Human, AI Collaboration Occurs at the Heart of the Factory of the Future
Jeffrey Heimgartner posted on April 10, 2019 |

Across industries, the digital age has transformed the ability of companies to enhance efficiency, quality and overall operations. As technology that allows for further connectivity evolves, companies like Tetra Pak are preparing to create factories of the future.

Tetra Pak, a multinational food packaging and processing company, announced at Hannover Messe 2019 that its future factory is ready to change the way food manufacturing plants operate. The company’s efforts to digitalize the industry led it to partner with Microsoft, ABB, SAP and Elettric80 to create a connected packaging platform that incorporates people and artificial intelligence to transform the industry.

“We are in a period where the market is changing at high speed,” said Johan Nilsson, Tetra Pak vice president of Industry 4.0. “Consumer demands coupled with regulations require a new way of food manufacturing that is much more efficient and food-safety guaranteed. At the same time, we believe humans should continue to be at the center of the management of food manufacturing, with digital solutions as their support.”

Tetra Pak’s new connected packaging platform harnesses the power of the digital age with the human connectivity to enhance the efficiency and quality of food production. (Image courtesy of Tetra Pak.)
Tetra Pak’s new connected packaging platform harnesses the power of the digital age with the human connectivity to enhance the efficiency and quality of food production. (Image courtesy of Tetra Pak.)

Based on the company’s existing technologies, the new platform was designed to allow machines to communicate with other equipment and digital systems within an entire operation. It allows for the automation of tasks such as diagnostics or part ordering and delivering, enabling employees to focus on plant management, production speed, waste minimization and error reduction. It also gives employees the knowledge they need to make better informed decisions.

“We are unlocking new opportunities for our customers to get more value from packaging than even before,” said Ivan Nesterenko, Tetra Pak vice president of Cross Portfolio. “No longer is it only about product protection and functionality; it is about connectivity. The future of packaging is undoubtedly digital: this launch is a step toward a truly intelligent package, and we are excited to collaborate with our customers on this journey.”

With technologies like Industry 4.0, code generation, digital printing and data management incorporated within the platform, it has the potential to provide the entire food chain—from manufacturer to consumer—with better insights. The system can alert retailers if there are issues, track stock, and trace product history or location in real time. For consumers, it will allow them to know where a product is made, what its ingredients are, and whether its package is recyclable.

Tetra Pak’s new platform incorporates AI, automation and data velocity, among other technologies, to connect equipment and humans for enhanced food production. (Image courtesy of Tetra Pak.)
Tetra Pak’s new platform incorporates AI, automation and data velocity, among other technologies, to connect equipment and humans for enhanced food production. (Image courtesy of Tetra Pak.)

While the platform is still in its early stages, Tetra Pak has completed pilot projects with beverage, juice and milk producers in Spain, Russia, China, the Dominican Republic and India.

Interested in learning more about factories of the future? Check out ABB and Ericsson sign MOU for Factory of the Future and Honeywell Implements a Connected Factory in Japan.


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