As we put together this enormous January issue, the Food Engineering staff was also putting the final touches on the program for the 2013 Food Automation & Manufacturing Conference (FA&M), scheduled for April 12-15 in Naples, FL.

At last year’s FA&M conference, many attendees commented that it was one of the best groups of speakers and topics we had ever assembled. During the planning stages for the 2013 event, I ruminated on whether we could actually produce an equally compelling lineup of speakers and sessions.

In short, the answer is yes, we have been successful. FA&M 2013 will bring together, in a very unique fashion, innovators from food processing companies such as ConAgra Foods, General Mills, Campbell Soup, Snyder’s-Lance, Heinz and many more to share their leading-edge manufacturing and operations success stories. Some of the topics on this year’s agenda include:

  • FMSA Challenges: Targeting Costs and Compliance
  • Alternative Energy Sources
  • OEE: Delivering Results to Business and the Data to Prove It
  • Effective Use of Automation to Improve Plant Efficiency
  • Continuous Improvement in an Era of Cost Cutting
  • Optimizing Packaging Line Performance.

For the listing of all food company presentations, please turn to pages 152-153 in this issue. In addition to viewing the list of processor presentations, I urge you to visit for a complete listing of conference events including networking opportunities, Solutions Theater presentations from leading industry suppliers and information about the FA&M Online Extension—a new way to experience the conference via select sessions that will be streamed live.

As the January cover story states, the food and beverage manufacturing plant of the next decade will be quite different from the one that exists today. Some of the best ways to prepare for the food plant of tomorrow are to expand technological knowledge and meet with industry leaders to share experiences and ideas. I hope you will consider joining us at FA&M 2013.