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OMAC Features Efforts to Advance Industrial IoT at Pack Expo

Organization is working to help advance the quality and efficiency of data sharing and communication at the machine and production line and up through the enterprise.

The Organization for Machine Automation and Control (OMAC) will be showcasing automation standard initiatives at Pack Expo Las Vegas at the Las Vegas Convention Center that are helping to advance the Industrial Internet of Things and improve packaging efficiency. OMAC will be located in booth C-1241.

Featured OMAC Initiatives include the ISA-TR88.00.02 automation standard commonly known as PackML and the PackML/OPC UA companion specification, which is helping to advance communication protocols among devices and machines. OMAC, OPC Foundation, and PLCopen, co-located in the Association Partner Pavilion, are working together to help advance communications protocols necessary for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to succeed. The three organizations are at the forefront of developing and promoting common standards to improve manufacturing efficiency, but until now have been working in parallel on different aspects of automation standardization.

Interoperability between devices and machines that use different protocols is a significant challenge in realizing the full potential offered by the Industrial Internet of Things. By collaborating on companion specifications to existing standards and protocols, OMAC is working to help advance the quality and efficiency of data sharing and communication at the machine and production line and up through the enterprise.


One of OMAC’s major initiatives has been the promotion of ISA-TR88/PackML. Manufacturers and machine builders worldwide have implemented PackML on various control platforms to increase speed to production, ease packaging line integration and improve reliability. The second generation is currently available. While PackML defines machine modes, states and tag naming conventions, it does not specify a communications protocol. The OPC Foundation’s Unified Architecture (OPC UA) is an industrial interoperability framework. It delivers information modeling with integrated security, access rights, and all communication layers to provide plug-and-play machine-to-machine (M2M) communication inside factories. It is scalable across the plant floor and from sensor to IT enterprise and cloud scenarios.

To take their efforts to the next level, OMAC and the OPC Foundation have developed a companion specification for ISA-TR88/PackML and OPC UA.

“A standard communication protocol, used consistently across the industry, is vital for realizing the full benefits of automation standards such as ISA-TR88, which then can be a valuable data source for smart factories and the IIoT,” says Dr. Bryan Griffen, OMAC Chairman and Nestlé Group Engineering Manager. “A companion specification between ISA TR88 and OPC UA fills this need. The opportunities to transform manufacturing as hardware and software solutions are integrated through consistently applied, standardized protocols are extraordinary. We’re pleased to be a part of those efforts worldwide.”

OMAC will present on the Pack Expo Las Vegas Innovation Stage (C-1041) on Tuesday, Sept. 26 at noon. The presentation is entitled “PackML and the Internet of Things—A Practical Approach to Line Productivity Through Standardized Machine-to-Machine Communication” and will include speakers from end-user Church and Dwight, OEM Mettler-Toledo, and OMAC.

OMAC also will be participating in Pack Expo’s Amazing Packaging Race, an educational competition for university students, which requires them to visit exhibitor booths and solve packaging problems.

OMAC members will be available at Pack Expo Las Vegas to discuss development of the PackML/OPC UA Companion Spec and productivity enhancements from implementing PackML, Pack Tags, and PackSpec guidelines.

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