PackML – Coming Soon to Packaging Systems Near You

by | EPIC Systems, Inc

Packaging Systems UpgradeThe PackML (Packaging Machine Language) standard is changing the face of packaging systems around the world. Striving to unite packing machinery with a common “look and feel,” PackML became an ISA88 industry standard in August 2008.

PackML provides a common “machine state” model and standardized data tracking (Pack-Tags), to ensure machine programmers are speaking the same language. According to OMAC, benefits for manufacturer’s who adopt PackML include:

  • Cost benefits of higher reliability – machines speaking the same language will have an easier time communicating and will take less time to integrate together.
  • Better supply chain integration – programmers using the same language means easier communication between multiple programmers/machines, a reduced learning curve for those operating machines, and a faster time-to-market for newly developed machines.
  • Reduced engineering and training costs – equipment becomes easier to install and upkeep. Operators only have to understand one interface instead of trying to learn the idiosyncrasies of many different machines.
  • Shorter project cycles – it takes less time to integrate the machinery together, train operators and get everyone on the same page.

PackML addresses the following areas for packing systems and lines:

  • Standard defined machine states and operational flow
  • Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) data
  • Root Cause Analysis (RCA) data
  • Flexible recipe schemes and common SCADA or MES inputs


P&G is leading the way on adopting PackML guidelines and created an implementation guide to help developers get packing machines up to the standard. P&G provided this guide to OMAC, and it is currently available for free. The Implementation Guide to aid software developers in achieving a clean and efficient implementation of PackML can be downloaded here.

Nestle has also expressed their support for PackML adoption, citing the following advantages:

  • Machine consistency, especially in expressing machine states (holding, running, executing, stopping, aborting)
  • Similarly, clearly defined modes that mean the same thing every time (maintenance, jog, cleanout, operating, etc.) clarify what all machines are doing all the time.
  • And finally, Nestle sees great benefit in standardized data sharing with “PackTags” that communicate information from one machine to another, simplifying communication down the packing line.


EPIC can help you catch up to the PackML standards. As an integrator with over fifteen years’ experience integrating industrial packing lines, we know the challenges you face. Contact an engineer today to start working on your PackML upgrade, or learn more about what EPIC has to offer.

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