Don’t let obsolescence get you down…

A look at obsolete industrial parts management – article supplied by EU Automation.

Stafford, UK—Remember floppy disks? They are a classic example of a product being rendered obsolete due to more modern alternatives. The same issue occurs in processing plant legacy equipment. However, it’s often not as simple as upgrading to a shiny new USB. Here, Jonathan Wilkins, marketing director at obsolete industrial parts supplier, EU Automation, explains everything you need to know about obsolescence management.

Obsolescence management has never been so important. In the ongoing fight to keep up with competition from Asia, manufacturers across the U.S. are looking for ways to increase efficiency and cost-effectiveness, without breaking the bank. This has led to a reliance on legacy and obsolete systems.

It is impossible to stop parts from becoming obsolete, but it is possible to mitigate the risks to production when obsolescence does inevitably occur. At the time when legacy parts need replacing, important decisions need to be made—should a replacement for the part be sourced, or should the entire system be written-off?

This decision will have a huge impact on the business’s bottom line, therefore the decision should be planned in advance. Consider this as an example. A Human Machine Interface (HMI) panel in your facility has broken down. Unfortunately, it is a discontinued model, so you cannot source an exact replacement from the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM). However, you are now struggling to find a new model that will integrate with your other hardware.

Some manufacturers might deem it necessary to write-off the entire system when a part breaks down, simply because they don’t believe they can find the same model or equivalent. Rather than embarking on a costly overhaul, you should have a replacement plan in place.

The replacement
Although choosing to upgrade to a newer, but an undoubtedly more expensive piece of equipment might seem like the easy option, the benefits of sourcing obsolete spares might surprise you. What’s more, you will quickly find that, fortunately, obsolete does not mean a part is unattainable.

In fact, there are a number of options available to get your hands on an obsolete part, including using existing stock; Last Time Buy (LTB) options; sourcing from an aftermarket supply; finding an alternate replacement from the same or a different manufacturer or, finding the nearest equivalent substitute part.

Depending on the process, plant managers will have different system priorities. While those using batch manufacturing have the luxury of regularly stopping production to do maintenance work, those with continuous processes do not. This means chemical or food manufacturers using continuous production methods need to choose the most reliable system—as it will have to run until the next annual shutdown.

For some, this could mean a legacy system that their maintenance engineers know inside and out is the best option. For others, it could mean that the latest generation of intelligent automation equipment is ideal. This really comes down to each individual facility and company policy. Regardless of the process type, the ability to identify secondary sources and spare parts in advance is vital.

Another variation of prioritizes can depend on the size of the company involved. Large businesses may choose to hire an obsolescence manager, employ the services of a third-party specialist, purchasing a computerized asset management system, or on a much smaller scale, simply use spreadsheets to keep records of product lifecycles.

Whatever the method, obsolescence management comes down to assessing current systems and supply resources, conducting risk analysis on all parts and securing access to obsolete spares. An integral part of this process is to forge relationships with reliable automation spares suppliers. After all, knowing who to call when a part breaks down could be the difference between a day of downtime or a week.

It is also crucial to know the lead times for the supply of such replacements. For example, if it takes one month to receive and install the replacement part, plant managers need to be thinking one month ahead.

There are a time and place for obsolete spares in processing. While the truth remains that in-depth planning and system understanding is essential for any plant manager undertaking obsolescence management, it is also true that help is at hand when sourcing replacements rapidly.

By working with an obsolete industrial parts supplier that knows the industry in depth and can source all the necessary parts, manufacturers can take a load off their mind while keeping stride with the competition. While floppy disks may be a thing of the past, legacy equipment doesn’t need to be.

For more information on EU Automation, visit

Graphic Packaging International takes home Folding Carton of the Year award

Company takes home top prize at the 2018 Paperboard Packaging Council carton competition


ATLANTA–Graphic Packaging International (GPI), a leading provider of paper-based packaging solutions for food, beverage, foodservice and other consumer products, has won the 2018 Folding Carton of the Year award at the Paperboard Packaging Council carton competition, held October 25, 2018 in Atlanta.

GPI’s gable top carton for Kellogg’s EXTRA Creations cereals is designed to reflect the gourmet indulgent nature of the cereal, and features a unique, premium shape, rich graphics and gold foil stamping.

Spot high-gloss coating and embossing on the ingredients panel take the graphics to the next level and communicate the quality of the product. Additionally, the shape and structural design of the carton improve shelf stability as compared to traditional cereal cartons.

“In a category dominated by traditional rectangular cereal boxes, this carton stands out from the crowd and signals to consumers that it contains a cereal that is new and different,” says GPI vice-president of global accounts Jean-Francois Roche. “We’re proud of the design and development that the team executed to deliver a premium product in a beautifully functional package for our customers, and ultimately, their consumers.”

But GPI wasn’t done there. The paper-based packaging solutions provider also won 16 Excellence awards and seven Gold awards, including designs for the Heineken 18-bottle CoolerPack, Kellogg’s Advent Calendar sleeve, LoneRider Brewing‘s six-can wrap, Kellogg’s SuperMario Interactive NFC Amiibo carton, McDonald’s Buttermilk Crispy Tenders carton, and ConAgra‘s Wicked Kitchen Mac & Cheese and Hand Pies microwaveable packages.

For more information about the awards, visit

About Graphic Packaging International

Graphic Packaging International, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, is a leading provider of paper-based packaging solutions for a wide variety of products to food, beverage, foodservice, and other consumer products companies, and is one of the largest folding carton producers in the U.S. Additional information about the company can be found at


Topic: Packaging

Sectors: Awards, Package Design, Substrates, Food

Key Words; Graphic Packaging International, GPI, Heineken, Kellogs, LoneRider Brewing, McDonalds, ConAgra, 2018 Folding Carton of the Year award, Paperboard Packaging Council

Amazon plants fake packages


According to a report from the Business Insider,

(, Amazon had planted fake packages to the integrity of its drivers.

Apparently the test involved drivers being sent out with a delivery to make, but at some point an error message is sent to the driver. At this point, a driver has multiple options: report the item and return it, or since the error message now deems the package undeliverable, steal the package.

Without stating if it has a theft problem with its delivery drivers, the retail giant is taking a stance to ensure there is not one.