Optimation Blog

Pet Food Quality, Testing and Tasting

Posted by Bill Pollock on Dec 18, 2018 2:07:15 PM

 

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. 

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Topics: Safety, Quality, food industry

Pet Food Manufacturing, Contamination and Regulation

Posted by Bill Pollock on Dec 4, 2018 2:58:23 PM

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. 

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Topics: Safety, food industry

A Sobering Reminder of the Importance of Traceability for Food Safety

Posted by Steve Beyer on Nov 26, 2018 2:32:30 PM

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.

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Topics: Manufacturing, Safety, food industry

How A Gotcha Stick Evaluates Machine Safety

Posted by Bill Pollock on Jun 19, 2018 3:49:27 PM

It's human nature to find ways to work around the rules. 

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Topics: Safety, Machine Guarding

Machine Safety, Machine Guarding and The Gotcha Stick

Posted by Bill Pollock on Feb 7, 2018 2:00:00 PM

Getting employees to follow the rules, even rules that keep them safe, is difficult. For some segments of the population this seems impossible.  Everyone knows, for example, that talking on a cell phone while driving is dangerous, and against the law in most states. But a large percentage of the population continue to talk on a handheld phone while driving anyway. This is even more true of texting and driving.  And accidents and deaths continue. 

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Topics: Safety, Machine Guarding

Accident Prevention

Posted by Steve Beyer on Oct 12, 2017 3:01:00 PM

When challenging and important manufacturing tasks get tackled, risks abound.   Materials choices, volatile material handling methods, confined space working areas, complex machinery, and many more factors and conditions apply pressure to safe and efficient work. We can take lessons from past events and near-misses and remind ourselves to study our practices to ensure that corners are not cut and best practices are employed to assure workplace safety. 

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Topics: Safety

Reducing Lost Time Injuries & Costs

Posted by Hodari Pryce on Aug 31, 2017 3:08:57 PM

This month, Optimation surpassed two years without a lost time incident. In our line of work providing engineering, design and build solutions for industrial and manufacturing companies, this is a difficult feat. But it's not an unattainable one. It takes planning and training, employee dedication, and a culture of safety to make milestones like these possible. This means an investment of time and money for companies who are serious about working safely. But the cost of not working safely can be very high. 

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Topics: About Optimation, Safety

Machine Guarding and Safety Guarding

Posted by Bill Pollock on Apr 11, 2017 1:20:48 PM

Machine guarding is often thought of as something associated with industry and manufacturing plants. It is true that the potential for hazards from machines is greater in those settings.  But even in our homes we often have machines where safety guards have become common.  Our garage doors have sensors so that if anything cuts the plane of the door the opener will reverse the action and open the door. Riding lawnmowers have seat interlocks to shut down the engine when we get off the mower. Table saws have sensors to shut the blade off quickly if it comes in contact with a finger. And even kitchen appliances like a food processor have interlocks to keep clumsy home operators from cutting their fingers. 

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Topics: Safety, Glass Manufacturing, Machine Guarding

The most productive way to assess and upgrade an aging infrastructure

Posted by Pete Sherer on Feb 27, 2017 2:01:51 PM

Say you are a manufacturer with an aging production infrastructure, faced with the opportunity to sell more of your goods (if only you could up your output from your existing equipment).  As you begin your investigation into your options to increase your volumes, and consider the possibility of a capital investment, you may then be faced with the need to deal with parts of your existing system which may have to be brought up to current code.  The modifications you may desire for your current machinery, which will enable the integration of new equipment to give you the added production you are seeking, are also now mandating certain regulated updates (this can happen to electrical components and wiring, and can also drive necessary improvements to guarding for operator safety).

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Topics: Mechanical and Process Services, Manufacturing, Safety, process design

Arc Flash and NFPA 70E Training

Posted by Wendy Smith on Feb 22, 2017 1:52:50 PM

A couple of buzz words in today’s industrial vocabulary are Arc Flash and NFPA 70E.

Arc Flash is a type of electrical explosion or discharge that results from a low-impedance connection through air to ground or another voltage phase in an electrical system.  In layman’s terms, it’s an explosion of light and heat that contains electrical energy that can cause substantial damage, harm, fire, injury and financial loss. (It is something that you want to prevent from occurring in your facility!)

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Topics: Safety, training

Welcome to the Optimation Blog

Tips, tricks and trends

The goal of this blog is to be helpful to readers by providing useful information about applications in industrial engineering, design and skilled trades, as well as industry knowledge. We're passionate about manufacturing in the United States. We have a little fun with it too.  

 

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