Augmented Reality

What is Augmented Reality (AR), and where does it fit in relation to other ‘reality’ technologies in the market today? Locating these technologies isn’t cut and dry. There’s some overlap and they are better understood as a spectrum rather than distinct items.

Extended Reality or (XR) refers to all the real-and-virtual environments generated by computer technology and wearables – in other words a spectrum of capabilities. 

  • Reality: The most familiar end of the spectrum is reality, the physical world that we can experience with all of our senses, particularly physical touch.
  • Assisted Reality: Assisted reality refers to projecting additional information into a user's field of vision, hands-free. It doesn't change what the user is seeing, nor is it aware of the geometry of the user’s environment. It only adds an extra layer of information into their peripheral vision – Google glasses or RealWear headsets are a great example of this.
  • Augmented Reality (AR): AR is an overlay of computer-generated content on the real world that can superficially interact with the environment in real-time. With AR, the end user can experience this on headsets but more commonly on typical mobile devices. Generally these experiences will include text, graphics, videos, animations and sounds. Essentially, AR superimposes digital information on the material or physical world, like heads-up displays in a plane or in cars.
  • Mixed Reality (MR): MR is an overlay of synthetic content anchored to, and interacting with, real world objects in real time. With Mixed Reality experiences, computer-generated objects are visibly obscured by objects in the physical environment. When implemented well, MR should be a perfect union of Digital and Physical content interacting seamlessly.
  • Augmented Virtual Reality (aVR): Immediately next to Virtual Reality on the spectrum, augmented virtual reality  takes content from the physical world and adds to a virtual experience to give the end user a more immersive feel. This could be 360 video capture for scenery or pre-recorded audio.
  • Virtual Reality (VR): On the opposite end of the spectrum is Virtual Reality (VR). These experiences are composed of entirely digital content, from computer generated graphics to sounds and locations. In some cases this can include content meant to mimic aspects or environments from the real-world, such as walking through a virtual layout of a plant. The defining trait of these experiences is not the content, but how the user is going to experience it.

Augmented Reality for Your Packaging Operation
AR is making it possible to more quickly train or provide expert guidance to a workforce, and provide them the information they need at the right time and with the correct context.

Staff can be guided through how to get a machine back up and running, perform a product line changeover, or be alerted to a performance issue using AR technologies.

We see the AR value proposition as delivering significant productivity gains in human labor; improvements on the order of 30-60% depending on the specific application.


Watch Alexander Ouellet, our Innovation Engineer, talk more about AR
and how it can be a gamechanger for packaging operations. >



Smart Industry Pioneer Award

Harpak-ULMA Chosen as Smart Industry IIoT Pioneer Award Recipient for 2020

The IIoT Pioneer Award is intended to honor an industrial original equipment manufacturer (OEM) that has leveraged digital technologies to create new ways to increase value for its customers, and as a result created new revenue streams for itself. Harpak-ULMA has been selected as a recipient for 2020. 

About the Award:
This year’s winners, chosen from across the global industrial landscape, have successfully envisioned, planned and executed the digital transformation (DX) of one or more aspects of their business through the application of digital and disruptive technologies. Smart, connected platforms deliver advanced OT/IT integration capabilities, including asset and system auto-discovery, data model sharing and re-use, integrated analytics, and AR empowerment.

The criteria for the IIoT Pioneer Award included:

  • Commitment and support of senior executive team
  • Clear business model and monetization strategy
  • Customer adoption of new offerings/services
  • Adoption of IoT/analytics/augmented reality/product lifecycle management technologies
  • Digital/IoT technical expertise
  • Internal support resources

Read the Press Release >

Watch the ROKLive Video Presentation >

Digital Transformation

Leveraging Data to Enhance Your Operation and Realize Greater Productivity and Efficiency

Digital transformation has legs for a reason:  It helps us to “Do More and Go Faster’ by leveraging data to make the traditional barriers to change – that is time, cost, and risk – easier to manipulate. Packaging, like any other manufacturing function, creates more value when we can control it better, change it easier, and can still rely on consistent performance. So, If data is the lifeblood of digital transformation, smart-connected machines are its heart, pumping contextualized data where and when we need it.

What's Driving Digital Transformation in Packaging?


The power of digital transformation starts with smart, connected machines that leverage information into better control over packaging operations. Control translates into quantifiable improvements across a spectrum of production performance measures. This makes smart machines essential to operationalizing digital transformation on the packaging production floor.


A smart, connected machine combines mechanical and electrical components, smart components, such as sensors, microprocessors, data storage, and controls software, and connectivity components like ports, antennae, protocols, and networks. They are designed to:

  • capture and expose more production data
  • result in more autonomous processes
  • be simpler to operate and maintain , and to
  • improve overtime by leveraging large data sets

Unlike legacy packaging platforms, they anticipate tight integration between plant operations and information technologies. The features that make them “smart” also make them more flexible and therefore easier to adapt to changing business conditions.

Download Smart, Connected Vision Brochure >

Digital Transformation translates to operational benefits, like reduced downtime, anomaly reduction, faster NPI, OEE improvement, better asset utilization and lower TCO. 

Multi-Tier, Multi-Year Vision

The Roadmap to Operationalize Digital Transformation

The convergence of physical and cyber worlds impacts every aspect of society. Packaging is no different. With voice of customer in mind, we built a 4-stage, multi-year roadmap to operationalize digital transformation across a customers' packaging operation. Our four-stage strategic plan is founded on a premier partnership with Rockwell Automation, with a focus on building every customer solution based on the Allen Bradley® Integrated Architecture™ controls platform.


Phase 1: Establish Smart, Connected Automation Foundation
Migrating our machines onto a single, standardized controls platform to establish a smart, connected “foundation” for our customers. This phase is almost complete.

Customers benefit from a unified, commercial off the shelf controls platform because it better adheres to common corporate standards, leverages a very common skills set (Allen Bradly is widely known), and gives customers easy, global access to competitively priced commercial of the shelf parts and support services.

Phase 2: Augmented Reality Tools for Training and Maintenance Workflows
Layer in augmented reality workflows and integration to deliver new capabilities in staff training and machine maintenance efforts.


Software-based Augmented Reality tools, such as PTC’s Vuforia or Chalk improve maintenance and training workflows. Vuforia™ enables common mobile devices to display virtual overlays on physical equipment that visually simulates maintenance or troubleshooting procedures. Chalk™ facilitates real-time, interactive visual collaboration with remote expert resources.

From a customer impact standpoint, the ability to deliver instantly understandable visual training/guidance or collaborate with expert resources is a game changer. It enables new remote maintenance techniques and leverages existing widely employed smart phones and tablets.

Phase 3: Incorporate Internet of Things (IoT) Devices
Expand to incorporate more IoT touchpoints, essentially blending the machine with its digital twin to offer an enhanced operating experience and information integration. Expanding the breadth and depth of embedded IoT enables us to integrate with advanced IoT applications that expose detailed machine operations in real-time to production staff.

This stage represents an exponential leap in data acquisition and exposure, and sets the stage for the coming cloud-based, big data environment. More data means that more in context production information is available in real-time both to staff and to on-board diagnostics.

Phase 4: Predictive Analytics and Performance Benchmarking
In the final stage of our plan we will start to offer unique insight by applying machine learning and AI to the vast amounts of as-produced data collected during production.


This final stage represents an evolutionary step for customers in terms of their OEM relationship. Big data Solutions that leverage machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) will make the holy grail of predicative maintenance analytics in our markets attainable.

This will be disruptive – first because predicting failures before they occur enables customers to restructure legacy maintenance and cost models to eliminate a huge percentage of unplanned downtime, and 2nd because industry-wide performance benchmarking draws back the curtain and exposes things for how they really are.

Automated Packaging Solutions

How easily can you adapt packaging operations to changing market demands?


We offer smart, connected packaging platforms that reduce the complexity, time, and cost of building or extending any automated packaging solution. Rockwell Automation’s Integrated Architecture® replaces multiple, disparate control systems with one common framework for control, visualization, motion, safety and networking – converging control and information into a single, secure high-performance architecture for your packaging lines. Improve agility and performance at a lower total cost  of ownership. Our integrated automation platform means your packaging lines:

  • Are information-enabled to better manage productivity and efficiency
  • Enable real-time diagnostics to detect issues and ease troubleshooting
  • Use integrated safety technologies to more reliably protect workers and assets
  • Are easy to integrate, adapt, and scale with adjacent or expanding technologies
  • Enable applications that help overcome the drawbacks of inexperienced staff

Smart, connected packaging solutions help you meet demands through flexibility, greater connectivity, better insight, superior accuracy, continuous improvement, integrated safety and widely-supported training resources and parts.

Improving Your Packaging Process IQ

End-of-line Case Packing Automation 

ProcessIQSmart packaging equipment simplifies operations, making it easier to do more and go faster, with less. Tailored, smart solutions help our customers compete in the complex, changing packaging environment.


  • Hygienic Design: Industry-leading sanitary design maximizes food safety
  • Advanced Tools: Minimize startup time, Minimize changeover time, Maximize OEE
  • Intelligent Controls: Simplifies maintenance & troubleshooting
  • Flexibile & Scalable: Faster redeployments or expansions, multi-SKU
  • Performance: The industry’s best benchmarked OEE & Total Cost of Ownership
  • Reliability High-quality construction & warranties that reflect it

Single Controls Platform

5 Reasons a Single, Integrated Automated Controls & Information Architecture Matters

  • Competitive Maintenance Model
    Widespread direct access to Allen Bradley® parts and technicians from multiple sources on a global scale.
  • Accessible & Secure Information
    A more secure approach to combining control system with operational data to deliver in-context, actionable performance information in real-time to staff and systems.
  • Simplified Integration
    A single, integrated architecture network simplifies infrastructure sand reduces Integration risks by improving ease of real-time operations data collection, transfer and analysis.
  • Embedded Intelligence
    Smart controls raise your organization’s Packaging Process IQ by providing accurate, real-time contextual diagnostics information and analytics to staff or other systems.
  • Agility
    Digitally-driven capabilities and functions improve your ability to implement change faster and with less risk.

Harpak-ULMA packaging solutions leverage Rockwell Automation’s smart connected automation platform, giving our customers a competitive edge by improving agility and performance at a lower total cost of ownership. We offer smart, connected packaging machines that reduce the complexity, time, and cost of building or extending any automated packaging solution; a major step towards building a richer, enterprise-wide, contextual view of packaging operations.

Contact Us Today!