One of the major themes of this month’s issue of Food Engineering is smarter manufacturing, which can be achieved by utilizing the Internet of Things, preventing food fraud and enlisting the help of collaborative robots. Attending the upcoming Food Automation & Manufacturing Conference and Expo (FA&M 2016) is another way you can stay one step ahead in manufacturing innovation and prepare for the manufacturing plant of the future.

FA&M is an educational and networking event with the spirit of a great family reunion. Attendees often find they have many shared experiences and face similar challenges. The conference provides a relaxed and productive atmosphere for industry professionals to gain knowledge and network with others about manufacturing technologies.

Plus, at FA&M 2016, an outstanding lineup of representatives from both large and small food and beverage manufacturers will be sharing their best manufacturing practices. The program features speakers from General Mills, MillerCoors, Chobani, Abbott Nutrition, SugarCreek, Unilever, Bloomer Chocolate Co., Nestlé, T. Marzetti, Pepperidge Farm and more.

At FA&M 2016, sustainability will be an additional focus. Once again, Food Engineering and PMMI’s OpX Leadership Network are partnering to honor sustainability achievements within food, beverage and consumer products manufacturing operations. The awards recognize manufacturing plants for their efforts in driving improved performance through sustainability and honor companies and individuals who go beyond environmental compliance. Multiple awards will be presented at the event.

Certainly, you can obtain much knowledge about smarter manufacturing technologies on the pages of FE, as well as through its webinars and other digital outlets. These resources are extremely useful, but quite different from meeting face to face with colleagues and solution providers.

I hope you will join us and learn how to increase manufacturing efficiency at FA&M 2016, scheduled for April 10-13 at the Sanibel Harbour Marriott in Fort Myers, FL. Visit for the latest program, exhibitor list and award-winner announcements.