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SSV Sanitary Drum Motors Reduce Washdown Time. Minimize Downtime.


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December 2020


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Reduce and Distance Plant Personnel while Boosting Output and Preventing Contamination with automated, enclosed bulk equipment and systems from Flexicon

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— Safer food Comes from safer designs

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December 2020


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From the Editor


In the News


OpX Intel


Very few saw the pandemic-related devastating and disruptive times coming. When the storm hit, the food industry experienced some tough times but proved it was up to the challenge of feeding the nation.

PACK EXPO Connects brought the industry together during its launch week, with 18,000 attendees engaging with more than 700 exhibitors to find solutions to critical packaging challenges. Vertical start-up can be consistently improved with the updated virtual FAT tool from PMMI’s OpX Leadership Network.

Packaging Technology

The expanded use of forest-based biomass in areas such as packaging, infrastructure, equipment, novel materials, and even biofuels is a key development objective for the forest sector.


Start early, do your homework, and determine what you can live with and live without when searching for a new facility’s location. Then, leave no stone unturned in uncovering workforce assistance programs, tax and utility incentives, operating costs, distribution hubs, and more.


Tech Today: Cleaning and Sanitation

COVID-19 is changing the way food and beverage manufacturers manage their cleaning processes and products, accounting for social distancing and increased sanitation requirements.

Dry Processing Solutions

A waste byproduct becomes a useful livestock feed for farmers by using a centrifugal sifter to dewater the stillage, the grain/water mixture stripped out after the fermentation process.

Plant Floor New Products

An inside look at the latest machinery and technologies for production facilities.

Case Study: Frito-Lay Potato Chip Fryer Puts Bearings to the Test

After realizing that its bearings had been going strong for six years without any attention, the Arkansas plant decided to see where else graphite/metal alloys could provide maintenance-free support.


Case Study: A Quick Metal Detector Turnaround Gets Mushroom Maker Back Online

When a legacy metal detection system went down and brought production with it, Sunny Dell Foods was able to get back in operation with a brand new system in just 36 hours.


The Beat of a Different Drum Motor

What sets the drum motor apart from a conventional conveyor drive is that it has all drive components— electric motor, gear reducer, bearings—housed inside the drum, providing a safer, more sanitary design.

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December 2020


ProFood World



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ProFood World ISSN 2476-0676




Connect with us



@ProFoodWorld @ProFoodWorld www.linkedin. com/showcase/ profoodworld














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ProFood World • PMMI Media Group 401 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 300, Chicago, IL 60611 Phone: 312/222-1010 • Fax: 312/222-1310 Email: • Web: PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies 12930 Worldgate Drive, Suite 200, Herndon, VA 20170 Phone: 571/612-3200 • Fax: 703/243-8556 • Web: Staff at PMMI Media Group can be contacted at

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Food and Beverage Industry Continues to Prevail During Tough Times 2020 will go down in history as the year the world’s health and resiliency were greatly tested, but sheer determination and human intellect will lead us into a better decade.


he year 2020 has certainly been one for the record books. Very few saw the pandemic-related devastating and disruptive times coming. When the storm hit, the food industry experienced some tough times but proved it was up to the challenge of feeding the nation. A great example of the industry working together is last month’s PACK EXPO Connects, the first-ever virtual edition of PACK EXPO. As someone who has attended nearly every PACK EXPO for the past 30 years, the word that comes to mind is impressive. The show featured more than 700 exhibitors and close to 18,000 visitors. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention another shift in 2020— the powerful women in our industry who starred at PACK EXPO Connects. Kim Houchens, director of the customer packaging experience at Amazon, shared insights into the company’s remarkable use of automation to efficiently deliver products to consumers. In today’s rapidly growing e-commerce era, Amazon is also employing the latest technology to create right-size packaging that supports sustainability. Also at the virtual show, PMMI’s Packaging and Processing Women’s Leadership Network featured an interview with Bumble Bee Seafood’s CEO Jan Tharp, who spoke about leadership in times of adversity and the importance of communications and transparency in running a successful business. As the pandemic continues, so does the resiliency of the food industry to embrace so many lessons learned in the early stages to keep its workers safe and the supply chain intact during the current round of high transmission rates. The pandemic has changed the world, but sheer determination and employing technology to its full benefit will continue to allow the food industry to prevail. Access to PACK EXPO Connects will be available through March 2021. Learn more about the show beginning on page 9 in this issue or visit PFW





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December 2020



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Exhibitors Drive Successful PACK EXPO Connects


ACK EXPO CONNECTS brought the industry together during its launch week Nov. 9-13, with nearly 18,000 attendees engaging with more than 700 exhibitors to find solutions to critical packaging challenges. “The demos offered at PACK EXPO Connects proved to be an invaluable resource for discovering the latest innovations from top suppliers and learning more about their areas of expertise,” says Shawn French, director of engineering, Danone. “Exhibitor commitment to delivering high-quality content was evident, and show site features like the search function provided highly specified, tailored results, granting me the ability to find the solutions I needed with ease.” Despite exhibitor preparedness, technical issues kept the live demonstrations from launching as intended on the first day of the show, but the PACK EXPO Connects exhibitors adapted, and demos returned for attendees looking to see technology in action for the remainder of the event. “This event was able to connect the industry, which was our No. 1 goal in a year when professionals cannot attend physical trade events,” says Jim Pittas, president and CEO, PMMI, “and our exhibitors were remarkable in their ability to react and deliver effective demonstrations despite the technical challenges entirely outside of their control.” To date, PACK EXPO Connects has seen 137,000 unique directory visits, along with 475,000 total showroom visits, since the event website went live. During the show week, attendees viewed demos over 32,000 times. Those numbers will continue

Nestlé Purina PetCare Plans New Factory Producing dry dog and cat food brands, including Purina Pro Plan, Purina ONE, and Dog Chow, Nestlé Purina PetCare is investing $550 million to build a new factory in Williamsburg Township, Ohio. The 1.2 million-sq-ft facility is expected to be operational in 2023.

Mount Franklin Foods Opening New Confectionery Facility Branded, contract, and privatelabel confectionery, nuts, and snacks producer Mount Franklin Foods opened a 220,000-sq-ft confectionery manufacturing facility in San Jerónimo, Mexico. The first line was scheduled to go live in October, with a second line expected to be operational by the second quarter of 2021.

Marfrig and ADM Launch Joint Venture Marfrig and ADM plan to launch PlantPlus Foods, a joint venture that will offer sustainable plant-based foods for consumers in North and South America, with the ability to reach other global markets. Marfrig owns 70% of the venture, while ADM owns 30%. Marfrig will be responsible for finished product production and distribution, while ADM will supply application development and plantbased flavors and ingredients.

TreeHouse Foods to Buy Majority of Riviana Foods U.S. Branded Pastas With a $242.5 million price tag, TreeHouse Foods has agreed to acquire the U.S. branded pasta portfolio of Riviana Foods, a subsidiary of Ebro. The acquisition includes the Skinner, No Yolks, American Beauty, Creamette, San Giorgio, Prince and Light ‘n Fluffy, Mrs. Weiss’, Wacky Mac, P&R Procino-Rossi, and New Mill brands, as well as the St. Louis manufacturing facility.

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to grow as engagement continues on with ondemand demos and exhibitor showrooms available through March 2021. Exhibitor Engage Technologies Corp. and its family of companies, including Squid Ink, Eastey, and AFM, attained nearly 1,000 new contacts through PACK EXPO Connects, according to Marketing Manager Josh Nelson. “We were successful in providing live demonstrations of our equipment after switching over to the Zoom platform after [a few] technical difficulties on Monday morning,” Nelson says. “We formed a plan as a team to put our demonstration agenda into an easily emailable format, and each morning, I downloaded our list of demonstration attendees from the Exhibitor Section of the PACK EXPO Connects website.” Nelson was pleased with the feedback

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he received regarding his company’s virtual showroom. Customers particularly appreciated the interactions and detailed information his team could provide in chat rooms during live demonstrations. Josh Becker, senior manager, packaging systems, Hershey, was grateful for the flexibility the online format offered to him and his team. “At PACK EXPO Connects, I enjoyed taking advantage of attending the exhibitor demonstrations the most. It’s been helpful to attend the various sessions and learn more about the latest cuttingedge trends in packaging operations, such as augmented reality,” Becker says. “The structure and flexibility of the show allowed us to see a diverse range of what the industry is offering.” In addition to demos, educational offerings—many debuting for the first time at PACK EXPO Connects—pro-

duced engagement surpassing expectations. More than 800 attendees tuned in live to see Kim Houchens, director, customer packaging experience, deliver Amazon’s keynote address, which remains available on demand at Each daily Jumpstart session averaged 400 viewers seeking insights into key trends and technologies. And every day, over a dozen Innovation Stages and afternoon Trend Chats and Daily Downloads with PMMI Media Group editors attracted high daily participation. The Solutions Room wrapped up the week on Friday with targeted interactions from the OpX Leadership Network, the Organization for Machine Automation and Control (OMAC), the Institute of Packaging Professionals, and the Contract Packaging Association. PFW

12/3/20 1:09 PM

Bumble Bee Reinvention Relies on Capable Leadership


AN THARP, CEO of Bumble Bee Seafood Company, discussed leadership and the direction the company is taking in this exclusive interview with Stephanie Neil, editor of OEM magazine, a sister publication to ProFood World. STEPHANIE NEIL: Are there things that you can point to during the recent challenging times specific to Bumble Bee, and even now in the pandemic, that have really elevated the way that you lead or change the way you think about things? JAN THARP: You’re talking about a crisis and leading through crisis. And essentially when you’re in that state, what you’ve lost is predictability and control. And as humans, that’s what we want. Without predictability and control, we all become very anxious. If you can clearly articulate the plan and explain to your team members how long it’s going to take you to get to your end state, what that end state looks like, and how they can help you along in that journey, well, then you’ve diluted that anxiety and all that energy is moving toward your to-be state. It’s essentially communication. And it happens every single day. And if you can do that effectively, you can manage through a crisis. NEIL: Let’s talk about the operations. How have things changed to ensure the alignment, confidence, and trust as you move forward in a new strategic direction? THARP: One of the tenets of my leadership style is to listen. And that’s sometimes really difficult because, when you’re in a situation and you hear of a problem, you want to solve that problem. That’s our natural instinct. So being able to take a step back and listen, and don’t filter your ideas through your own head, but to listen with empathy and compassion to what people are saying, certainly helps design the programs that matter to our employees or our team members. And so, we’ve done that. We did a survey to get a pulse of how people are feeling inside the company. We’ve done the exact same thing in our factories. And from there, we’re using that data to give back programs that help our team members. And the differ-

JAN THARP CEO of the Bumble Bee Seafood Company

ence here is when this first started, everyone jumped to their own conclusions as to what our team members needed. And it went through our own filters of some of the things that we were thinking about. And what we found is that what they really needed wasn’t any of the things that we thought that they wanted. It was heightened communication. It was a few things that we could be doing better inside of our facility. And so, what our team members are feeling is: Not only did we listen, but we’re paying back in programs that matter to them. And when you do that across an entire company, the results are actually remarkable. NEIL: Sustainability must be a key element of your identity since your company talks a lot about being advocates for fishermen and for the ocean. What does sustainability mean to the Bumble Bee brands? THARP: We came up with a platform that we call Seafood Future. It’s focused on the fish, it’s focused on the ocean, and it’s focused on people. We all need to be thinking about sustainability. When we develop a new product, it can’t go through the entire process and then hit sustainability after it gets on the grocery store shelf. It has to be part of the design process. Ocean plastic is a big concern with consumers. So is the fact that the population is growing. The population should be right around 9 to 10 billion people by 2050. And what we’re doing today will not sustain

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think that a lot of consumers are concerned about sustainability, but there is a gap between intent and action. I can have a conversation with you and we can talk about sustainability and you will tell me how important the oceans are. But then when you go and make your purchase decision, is that conversation top of mind or are you looking for price? Are you looking for value? And I think that that’s different with each constituent, depending on where you sit on the spectrum.

that type of growth. Bumble Bee was one of the first companies to get into a plant-based seafood partnership. It doesn’t dilute anything that we’re doing in the wild-capture fisheries, but it certainly is another way of embracing the fact that together we need to do something to protect our oceans. NEIL: Are you able to measure whether or not this is something that is important to your consumers and resonating with them?

NEIL: Tell me about packaging. We’re seeing some different packaging coming from Bumble Bee (visit pwgo. to/5764 for more) and also a new commercial campaign.

THARP: I would say plant-based definitely is resonating with the consumers from the standpoint that plant-based products in general are up 31% over the last couple of years. In our case, traditional seafood is, prior to the pandemic, relatively flat to declining. Again, plant-based seafood is not going to overtake traditional fisheries, but certainly it can live in that same space. I

THARP: We’re very excited about our new commercials because they’re communicating in a different way. Tuna is a fantastic product. [In terms of]

the protein per calorie, there isn’t any protein that is better, [but] we haven’t been talking about that in a way that resonates with consumers. Every one of our ads is a use of education and it comes at it from a completely different perspective. Whether you’re hiking, whether you’re at the gym, whether you’re just looking for something easy to make at home, we’re trying to bring that relevance back and we’re trying to do that in unexpected ways. I think every commercial that you see from the Yes! Bumble Bee! campaign, you’re not expecting a pouch to show up at the end, or you’re not expecting a can of tuna, and that’s by design. The unexpected, the provocative, and the bold elements get people to start envisioning seafood in a different way, a new and exciting way. We’ve retired Horatio, our mascot of many, many years, and we have a much more of an adult presence on the shelf with Bee Well for Life.


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And we’re talking about the health benefits of our products, because there are numerous health benefits. NEIL: You are a co-chair of the PMMI Packaging and Processing Women’s Leadership Network. Can you tell me why that is important to you? THARP: I have always said there is something for everyone in the packaging and processing industry, whether you’re creative or technical. The landscape is so wide that it provides so many opportunities. There’s something to be said about leadership and really homing in on leadership skills, because it is a completely different skillset and something that you need to work on if you’re going to motivate and influence people to join you on your journey. At the Bumble Bee Seafood Company, we want talent to join us here, and we have to do that through effective leadership skills. So, I think that is absolutely

Jumpstart on demand Access the extended audio of this discussion, along with a host of on-trend packaging topics held during the recent PACK EXPO Connects Jumpstart sessions, at

something that we can teach at the Packaging and Processing Women’s Leadership Network. NEIL: What is your long-term vision for Bumble Bee? THARP: If you would have asked me 10 years ago, I probably would answer, “Bumble Bee’s in the shelf-stable seafood category.” But that’s boring, and that’s not going to get you to come to work for us. When you think about it and change the narrative and talk about what we’re really doing here at

the Bumble Bee Seafood Company, we’re feeding people’s lives through the power of the ocean. And we are touching people’s lives. We are influencing them, and we are making them better. And that is something that people would want to be part of. People will want to join us on that journey because we are doing something for the planet. We’re fighting for the health of the oceans. We’re elevating lives of people that help us on this journey. And we’re also doing things for our brand, that’s at the core of why we exist. And, we’re trying to create products that resonate with consumers. That journey of feeding people’s lives through the power of the ocean is so much more impactful and so much more heartfelt. So, my wish as we look forward the next 10 or 15 years is that we bring that purpose to life and every team member around the world feels that, believes it, and is so proud to be on this journey with us. PFW


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12/2/20 11:55 AM


Studies Reveal New Consumer Attitudes


N TETRA PAK’S 2020 Index global research study, “COVID-19 and the Food Safety-Environment Dilemma,” the company lays out the effects of the pandemic as an unprecedented event disrupting communities worldwide. Consumer trends, concerns, and needs have changed, which, in turn, affects industry. According to Tetra Pak’s 2019 Index, the No. 1 consumer concern was the environment, followed by health. Now, COVID-19 is unsurprisingly the priority for 64% of those surveyed, pushing the environment to second place with 49%. Financial concerns have increased to 47% while food safety and future food supplies have jumped to 40%. In another

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Tetra Pak survey, results show that more than two-thirds of responders (68%) say food safety, security, and waste have become major concerns for society. Consumers now believe that improving food safety should be manufacturers’ No. 1 priority, and they are holding manufacturers primarily responsible for food safety, which creates a greater need for product transparency. As consumers desire greater transparency, brands are finding that a big challenge is building consumer trust. Brands need to demonstrate through their actions that they are trustworthy, which can be done by taking advantage of the packaging itself, says Pedro

Consumers want greater transparency, and brands can convey trustworthiness through packaging. Image courtesy of Tetra Pak.

Gonçalves, Tetra Pak’s vice president of marketing in the U.S. and Canada. “Consumers engage with the product’s packaging in a much more intimate way than they would with advertising or other channels, so it provides a unique opportunity to capture the consumer’s attention,” Gonçalves says. “From simple steps, like including product and package sourcing info on pack, to more robust solutions, like full-scale connected packaging, there are many options that can help turn a package into a vehicle to deepen the relationship with the consumer and build trust for the product and brand.” PFW —Melissa Griffen, Contributing Editor

12/3/20 1:09 PM

OpX Updates TCO Guidelines for COVID-19


HE OPX LEADERSHIP NETWORK’S revamped “Total Cost of Ownership (TCO): Packaging and Processing Machine Guidelines” help consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) identify, quantify, and break down the costs of purchasing and operating machinery. The document provides manufacturers with a big picture perspective on the complete cost of a machine purchase. With its new streamlined, easy-to-navigate format, the free tool features case study examples of how OEMs and CPGs utilize the document and includes a customizable Excel workbook used to record all salient cost information when purchasing a machine. Download: PFW


GREAT PRODUCTS GREAT IDENTITIES LABELING AND SLEEVING SOLUTIONS As more and more brands and SKUs enter the market, how do you make your product stand out from the crowd? A great brand identity supported by great graphic designs is one way to create a competitive edge. P.E. Labellers and Axon, product brands of ProMach, offer labeling and sleeving systems that can accommodate a virtually unlimited range of container types, shapes and sizes. From P.E. Labellers' pressure sensitive, cold glue, hot melt and roll-fed labelers to Axon's shrink sleeve and stretch sleeve labeling systems, we offer the broadest range of labeling technologies in the industry. If you have a product that needs a label, a shrink sleeve or a stretch sleeve, give us a call to discuss your application.


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12/2/20 11:55 AM


The Power of One Voice— On-site or Virtually Vertical start-up can be consistently improved with the updated virtual FAT tool from PMMI’s OpX Leadership Network. In addition, processor relationships with OEMs can be greatly enhanced, resulting in better service and pricing. DOUG HERALD VICE PRESIDENT OF OPERATIONAL STRATEGY AND CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT, AMERIQUAL GROUP DAVID NAVIN PRESIDENT, SPEE-DEE PACKAGING MACHINERY STEPHEN SCHLEGEL CO-FOUNDER AND MANAGING DIRECTOR, FSO INSTITUTE


HERE ARE STRENGTH, speed, and accuracy in having a common language when performing a critical milestone event in a capital project, such as the factory acceptance test (FAT). That is why, five years ago, PMMI’s OpX Leadership Net-

work published “One Voice Factory Acceptance Tests Protocols for Capital Equipment in the CPG Industry.” Since then, these protocols have provided guidance to thousands in our industry. Consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies and original equipment manufactur-

Case in Point: AmeriQual Group and Spee-Dee Packaging Machinery FSO INSTITUTE asked two industry leaders, Doug Herald of AmeriQual Group and David Navin of SpeeDee Packaging Machinery, to share their experiences and observations regarding FATs.

Doug Herald

FSO Institute: Doug, throughout your career, you have been responsible for many capital projects involving a large variety of processing and packaging equipment. Please share the challenges you have faced with FATs.

Herald: For many years, one of the biggest challenges the entire CPG industry faced when conducting FATs was that both CPGs and OEMs had their own approaches. Everyone, including our own engineers, had their unique way of doing things. David Navin There was no industry standard. Seven or so years ago, my company was small but growing rapidly. We had incredibly talented people, but we did not have the bench strength or the systems in place like the major consumer products manufacturers. This put a lot of pressure on our engineers to keep 16


ProFood World

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up with all the work that needed to be done. Given the workload and there was no specific FAT process or standard, we addressed it the best we could. That meant fewer people were involved and the procedures used were those familiar to the OEM and our engineers. As a result, projects were delayed, cost was impacted, there was rework for the OEMs, and there were no real means of recording lessons learned as a means of improvement for the next project. FSO Institute: The OpX Factory Acceptance Test protocols for the CPG industry were published five years ago. What are some of the lessons learned through your experiences in using this guidance to improve your ability to achieve vertical start-ups? Herald: During that same time, I became an early adopter of the entire OpX Leadership Network and its industry guidelines being developed. As a member of the OpX Executive Council, I directly participated in the discussions about prioritizing what new best practices or guidelines would be developed. I saw firsthand the value of working with many large companies who were unselfish in providing their subject matter experts to work alongside smaller CPG experts and the OEM technical representatives. The development and publication of the “One Voice Factory Acceptance Tests: Protocols for Capital Equipment in the CPG industry” was underway, and we benefitted from that experience. As noted in the document, the strategic objective for FATs

12/2/20 10:27 AM

ers (OEMs) have learned from and applied these best practices, resulting in better outcomes for all. But 2020 threw us a curve ball. Yes, even FATs have been affected by the pandemic! So, how can we do virtual FATs? To answer that question, the OpX team quickly reassembled, added a few new players, and within a matter of a few months, published the virtual FAT (vFAT) addendum. The documents are complementary in style and substance, enabling the FATs to be conducted and keep important projects continuing efficiently. There are many questions that arise for a vFAT such as: • Whom do I involve, as we value our operators getting firsthand knowledge? • What if I absolutely must be on-site? • What technologies need to be applied? • How can I be sure my team learns the key points in changeovers? These and other questions create a tremendous opportunity for processors to have a dialogue with their OEMs. The best time to have the conversation is during

About the Case in Point Series


N THE PAST FEW YEARS, PMMI’s OpX Leadership Network ™ has produced more than 20 manufacturing process-improvement documents for CPGs and OEMs. The FSO Institute has facilitated the adoption and implementation of these documents, especially for food and beverage manufacturers. In this Case in Point series with the FSO Institute, ProFood World presents actual cases to show just how CPGs are using OpX documents to improve their overall manufacturing health and their collaboration with OEMs and other suppliers. Learn more at and

the request for proposal (RFP) stage and then clarify as you finalize contracts. The time spent at the beginning will be repaid in the effectiveness of the FAT. PFW

is to achieve capital project excellence. As an industry, all can benefit from accepting: • The miscommunication and misunderstanding, which are costly to all parties in both time and money, must be overcome or minimized. • Documents must be fair and adhere to good standard business practices. • For the CPG, achieving vertical start-ups (packaging and processing equipment/lines) more consistently and effectively is the goal. There were many benefits to my company and our team, including: 1. Our engineers had a standard protocol to follow, with results in better planning and minimizing guesswork, mistakes, and omissions. 2. We engaged our workforce more effectively through hands-on training during the FAT that produced solid results. There was a deeper and broader ownership of the equipment. What used to be one or maybe two engineers attending, there are now four or more with greater diversity of thought and perspective. 3. We enabled purchase agreements with our OEMs to be more thorough and contain greater clarity of expectations, resulting in a greater level of commitment from the suppliers. 4. We included the OpX FAT protocol “Reflections” step during project close-out, such as what went well and what did not, and ideas for next time. Bottom-line impact is noticeable. Given all of the above, our vertical start-up (ramp-up time from start-up to full pro-

FATs include automated product delivery systems and multiple conveyor loops to simulate actual plant conditions as closely as possible. Image courtesy of Spee-Dee Packaging Machinery.

duction) has consistently improved by 66%. In addition, our relationships with key OEMs has flourished, resulting in better service and pricing. FSO Institute: Doug, we are all aware the COVID-19 pandemic has provided many challenges to our industry. Company travel for on-site FATs has certainly been curtailed. Please describe how you and your colleagues have managed keeping your projects on track. How has the OpX vFAT been of value? Continued on Page 18

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Case in Point continued from Page 17 Herald: Coincidentally, we had several FATs occur right at the beginning of the pandemic. The new FATs for virtual use had not yet been published. Our participation in the FSO Manufacturing Health Roundtable (MHRT) monthly industry calls provided opportunities to discuss current hot topics, including doing FATs virtually. Through those MHRT discussions with my peers, combined with my team reviewing the existing FAT guidelines, we were able to organize our game plan and execute it. I am thankful that the OpX Leadership Network published the vFAT addendum mid-summer. We reviewed those guidelines and have already used them as a basis to once again improve how we conduct FATs on a virtual basis. FSO Institute: David, throughout the years, your company has been highly successful in delivering on your many clients’ expectations. With all that variety, please describe how the OpX FAT protocols for the CPG industry have been of value to your organization. Navin: I think the biggest takeaway from the OpX FAT protocols is the idea that a successful FAT really begins at the RFP stage of a project. The early-stage alignment of the CPG’s expectations, the OEM’s capabilities, and what is needed from all parties to accomplish the desired outcome cannot be stressed enough. One of the first steps we take in reviewing an RFP is to develop an “exceptions and options” spreadsheet. The RFP is reviewed by the mechanical engineering, electrical and controls engineering, and project management groups. Each group has its own tab on the spreadsheet where they list exceptions, options, or alternatives to the RFP line items. In most cases, the FAT is also covered at this early stage. By defining what a successful FAT looks like at the RFP stage, we are able to get a clear vision of our customer’s expectations. Ever since Spee-Dee started working with larger CPGs in the mid-1990s, we have encouraged on-site FATs. It is less time-consuming and costs less money for both parties if a machine is up to the customer’s expectations before it ever leaves our facility. We have put a great deal of time, effort, and expense into our business to make sure we’re set up to handle FATs. (See image on previous page.) FSO Institute: Can you share some of the recent challenges you have been facing on providing FATs considering the COVID-19 pandemic? How has the vFAT document been of benefit to your team and clients? Navin: We had a large filler project we were building for a company in Spain. Because of travel restrictions, they were not able to visit for the FAT. We used many of the tools described in the vFAT protocols and conducted a series of short virtual FATs over a few days using Microsoft Teams, a webcam, and an iPad. It certainly was not as productive as being on-site, but it was still very beneficial. Splitting this up into smaller chunks of time helped keep everyone focused. We also did a fair amount of video recording and photo documentation after the vFAT to help simplify the installation at the customer’s site. FSO Institute: As we conclude, David, are there any lessons learned or “watch outs” for assuring successful completion of an FAT? Navin: It sounds oversimplified, but project management and communication are the keys to a successful FAT. There is nothing worse for the OEM or the CPG than when an FAT becomes a design review. We always encourage the CPG to determine all vested parties and who will be visiting for the FAT early on, so they can also be involved in the design reviews. This reduces scope creep during an FAT. A short pre-FAT meeting or web conference is also helpful, so that there are no surprises when a large group of people travel to check out a new machine. Lastly, overcommunicate your level of readiness. It is better to reschedule than to waste people’s time. 18


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Equipment Required for vFATs A solid webcam with remote control that enables the user to zoom in/ out and pan sideways (controlled by the OEM). The camera system should be compatible with PC and Mac computers. A tripod, so the webcam can be mounted at the correct height for a variety of systems. A gimbal may also be used to improve camera movement. A large screen TV/monitor for the OEM, so the presenter can see what the participants see (if a second laptop is used as a participant) or mirror what is being shown on the camera output to choose the best output device to show. Wireless headsets for the OEMs: one for the presenter and one to plug into a second laptop, if present, to stop any sound interference and feedback from the audio output; noise cancellation headsets are best. PowerPoint or a similar tool to show slides containing the agenda and the series of checklist items to work through during the vFAT. VideoPoint or a similar software app that allows the user to monitor and show multiple webcam, video, IP camera, and streaming video feeds in PowerPoint. Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) manages multiple cameras/images for simultaneous display. Optional equipment may include: ● ●

Wireless keyboard and mouse Wireless clicker, if using PowerPoint Docking station to enable multiple USB devices to be connected, as many laptops are limited in the number of ports they provide Photography lighting/ background kit to block out unnecessary or sensitive backgrounds that are not relevant to the vFAT, such as projects for other clients.

Source: PMMI’s OpX Leadership Network.

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Nestlé Water’s Poland Spring Joins With UMaine on Bio-based Materials The expanded use of forest-based biomass in areas such as packaging, infrastructure, equipment, novel materials, and even biofuels is a key development objective for the forest sector. MATT REYNOLDS, EDITOR, PACKAGING WORLD


OLAND SPRING BRAND 100% Natural Spring Water announced a collaboration with the University of Maine and its Forest Bioproducts Research Institute to evaluate and develop bio-based solutions that could serve as alternative packaging for Poland Spring products. As part of the collaboration, the University of Maine will explore new possible uses of materials derived from sustainably harvested Maine wood, an effort that has the potential to advance the circular economy by contributing to the total utilization of this renewable resource. "The Forest Bioproducts Research Institute was created to provide and promote technology validation and partnerships that will meet societal needs for materials, chemicals, and fuels in an economically and ecologically sustainable manner," says Joan FerriniMundy, University of Maine president. "This collaboration serves that important mission, and facilitating leveraging the expertise of our faculty and staff, and facilitating the engagement of our students in cuttingedge research with important implications for our state and the wider world.” Poland Spring is initiating this collaboration with UMaine to assess biomaterial technologies that could serve as alternatives to petroleum-derived, nonrenewable materials. This joint effort evolved after Nestlé Waters North America (NWNA) sponsored a two-day bioplastics summit at the University of Maine last year that brought together stakeholders representing all sectors of Maine’s forest economy to discuss and explore these issues. “The University of Maine is pioneering new renewable and sustainable wood-based materials and processes that can be used as alternatives to petroleum-derived products, making them the ideal collaborator as we strive for a low-carbon, waste-free future,” adds David Tulauskas, vice president and chief sustainability officer, Nestlé Waters North America, parent company of Poland Spring. “Their innovative work is already showing how a Maine-based circular economy is possible, and

this project will identify additional potential uses for the state’s wood fiber byproducts as sustainable packaging or other products. We look forward to the potential innovative advances in packaging and other sustainability areas that may be enhanced and discovered through this collaboration benefitting the environment, the forest industry, and the great state of Maine.” “The expanded use of forest-based biomass in areas such as packaging, infrastructure, equipment, novel materials, and even biofuels is a key development objective for the Maine forest sector, and this initiative between Poland Spring and UMaine is a great start,” says Patrick Strauch, executive director of the Maine Forest Products Council. “Diversifying the uses of Maine-harvested biomass is essential to the growth and sustainability of our state’s forest economy." In addition to exploring alternative packaging, NWNA has committed to achieve 25% recycled plastic across its U.S. domestic portfolio by 2021 and 50% by 2025. Poland Spring has called Maine home for 175 years and announced it would be the first major bottled water brand in the U.S. to reach 100% recycled plastic across its still water portfolio by 2022. Poland Spring 1-L, 1.5-L, 700-mL, and 20-oz bottles are already available in 100% recycled plastic. PFW

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INCE 2005, WHEN WALMART began leading the charge in sustainability, most of its efforts— as well as those of most eco-friendly-minded CPGs and retailers—have focused on maintaining systems without degrading them. At its Sustainability Milestone Summit in late September, Walmart committed itself to going “beyond sustainability” to become a regenerative company, dedicated to placing nature and humanity at the center of its business. “Regenerating means restoring, renewing, and replenishing, in addition to conserving,” explained Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon in his opening address. “It means decarbonizing operations and eliminating waste along the production chain. It means adopting regenerative practices in agriculture, forest management, and fisheries, while advancing prosperity and equity for customers, associates, and people who participate in our product supply chain.” The one-hour virtual event featured a number of Walmart and Sam’s Club executives, as well as prominent CPGs and environmental non-profits, who shared details on Walmart’s goals and projects moving forward that will be designed to “draw carbon dioxide out of the environment and bring it home,” as McMillon explained. He added that transforming the world’s supply chains to become regenerative involves four critical areas: climate, nature, waste, and people. As part of Walmart’s new commitments around climate, the company is raising its ambitions to achieve zero emissions in its global operations by 2040, without the use of carbon offsets. Where nature is concerned, Walmart plans to help transition consumer product sourcing to a regenerative

Doug McMillon, President & CEO



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approach to help reverse nature loss and global warming. “That’s why we, along with the Walmart Foundation, are committing to help protect, manage, and/or restore at least 1.5 million acres of land and 1 million square miles of ocean by 2030, related to ecosystems that produce food and other consumer products,” said McMillon. Walmart will accomplish this by: • Continuing to support efforts to preserve at least one acre of natural habitat for every acre of land developed by the company in the U.S. • Driving the adoption of regenerative agriculture practices, sustainable fisheries management, and forest protection and restoration—including an expansion of Walmart’s Deforestation Policy. • Investing in and working with suppliers to source from place-based efforts that help preserve natural ecosystems and improve livelihoods. According to Kathryn McLay, president and CEO, Sam’s Club, “Healthy forests sustain biodiversity. They also support livelihoods and absorb carbon, playing an integral role in combating climate change. But deforestation continues to occur at an alarming rate. Recent reports show we lost the equivalent of a soccer field of primary rainforest every six seconds last year. That’s why Walmart is taking a holistic approach to addressing deforestation, and we’re on track to achieve our zero net deforestation goals to source-certified, sustainable palm oil, pulp, and paper in our global private brands by the end of this year.” McLay said degradation of natural habitats and forests is very real. “And while we’ve made progress in key areas, we recognize the need to raise our ambition. That’s why we’re expanding our forest goals by aspiring to source palm oil, beef, soy, pulp, and paper 100% deforestation free by 2025.” These efforts can support sustainable economies, biodiversity, and livelihoods, while helping meet our customers’ and members’ growing needs for sustainable food and products, she explained during the meeting. “Challenge everyone to find ways to help protect, manage, and restore nature,"McClay said. "Suppliers can start right now by deepening their engagement with the agriculture and forest pillars of Project Gigaton [a Walmart initiative to avoid 1 billion metric tons, or 1 gigaton, of greenhouse gases from the global value chain by 2030], using new tools, guidance, and progress calculated on our sustainability hub." PFW

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HITTING THE SPOT Start early, do your homework, and determine what you can live with and live without when searching for a new facility’s location. Then, leave no stone unturned in uncovering workforce assistance programs, tax and utility incentives, and potential operating costs. JOYCE FASSL EDITOR IN CHIEF


OU’VE HEARD THE SAYING a million times, but in the planning stages, manufacturing facility success often comes down to three things—location, location, location. During a facility site selection, processors must understand the big picture that comes with a location decision from real estate, labor, utility, and tax perspectives, according to Cathy Scangarella, chief business development officer at Choose New Jersey. For those processors who choose New Jersey, Scangarella says the state is located in one of the most concentrated and affluent consumer markets in the world, reaching 33% of the U.S. population within a day’s drive. Businesses located in the Garden State also benefit from a highly educated workforce, she adds. According to Mary Lesa Pegg, food processing industry recruiter for the Economic 24


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SITE SELECTION California-based Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. operates its East Coast headquarters and brewery in North Carolina. Image courtesy of Visit NC.

Development Partnership of North Carolina, the top priorities of food and beverage processors during the site selection process are water and sewer availability, as well as existing buildings, because most clients want faster speed to market and the availability of labor. While state and local economic development groups can help processors determine all of the criteria, food industry engineering firms can also assist with the decision on where to locate a new processing facility. And often, these engineering firms can provide a deeper dive into a site’s attributes. Brandon Talbert, managing director at Austin Consulting, says the top three requests his company gets from food and beverage processors during the site selection process are labor market data, analysis of operating costs, and properties with adequate infrastructure. As the U.S. labor crunch continues, Mary Frances Stotler, senior partner and project manager with Dennis Group, concurs that a qualified workforce is top of mind with most food and beverage manufacturers. “One of the requests is typically associated with workforce—the availability of workforce from a numbers standpoint, but more so workforce quality,” she states. “Where I really see that [workforce quality] playing a big part is with the increased automation in the food industry. Food and beverage processors want to make sure they have a robust enough labor pool with electrical, instrumentation, and mechanical experience to be able to operate and maintain sophisticated, high-speed bottling operations or highly automated process and packaging operations.” Food and beverage manufacturers also have a sharp focus on their budget and the project’s timeline. Stotler says understanding total operational costs, ensuring the distribution arena is favorable in terms of raw materials and finished goods, and determining whether there is a business-friendly operating climate from a tax regulatory perspective are essential. With some projects taking two to three years from initial planning to first saleable products, there are ways to shave some time off the schedule. But planning timelines can vary significantly, says Talbert. “We work with some companies that begin planning several years in advance while other projects develop more quickly,” he states. “We advise companies to start the site selection planning process at least six months in advance of groundbreaking when possible, but that’s not always realistic. Companies need to consider that construction can take 12 to 18 months for a greenfield project depending on the scale and complexity, and design-engineering should be performed in parallel with the site selection process to condense development timelines.” Pegg believes processors must first determine their likely return on investment in a new facility and justify the spending before beginning the site selection process. She says that advance work can take six to 18 months or longer. “Each project is unique. But for the processor wanting a greenfield site or build-to-suit facility, it typically takes 18 to 24 months from the initial site search to first saleable product.”

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After a fire at a facility, Pretzels Inc. needed its peanut butter-filled pretzel nuggets production back online quickly. It chose a 45,000-sq-ft brownfield site near its existing supply chain and Indiana headquarters that included an additional 90,000 sq ft for expansion. Photos courtesy of Austin Consulting.



ProFood World

Workforce assistance According to an October 2020 report from the National Association for Business Economics, disruptions from COVID-19 have dramatically altered the way manufacturers think about operations, supply chain management, and workforce issues. The report, “In Recovery Mode: Manufacturers Try to Bounce Back After COVID-19 Disruptions,” states that a more advanced manufacturing sector requires a highly skilled workforce that can effectively adapt to new technologies. The pandemic has highlighted the need to focus on work-life balance and increased employee flexibility, but it has also reinforced challenges with talent attraction and retention. In order to get assistance with workforce issues, Stotler says food and beverage processors must ask for help upfront during the site selection process. “There’s a ton of workforce training and support programs, grants, etc. available as incentives that, unless you know to ask for them, they aren’t offered.” Many processors may only conduct a site search once every 10 years, Stotler says, “This is not their area of expertise. They can miss out on a lot of incentives and available support because they don’t know what to ask for.” Dennis Group and other food industry engineering firms understand incentive packages and what to request from states and municipalities.


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Stotler also says that community colleges are required to gear a certain percentage of courses toward high-priority employment. “Processors can work with a community college to tailor a curriculum program or train operators specifically for their operation. PLC programming or specific maintenance techniques can be specifically geared for processors,” she adds. “This opportunity is widespread throughout the U.S.” Choose New Jersey connects firms and organizations that help build a company’s workforce, says Scangarella. “We also pair businesses with the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, which has a number of assistance programs which can cover the costs of recruitment and training.” Some key programs include: • NJ Incumbent Worker Training Grants and Skills4Jersey program to upskill workforces • Opportunity Partnership to identify training providers • Employer Partnership that reimburses employers for new employee start wages • Targeted Recruitment Services to find the right applicants • WorkFirst New Jersey to help defray training costs • New Jersey Career Connections to link New Jersey businesses and jobseekers Additionally, Scangarella reports that New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy recently announced an additional $14 million in funding for the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to develop workforce development programs. “This will help businesses impacted by COVID-19 replenish their workforce and help jobless residents learn new skills that lead to successful reemployment,” Scangarella states. North Carolina provides a workforce development network with the flexibility to customize any aspect of the workforce development process, explains Pegg. The Tarheel State works with businesses to develop a customized plan and provides an array of services to recruit, screen, and train their workforces. The network consists of an established set of organizations and partners that assist food processors with future employment needs. “One of those partners is our state’s 58-campus community college system, the third-larg-

12/3/20 1:11 PM

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SITE SELECTION Site Selection Considerations Checklist Land size in acres/usable size

near one of his facilities. “He’s very sensitive to it, and he doesn’t want to put a facility where meth, cocaine, or whatever drugs are prevalent,” Jarc explains. Asking price Current zoning

Present use/past use Environmental issues

Flood plain issues Existing or past structures on the property

Encroachments or easements Availability of rail access, including level of activity and siding or main line

Utilities: Water supply; natural gas; sanitary sewer; electrical service; telephone service; local landfill(s) Environmental permitting: Air pollution; wastewater; industrial stormwater; stormwater/runoff design

General permitting: State and local codes in effect; availability of and contract information for one-stop permitting; seismic zone classification; other special local/state regulations/ ordinances that could impact the project; option to follow fast-track approval process General permitting (if required): rezoning/conditional use approval process and schedule; subdivision approval process and schedule; and/ or annexation process and schedule

Emergency services: Safety; fire; police; medical; exposure to natural disasters Community information: Labor; quality of life; business climate; taxes

This is a partial checklist of items to be considered during a site selection project. Source: Hixson.



ProFood World

est system in the U.S., and a pioneer and national model in customized workforce training,” she says. Austin Consulting helps companies qualify the workforce based on their specific needs and provides assurances that the labor market is conducive based on the volume and skill requirements and other factors. “Each operation requires a specific workforce profile based on the capacity, production processes, and the role of automation,” says Talbert. “If considering a broad geography, we often start with a high-level evaluation of labor markets in coordination with other evaluation factors and drill down into more detail as the evaluation becomes more market- and/or site-specific.” Workforce development initiatives focused on technology, automation, and maintenance are incredibly important, Talbert says. Locations that have strong programs and resources allocated to these initiatives make a site more attractive. Not to be overlooked are community addiction issues. Chris Jarc, manager of the project management group at Hixson, points to one client who is concerned about labor issues because of a meth problem


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Making the match Austin Consulting works with companies to understand the role that freight, labor, and other factors play in the site selection process based on the specific project requirements. “Many projects are driven by a long-term view of the business, so companies need to consider the degree of certainty and predictability in the project assumptions and their business case,” says Talbert. “We advise companies to avoid over-focusing on the short-term impacts of the decision, particularly for plants that involve high capital costs and fixed assets that cannot be easily shifted.” According to Talbert, Austin starts the site selection process by working with companies to identify the most significant cost and operational factors of the new location and usually begins with a high-level assessment of major factors that are going to differentiate one location from another. “From a supply chain perspective, we consider the balance of freight costs (inbound vs. outbound) that can vary significantly based on the raw material inputs, mode of transport, and finished product.” Armed with the target location and must-have criteria, Dennis Group creates a request for proposal (RFP) and distributes it to local brokers and economic developers and then has them submit parcels for consideration. It also looks at regulations that may drive up the construction costs, union atmosphere, whether a construction trade premium exists, tapping fees, and water and sewer impact fees, for example. According to Steve Guyer, manager of the civil engineering group at Hixson, topography of the site is an important factor to consider. For example, a hilly site would cause construction costs to skyrocket. Jarc says it is crucial to look into whether there are utilities in the road, where the nearest electric is located, if the municipality will take the plant’s waste, and what the waste requirements are. He says other environmental issues that can cause headaches include maintaining wetlands and stormwater management. Some locations still have sanitary sewers, says Guyer, but can they take the discharge from a manufacturing plant? “If a locality has to upgrade their whole sewer treatment plant, sometimes you can’t wait for that because it could be years later than when you want to get your plant up and running.” Other considerations include if the site’s roadways can handle the trucks per day required on-site at the plant. Guyer says processors don’t want to pay for building new roads. And, if a facility knows eight trucks will arrive every 15 minutes, no one wants them blocking traffic, says Jarc.

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Sustainability Excellence in Manufacturing Awards

Each year, ProFood World recognizes outstanding food and beverage processing and packaging innovation projects via the Sustainability Excellence in Manufacturing Awards competition. Multiple awards will be named in the program and project categories including: Produced by

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Awards to be presented at

Reduction in water and energy Waste conservation Pollution prevention Packaging reductions And additional categories

Join the ranks of past winners such as Campbell Soup, Land O’Lakes, McCormick & Company, Smithfield, Conagra Brands, Hormel, Sierra Nevada Brewing, Hiland Dairy, Big Heart Pet Brands, Sunny Delight and many more. Learn more, view videos of past winning entries, and download submission entry forms at

Entries are due March 1, 2021.

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Dennis Group provided a site search for Sabra’s greenfield facility when the processor moved from its original New York site to South Chesterfield, Va. Exterior photo courtesy of Dennis Group. Interior photo by Glossy Productions.



ProFood World

Going greenfield vs. brownfield Typically, the same criteria mentioned above go for greenfield as well as brownfield projects. Stotler says processors that require a quicker speed to market gravitate toward brownfield. But processors should not assume there is an existing building in a favorable location, according to Talbert. “Many companies start the process assuming they will find a brownfield option that fits their needs, only to discover the limitations of adaptable buildings and the constraints they place on the site selection process.” While there are a lot of brownfield sites available, there are always compromises with them, agrees Stotler. “You sacrifice layout efficiency when you go with a brownfield, certainly,” she says. “But if a processor already has a production commitment to a customer, they’re willing to sacrifice layout efficiency for speed to market,” she adds. Hixson worked with a non-dairy producer in Dallas to refurbish a dairy plant. “It made sense for a lot of reasons,” Jarc says. “One, it had a lot of building infrastructure in place. Two, from a distribution standpoint, it was right in the middle of where their customers are.” But the decision to go greenfield vs. brownfield often depends on the size of the project. “When we’re looking at 400,000- to 500,000-sq-ft facilities, it’s tough to find a workable brownfield,” Stotler says. “You might


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find facilities of those sizes, but usually, they are not former food facilities. And that can be problematic when moving into former heavy manufacturing operation, where there were metals or any kind of contaminants.” Jarc says he has seen situations where the client wants to buy a 100,000-sq-ft space, and the building looks great, but the site’s a mess. “You may have to repave the whole site because it’s such a mess. Sometimes, we’ve had to add stormwater retention when it wasn’t there before.” He says that a lot of codes and standards have changed over the past few decades, and municipalities will demand you bring a site up to code. “That could cost you a ton of money,” Jarc says. Still, he has seen some brownfield sites that do not require a lot of refurbishment.

Finding the right balance Food processors must understand the realistic cost comparisons and net benefits each state has to offer before they begin site selection, states Scangarella. “It is critical to create a full analysis of available talent pools, weigh the benefits of the location, and factor in all costs of operation.” Pegg knows every project has specific needs and challenges, but the main things she thinks companies should consider at the outset include their utility demands, must-have priorities, and building and site programming/layout. “It is extremely rare for companies to find exactly what they are looking for. So, knowing what they can and cannot live without is important before starting the process.” Talbert says processors should not underestimate the degree of variability in location costs across the U.S. “Many companies make this mistake, particularly international companies that are less familiar with the U.S. market,” he states. Talbert thinks processors

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SITE SELECTION should start planning early, even if the project details are still being defined. “Many companies wait too late to begin planning and end up feeling pressure to shortcut the process or greatly limit their options based on the overriding need to move quickly.” Stotler concurs. “Take the time to conduct proper due diligence. This is a facility that you are going to be operating for the next 40, 50, 60 years. I know of a beverage plant where they truck off 60,000 gallons of wastewater every day because they bought a site where the municipal treatment works didn’t have the ability to take their wastewater.” Don’t forget that there is no perfect site, Stotler adds. “It’s all about finding the best balance of first cost, operating costs, and speed to market.” PFW Austin Consulting

Dennis Group assisted Retail Business Services, a company of Ahold Delhaize USA, with site selection for its new 200,000-sq-ft protein processing facility in Rhode Island. The facility opened in 2020. Photo courtesy of Dennis Group.

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HE COVID-19 PANDEMIC has affected only small numbers of food and beverage manufacturers working on site selection projects. The good news is site search project work is going quite well. “We’ve generally seen food and beverage projects develop more quickly based on changes in the market resulting from the pandemic,” states Talbert. “Some projects that were already planned have seen their timelines accelerated based on growing demand for certain products, particularly in the retail space. Other projects that were focused on the foodservice segment have suffered.” Talbert says the pandemic has forced companies to think more strategically about their businesses and sustainability with respect to supply chains and manufacturing footprint. “Overall, the pandemic has underscored the resiliency of the industry,” he adds. Food and beverage processing and packaging has remained one of the strongest industry sectors in North Carolina during the pandemic, according to Pegg. “We’ve recently seen some substantial announcements, ranging from Nestlé Purina PetCare planning to spend $450 million to transform a former MillerCoors brewery in Eden into a petfood factory employing 300 people, to new contract beverage manufacturer Prime Beverage Group announcing it will spend $68 million to establish its first manufacturing facility, a 231-job plant in Kannapolis.” Pegg says some of the activity in North Carolina may be fueled by more people eating at home rather than eating out. While North Carolina has facilities from 24 of the of the 50 largest food and beverage companies, it has seen some down-



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turn in international companies, food and otherwise, looking to build facilities for the first time in the U.S. “I think some of those projects are on hold during a time when COVID-related travel restrictions are keeping these companies from conducting in-person site visits,” she states. Stotler believes site selection activities have returned to business as usual. “The biggest impact was from about March to June,” she states. “I would say capital spending in food and beverage really dried up where everyone kind of put a pause on capital projects, not understanding how long or how deep this pandemic would go.” Once the states started opening up, and processors learned to operate in the COVID environment, things went back to normal for site selection, she explains. “We’ve seen more priorities changing on the facility design side,” Stotler continues, “where we are incorporating social distancing in the office setting, but also with line layout, looking at operator adjacency, and building in barriers or physical separations to encourage social distancing. We’ve done a lot with employee flow on new project design, going through a central wellness check area, incorporating infrared temperature checks as part of the gowning, and the process before entering the facility.”

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he COVID-19 pandemic created bottleFood Processing Facility Expansion necks and backlogs in protein processing supply chains. As processors look to meet demand in 2021, possibly on the other side of the pandemic, consolidation to address supply chain inefficiencies as customthey have an opportunity to re-imagine their business moders are choosing to expand through design. “While we have els and make necessary changes and upgrades to their existcertainly seen several projects put on a temporary hold during ing sites using design/build strategies. this pandemic due to pricing, more often than not it has been One of these strategies is consolidation, which actually due to market uncertainty and the rethinking of traditional started to happen before COVID-19 hit. Industry experts business models,” says Nelson. “Consolidating smaller facilities estimate that 50 U.S. meat packers account for 98% of the into larger, regional facilities may become a trend across the production. An article in MidAmerica Farmer Grower explains industry, especially in regards to supply and distribution. For that the larger the plant, the lower the per pound processing example, smaller facility operations have to outsource a lot of costs. And, these larger facilities operate at near full capacithe daily operations that larger operators keep in house such ty and balance out shifts in consumer demand. as pallet management, vehicle maintenance, sanitation, etc. To The decision to expand upon an existing facility is often land efficiently operate a facility with as many moving parts, as is driven. Andrew Nelson, regional manager, ESI Group USA, common with our projects, centralized control of operations says a facility with available land on which to make improveis critical. Specifically, control over the many expenses across ments is sometimes a better option than looking for property the board also limits liability for the organization.” elsewhere, which could be expensive and drive up operational Internal Design Changes costs. Additionally, many county, city, and state jurisdictions In addition to rethinking the external supply chain, processors provide incentives for new job creation and offer rebate proand distributors should consider the internal design of their grams or tax deductions for reinvestment in existing facilities. plant in the wake of COVID-19. Design/build companies must This can help offset the cost for infrastructure improvements work closely with its client’s operations staff to make improvefor the benefit of the community as a whole. ments related to employee movement according to CDC ESI Group USA has witnessed first-hand this move toward

Automation can increase floor productivity by 25%. Meat processing plants operated at 95% to 98% of 2019 levels, following the president’s executive order to remain open during the pandemic. Global cold chain market size is $233.8B; projected to reach $340.3B by 2025.

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guidelines. These changes may include reducing the number of employees in areas at a given time by staggering shifts. Operational methods may be revised to promote a safely distanced staff, adding spaces for temperature check stations, safer employee welfare areas, and sanitizing stations. “It requires a comprehensive review of all activities inside and outside of a facility to ensure the safety of all,” says Nelson. There is also growing interest in implementing automation into facility design to alleviate the number of people working closely together, such as in processing and distribution. This technology may include smart conveying systems with photo-eye technology, in-line scales, and other sophisticated options engineered specifically for the processes they are performing. Nelson says these systems can increase floor productivity by 25% over their traditional counterparts. “Although the upfront investment in automation is usually significant, the return on investment may make the decision to automate parts of the process easier,” he says. “Employee

retention, safety, less damage to plant assets, and depreciation of equipment costs and operations should be considered when discussing the upgrade to automation.” When making improvements to existing facilities, Nelson recommends identifying key areas that can be more efficient. These include mechanical systems, LED lighting, thermal improvements like a new roofing system, and energy-efficient insulated metal panel walls. In addition to the savings these systems can provide, installing them may qualify for tax incentives and rebates. Looking for a silver lining in this pandemic may sound Pollyanna, but, in fact, researchers claim that COVID-19 is actually benefitting the meat and poultry industry as consumer demand in grocery stores remains high. Growing demand requires more efficient processing and increased warehousing and distribution – all of which can be improved by working with a design/build company to expand existing facilities for increased productivity.




arlier this year, Meat + Poultry Magazine reported that meat processors and food distributors were investing from under $1 million to almost $400 million into renovating existing operations or building new facilities. For meat and poultry processing more than 20 new greenfield plants were completed, under construction or announced in 2019 and early 2020 in North America. Those decisions were driven by consumer demands, growth, prosperity, and politics. Today, those decisions are being driven by COVID-19. Yet, processors and distributors are cautiously optimistic their operations will once again reach full operating capacity, and are prepping their facilities with heightened safety measures. The Aurora Packing Company in North Aurora, IL, is one of these companies. The meat processor is set to begin construction in April on a new 254,000 sq. ft. angus beef harvesting/ processing plant that will handle 1,000 head per day. According to Yuki Kurata, Corporate Management Coordinator of Aurora, the decision to build a greenfield site was weighed against the existing facility, which had deteriorating infrastructure and mechanical systems. During a time when folks may feel insecure about job stability, Kurata says the new facility will offer additional jobs and provide a tax base to the community. With COVID-19 in mind throughout the design process, Kurata says state-of-the-art mechanical systems and

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Greenfield Beef Processing Facility Rendition

hygienic air units will keep interior and exterior air quality to the safest standards in the industry. Additionally, employee separation was seriously considered, resulting in sanitation stations, socially-distanced welfare areas with staggered shift recommendations, and responsibly spaced workstations for all employees. “We are incorporating every available design feature for food and employee safety,” he says. Other safety-minded features will include efficient process equipment for employees’ long-term health, and reduced repetitive motion and heavy lifting. Administrative offices, Kosher processing, shipping, receiving, freezer and cooler areas, parking, and a wastewater treatment facility round out the new design.

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COVID-19 is changing the way food and beverage manufacturers manage their cleaning processes and products, accounting for social distancing and increased sanitation requirements. AARON HAND, EXECUTIVE EDITOR


LEANING AND SANITATION in the food processing environment has always been about food safety. But the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic—bringing with it changing requirements in distancing, personal protective equipment (PPE), and levels of sanitation—turned much of that focus increasingly toward worker safety as well. Products and procedures have adapted to meet the new demands, expanding the reach of sanitation beyond the equipment itself and

finding innovative ways to keep employees further apart from one another. Pandemic or no, food manufacturing facilities around the globe have for years faced a constant push to do more with less, according to Stephanie Castro Faucetta, food safety specialist for Commercial Food Sanitation (CFS). “To achieve increased production and throughputs, many plants we visit are trying to shorten sanitation cycles while simultaneously battling staff shortages,” she says.

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COVID-19 has put new demands on sanitation procedures. Image courtesy of Commercial Food Sanitation.

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That already problematic situation has gotten even more complex amid pandemic concerns, not only because of workforce shortages but because of increased requirements as well. “Staffing has become even more challenging because of the high number of people out sick or quarantining,” notes Clara Pan, also a food safety specialist with CFS. “In some cases, facilities may have to clean additional things like shields or curtains used as dividers as well as perform additional sanitizing or disinfecting. Employee health has shifted to a No. 1 priority for most facilities.”

Expanding reach Though steps for cleaning food processing equipment and the surrounding environment have remained mostly the same, there have been new cleaning concerns introduced within pandemic regulations, Faucetta notes. “We have seen increased frequency of disinfecting high-touch surfaces like equipment control panels, door handles, bathrooms, and breakrooms,” she says. Many plants are trying to shorten sanitation cycles while simultaneously battling staff shortages during the pandemic. Madison Chemical had previously focused primarily on cleaning capabilities non-porous and inanimate for food processing equipsurfaces in food processment and the surrounding and other industries to ing environment. Once the kill the human coronavipandemic hit, though, the rus and other viruses and supplier had to make sure microorganisms. its customers could not PSSI designed a COVIDonly continue to get that 19 Playbook that explains done correctly but also put all the procedures to mitiincreased focus on common gate risk associated with areas such as breakrooms the virus, including PPE and bathrooms. “There was requirements with spea big shift in what we were cific demands for particuproviding our customers,” lar jobs. “If, for example, the says Brad Sims, food divijob demands fogging/mistsion team leader for the suping procedures, the specific plier. While keeping up with PPE requirements and prodemand for the plant floor, cedures are laid out, includMadison Chemical also starting the different examples ed supplying more general of respirator programs in sanitation products such as response to COVID-19,” says hand sanitizer and surface Candy Lucas, senior food disinfectants for offices and The pandemic has broadened the scope that many sanitation product and service providers offer throughout safety director at PSSI. cafeterias. a facility. Image courtesy of PSSI. A variety of cleaning This is a demand that and disinfectant methods Sims does not see going are used to effectively mitigate COVID-19, Lucas away. “They’ve started thinking more about how an notes. “We first conduct routine preventative COVIDunsanitary desk in somebody’s office can affect opera19 cleaning and disinfectant procedures, utilizing our tions,” he says. “I don’t think that thought process is going established best practices,” she says. “With our custo go away.” tomers, we then identify all potentially affected areas The supplier also added some ready-to-use soluneeding mitigation cleaning and disinfectant applications to clean and disinfect surfaces specifically for tions. We designate team members with appropriate the coronavirus. By May this year, Madison Chemical PPE to effectively fog/mist the potentially affected had introduced ProClean Surface Disinfectant for hard,

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PSSI uses its 8-Step Sanitation Process to effectively clean food processing environments to mitigate COVID-19. Image courtesy of PSSI.

areas within the facility prior to conducting our 8 Steps of Wet Sanitation. For added protection against the spread of the virus, we also deploy the 8 Steps of Dry Sanitation to all communal areas after areas are fogged/ misted during high-risk mitigation situations.” The service provider’s 8-Step Sanitation Process and microbial hazard mitigation process have been proven by third-party labs to effectively prevent and remove the SARS-CoV-2 virus across all surfaces, Lucas notes. “We’ve supported hundreds of food processors over the years, including the development of successful mitigation plans for some of the industry’s most complex microbial issues,” she says. “This includes a comprehensive sanitation strategy for food processors around the most recent COVID-19 pandemic.” PSSI’s Food Safety Solutions and Chemical Innovations teams work together to develop customized plans. For COVID-19, they integrated PSSI products such as PCI Pure Hard Surface sanitizer and Microbarrier Elite, an antimicrobial coating that can be left on food processing equipment, to build a scientifically validated program, Lucas adds.

Keep a distance One major change that the pandemic has brought for sanitation workers is the mask requirement, Pan says. “Masks can cause goggles or face shields to fog up even more than usual, which can make the job more difficult.” 36


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Social distancing requirements can also be challenging. “As you can probably imagine, it’s incredibly difficult to keep a good, effective social distance in the food industry,” Sims contends. “Workstations are inherently close to each other on a meat processing line.” The same can be true in the sanitation process as workers move parts and pieces around to be sanitized, Sims notes. “It’s a big industry, and there are a lot of people on the sanitation crew when things are fully staffed,” he says. “Now the industry is trying to make sure that’s not all concentrated in one room; now we’re spreading the workforce around.” Madison Chemical has started to provide guidance to its customers, helping them to interpret what the CDC and FDA are recommending. “We’re looking at how to take what regulatory bodies are saying is best practice and making that work for our customers,” Sims says. “While the guidance can be very broadreaching, our goal is to make it work for each of our customers throughout the food industry.”

Automate for safety Sani-Matic, which was already in the business of automating the sanitation process, has seen that automation makes even more sense in terms of the pandemic. What’s key is that automation typically reduces the number of people needed to perform a particular sanitation duty, says Bryan Downer, vice president of sales

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ESTRICTIONS ON TRAVEL have created one of the biggest pandemic challenges as suppliers struggle to provide services to their customers. “In order to uphold a standard of safety for our customers and on-site food safety sanitors, approval procedures were put in place to restrict travel within the organization,” notes Candy Lucas, senior food safety director for PSSI. Suppliers are incorporating new technologies to better service their customers remotely. “The increase of Microsoft Teams meetings, Zoom meetings, FaceTime calls, conference calls, and remote desk audits are now part of our new normal,” Lucas says. Sani-Matic has developed a software as a service (SaaS) called the SaniTrend Cloud Online Data Acquisition & Management System that provides customers with visibility into their cleaning equipment from anywhere. It is available with any new PLC-controlled, automated cleaning system from Sani-Matic and can also be retrofitted with any existing Sani-Matic automated cleaning system that has an Allen-Bradley CompactLogix or higher PLC processor. The software provides automated, secure data acquisition and reporting of critical cleaning cycle information for any automated cleaning system. Dashboards, OEE trends, event history, and alerts also provide actionable insights into cleaning system operation. The equipment maker was already working on its release pre-COVID, but the timing of its release was fortuitous with so many workers needing to work from home because of the pandemic. “The technology to see information outside of the main plant has existed, but the food industry has been very reluctant to allow data outside the firewall. That’s prohibited a lot of this technology,” Downer says. “What we’ve seen more and more is that customers are recognizing it’s inevitable. Their IT departments have begun providing a means by which things like this can be done.” Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies might have seemed relatively futuristic just months ago even. But with the restraints that COVID-19 is putting on facility access, they are becoming a more essential part of the toolbox. “Digital tools are boosting efficiency and avoiding downtime, which is always critical, but particularly so during COVID-19, when so many people are relying on a robust food supply,” says David Goforth, vice president of field sales for Ecolab’s Food and Beverage division in North America. Ecolab, which provides cleaning and sanitation products and services, is leveraging Microsoft’s



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Ecolab is using augmented reality from Microsoft to help service its customers remotely, particularly in light of pandemic restrictions on access. Image courtesy of Microsoft.

mixed-reality technology to enable social distancing and gain access to facilities that have closed or restricted access during the COVID-19 pandemic, helping them to keep operating, Goforth notes. “Ecolab’s sales and technical representatives in the field can wear Microsoft HoloLens devices, which allows them to virtually connect to Ecolab’s scientists, engineers and cross-functional teams for support,” he says. “This allows Ecolab to remotely diagnose and troubleshoot issues around contamination, our engineers to oversee chemistry usage, guide the installation of new equipment, monitor water quality, help train new employees and, ultimately, implement solutions. Response times are quicker and multiple experts can collaborate to diagnose and troubleshoot customer problems without having to travel to the site.” Ecolab has pilot programs in place at dozens of its customer facilities across six regions. They’re using mixed reality to identify and fix tank leaks, cross-contamination and site surveys, for example, and have also recognized and eliminated equipment malfunctions and corrected wastewater flow rates, Goforth says. “For one beverage producer, we instructed a new employee how to perform an acid wash and the trainer was completely remote,” he notes. “Very few people were needed to achieve these successful outcomes. The mixed-reality program can also save hours or days in response time, it may eliminate travel expenses, and it keeps our customers and associates safer.” With customers across a range of industries, Ecolab is also using experience from those sectors to apply lessons learned back to food and beverage customers, Goforth adds.

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ProClean Surface Disinfectant was released amid the pandemic to sanitize against the coronavirus and other viruses and microorganisms. Image courtesy of Madison Chemical.

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and marketing at Sani-Matic. This enables workers to keep more of a distance from each other. He points to several customers who have told SaniMatic that they used to run one shift but are now having to run two in order to better separate their employees. “Now they have to clean faster, and they have less time to do the cleaning process,” Downer says. “There are fewer people on each shift, so they do it with fewer people.”

Typically, there are too many people in close proximity to one another during the cleaning process. “We can reduce the number of people in any given area,” Downer says. “We’re improving worker safety through automation.” Even clean in place (CIP), which already enables a reduction in personnel, can see a wide range of effects depending on the level of automation employed, Downer notes. “Those who have opted for fully automated certainly are reaping the benefits. The automation allows a touch-free type of situation. You can go from production to CIP very quickly with very little human interaction,” he says. “On the other end of the scale, you have a lot of people moving hoses, jumpers, filling water and tanks. There’s a wide difference in how people handle clean in place.” While automation can help create a safe environment for sanitation workers in the plant, administrative staff might not need to be in the plant at all. Sani-Matic has developed a software package that integrates with its equipment so that remote workers can see everything that’s going on with the machine from wherever they are. To read about this and other remote access technologies being used in sanitation, see “Remote Access Technologies Help Keep Sanitation Workers Safe,” page 38.

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Training difficulties Training today’s workforce was already a particular concern before the pandemic, according to several sources, who cite some of the pain points felt across industry related to retiring workforces and the lack of skilled workers. But this is perhaps even more pronounced in food and beverage, where it has been particularly difficult to retain workers.


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“Staffing and keeping up with training has been a big concern,” Sims says, noting the amount of turnover that’s been typical in the food industry. “We’re making it as fool-proof as possible and handing them the training tools they need in a user-friendly format.” In addition to the cleaning procedures Madison Chemical typically provides its customers for food processing equipment, the supplier has also started providing standard procedures for how to clean offices as well. Today, some manufacturers are adding the cleaning of common areas to the responsibilities of their sanitation staff. “We’ve seen a lot of customers have to move resources and people around to keep up with areas,” Sims says. “Everybody is trying to train on the proper way to keep the spread [of COVID-19] down.” Where social distancing has had a particular impact is in training efforts. “Facilities must get creative on how they deliver trainings to people, including recording trainings that people can listen to in small settings, or from their own device, or staggering out the training schedule to only have a limited number in the training room, allowing social distancing,” Faucetta says. “At CFS, we have seen an increased demand from our customers with these new challenges to deliver training. COVID has raised new challenges in building and maintaining a passion for food safety in food manufacturing organizations.” In response, CFS has developed a series of digital short courses on sanitation and hygienic design topics that it has made freely available to the industry from its website. Training has certainly become more virtual, Downer agrees. “That used to occur almost exclusively with them coming to our site during FAT [factory acceptance testing] or us going to their site,” he says. “Now we need to handle this virtually.” Sani-Matic’s SaniTrend Cloud enables access to video training in addition to data acquisition. “We’ll continue to build that library,” Downer says.

Beyond the pandemic Few people believe that the changes made in cleaning and sanitation during COVID-19 are likely to ever go back to the way they were before the pandemic. “I would be surprised to see us return to a world where we aren’t as cognitive as we are now about the spread of viruses,” Sims says. “We will continue to see facilities focus on employee health and self-monitoring,” Pan agrees. “We hope that increased disinfection of



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high-touch surfaces is a practice that continues. We are looking forward to more developments and research in air treatment technologies as this can help employee health, product safety, and quality.” On that last point, Faucetta emphasizes the importance that zoning plays in the safety of both the product and the workers. “It’s well known that hygienic zoning/separation is critical to protect product from microbial cross-contamination,” she says. “We have seen how hygienic zoning/separation also plays a positive role in preventing infection during the pandemic, which will continue shifting the food manufacturing plant design and drive the industry forward.” Though plants are likely to normalize once vaccines and treatments are more readily available, Downer believes that attention to restricting nonessential personnel will remain. “There’s a trend of them not wanting to travel for the FAT, for customers wanting to see service technicians do things virtually,” he says. “We’ll see that catch on, though more slowly.” It doesn’t make sense to fly halfway across the country when a person already there could be wearing an augmented reality (AR) device while a service technician walks them through everything they need to do, Downer adds. “All the technology’s available. We’ll continue to see growth from that standpoint.” To learn more about the tools needed for virtual FATs, see pages 16-18 in this issue. The move toward availability of data outside the facility’s internal network will also make sense in the long term, Downer says. “There is so much that can be gained by people having real-time access to information. They can access that data, allow third parties to access that data and troubleshoot,” he adds. “Once customers see the value, they’re going to want more and more of that. It’ll make their lives a lot easier.” Allen-Bradley/Rockwell Automation Commercial Food Sanitation

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See it now, On-Demand Liquid Nitrogen and Carbon Dioxide (CO2) can improve food processing operations in ways not previously considered. For more than a half century, Liquid Nitrogen and CO2 have been used to freeze and chill food products. Today, innovative new uses are moving up and downstream in the production process to benefit food manufacturers’ product quality, safety, and operational efficiency. This webinar shares some of the latest advances in heat removal that are being implemented by food processors. Highlights include: Speaker Scott Robertson Americas Foods Industry Manager Air Products and Chemicals, Inc.

• How new Liquid Nitrogen and CO2 innovations can provide consistent and repeatable results throughout the entire production process. • Applications to be reviewed include mixing and grinding, crust freezing, liquid food and sauce chilling, and more. • Specific examples will be shared showing how food processors are improving hygiene, reducing cycle times, and increasing throughput. In some cases, the throughput improvement can be up to 2-3 times with minimal impact on floor space.

Moderator Joyce Fassl Editor in Chief ProFood World

Don’t miss this exciting educational opportunity! View it On-Demand at Presentation by:


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12/2/20 12:29 PM 11/18/20 1:41 PM


Craft Distiller Turns Waste From Whiskey Process Into Revenue A waste byproduct becomes a useful livestock feed for farmers by using a centrifugal sifter to dewater the stillage, the grain/water mixture stripped out after the fermentation process. AARON HAND EXECUTIVE EDITOR


S RYAN DEHART and his wife Natasha rode the early wave of the craft boom—first as brewers and then as distillers—they aimed to set themselves apart from the rest of the pack. In their earlier days, rum was their differentiated craft product, but it meant an uphill battle of educating and converting what wasn’t a strong rum market in Texas. But once the whiskey, their true passion, had had time to age properly, they were on a new track. Now that Bendt Distilling Co., based in Lewisville, Texas, has seven different handcrafted whiskeys in its portfolio, the company is bringing the art of blended whiskey to the U.S. It will require some education of this nascent market again, as more Americans come to understand what is possible in whiskey flavor profiles. Bendt is also interested in helping its fellow small crafters understand the value of a distilling process that more efficiently turns spent grain byproduct into saleable livestock feed—not only making some profit from waste that had been previously difficult to give away, but also by better recovering the valuable liquid sour mash from the mix.

Dewatering the stillage To make its whiskeys, Bendt grinds its grains—wheat, rye, barley malt, oats, corn and triticale—to the consistency of coarse flour, which is then mixed with water, cooked, mashed and fermented. After fermentation, the strip run (the first round of distillation) separates out the alcohol from the fermented mash. The remaining grain/water mixture (stillage) is primarily water with 5 to 10% grain solids. Though still quite watery, the stillage contains enough grain and nutrients to be useful to farmers as livestock feed. Initially, Bendt was giving this stillage away simply to save on disposal costs. They would pump the stillage into 20-cubic-yard disposal containers, which the farmers would then have to forklift onto their trucks to haul away, returning the IBC totes after emptied. “There was quite a bit of manual labor involved in that. And we were just giving it away to whoever would

Bendt No. 5 is Bendt Distilling Co.’s first blended whiskey release, blending five different whiskeys made in-house. Image courtesy of Bendt.

do it,” DeHart says. Sometimes farmers wouldn’t show up when scheduled—or at all, leaving Bendt with a container of stinking, molding stillage outside. Reading about another distillery’s use of a centrifugal sifter to dewater stillage, DeHart decided to give that a try, contacting Kason, which ultimately recommended its model MO-3BRG Centri-Sifter for the job. Now the stillage accumulates in a 10,000-gallon holding tank, where it is then pumped into the centrifugal sifter about once a week. Unlike brewers, which just crack the grains, grinding to a flour consistency allows distillers to extract more sugar from the grain. “So there’s benefit there. But then the challenge that you have on the backside is [how to] separate those solids from the liquid once you’re done with the distillation process,” DeHart explains. “The Kason lets us separate out a majority of the solid material from the liquid, which then allows us to stay with this higher-efficiency milling process.” The dewatered grain still contains about 80% water

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but “has a texture you can hold in your hand,” DeHart says. The resulting product is one that’s significantly more appealing to farmers so that Bendt has been able to establish a profit-sharing partnership with Wilbur-Ellis to provide the spent grain to its customer base of farmers. “So now, not only do we get paid for the spent grain, which is a nice benefit, but we’re on a regular schedule,” DeHart says. “A truck comes and picks up the container, takes it to the farm. The whole process takes about four to five hours, and then we don’t have to worry about somebody not showing up. The amount of labor that it takes on our side to process that is practically nothing at this point.” In addition, a liquid called sour mash is recovered from the spent grain and stored to add to subsequent fermentation batches. “Using sour mash saves water, provides flavor consistency, and naturally adjusts the pH,” DeHart says.

How it works

The Centri-Sifter centrifugal sifter at the distillery runs at a higher voltage than normal in order to screen heavy, sludgy stillage. Image courtesy of Bendt.



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When the stillage is pumped from the holding tank into the centrifugal sifter, it passes into the sifter’s horizontally oriented cylindrical screening chamber, where rotating helical paddles accelerate the mixture against the screen by centrifugal force. Liquid passes through the screen, exits through a flanged discharge chute at the base of the sifter and flows into discharge piping. Oversize grain solids are propelled along the cylindrical housing until they exit the downstream end of the cylinder and gravity feed into a 20-cubic-yard enclosed container. The centrifugal sifter operates at a rate of 30 to 40 gal/min, so emptying the tank takes four to five hours. There were some challenges that Bendt had to work through with Kason’s application engineers and with Tennant Specs, a local system integrator. For example, the sludgy consistency of the stillage at the bottom of the holding tank could cause the sifter to stall; and stillage containing corn (a byproduct of bourbon production) holds more water than the other grains and tends to become spongy. Kason’s solution was to run the 230 to 460 V threephase motor more efficiently at a higher voltage by adding a transformer to step up the voltage. For the corn stillage, changing the screen mesh size and installing a higher-pitch paddle assembly pulls the stillage across the screen cylinder effectively while maintaining the same throughput and dewatering performance without any clogging or imbalance, allowing unattended operation.


December 2020


Dewatered grain (stillage) with about 80% moisture content is used for animal feed. Image courtesy of Bendt.

Production capacity upgrade Around this same time of the introduction of the Kason equipment, Bendt was adding a new still as well as new technologies to increase production output. “We put in a bunch of automation that was also linked up with Kason so that we could increase our production output by about fourfold,” DeHart says. “So now we’re producing around 25 barrels of whiskey a week. Prior to this investment, we were only producing about four to five barrels a week.” This made the centrifugal sifter that much more crucial to the mix. “The disposal part of the waste product was still a big challenge,” DeHart adds. “If we were going to increase our production fourfold, that would create that much more of a challenge on the spent grain side to figure out a better solution.” Ease of cleanout was a big factor in choosing the sifter, as was its compact design and low power requirements. “We’re really happy with the set-up,” DeHart says. “It’s a good low-cost solution compared to what else is on the market for separating the grain at a fast speed.”

Crafters unite Though distilleries might be more protective of their secret sauce—grain bills, use profiles, distillation techniques, etc.—they’re fairly likely to help each other out on some of these techniques that Bendt is sharing now, DeHart says. “I think you find on the craft side of things, it’s usually family-owned businesses like ours,” he says. “We’re trying to encourage a strong craft sector that can compete with some of the big multinational players. And for that to be successful, we either all kind of win together or we lose together.” Finding something like this sifter that will work for secondary processes is important. “It’s a big problem in the industry for how do we deal with this byproduct,” DeHart says. “The more success we can have in finding solutions that can handle these things costeffectively and share that, the more successful overall everybody can be.” Kason Tennant Specs

12/3/20 1:13 PM

BUNTING: WE’RE STRONG. WE’RE DURABLE. WE GET THE JOB DONE. Some magnetic separation OEMs boast about having higher magnetic strengths, without telling you how they achieved it. By designing equipment with a thinner metal tube, other OEMs may deliver slightly higher strength, but WKLVGHVLJQFKRLFHVDFULƮFHVGXUDELOLW\DQG decreases the life of their product.

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DRY PROCESSING SOLUTIONS Vibratory Feeders Provide Gentle Handling and Higher Accuracy

Mixers Mounted on Load Cells Speed Cycle Times and Save Floor Space Available mounted atop load cells specified to suit the requirements of the process to integrate weighing with mixing, Gericke batch mixers automatically weigh and document the amount of each ingredient or material as it is loaded into the unit. When mixing and discharge are complete, the integrated load cell automatically signals each Multiflux GMS batch mixer is empty by weight and ready for cleaning or to mix the next batch. The hygienic mixers are suitable for mixing and blending food, dairy, and nutrition products with multiple and/or high-value inputs in sanitary environments. Gericke USA

Colloid Mills Optimize Manufacturing Process Efficiencies

Dumper Eliminates Dusting and Danger Associated With Sudden Shifting of Contents

Used for continuous and batch processes, Bematek colloid mills support multiple product milling applications, while meeting particle size reduction requirements. The mills combine a modular design that permits mill chamber interchangeability with various mill heads and a mill chamber that can be rotated 360 degrees to accommodate different piping arrangements. Fine-tuning of applied mechanical shear is achieved through the micrometer-style gap adjustment dial. Heat is removed or added to the units with the mill chamber thermal jacket. The milling chamber has an optional positive stop mechanism that prevents the conical rotor from contacting the stator. EnSight Solutions 48


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Coperion K-Tron vibratory feeders offer precise, parallel motion for even material flow of product along the entire length of the tray. The K3 loss-in-weight vibratory feeders feature a shock absorber design, which delivers a continuous, even product discharge with minimal pulsations, and pendulum technology that provides shock absorption parallel to the desired direction of motion, eliminating rotational movement. The feeders can handle a range of bulk solid materials, including fragile ingredients and problematic materials, such as finished friable food products and ingredients. Coperion K-Tron


The Flexicon drum dumper has a three-sided carbon-steel safety cage mounted on a mobile frame with jack screws. Allowing hands-free, automated dumping of bulk solid materials from 30- to 55-gal drums, the mobile TIP-TITE drum dumper includes a platform that raises the drum hydraulically, which creates a dust-tight seal between the rim of the drum and the underside of the discharge cone. A second hydraulic cylinder then tips the platform-hood assembly, stopping it at 45-, 60- or 90-degree dump angles, causing the spout of the discharge cone to mate with a gasketed receiving ring on the lid of an enclosed hopper that charges a flexible screw conveyor. A pneumatically actuated slide gate at the spout can be opened once the discharge cone has sealed to the receiving ring to discharge material and then is closed before returning the drum to its original position. Flexicon

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Cone Valve Discharges Powder Mixes Without Segregation Positioned in an existing flanged intermediate bulk container (IBC) outlet, the Matcon cone valve is lifted by pushing on a lever handle. As the manual IBC cone valve rises inside the IBC, an annular gap is created, enabling powders to exit under mass flow. The powdered material moves simultaneously, eliminating particle rolling, mix segregation, bridging, and rat-holing. The lever can be locked in the open or closed position, or at any intermediate position in between, depending on the desired product discharge flow rate. The valve has a nominal 250-mm internal diameter and is designed to fit any vessel or process with the same outlet size. Matcon Americas

Making our world more productive

Lump Breaker Allows Material to Be Effectively Handled by Downstream Conveyors Engineered to reduce natural agglomerations that can occur during storage or shipping, the Hapman lump breaker fits under automatic unloading equipment, manual bag emptying stations, or at the discharge point of storage silos or containers. Featuring counter-rotating dual shafts, outboard bearings, and a direct coupled drive, the LumpMaster lump breaker reduces lumps to approximately 3/4 in. in size. It is available with 316 stainless-steel, carbon-steel, or 304 stainless-steel construction, and can be used for washdown and explosion-proof applications. Hapman

Vibratory Belt Conveyors Are Highly Customizable Built to move bulk products, BPS conveyors can be tandem-mounted in a series for longer lengths as needed. The vibratory belt conveyors feature safety side panels/guards and two counterrotating 230/460-V, three-phase, 60-cycle motors. Available in a variety of lengths, they can include up to four vibratory tables and tubular trough construction. Best Process Solutions

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The Linde logo, Linde wordmark and ChillStreamDUHWUDGHPDUNVRUUHJLVWHUHGWUDGHPDUNVRI/LQGHSOFRULWVDIÃ&#x20AC;OLDWHV Copyright © 2020, Linde plc. 9/2020 P-40-4688-5

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Prewired Batching Systems Save Time Sterling Systems & Controls batching systems can be prewired to meet specified electrical code requirements. Wire troughs are installed within the custom system, and the wiring between components and system control panels are completed within the wire trough conduits. The system is shipped in sections, and once it is installed on-site, simple electrical connections between the prewired system sections and to the external environment complete the installation. Sterling Systems & Controls

Making our world more productive

Flight Elevator Has Small Footprint With the Multi-Conveyor flight elevator, an operator manually loads bulk fruit or individually quick frozen (IQF) product into a specially designed infeed hopper. The stainless-steel vertical scoop flight elevator raises product up to as high as 14 ft before discharging it onto a customer-supplied vibratory scale feeder. Hinged polycarbonate covers with magnetic latches keep product from falling out of the flight pockets when they are overloaded. Belt hold-down rollers make transitions from horizontal to vertical. Multi-Conveyor

Bulk Container Represents More Environmentally Friendly Option Built for a variety of applications and process uses, the EPI intermediate bulk container is comprised of an inner cylindrical tank positioned within a heavy-duty, allpoly structural frame. Washable and reusable, the rotomolded Tuff Stack Pro container is made of food-safe, recyclable resin. Its integrated valve has a sealing design that provides a sanitary connection between the tank and valve; large external threading eliminates internal threads within the product zone. The container comes in 275- and 330-gal sizes. Elkhart Plastics

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The Linde logo, Linde wordmark and ChillStreamDUHWUDGHPDUNVRUUHJLVWHUHGWUDGHPDUNVRI/LQGHSOFRULWVDIĂ&#x20AC;OLDWHV Copyright Š 2020, Linde plc. 9/2020 P-40-4688-4

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Each year, ProFood World recognizes outstanding food and beverage processing and packaging innovation projects via the Manufacturing Innovation Awards competition. Types of food and beverage projects eligible for the awards: ●

Major plant expansion or renovation

Greenfield or brownfield facility

Major line expansion incorporating ground-breaking technology

Major plant automation upgrades

Major plant food safety upgrades

Judging criteria: ●

Level of technology advancement in processing and packaging equipment

Level of automation, software and controls

New-to-the-industry use of technology

Major efficiency and cost savings

Line changeover, flexible manufacturing, sustainability or maintenance achievements

Submission deadline is January 15, 2021 Join the ranks of past winners, including the J.M. Smucker Company, Hermes Boissons, Dairy Farmers of America, Clemens Food Group, Caito Foods, Morada Nut, Royal Cup Coffee and Tea, Just Born, HP Hood, and Farmer Brothers. Learn more, view videos of past winning entries, and download submission entry forms at Produced by:



ProFood World

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Month 2019


Awards to be presented at:

12/4/20 9:18 AM


New Products Cheese Dicer Provides the Latest in Precision Cutting USDA accepted, the Urschel cheese dicer is designed with the cutting zone completely separate from the mechanical zone. The Affinity Integra-D three-dimensional dicer accepts product up to 4.5 in. in size, delivered to a feed hopper. Impeller paddles carry the product past a slicing knife, while an adjustable slice gate at the top of the case determines slice thickness. Slices pass between the rotating feed drum and feed spindle, and then enter the circular knives, where they are cut into strips, which pass directly into crosscut knives. Urschel

Conveyor Belt Reduces Downtime and Maximizes Production Efficiency

Pump Transfers With Little Turbulence or Slippage Capable of transporting liquids at viscosities up to 1,500 centipoise, the Admix liquid ring pump features 316L stainless-steel wetted parts, including the pump casing, casing cover, and turbine vane-styled impeller engineered with tight tolerances. A single LRP-425 Admix liquid ring pump can be used for filling and emptying processes, as well as CIP return applications. The pump withstands harsh environments and washdowns. Admix

Pressure Transducer Eliminates Need for Access Holes Combining next-generation sensor technology with an electropolished seal for food applications, the Ashcroft pressure transducer has a tri-clamp connection that simplifies mating the unit to sanitary processes. With ingress protection ratings up to IP67, the E2 sanitary pressure transducer features 316L stainless-steel housing guards that protect against moisture penetration during washdown. It offers accuracies up to +/-0.25% of span at reference temperature and pressure ranges up to 1,000 psi. External offset/span adjustments are performed using a magnet. The transducer operates in environments from -40 °F to 257 °F. Ashcroft

Designed with a flat, uniform surface, the Wire Belt conveyor belt features smooth edges for easy movement around transfers and a positive drive to eliminate the tracking issues commonly found in bakeries. Made of open-mesh stainless steel, the lightweight Ladder-Track conveyor belt is typically used for applications such as broiling, dough proofing, frying, glazing, and meat tenderizing. Wire Belt Company of America

Double Planetary Mixer Performs Multiple Functions The Ross double planetary mixer can be used for mixing, granulation, and vacuum drying. With the sanitary DPM-40 double planetary mixer, powders and granules are blended by two rectangular planetary blades that rotate on their own axes, while orbiting the mixing zone on a common axis. Atomizing spray nozzles enable the controlled addition of liquid raw materials, as the mixing blades continuously ensure uniform composition and temperature throughout the batch. Optional features include flush discharge plugs or valves, covers for use with the portable mix vessels during transport, and controls integrating the mixer with auxiliary equipment, such as vacuum pumps, heating/ cooling units, and load cells. Charles Ross & Son

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Brine Filter Ensures Control and Repeatability for High-quality Marinated Products Used with products such as ham, poultry, and bacon, the GEA filtration system employs gravitational force, allowing brine to run down from the top of the filter deck, avoiding protein activation, which can clog injection needles. The filter deck can be cleaned or exchanged while the system is running. The brine filtration system has a filter element that does not rotate or require scraper action to remove filtrate from its surface. The system comes with either 2-mm or 3- to 4-mm needles. GEA

System Increases Dough Production in a Dust-free Environment Designed for dough production, the Zeppelin system can be used as a standalone unit or with a batch or continuous mixer. The DymoMix pre-hydration and mixing system works by adding moisture evenly through free-falling dry materials, creating an instantaneous biochemical process that begins to generate a homogenous dough within seconds. The dough can either be used instantly or transferred to a batch or continuous kneader. Zeppelin

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Processors Reduce Amount of Raw Ingredients Required to Achieve Production Targets

Conveyor Offers Higher Throughput, Reduced Maintenance Featuring a direct drive with a counterbalance system, the Key Technology horizontal-motion conveyor includes a motion profile that minimizes bounce and gently moves product at rates up to 40 ft per min with no segregation or stratification. The Zephyr conveyor includes a stainlesssteel conveying bed and drive housing, sanitary grounding arms, carbon fiber springs with a foodsafe coating, and scalloped flat bars, and is available in four finishing standards. The bed can be up to 3.3 ft wide and up to 23 ft long with a product depth up to 10 in. The drive can be located in any position below the bed. Key Technology

Can your bearings standup to harsh washdowns?

Vacuum Conveyor Eliminates Need to Readjust Settings Between Batches A standalone system, the Piab vacuum conveyor is built for food processors that handle many different materials and/or require frequent changes to be made. The piFLOW p SMART self-optimizing vacuum conveyor uses machine learning to determine what type of material it is dealing with and automatically adjusts itself to optimize how it is conveyed. Strategically placed sensors assist the conveyor’s auto-tuning system to control and finetune in accordance with environmental conditions, such as temperature and humidity, that affect the properties of conveyed material. The filling level is constantly monitored by two sensors to safeguard against filter damage. Piab

GRAPHALLOY® bearings. Self-lubricating. Maintenance-free. • • • • • •

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Contact us today to discover the benefits of Graphalloy maintenance-free bearings.



Readco Kurimoto continuous processors allow in-spec scrap and out-of-spec processed foods waste material to be recovered, reprocessed, and transformed into in-spec, saleable product. The processors feature a loss-in-weight feeder that meters scrap and waste material into the infeed based on the required ratio of scrap and waste to raw ingredients. The ratio may be adjusted as the recipe requires via the touchscreen control panel. Offered as turnkey systems to suit each product and process, the units integrate mixing, blending, reacting, crystallizing, and other processes into a single automated step. Readco Kurimoto

Yonkers, NY USA



December 2020


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Frito-Lay Potato Chip Fryer Puts Bearings to the Test After realizing that its bearings had been going strong for six years without any attention, the Arkansas plant decided to see where else graphite/metal alloys could provide maintenance-free support. AARON HAND EXECUTIVE EDITOR


ITH MORE THAN 23 YEARS making sure the equipment keeps running at the Frito-Lay plant in Jonesboro, Ark., Mike Cook might not be surprised by much anymore. But one thing that did surprise him and his maintenance team last spring was finding that bearings on the paddle wheel of the plant’s potato chip fryer had been running strong for six years without any need for attention. As part of a reshoring initiative back in 2014, the plant had installed a new potato chip fryer, also installing Graphalloy bearings from Graphite Metallizing on the paddle wheel drive shaft. “These paddle wheels operate like the ones you see on a steamboat, only instead of moving water for forward propulsion, the wheels rotate at a specific speed to keep the potato chips in the oil for an exact amount of time,” Cook says. “We aim to get the perfect kind of ‘crispy’; you cannot leave the chips in the oil for too long, or else they will get


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Typical bearing behavior Prior to using Graphalloy on the corn washers, Frito-Lay had experienced constant issues with bearing failure, according to Cook. “The previous bearings we had been using did not react well to the caustic material that is used during our sanitization processes,” he says. “Every 13 days, the sanitization

The Graphalloy pillow block (inset) sits at the far end of the shaft, in the fryer. Image courtesy of Frito-Lay.


soggy. Running 6,000 lb of potatoes through the fryer system per hour means that those bearings on the paddle wheel drive system work non-stop.” After such a discovery, Cook decided it was time to see where else those Graphalloy bearings could be used in the plant. “When we realized those bearings had been operating for six years without any wear and tear, we thought to ourselves, ‘What other pieces of equipment should we install these bearings on?’” he says. The plant installed more Graphalloy bearings for the potato chip fryer’s other paddle wheel drive system during its shutdown last October. Its proper fit required some modification of the base, but the engineers at Graphite Metallizing worked with Frito-Lay’s team to manufacture and provide a stainless-steel pillow block. “Even though we had to modify the bearing housing a bit to make it work, it’s been a great investment,” comments Alan Cochran, lead mechanic. He will take over as maintenance manager when Cook retires next year. Close to a year after installation of the new bearings, Cochran adds, there was no sign of wear. The maintenance team also ordered bearings and a stainless-steel flange block for the corn washer. “It was sort of funny because they squeaked when they were first put on, and the operators were concerned about the sound,” Cochran recalls. “We had to explain to them that Graphalloy is a self-lubricating, non-galling bearing material that is engineered to run dry—running on the stainless steel shaft (it’s dry), so the squeaking sound was there initially but would go away as it continued to run.”


800 ww pac

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process utilizes a caustic spray to clean the machinery, and with the corn washer, we did not want to risk rust contaminating the final product. Quality is our standard. Our plant processes between 18,000 and 26,000 lb of corn per eight-hour run in the corn washer, and we wanted to use a material that could stand up to these washdown chemicals.” In addition, typical bearings would have to be greased every day, requiring constant attention and risking over greasing, says Eric Ford, vice president of sales and marketing for Graphite Metallizing. In some instances, rolling element bearings had a life as little as two weeks for some applications. Graphite Metallizing combines graphite with a variety of different metals, depending on the application. The graphite in the alloy serves to make it self-lubricating while the metal pulls the heat away from the shaft, Ford explains. The bearings can be used in food production applications, including conveyors and ovens, as well as roasters, freezers, and steamers. They can also be used in food pumps—handling very high-viscosity foods and substances such as peanut butter or chocolate. The bearings can also be submerged in lowviscosity and corrosive liquids. Graphalloy can handle caustic washdowns and very high temperatures and

very low temperatures—from -400 °F up to 1,000 °F. Cook cites three key benefits of the Graphalloy bearings that Frito-Lay has experienced firsthand: 1. No grease required, which is important in the food industry, where care must be taken with machinery lubrication. “Even though the industry uses food-safe grease products, you just don’t want any kind of grease messing with the quality of your product,” he notes. 2. No maintenance, as evidenced by the bearings running for six years (and counting) without failure or any other issues. “Many continuous-duty process industry applications experience bearing failure after about six months to a year,” Cook says. “But in our case, these ran reliably without our maintenance team having to give any attention to them.” 3. Longevity follows on from there. “In an industry that typically runs to failure, it feels much better as a maintenance manager to know we’re installing something that is going to run for a very long time,” he adds. “It means we can trust the machinery to operate and it gives us time to focus our attention on other important projects.” PFW Graphite Metallizing

SMARTER PACKAGING SOLUTIONS FOR FOOD PROCESSING Samuel Packaging Systems Group is proud to offer the SO-425S. Rated best in class in both performance and reliability. The SO-425S is the benchmark in industrial strapping machines. • Stainless Steel - Made to operate in wet and damp environments, perfect for food/protein processing facilities


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A Quick Metal Detector Turnaround Gets Mushroom Maker Back Online When a legacy metal detection system went down and brought production with it, Sunny Dell Foods was able to get back in operation with a brand new system in just 36 hours. AARON HAND EXECUTIVE EDITOR


ICTURE THIS: A key piece of equipment goes down on a weekday morning. It’s an old system with no parts available, so it’s no longer serviceable. But without it, your production can’t run. How quickly can you get a new system in place? It’s a scenario that no plant manager hopes to face. But thankfully, when Oxford, Pa.-based Sunny Dell Foods faced this very situation when an older metal detector went down on a USDA-certified line, the family-owned private label and custom recipe provider of high-quality marinated and refrigerated mushrooms was operating again in 36 hours with a new liquid line metal detector back in place. When Sunny Dell Foods owner Cary Caligiuri called his Eriez sales representative with PennQuip in Ambler, Pa., Steve Hilliard told him that Eriez had a unit ready to go as part of its Quick Ship Program. Caligiuri was so desperate to get his line back up

Set-up and verification of the Eriez Xtreme metal detector (top image) are easy to complete. Image courtesy of Eriez. Sunny Dell Foods is a private label and custom recipe provider of high-quality marinated and refrigerated products. Image courtesy of Sunny Dell Foods.



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and running, he made the 12-hour roundtrip drive to Eriez himself the next morning to pick up the equipment. “I wanted to keep my employees working, and we needed to provide USDA-level performance now to be able to ship,” Caligiuri says. Hilliard was on-site at Sunny Dell to get the metal detector set up when Caligiuri returned. “Eriez and PennQuip, together with the Sunny Dell team, kept me running,” Caligiuri says. “Steve Hilliard was there to set up and calibrate the unit. I couldn’t be happier. In 36 hours, we were back in operation.” Hilliard, whose been a sales rep of Eriez equipment for 30 years, is capable of servicing, set-up, training, calibration and validation. “The majority of our reps are capable of that,” Hilliard says. At Sunny Dell, mushrooms used in both canning and freezing operations are subjected to repeated inspections as they pass through the plant. Quality checks include can seam tear downs, drained weights, microbiological tests, color, texture, uniformity of size, symmetry and flavor. The producer has four standard Eriez Xtreme Metal Detectors and one liquid line unit located prior to packaging the hot product. Eriez metal detection products combine a precision mechanical design with state-of-the-art electronics, multiple frequency range, vibration immunity and complex algorithms to detect the smallest metals. “The auto-set-up on the Xtreme Metal Detector is easy to use,” Caligiuri says. “All you do is tighten up the rectangle on the Xtreme’s monitor and you know you will spot impurities.” Sunny Dell had planned to add a line to its operations this year, but that’s been put on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hilliard says. “They’re still planning on doing it, but probably next year,” he explains. And when that line is set up, Caligiuri promises to get only Eriez metal detectors. PFW Eriez


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12/3/20 5:45 PM


The Beat of a Different Drum Motor What sets the drum motor apart from a conventional conveyor drive is that it has all drive components—electric motor, gear reducer, bearings—housed inside the drum, providing a safer, more sanitary design. Plus, today’s intelligent design drum motor is capable of communicating with central plant control or other plant equipment. JOYCE FASSL EDITOR IN CHIEF


DG (VAN DER GRAAF) drum motors are manufactured to power belt conveyors for a wide array of industries, including food processing. In 1985, Alexander Kanaris, president of VDG, established a drum motor manufacturing facility in Brampton, Canada. In 2009, an expanded manufacturing facility was opened in Michigan. Today, over 200,000 sq ft of manufacturing space in the U.S. and Canada employs automated robotic Alexander Kanaris, production equipment to produce drum president of VDG motors. All of the components used in (Van Der Graaf) VDG drum motors are manufactured inU.S. and Canada house, using American materials and labor. Implementing sanitation processes to battle bacteria has become increasingly challenging in food manufacturing. The VDG sanitary series SSV drum motor features an all-316 stainless-steel construction and IP69K sealing that can withstand washdown pressure up to 3,000 psi. The enclosed drum motor design has no external moving parts compared to conventional exposed conveyor drives, eliminating areas for bacterial harborage and reducing washdown time and water consumption, while increasing sanitation, efficiency, and worker safety. It also eliminates the maintenance required on external components of a conventional conveyor drive, such as the motor, gear reducer, sprockets, and chain. Kanaris has become one of North America’s leading experts on drum motor technology and shares his expertise with ProFood World.

PFW: What are the most important benefits and functions of drum motor technology? Kanaris: Drum motor belt drive design entered the conveyor drive industry in the early 1950s as a unique drive for belt conveyor applications. Drum motor belt drive design is different from a conventional conveyor drive in that the drum motor has all drive components—electric motor, gear reducer, bearings—housed

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inside the drum. Without exposed drive components and with no other drive parts rotating outside the conveyor frame, it presents a unique belt drive design. The drum motor also maximizes space utilization and worker safety, as components, such as external electric motor, gear reducer, bearings, chain, and chain guards, all traditionally mounted outside the conveyor frame, are not needed. Those components can be hazardous to staff required to work near conventional conveyor drives and render the conveyor line susceptible to bacterial contamination. Most standard conventional conveyor drives use a 90-degree gear reducer mounted directly on the drive shaft or use sprockets and chain to drive the head conveyor drive drum. Using a 90-degree gear reducer, especially a worm gear reducer, impedes the efficiency of the drive, resulting in mechanical losses. PFW: How can drum motor technology improve plant floor efficiency and sanitation? Kanaris: Due to its self-contained design, the VDG drum motor is space-optimized, allowing more floor or overhead space for conveyor systems, and improves safety since there are no external drive components that can pose hazards. In addition, the VDG sanitary series SSV drum motor allows the belt profile to be machined directly onto the 316 stainless-steel drum, eliminating the need for plastic sprockets that can contribute to foreign material contamination and removing areas prone to bacterial harborage. This sprocketless SSV drum motor is a unique and attractive alternative to a conventional drive for food processing applications by eliminating gaps and crevices where food by-products can accumulate, increasing sanitation, and reducing the amount of time and water required for washdown. Drum motors are both spatially and mechanically more efficient than conventional conveyor drives as well. Compared to the 90-degree arrangement of most conventional drives, in a drum motor, the electric motor is connected in-line with the gear reducer, resulting in a 20 to 40% increase in mechanical effi-

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ciency, depending on the type of gear reducer it is compared with. This leads to lower energy consumption without any sacrifice in torque or performance. The streamlined design of the drum motor also eliminates the need for chains and sprockets, promoting workplace safety and taking up a much smaller footprint than conventional conveyor drives, which require all components that rotate the drive drum to be mounted externally. Lastly, the amount of time required to install a drum motor into the conveyor frame is significantly less than the time required to install an external conveyor drive. PWF: How are drum motors maintained? Kanaris: All VDG drum motors are designed for 80,000 hours of continuous operation before scheduled maintenance is required, drastically reducing the amount of maintenance-related downtime a plant has to account for. An oil change is the only required maintenance. PFW: Please describe drum motor design in detail. Kanaris: A drum motor is a cylinder with two square shafts on either side and an electrical connection box protruding on one side of the drum motor that houses the electrical connections. The shafts are square and do not rotate. They are fixed and mounted on the conveyor frame, eliminating the need for pillow block bearings. The electric motor that is housed inside the cylinder (drive drum) is an AC squirrel cage design motor. The stator does not rotate, therefore, there is no need for rotating brushes or slip rings delivering power to the stator windings. The rotor shaft is the input pinion driving either a twoor three-stage gear reducer. The last stage of the gear reducer is driving a gear ring that is bolted directly to the end-flange, and the end-flange is bolted directly to the rotating drive drum. All internal components, motor, gears, and bearings are working in an oil bath. The drum motor is hermetically sealed and filled one-third with oil. The oil inside the drum motor is used as a lubricant and also provides cooling. When the drum motor is running, the oil transfers the heat generated from the electric motor and gear reducer to the rotating drum and dissipates it to the conveyor belt. As the temperature inside the drum motor rises, the internal pressure can rise up to 1 atm [atmosphere] or 14.6 psi. Because of the internal pressure, it is necessary for the drum motor to be hermetically sealed to prevent oil leakage. PFW: What is the range of drum motor belt speed, horsepower (hp), and drum diameter? Kanaris: Depending on the manufacturer, drum motors are available in different drum diameters, belt speeds, and horsepower. The diameter of the drum motor is dictated by the required horsepower and belt

speed. Since all mechanical and electrical components must fit inside the cylinder, the drum motor rating is geometrically restricted. In order to achieve the required belt speed, drum motors offer a range of fixed gear ratios. When a different belt speed is required, it can be accomplished by changing the ratio of the gear reducer or by using a frequency inverter. The SSV sanitary drum motor is available in diameters from 3.1 to 8.5 in., with a horsepower range from 0.25 to 7.5 hp. The total range of all VDG drum motor designs is from 3.1 to 42-in. diameter, and hp range from 0.25 to 500 hp. PFW: What is the history of drum motor use in North America? Kanaris: Drum motors represent approximately 7% of the overall conveyor drive applications in North America. With all the benefits they offer, it would be reasonable to ask why they have low market penetration. When drum motors first appeared on the market, the overall selection of belt speeds, horsepower, drum diameters, and drum lengths were very limited, with belt speed selection being the larger issue. For these reasons, the majority of conveyor drives using chains and sprockets to power the head roller were more popular. Changing belt speeds on conventional drives can be achieved by simply changing the drive sprockets, resulting in different drive ratios. Changing the belt speed of the drum motor requires removing the drum motor from the conveyor frame and changing the gear ratio of the gear reducer. This problem has been largely eliminated with the introduction of variable-frequency inverters. Adjusting the belt speed with a frequency inverter contributed to a relatively small increase in market penetration of the drum motor. Market study indicated that conveyor manufacturers and end users implement the drum motor only when there are space constraints. Market feedback also showed issues with oil leakage and premature bearing, gear, and electric motor failure. These issues had to be addressed in order to increase drum motor market share.

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The SSV Sanitary Series drum motor is designed for sanitary food production and is installed at major vegetable processing facilities. Image courtesy of VDG.


December 2020


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Rotor Shaft


Square Shaft

PFW: How does drum motor technology help food and beverage manufacturers improve sustainability? Kanaris: In the past, all of the issues mentioned above were mainly an inconvenience to end users but not a major detriment at the time, since belt conveyor engineers over-designed and were liberal in selecting motor hp. More often, the specified hp of a drive would have been twice or more the required hp needed to drive Gear Reducer Rotor Shell End Flange the belt conveyor. Due to this over-design, conveyor drives, including drum motors, In a drum motor, were not subjected to continuous full load conditions. PFW: How has VDG changed drum motor design the electric motor Today, energy conservation is more important than practices? is connected ever. Conveyor equipment needs to operate longer Kanaris: Most drum motor manufacturers are proin-line with the hours, at full load, and close to the rated drive perducing drum motors as a sideline to other industrial gear reducer, resulting in a 20 formance. In an electromechanical device, such as a products they manufacture or supply. Combined to 40% increase drum motor, there are two sources generating heat: with low market penetration, these companies have in mechanical the electric motor and the gearbox. The gear reducer little incentive to allocate funds and resources into efficiency, accounts for about 15% of the heat generation, while research and development to improve the design and depending on the type of gear the majority of the heat is produced by the electric thus to increase market share. reducer used. motor. The electric motor also has two sources of heat In 2010, VDG began a two-year study of testing The streamlined generation: the current density of the stator winding and analysis, which revealed that lack of heat disdesign also and the magnetic density of the laminated core. By sipation was a major issue impacting overall product eliminates the need for chains increasing these densities, the temperature generated reliability. The basic principle of electric motor design and sprockets, by the electric motor will increase, and by reducing is the method of cooling. The majority of electric promoting them, the temperature will decrease. However, reducmotors used as conveyor drives are fan-cooled, workplace safety ing the current and magnetic densities in the electric which is a very effective method, albeit not ideal for and taking up less space than motor to achieve lower temperature will also reduce sanitary applications due to bacterial movement in conventional the amount of work the motor will produce, resulting the air. conveyor drives. in a reduction of torque and horsepower. Therefore, Since all drive components of the drum motor are Image courtesy the standard method of calculating electric motor housed internally, fan cooling is not possible. Instead, of VDG. windings is no longer valid and cannot be used to the drum motor uses oil to transmit the heat from the design the electric motor for drum motor applications. electric motor to the drum shell and dissipates it to The research I mentioned earlier resulted in a manthe belt. date for a new motor design that generates less heat Cooling of the drum motor through oil submersion inside the drum motor. This new design includes using a is not as effective as fan cooling a standard conveyor new method of calculating the electric motor windings motor. Operating conditions can negatively impact combined with different lamination sizes and materials the heat transfer from the motor to the belt. If, for with different metallurgic composition, and it has subexample, an application requires the drum motor stantially reduced the drum motor temperature. Todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s to have rubber lagging for belt traction, the rubber new drum motor design offers an unmatched option lagging will resist heat from exiting the drum motor. for powering belt conveyors. VDGâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ongoing investStainless-steel drum motors for sanitary and food ment into R&D and in-house design has resulted in an processing applications are particularly sensitive to innovative drum motor that fulfills all the critical needs temperature elevations because stainless steel has of a sanitary food processing plant, while contributpoor heat transfer properties. Without sufficient heat ing to a more efficient use of energy, water, and space. dissipation, oil temperature rises, and the oil viscosity Simultaneously, we have developed a new intelligent decreases and may not provide adequate lubrication, drum motor design, capable of communicating with resulting in premature mechanical component failure. central plant control or other plant equipment with data In addition, the elevated oil temperature increases feedback for a more efficient production throughput. the internal pressure, which can affect the sealing system of the drum motor. This creates the potential VDG (Van der Graaf) for oil leaks. In 2012, as a result of this study, VDG developed a new generation of drum motor design. Electrical Connection Box



ProFood World


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Each of the following market leading companies participates in ProFood World ’s Leaders in Processing program. Leaders in Processing companies receive prominent, year-round exposure on ProFood World sincerely thanks its participants!




Spraying Systems Co. North Avenue and Schmale Road • P.O. Box 7900 • Wheaton , IL 60187-7901 • USA Phone: 630/665.5000 Email: Spraying Systems Co., the global leader in spray technology, has been providing food and beverage processors with solutions to cleaning, coating, lubricating, drying and other challenges for more than 80 years. Our spray nozzles, tank cleaners and automated systems help processors ensure food safety, minimize waste, boost productivity and improve worker safety. Cleaning and sanitizing systems include dozens of TankJet® tank cleaners for fast, thorough cleaning of tanks, vats and mixers up to 100’ in dia. TankJet tank cleaners reduce water and chemical use, eliminate the need for workers to enter tanks and minimize downtime. Our Klarion™ system enables food processors to clean and sanitize equipment without the use of harsh chemicals, dramatically improving worker safety and eliminating the need for PPE. This unique on-site generation system produces powerful, safe, drainfriendly cleaning solutions in ready-to-use concentrations. Plus, customers report cost savings up to 30% with Klarion compared to traditional chemicals, making the system a smart way to advance your sustainability initiatives while improving worker safety. Applying viscous coatings, flavorings, lubricants and additives is often wasteful, messy and costly. Our AutoJet® Spray Systems apply coatings directly on the target and nowhere else. Products are coated uniformly and consistently – even when operating conditions change. AutoJet systems are ideal for butter, slurries, egg wash, release agents, antimicrobials, mold inhibitors and more. Other product solutions include handheld GunJet® spray guns, SprayDry® nozzles, WindJet® air nozzles, conveyor and equipment cleaning nozzles and more. Our local experts and Spray Technology Centers are right where you need them – in your area. We’re standing by and ready to help you improve efficiency and operate more sustainably. Call 1-800-95-SPRAY for immediate assistance. Read more about Spraying Systems Co. in ProFood World :

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