top of page

Success Story: Schumacher Packaging & openpack - Standardized data as the key to digital success

Updated: Nov 27, 2023

Tradition, Dynamics, Innovative Strength

Werk Greven

The German company Schumacher Packaging is a leading packaging manufacturer in Europe. Under the leadership of Björn and Hendrik Schumacher, the company has continuously developed since its foundation in 1948. Headquartered in Ebersdorf near Coburg and with 29 locations in Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, Italy and the Netherlands, Schumacher Packaging is one of Europe's largest family-owned companies in the industry. The company is currently expanding its plant in Greven into one of the world's largest multi-megaworks. In the long term, the company is focusing on new technologies, equipment and processes as an investment in securing competitiveness and success in the packaging industry.

Starting signal with openpack

Implementing digital innovations to increase productivity often proves to be a complex issue in the corrugated industry. Schumacher is confronted with similar challenges here, which are also experienced by numerous market competitors: Machines from different manufacturers cannot communicate with each other, isolated data silos are not networked, and there is no overarching standard for exchanging information. In one word: data is difficult to access and cannot be used efficiently. This begins directly with data collection, which is difficult because central interfaces are generally lacking.

At the beginning of 2022, initial contacts were made between Schumacher Packaging and openpack. The vision of openpack to solve the mentioned problems via a digital platform convinced the company owner and a joint pilot was agreed upon. With the connection of various machines from leading OEMs in the industry, the first step was to make the machine data from the plant in Greven available centrally via openpack for the company's own as well as new and innovative solutions. Since then, this data has also been available to other systems in a standardized format via well-defined interfaces. This sustainably relieves Schumacher's IT department of time-consuming issues such as interface maintenance or data transfers.

At the Core: Making Data Usable

The implementation of openpack's central platform module - the openpack Hub - enables Schumacher Packaging to connect, standardize and share data from different sources (e.g. machines from different OEMs). Through openpack, data can now be used that was previously unavailable or difficult for Schumacher Packaging to access. This is particularly impressive, for example, in the openpack Digital Factory, which, among other things, enables live monitoring across the entire production and now also provides factory-wide alarming, which reduces unwanted stop times and increases productivity.

Even machines that do not yet have data interfaces can be connected to the system via openpack. With the help of one (of numerous) partner solutions, machines at the Greven plant were subsequently connected to openpack. In this specific case, data readout and connection to openpack was made possible via so-called edge devices in the control cabinets. As with numerous other users, it became clear that openpack has the right solution for all cases - or the right partner. And regardless of the path the data ultimately takes to get to the platform: it is raised to a different quality level via secure, modern and, above all, stable interfaces using suitable generally applicable information models (e.g. OPC UA) - "master data" is the appropriate keyword.

The first machines and systems in Greven have already been successfully connected and are transmitting data to the openpack Hub, with more to follow.

A separate openpack solution that is now based on this and uses the data is the Digital Factory. Through its digital representation of the entire production process within the factory, Schumacher is now able to see exactly what is happening on the store floor in real time. However, in addition to live monitoring, historical analysis, reporting and notifications are also possible via sophisticated cross-manufacturer alerting.

Schumacher Packaging's focus with openpack continues to be on achieving productivity increases through digital process innovations. With openpack, Schumacher is building a digital image of its own production here that will enable data to be exchanged quickly, easily and securely. Stable interfaces have since made it possible for the company to share data with other solutions if desired and to scale its use almost at will.

Future plans

With Schumacher and openpack, two innovators of the industry have found each other and confirm the commonly known formula: 1 + 1 = 3. Thanks to the cooperation with openpack, Schumacher Packaging can further exploit the opportunities of digitalization and concentrate on its own core competencies and the industry-known "making". The common goal remains: to raise production in Greven to a new level and establish the site as the most modern production location for corrugated board worldwide.

With the successful start of the cooperation between Schumacher Packaging and openpack, new perspectives are now opening up into a promising future. "The experience with the openpack team has been extremely positive, as they have proven to be fast, results-oriented and dynamic. This collaboration will not only lead to current successes, but also lay the foundation for future exciting projects and ideas." Björn Schumacher, Managing Director of Schumacher Packaging, is enthusiastic and emphasizes that the next step will be to connect additional machines and plants.

The future promises to continue a close exchange and successful cooperation between the two companies. And as we like to say at openpack: let`s get it o.

Björn Schumacher
"The cooperation with openpack is a great success for us. With their support, we have entrusted the connection of different OEMs and the standardization and distribution of data from different systems to a competent partner. We particularly liked the pragmatic and fast implementation." - Bjoern Schumacher, CEO Schumacher Packaging Group


bottom of page