[ October 12–15, 2021 • McCormick Place • Chicago, IL USA ]
This is just the beginning of a great program for Day 3. Today’s educational program features 16 sessions, including topics on Food Safety for Legal Cannabis, Dairy Industry Trends, and Working with Co-Packers to name just a few. Our Production Lines will continue their popular demonstrations throughout the day. TEAM USA will return with another butchering demonstration as they prepare for the World Butcher’s Challenge next year in Sacramento. We’ll have meet-ups and Food for Thought sessions, providing additional networking opportunities during the day. And of course, you’re welcome to visit the Augmented Reality Showroom to experience our participants’ equipment in this AR platform.
While we are proud to provide these activities for you, PROCESS EXPO is all about the exhibits. Booth after booth provide solutions for whatever segments you’re in. Our exhibitors cover the entire horizontal spectrum of the food and beverage industry, and serve as the resources that you need to be more successful. Let us help you to identify the technologies you’re looking for. We’ve got the Orientation Tour, the industry sector brochures, the mobile app, the product locators and a professional staff waiting to help get you started.
Thank you for coming to this year’s PROCESS EXPO. We hope you make the most of it. If we can be of assistance in any way, please let us know.
Jarrod McCarroll, FPSA Chairman
Organizers of PROCESS EXPO
Challenges posed by technology — how to use data to streamline manufacturing and figure out the right amount of automation — are being explored at educational sessions.
When it comes to automating a food plant, operators must find the proper balance — not too much and not too little, according to Matt Hartman, senior automation sales engineer at Blentech Corp. and chair of FPSA’s Technology Network. His presentation, “Where is Your Automation Goldilocks Zone?” is today at 2:00 pm.
“If you buy too much automation you may be saddled with high costs,“ Hartman said in an interview. “But if you don’t automate enough, you’re leaving money on the table.“ Much depends on the specifics of a manufacturer’s production process, he says. If you run a single product on a line for 24 hours, automation makes sense. If you’re changing the product every hour, “automation doesn’t like that.”
Processing plants must make sure they have staff with the knowledge to maintain the equipment, Hartman says. “If a robot goes down, who will fix it?” He also warns against doing too much too fast, which can “turn up problems you didn’t anticipate and take your facility past its capabilities.”
Use of the internet has been slower in industry because heavy equipment is built to last some 20 years and most plants have at least some machinery built before the Internet age. “The idea of collecting data was never part of (those earlier) original designs,” Hartman says. However, it’s possible to attach sensors to older equipment to make the machinery intelligent,” he added.
The key to using the Internet effectively is to pick a specific real-world problem such as, “Why do my cooking operations take longer at different times of the day?” Collecting data over the course of production days could help managers identify the culprit, such as a shortage of steam.
Other sessions on the use of data include increasing the potential of production plants with data and digitally developing the next generation of manufacturers with gamification and 3D simulation.
U.S. businesses could improve their operations by adopting some of the structures of the U.S. military, while the Armed Forces could also take some useful cues from the way businesses operate, according to a 27-year military veteran who also has spent a decade as a manager at Cargill Inc.
Traci Earls says that although civilians “just don’t think the same way,” there are lessons from military discipline that can offer benefits that anyone who has not been in the military can appreciate. The general manager at Cargill’s Butler, Wis., ground beef plant told an audience at an afternoon seminar at PROCESS EXPO 2019 that approaching every task as a “mission” that cannot be abandoned until completed may work wonders in the service, but this approach also can be useful in business — with some slight adaptations.
“It’s important to find some sort of a balance,” she said in the presentation focusing on Cargill’s leadership brand. “And none of it is going to work if the company doesn’t have the same values as its workers.” Earls gave an example of a company she worked for previously where management refused to give her permission to leave the office a little early to see her son’s baseball game. After quitting on the spot, she bought a motorcycle and came home with a deep tan and a new approach for her own actions.
As for businesses like Cargill, she recommends that management be patient when it comes to the needs of employees, especially when the size of the workforce is as large as Cargill’s. Help workers find ways to reduce stress, and allow for more diversity and new ideas from the bottom and middle levels and not just from the top.
Meanwhile, the military — which Earls joined at age 17 and currently is a Lt. Col. in the Kansas National Guard — also can adapt and show flexibility and creativity in its operations. Earls cites new ideas like conducting military truck maintenance in a local Walmart parking lot as an idea that not only can strengthen bonds between team members, but also form new connections with the public. “After all,” she adds, “we can act like people, not robots.”
Today, FPSA announced a new food technician training program as part of an agreement with Lincoln Technical Institute. The new Food Industry Technician Program, also known as FIT, will kick off its inaugural 12-week series of lectures, hands-on training and mentorship with 10 students at Lincoln Tech’s Indianapolis campus in early November. The new program follows a pilot program designed to prepare future industry technicians for innovations in the complex equipment used by suppliers and processors.
The students will be required to have certifications in electrical and electronics maintenance and FIT training will bolster their experience with instruction in hardware, as well as in such soft skills as resume building, communication and adaptability as machinery evolves.
“There are 1.5 million jobs in the food and beverage industry today and thousands of jobs specifically for technicians are also available, and that’s a need that isn’t going away,” Jerrold McCarroll, chairman of FPSA and president of Weber Inc., told attendees at a news conference at PROCESS EXPO Wednesday morning.
McCarroll added that the industry’s technical advances require a higher level of knowledge that the FIT program is designed to address.
According to Lincoln Tech officials, the FIT program will eventually roll out to more of its 12 campuses in 14 states and the next expansion is expected to be at the Lincoln Tech campus in Melrose Park, IL.
“There currently is a gap in skills and a lot of interest in filling the need for well-trained workers from the food and beverage industry, and the innovation and training will involve faculty from the industry, up-to-date facilities and support for our FIT students all along the way,” said Scott Shaw, CEO of Lincoln Tech.
|Time||Session Title||Theater (Booth)|
|Thursday, October 10|
|Women's Alliance Network Breakfast||7:30 am–9:30 am||Room N427|
|Frozen Pizza Production Line||11:15 am–11:45 am, 1:30 pm–2:00 pm, and 3:30 pm–4:00 pm||Booth 2477|
|Food for Thought: Steve Radke||11:30 am–12:00 pm||The QUAD (1377)|
|Food Safety Considerations in Legal Cannabis Edibles and Beverages||1:00 pm–1:45 pm||Food Safety Summit Theater (468)|
|DEFEAT HUNGER Press Conference||1:00 pm–1:45 pm||Level 3, Grand Concourse|
|Student Tour||2:30 pm–3:30 pm||The QUAD (1377)|
|Joint Food Safety and Packaging Networks Meet-Up||4:00 pm–4:30 pm||Booth 2848|
Aside from the obvious networking that will take place on the show floor, Day 3 features numerous meet-up opportunities for attendees and exhibitors thanks to the FPSA Networks.
The day will start with the Women’s Alliance Network Leadership Breakfast at 7:30 am, which provides an excellent opportunity to network with some of the most prominent women in the food and beverage industry. If you’re interested, but didn’t sign up, we’ll make room! Join us in Room N427.
During the show, the Young Professionals Group will host a meet-up at 12:30 in the FPSA Membership Booth (2848), as will the Food Safety and Packaging Networks, also in the FPSA Booth at 4:00 pm. All are welcome for each of these networking opportunities.
Day 3 at PROCESS EXPO will feature our first ever educational session targeting our co-packer audience and the processors who utilize them. Hosted by Erik Kurdelak, this session, “Purdue Food Science Extension: Bridging Gaps and Managing Expectations,” will be a free-flowing conversation between co-manufacturers and those seeking to use their services.
The conversation will cover what level of readiness they can expect from a new enterprise and what is the ideal role of University Extension in bridging the gaps. We will examine ideas and methods through which all parties involved can collaborate to simplify and optimize the conversations needed to facilitate new business growth and ultimately spur food industry economic development.
Every food industry start-up should consider attending this session at 3:00 pm in Theater I (Booth 1677).
This represents just one of the vibrant educational sessions taking place today on the PROCESS EXPO show floor. Please review the program to see what other sessions might be of interest.
NOTE: Download the show app to ensure that you don’t miss out on the outstanding educational sessions, meet-ups and Feeding the Hopper sessions.