Processors share methods for controlling costs, increasing profits

FA&M not only gives processors access to leading edge manufacturing solutions” it also provides time to look at the latest process automation products at the expo and allows attendees to network with peers.

FA&M 2011 provides tools to control costs and improve profits

With all the bad news about energy and commodity prices, processors could use some good news. The good news is there are tools to control costs and improve efficiency, and therefore, profits. Food Engineering’s Food Automation & Manufacturing Conference and Expo 2011 (FA&M) will help processors find ways to innovate their processes to improve manufacturing and operational efficiency and control energy usage.

FA&M, scheduled for April 3-6 at the Ritz-Carlton in Palm Beach, FL, is a peer-to-peer conference for food and beverage manufacturing executives and managers. Conference sessions feature food industry experts sharing their experiences in improving manufacturing and operations. The venue also serves as an excellent networking function for those in the food and beverage manufacturing.

Keynote Speaker Carlos del Sol, vice president, global engineering systems at Campbell Soup Company, will cover “The Road to Manufacturing Innovation” on Monday, April 4; del Sol will address globalization, operational efficiency and the need for better management of both human and equipment assets. His subject sets the scene for Monday’s theme, “Continuous Improvement in Challenging Times.”

“For more than a decade, FA&M has been successfully bringing together food and beverage processors to discuss the industry’s most pressing issues,” says Joyce Fassl, editor in chief of Food Engineering Magazine and program director of FA&M. “The 2011 program features a new audience-interactive session on funding plant automation projects as well as more technical sessions on state-of-the-art processing and packaging solutions. This enhanced 2011 program provides our attendees with even more value and knowledge.”  

Peter Hock, senior director of continuous improvement, ConAgra Foods, will take a penetrating look at overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) in his discussion, “Reaping Rewards with Reliability Improvements.” OEE is a widely applied method to track productivity, but many managers struggle to understand why OEE gains don’t always drive cost savings. The answer will become clear as Hock looks at the types of events or levers that drive OEE.

On Tuesday, April 5, the theme is “Best Practices in Operations, Safety and Quality.” Two educational tracks will look at state-of-the-art packaging and processing technologies. Speakers from Kayem Foods, Rich Products and Dawn Foods will discuss robotics, new packaging materials and Lean Six Sigma. Presenters from The Hershey Company, Imperial Sugar and Campbell Soup will discuss metal detection/X-ray systems, combustible dust and plant safety, and automated CIP systems.

Diane Wolf, global vice president, safety and environmental sustainability, Kraft Foods, will speak of her experiences in integrating Cadbury, one of the world’s biggest confectionery companies, with Kraft Foods, one of the world’s largest food companies. Her presentation will explain how Kraft Foods is creating a “best-of-the-best” approach by aggregating and implementing best practices from operations in 160 countries to achieve manufacturing excellence around the globe.

Other topics on Tuesday will include “Sanitary Design of Equipment: What You Should Know” and “Adapting to the New World of Food Safety at the Plant Level.” Another highlight of the event will be Shearer’s Foods presentation and acceptance of the 2011 Food Engineering Plant of the Year Award for its innovative plant in Massillon, OH.

The theme for Wednesday, April 6, is Sustainable Plant and Process Practices. Topics include “Building and Maintaining Success in Energy Conservation,” “Maximizing Your Corporate Social Responsibility Plan,” Quantifying Your Energy Inputs” and Maximizing Sustainability Benefits while Managing Wastewater Challenges.”

Presentations by suppliers in the Solutions Theater (April 4 and 5) are also geared around optimization and sustainability. Topics will include supply chain and warehouse automation, production energy optimization, key performance indicators, food safety, energy recovery in compressed air systems, packaging line improvements and robotics solutions in packaging lines.

Fore more information or to register, visit the FA&M 2011 website.

PMMI launches Alliance for Innovation and Operational Excellence

In partnership with the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute (PMMI) launched The Alliance for Innovation and Operational Excellence (AIOE). AIOE’s purpose is to bring together consumer products companies’ operations professionals and solutions providers to address key industry issues and establish best practices on a range of critical operational topics.

“The forum will provide an opportunity for solutions providers and CPG companies to meet and identify best-in-class solutions to improve their business performance,” says Charles D. Yuska, president and CEO, PMMI. “I am very pleased to work with GMA on this initiative.”

“We are very excited to be a part of this initiative to bring these groups together,” says Dennis J. Belcastro, GMA executive vice president. “Through the efforts in solutions groups of nearly 50 participants in 2010, the GMA UpStream initiative made advancements in such areas as process validation for low-moisture foods, engagement of upstream suppliers in sustainability scorecards for manufacturers and beginning the development of operating reliability metrics. The alliance will expand upon the opportunities that will bring our members together with a number of partners and peers across the CPG marketplace to address the common concerns we face in the industry and to improve supply chain operational performance.”

AIOE will continue the work of the solution groups that were initiated by GMA in its UpStream parameter, each tasked with focusing on specific areas of interest, including a Product Safety Solutions Group (PSSG), a Sustainability Solutions Group (SSG), an Operational Reliability Solutions Group (ORSG) and new groups as needs dictate, including the new Workforce Development Solutions Group (WDSG). PMMI will host AIOE meetings throughout 2011.

Tide turning against food for fuel?

The food industry won a major battle in the House of Representatives last month when lawmakers voted to block the Obama Administration from increasing the amount of ethanol in motor fuel. Food manufacturers have long maintained that the increased demand for grain to use in biofuels makes food more expensive.

“After 30 years and billions in subsidies for corn ethanol, the tide has finally turned against using food for fuel. We applaud the House for its votes to start letting this mature industry stand on its own,” says Geoff Moody, director of energy and environmental policy, Grocery Manufacturers of America. “GMA commends Rep. Flake and Rep. Sullivan for their leadership and looks forward to working with Congress to end policies that divert food and feed to fuel.”

The legislation would prevent funding for corn ethanol infrastructure and prevent EPA from implementing its decision on increasing ethanol in gasoline, but faces a more uncertain future in the US Senate.

General Mills innovation portal a success

General Mills reported significant progress in its ability to identify and connect quickly with potential partners around the globe through the General Mills Worldwide Innovation Network (G-WIN) innovation portal. In 2010, it attracted more than 1,000 registered innovators from around the world and received more than 500 proposals.

“A year ago we accelerated our connected innovation efforts by launching the G-WIN portal,” says Jeff Bellairs, senior director, General Mills Worldwide Innovation Network. “We openly articulated what we were looking for and invited the inventor community to collaborate and participate. The response has been tremendous and has helped us tap into the external expertise and capabilities of innovators around the globe as we continually evolve our connected innovation program,” he says.

The framework behind the G-WIN portal had been under development for more than two years through a cooperative development partnership among inno360, General Mills, Procter & Gamble and the US Air Force Research Laboratory.

Market drives healthier food

Walmart recently launched a comprehensive program to provide its customers with healthier and more affordable food choices.

Food safety audits: Meeting the certification challenge head on

Certification programs under the GFSI umbrella are taking root in North America , though not without some growing pains and process changes for food manufacturers.   

Tech Update: Cooking and frying

Improved energy efficiency, fun shapes, healthier eating: Myriad market demands are driving changes in commercial cooking and frying systems.

Making the right choice with smart wireless sensors

Smart sensors have been around for a long time, but when combined with wireless capabilities, the sky’s the limit.

Food Safety: A team approach to audits must be in place

Today’s audits are not only more complex, they are more comprehensive and demand a collaborative effort.

People, Plant and Industry News

SPX Corporation completed the acquisition of B.W. Murdoch Ltd, an engineering company supplying processing solutions for the food and beverage industry. The company is based in Auckland, New Zealand.


Paul McKeithan was promoted to Aeroglide regional director, food and feed markets, Americas.  He joined the company in 1998 as a field engineer, and became market manager for pet food, aqua-feed and snack foods in 2004.


Packaging Solutions Holdings acquired Excel Pac, a flexible packaging manufacturer in the food, dairy and pet food markets from Vincent Musacchio.


Performance Pet Products hired Seth Kaufman as vice president of business development and Nate Thomas as vice president of research and development to manage and expand its private label development programs. 


Three contract growers for Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation were honored by the US Poultry & Egg Association for environmental excellence at their family-owned farms. They are Huneycutt Brothers’ Family Farm (Albemarle, NC); Shoemaker Farm (Burlington, WV); and Lucky Charm Farms (Weyers Cave, VA).


Burcon NutraScience Corporation entered into a license agreement with Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) for the worldwide production, distribution and sale of Burcon’s CLARISOY soy protein. The license agreement gives ADM exclusive rights across all geographic regions and all potential product applications to produce, market and sell CLARISOY soy protein.


TZA, a supply chain consulting and labor management software solution provider, appointed Steve Simmerman to the newly created position of senior vice president of business development.


Engineered Software, Inc., developer of PIPE-FLO and PUMP-FLO design and selection programs, was approved as an associate member of the Valve Manufacturers Association of America.


Smith Flow Control named Dan Kelly its general manager for North American operations.


Magnetic Products, Inc. hired Jack W. Smylie as director of sales and marketing.


Pfingsten Partners, L.L.C. acquired TPC Wire & Cable Corp. from Premier Farnell plc. Based in Independence, OH, TPC is a supplier of wire, cable and connectors used in harsh industrial environments.


Douglas Machine Inc., Kliklok-Woodman and Nercon Engineering & Manufacturing joined the Rockwell Automation Machine Builder Program.