and Processing Operations,” which compiles the responses of industry executives at the 2024 Top to Top Summit. Participants indicated that most projects are in their infancy, often in the research and planning stages.

Asked about whether they were using or looking to use AI within their operations, most respondents said yes. Projects range from initial research to adoption of various AI systems across several different departments.

More than a third of respondents are not currently using AI, with many planning to do so in the future of keen to learn more about it. However, others remain skeptical. One respondent said they are “currently drafting a corporate policy governing the use of AI for work and/or on work computers.”

Another participant explained they “still need to understand how to apply [AI] and ensure security of information.”

In many cases, AI is not used in manufacturing operations, but is employed by other departments for tasks such as customer service and support, marketing, sales for business intelligence, and in HR to write job descriptions. Many of those using AI are utilizing it in production demand, planning and forecasting, and some respondents are employing it in data processing and analysis.

When AI is being used on the factory floor, it can include automation of repetitive tasks, machine vision and quality control, predictive maintenance, remote services and monitoring, and inventory management.

“We are actively using AI as a co-pilot to positions involving repetitive and in-depth data processing and analysis,” one respondent said.

Potential AI applications in packaging and processing

Packaging and processing professionals are finding myriad applications for AI, and as respondents indicated, the success tends to snowball. As AI projects have proven successful, some companies have started plans to expand its use beyond initial applications.

“We are leveraging AI and data analytics for vibration analysis today,” one respondent explained. “We will be leveraging AI to help our Reliability Engineering team move towards prescriptive maintenance in the future.”

One respondent already using machine vision AI added, “we are working with different solution providers to be able to implement this type of tool to optimize the supply chain and on energy efficiency issues, however we are at a very experimental level.”

When asked about potential future uses of AI technology, responses at the Top to Top session included:

  • Process optimization
  • Reducing time to resolution and/or development
  • Predictive maintenance
  • Flow management and simulation/virtual twin manufacturing environments
  • Machine vision inspection and quality control
  • Modeling line performance and control strategies
  • Production planning and forecasting
  • Optimizing production equipment performance
  • Operational improvements
  • Logistics optimization
  • Remote service 

SOURCE: PMMI Business Intelligence: 2024 Transforming Packaging and Processing Operations

For more insights from PMMI’s Business Intelligence team, find reports including “2023 Packaging and Automation in the Warehouses of the Future” and “2023 Dairy Industry Report” at pmmi.org/business-intelligence.

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