Manufacturing.net Slowly but surely all of the “mom and pop” manufacturing facilities are closing. From sardine canneries in Maine to baking product suppliers in California, smaller plants are feeling the pressure from buyers who believe importing manufactured goods is more cost efficient.
On Jan. 31, 2011, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the 2010 Dietary Guidelines (better late than never). The food industry reactions are varied and anything but tepid. The Salt Institute calls the Guidelines “drastic, simplistic and unrealistic” after the recommendations suggested cutting sodium.
One of the first columns I ever wrote for IMPO magazine — three long years ago when I took over as editor — was about my car. At the time, I was dealing with a maintenance issue, struggling over the decision of whether to investigate the dashboard light that seemed to indiscriminately flash on and off, or to save the cash since nothing appeared to be wrong.
While I’m cautiously optimistic that we humans will not have to engage in a decades-long, post-apocalyptic war against power-hungry machines looking to wipe us off the face of the earth, I cannot help but wonder what the future holds for Watson and artificially intelligent computers like it.
Escaping the sub-zero weather in Wisconsin is enough to make the convention experience worthy of the time, effort, and expense. I arrived in Anaheim and walked off of the plane a sweaty mess covered in jackets, multiple layers, and gloves engineered for the Arctic. The ability to take a mid-winter stroll to the Medical Device & Manufacturing conference and exhibition without fear of frostbite and numbing limbs was refreshing; however, meeting with Julien Penders, program manager of Body Area Networks for imec, was an equally exhilarating experience.
Chemical disclosure is on the forefront of proactive minds across the processing industry. What is your company willing to divulge? From the dispersants used in the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) chemical disclosure to Consumer Product Safety Commission databases to Bisphenol A (BPA) safety concerns, everyone wants to know what’s in their daily inventory of product and how safe it is.
CNN Tech taught me a new word last week: Undecillion. That’s right… we’re making stuff up now. Numbers, in fact. If forced to guess what exists an undecillion times in our world—in order to require this made-up sounding number—I might start with plankton or fleas, grains of sand or former child actor felonies.
At a time when many businesses — especially those in the manufacturing sector — are hurting, facing employee layoffs and severe cutbacks, companies in the food industry are faring better. As 2010 data is released, it paints a picture of a fairly resilient industry, one not as vulnerable to the whims of consumers or the general state of the economy.
Manufacturers have a lot to worry about these days. From the competitiveness of the global marketplace to the seemingly never-ending attempts at heightening efficiency, it’s easy to get bogged down in the minutiae without a clear idea as to where to begin. But becoming bigger and better often requires some sort of expenditure.
I recently had the pleasure of traveling to Dallas at the request of Snap-On, the well-known manufacturer of all things tooling. At the event, they educated me and other members of the press on a tool crib that takes all of the hassle out of asset management. All tools removed from the crib are automatically detected by the system.
Most of my New Year’s resolutions have to do with breaking bad habits or developing good new ones: cutting back on frivolous spending, wasting less time online, and getting to the gym more often. The problem that I have — a problem shared by about almost 70 percent of American and British adults — is breaking a bad habit alone.
Ever since I can remember, I’ve enjoyed cooking. There is something about dancing around the kitchen with a glass of wine, listening to jazz and testing the limits of my mind’s intuition for spices. I’ve heard it said that being a cook is one of those ‘either ya got it or ya don’t’ kind of things, and I tend to agree.
After calling on Costco for years and getting nowhere, one manufacturer took some unorthodox steps toward gaining access to a targeted distributor. Mitch Liss is the president of Edsal Mfg. Co. Inc., an American manufacturer of steel shelving based out of Chicago. His company started humbly, opening in the 1950s out of a small garage with roughly $800 and some simple machinery.
It wasn’t the answer I was expecting, but I’ll take it. The dozens of birds found dead in Romania on Saturday was the latest in a spate of mass bird deaths around the world. Whereas noconcrete explanations have been found for the deaths reported throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia, Romanian officials were able to trace the problem back to a substance known as “marc” — the residue left over from wine grape processing.
This Editor's Note first appeared in the November/December 2010 issue of Food Manufacturing . Though reports on the safety of using BPA in plastic packaging conflict, the industry must ensure that the chemical is safe at all exposure levels. As someone who has begun to feel more comfortable inside a convention hall than inside my living room, I’m very happy to report that November’s PACK EXPO was definitely the busiest trade show I’ve been to this year.
It is time to begrudgingly accept that we live (and work) in a world of haves and have-nots, and there’s a growing difference between the two groups. One cannot help but wonder why General Motors CEO Dan Akerson didn’t think twice — or perhaps even once — before he opened his mouth and started speaking.
We need to cut back on our consumption of media, our connectivity, and how much we multitask, even if it is only for a few minutes a day to start. There is a lively debate going on among scientists over whether technology’s influence on behavior and the brain is good or bad, and how significant it is.
Excellence without exception. What a great mission to live by, especially in today’s markets where some companies seem to have forgotten the importance of quality and replaced its importance by prioritizing quantity. Before the New Year I made a visit to Forest City Gear (FCG), a small gear manufacturer in Roscoe, IL.
Salmonella. E-coli. Listeria. These are the words people have started to fear more and more; they’re practically swears. From cilantro and spinach to peanut butter and eggs, food recalls have been springing up with increased frequency in the past year or so. The litany of outbreaks — resulting in product fear, illness and, in some instances, death — has people demanding safer consumables.
Anyone who has ever worked in an office can appreciate some of the humor of NBC’s The Office – even if we haven’t had a boss like the bumbling and offensive Michael Scott. In an episode earlier this month, Michael arrived to work after a morning dentist appointment with some alarming news: “China is going to pass us as the number one global super power! When did this happen?” Michael’s concerns about China – repeated to his coworkers from the news magazine feature he read at the dentist’s office – are both serious and ridiculous.