Wayne Labs has more than 30 years of editorial experience in industrial automation. He served as senior technical editor for I&CS/Control Solutions magazine for 18 years where he covered software, control system hardware and sensors/transmitters. Labs ran his own consulting business and contributed feature articles to Electronic Design, Control, Control Design, Industrial Networking and Food Engineering magazines. Before joining Food Engineering, he served as a senior technical editor for Omega Engineering Inc. Labs also worked in wireless systems and served as a field engineer for GE’s Mobile Communications Division and as a systems engineer for Bucks County Emergency Services. In addition to writing technical feature articles, Wayne covers FE’s Engineering R&D section.
While some farms today are trying to get off the mono-crop bandwagon and rotate crops, many large farms still tend to grow corn or wheat in the same field every year, requiring a lot of nitrogen-based fertilizer. But what if corn and wheat could have their own symbiotic relationship with soil bacteria that could pull nitrogen out of the air?
Tea tree oil (TTO), a substance also known as melaleuca oil, comes from the Australian tea tree and has been used by humans to treat acne, athlete’s foot, lice, nail fungus and insect bites. More likely than not, you can find it in several over-the-counter skin care products and essential oils at your local drug store and Amazon. TTO has been used as a traditional medicine by Australian Aborigines for centuries, and the substance has a variety of natural ingredients that have been shown to kill certain bacteria, viruses and fungi.
If you’ve ever baked bread or sweet breakfast rolls at home, you know how wonderful that fragrance can be, ramping up your appetite for a fresh slice out of the oven. But, that friendly fragrance from your kitchen—or early in the morning from the local bakery down the street—may not be what a community wants from an industrial-scale food plant, especially if it occurs around the clock.
According to a June 1 statement from the USDA, the White House was aware of a ransomware attack against JBS, which has affected the company’s operations, including its facilities in the United States. The USDA is continuing to work closely with the White House, Department of Homeland Security, JBS USA and others to monitor this situation closely and offer help and assistance to mitigate any potential supply or price issues.
Increasing production speed while keeping rejects low and quality consistent—and maintaining food safety—is the goal of every food and beverage processor. Today, many food processors look toward automation to provide the solutions needed to attain the necessary throughput to be competitive.
We in the trade press have been extolling the virtues of automation for a long time, and you’re probably sick of hearing us ramble on about it. Nevertheless, if there were any other reason to take a hard look at implementing automation—at least partially—in your facility, it would be now. COVID-19 has certainly created some practical problems: Short-staff due to people at home sick with coronavirus, social distancing impossible on cutting/protein lines, changeover time killing production output…and the list goes on.
Recent trends caused mostly by the COVID-19 pandemic have put the squeeze on food processors and the supply chain to get food where it needs to go. Now as some states and cities are “opening up,” restaurants and other food service establishments are beginning to see their business increasing, which will mean a gradual shift in the supply chain—something that most processors and logistics providers will be able to handle, compared to a year ago when supply chains broke everywhere.