Before we go any further into the new year, let’s take a look at what brought us here, starting with thinking about the mix of work that Optimation performed last year. And then let’s look at some of the other things going on in our world (not political).
In November I attended the Rockwell Automation Fair in Philadelphia. The conference and exhibition were all about automation, advances in automation and a display of the newest control and manufacturing technologies by Rockwell and their partners. While it was about their proprietary technologies and products, it was also representative of where the entire world of automation industry is going. Crowds were large, and the most highly attended booths were the ones showing off Industry 4.0 related technologies.
An interesting manufacturing tool is emerging as more companies seek to mine, or take advantage, of the process data their production systems generate. The tool, called Process Monitor (PM), uses statistical analysis methods to crunch the manufacturing process data, and predict whether or not the production system is operating within preset control limits that indicate an acceptable product outcome.
Pet food manufacturing is a 20-billion-dollar industry. In the United States, the manufacture of pet food is regulated in the same way and with the same rigid requirements that are required for the manufacture of any food. At Optimation we are engaged in the construction of pet food plants as well as facilities for the dairy and other food products. We know that the facilities for both are the same. They must be sanitary, easy to maintain and clean. The control systems must maintain the same high standards for metering, mixing and packaging.
The Internet of Things is revolutionizing all areas of our lives. Manufacturing Industry 4.0 is a revolution as transformative as the first industrial revolution that began nearly three hundred years ago. Over the past few years major manufacturers of industrial control products, as well as smaller software companies and start-ups, have been developing and introducing software and software tools to provide analytics and artificial intelligence to improve both manufacturing processes as well as products manufactured. Advancements in manufacturing analytics are coming fast and furious.
Equipment Installations often take a lot of skill and planning to execute well. Things like plant layout, alignment, utilities, startup and controls can all be important factors in project success. Install an expensive piece of equipment improperly, and you'll eventually have a very costly mistake on your hands.
The pet food industry in the United States is huge and growing. In 2017, American families spent over 30 million dollars on pet food. On average that’s about 800 dollars per year per pet. There are about 300 manufacturers making this pet food in the United States. If you’re a pet owner yourself, these numbers may not be much of a surprise! What you may not realize is that just like food for people, pet food is regulated.
Today there are stringent regulations put in place by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on the manufacturing of food for pets. These regulations are strict enough that some feel they hinder the growth of the pet food market. The regulations were put in place to assure several things. It’s mandatory that pet food be safe to eat, produced under sanitary conditions, free of harmful substances, and labeled truthfully. Canned pet food must also comply with the regulations for any low-acid canned food. Much of the motivation to enhance regulations for pet food was driven pet food recalls that took place in 2007.
When news such as this most recent E. coli outbreak striking romaine lettuce hits the industry and the food chain, it is cause for concern and action. Safeguards get challenged, systems audited, processes analyzed, and conventional wisdom is questioned. There can be no areas off-limits, no “sacred cows” that avoid scrutiny. Everything must be assessed to ensure we protect the security of the consumers and all the elements of the world’s most complex and efficient system feeding Americans and people worldwide.
National Apprenticeship Week is here! Join the celebration November 12-18, 2018. National Apprenticeship Week is a national celebration that offers all of us, especially those of us in manufacturing and industry, a chance to demonstrate our support for apprenticeships.
Topics: Skilled Trades
Stainless steel contamination can be a real problem in applications that require clean corrosion free surfaces. This is frequently a requirement in labs as well as food and pharmaceutical plants. Stainless steel, when fabricated correctly, provides excellent corrosion resistance. When misapplied, this will not be the case. Precautions must be taken to prevent contamination of stainless steel surfaces during fabrication. This is possible with the proper precautions, when done in a shop in controlled conditions, and more difficult when installation is carried out in a project field location.