Tech Flash Vol. 4 No. 15
Food and beverage projects to remain stable in 2009
Recently, capital spending at the manufacturing level has been robust and is expected to remain fairly healthy, provided the economy does not edge closer to a recession.
Next year, plans for productivity improvements and energy-efficiency projects account for the majority of planned projects. These are typically low-investment, high-return projects focusing on energy conservation, incremental capacity gains and reductions in manpower. Total project costs usually do not exceed $1 million and typically involve the replacement of electric drives, pumps and automation.Several projects ranging in value from $50 million to more than $200 million are expected to move forward, including a new cheese-processing facility in
Recession will be deep, recovery strong
Cargill to close feed manufacturing facility
Operated by Cargill since 1978, the feed mill was originally built to meet the needs of area dairy producers. According to Cargill officials, the continuing reduction in dairy herd numbers in recent years has lessened demand to the point where maintaining the operation no longer makes business sense.In other news, Cargill signed an option-to-purchase agreement to acquire the grain elevator at
OMAC Integration Symposium
This event will feature optional tours of the Partners in THINC facility and Okuma America Corporation headquarters, a keynote presentation, the annual OMAC members’ meeting, presentations from many industries, hands-on demonstrations and various networking opportunities.
Symposium attendees can participate in the following presentations and demonstrations: “Packaging Line Integration with PackML;” “Robot Bin Picking;” “Integrated Control System Design in a PLM Context;” “Designing Products to be Standards Friendly;’’ “The Interaction of the Various Machine Tools, Accessory Devices and Tooling;” “Utilization of Wireless Sensor Technology and Vendor Independent Fieldbus Interfaces in Industrial Automation;” “OPC Architectures in Manufacturing;” “Weathering the Storm: Growing and Automating an Emerging Company in Turbulent Times;” “Model Driven Embedded Systems Design Environment for Industrial Automation (MEDIA);” “Advanced Tool Control and Management;” and “CNC and Automation Integration.”For more information, visit www.omac.org/systemrevolution.
Field service management market to grow
A number of publicly traded, best-of-breed FSM suppliers have been reporting strong revenue growth over the last few years. The FSM revenues of these suppliers registered a CAGR of 17% for the 2004-2007 period. Solid growth will continue and is expected to be driven largely by an increase in maintenance outsourcing and OEM post-sales service to asset-intensive manufacturers.
Novel technologies, such as mobile wireless, geographic information systems and remote asset monitoring, are expected to stimulate growth in the FSM market. In addition, FSM software has enabled service organizations to more effectively administer the complexities associated with managing an overabundance of information and a large, often geographically dispersed workforce.For more information on the study, Field Service Management Solutions Worldwide Outlook, visit www.arcweb.com.
Fuel cell decreases plant's external energy requirements
“This initiative reflects the strong commitment to corporate social responsibility and sustainability that is held by both Pepperidge Farm and our parent company, Campbell Soup Company,” says Pat Callaghan, president, Pepperidge Farm.
The fuel cell initiative is supported in part by the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund, a ratepayer fund administered by Connecticut Innovations Inc., which provided a grant of $3.5 million to offset part of the construction. The new fuel cell supplies about 57% of the total electrical needs of the bakery.Combined with a smaller, already installed 250 kW fuel cell, the two fuel cells together fulfill 70% of the plant’s electrical needs. Both operate 24/7. The fuel cells operate on natural gas and convert it internally to hydrogen for operation. Heat generated by the fuel cell is also used in the bakery.
Food Safety News
Listeria still crawling around
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency warned Canadian citizens in Atlantic Canada not to consume RTE roast beef and sandwiches sold at certain stores as the beef may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. This is a follow-up recall resulting from the original recall incident of roast beef conducted by Les Salaisons Desco Inc.According to FDA, Portland Shellfish Co., Inc. is voluntarily recalling frozen,
Avoid sludge, but how?
Sewage sludge can contain disease-causing microbes, synthetic chemicals and heavy metals that can cause acute and chronic disease. Many of these contaminants can persist in soil for centuries and can enter the food system through crops grown on sludge-treated land, as well as animals that graze on contaminated land.
Currently there is no labeling requirement for food produced on land treated with sewage sludge, and consumers may find it difficult to know if they are using a sludge-based fertilizer product. Given the risk factors, sludge usage should not be allowed on agricultural land or home gardens.
The EPA has set minimum standards for sludge contaminant content and application, but these standards include no restrictions on synthetic chemical content, weak limits on heavy metals and inadequate protections for pathogen content. The EPA’s oversight has come under heavy criticism following a February 2008 11th Circuit Court ruling in which “the fairness and objectivity of the EPA’s opinions with respect to the sludge land application program” was called into question. The judge found evidence that “extraordinary steps” have been taken by senior officials “to quash scientific dissent, and any questioning of the EPA’s biosolids program.”For more information, visit www.iatp.org.
Free food safety kit for food industry employees
Food industry management will use the FIRST tool kit as part of ongoing employee food defense training programs. The tool kit focuses on five key points that industry and businesses can use to educate first line workers about the risks of food contamination. Each of the letters in the FIRST acronym describes an action that a first line employee can take to mitigate risks of contamination. They are:
F-Follow company food defense plan and procedures
I-Inspect your work area and surrounding areas
R-Recognize anything out of the ordinary
S-Secure all ingredients, supplies and finished product
T-Tell management if you notice anything unusual or suspicious.Single copies of the kit are available in English and Spanish. The kit is free to employees and includes one DVD, a training poster and on-screen instructions. Copies can be obtained by ordering online from the Food Defense & Terrorism Web site, http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/fooddefense. A Web-ready version of the kit will also be available.