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Blog : Why we all need standardised machine language.


Machine Language 101

Most production facilities have a combination of new and old equipment.

In order for a production line to operate as a network of perfectly tuned parts controlled by a central line management system, each part needs to be communicating in a way that can be understood by the rest of the line.

The challenge is that different OEMs may use different, proprietary control systems, and the control systems for older machines were not designed to provide the multiple data points required by today’s line management systems.


The solution is to use a common machine language.


The ideal outcome is for all the machines on the line to talk to each other using the same terminology, and—should a fault occur—for messages to be sent up the line to a control system that makes adjustments to maintain overall equipment efficiency.

This sounds easy enough, but there are lots of potential solutions around and only a few that provide the level of control our customers look for.

A tested, proven methodology for creating control logics is to use OMAC (open modular architecture control) and PackML (packaging machinery language).

OMAC, which also stands for ‘Organisation for Machine Automation Control’, is a high-level control system architecture designed for continuous manufacturing systems.

PackML has been developed by the OMAC to provide a common ‘look and feel’ across a plant floor and to enable a common interface between machinery across a plant.

The PackML standard complies with ISA-S88 international standards for batch process control and has been tailored to suit packaging machinery in particular.


Using OMAC PackML results in consistent, modular and smarter software control that reduces risk and provides an intuitive interface. It’s also scalable, economical, reliable and maintainable.


PackML provides a standardised way to communicate and collect uniform data across machines, lines, shifts, plants and business units. It provides a standard set of data to run the line and enable machine-to-machine communication through a standard subset of tags within the code.

PackML makes it easier for end-users to obtain consistent data out of machines from different OEMs with different control systems. This uniformity is essential to productivity-enhancing initiatives such as Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) analysis and to simplify MES (management execution system) functions.

When used well, OMAC PackML produces control logics that are so friendly, the operator or site engineer can make the changes necessary to meet market demands without calling in a software engineer.

Adjustments can be made from any machine HMI to optimise line performance, regardless of their location within the plant, as all the machines are connected. It’s easy to see which machines are preventing optimal efficiency.


A point to remember is that there are varying levels of OMAC compliance.


OEMs are only required to implement around 10% of OMAC to be deemed compliant.

Foodmach engineers implement the entire standard, which is essential to achieve optimal efficiency on a production line.

We achieve this by configuring all the equipment on the line in a consistent language from the outset. This results in minimal teething issues at start-up and production can ramp up quickly.

Key Benefits of OMAC PackML:

  1. Consistency: There’s a familiar look and feel on the HMIs and all the different machines operate the same way, regardless of machine function.
  2. Engineering: There’s standard code on line to line communication and machine to machine communication. PackML defines how machines communicate and interface.
  3. Performance monitoring:  It provides feedback on the line, providing the data for monitoring overall equipment effectiveness or efficiency.

Foodmach’s line integration team lead the way in OMAC PackML integration. We’re here to help you with your line integration challenge.

Just ask us