8 Material Handling Stories You Might Have Missed in June

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Last month AZO compiled a “batch” of material handling news stories in a new regular feature for this blog, “Material Handling Stories You Might Have Missed.” With the coronavirus still affecting many sectors of American industries, the amount of pertinent information manufacturers should consume is often overwhelming. Still, we’ve collected a few digestible news summaries with links to pertinent stories you might have missed this month. Here are nine stories related to material handling from June 2020.

Baking & Snack Podcast addresses industry changes since COVID-19

June 3

In the Season 2 finale of Baking & Snack’s “Since Sliced Bread,” host Charlotte Atchley revisited innovators of the baking industry that had been featured in the podcast previously, but who now had stories to tell about how each of their businesses had been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. How these manufacturers pivoted their business models to focus on direct-to-consumer shipping, how they postponed the launch of new product lines and how they prioritized their employees’ safety by lowering facility capacity were some of the topics covered in the various interviews. 

Listen here.

OSHA shares FAQs regarding mask usage in the workplace

June 10 

Guidance about the difference between cloth face coverings, surgical masks and respirators in the workplace was an area of focus in a series of frequently asked questions published by The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA has also shared various documents for workers and employers specifically addressing the coronavirus pandemic as of late.

“OSHA is ready to help workers and employers understand how to properly use masks so they can stay safe and healthy in the workplace,” Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt said in a statement.  

Explosions occur at pellet plant and composite product plant

June 15-17

A fire and then an explosion occurred at a pellet plant at the Richardson International grain terminal in Thunder Bay, Ontario, on June 15, according to several local news organizations as well as Powder & Bulk Solids. No injuries were reported, but the cause of the initial fire remains unknown, according to the Thunder Bay NewsWatch.

Several small explosions occurred in a silo at the Fiberon plant in New London, NC, on June 17. No injuries were logged during the incident, according to Powder & Bulk Solids. Fiberon is a manufacturer of composite products such as railing and deck fasteners. Significant damage was prevented by plant safeguards. 

2019 combustible dust report released 

June 16 

A report by combustible dust research organization Dust Safety Science reviewed 235 combustible dust explosions that occurred in U.S. and Canadian facilities last year. The 54-page report detailed that dust collectors were the most common type of equipment related to combustible dust fires and explosions in 2019. A separate finding included that, globally, food and wood products were involved in 65% of explosive incidents. The organization began collecting data on dust-related incidents in 2016. 

China bans food from specific Arkansas plant, citing COVID concerns

June 23

After a coronavirus outbreak took place in a Tyson meat plant in Springdale, AK, China has specifically banned imports from the plant, according to Food Manufacturing. A new trade deal with China was signed earlier this year, and the president of the USA Poultry & Egg Export council was stated as saying “If it remains at one plant, it will not have any meaningful impact.”

National Chicken Council Spokesman Tom Super said the ban was “unjustified” as he believes that the time it takes the meat produced in the U.S. to reach China would render “zero possibility” for a live virus remaining in “frozen poultry shipped halfway around the world.” 

Other COVID-19 outbreaks in meatpacking plants have included South Dakota, Iowa, North Caroline, Nebraska and Iowa. 

Read more.

Report on Pneumatic Conveying Systems Market released

June 17

The current COVID-19 impact on the Pneumatic Conveying Systems market was the focus of a new report by Reports Monitor. A PDF sample of the report can be requested here. The report covers the analysis of market share, profitability, production, sales, manufacturing, advertising and more topics related to the pneumatic conveying systems market. AZO GmbH was one of the “key players” analyzed in this new report, and the report aims to forecast predictions into the year 2026.

Sugar prices on track for great quarter, yet COVID concerns offer potential drop

June 25

Sugar as a commodity was on track for its best quarter since June of 2016, according to the Wall Street Journal. Still, due to coronavirus lockdowns, a potential drop in demand looms over manufacturers. The International Sugar Organization’s May Market Report estimated 2.1 million metric tons of global sugar consumption dropping since lockdowns have begun. 

Shipping arrangements disruptions were the result of bolstered sugar prices, and oil prices played a part after shooting back up from being so low during COVID-19, according to Robin Shaw, a sugar analyst at commodities broker Marex Spectron.

Economy reaches sharpest decline since Q4 of 2008

June 25 

In the sharpest quarterly decline since Q4 2008, the U.S. economy shrank at a 5% rate with room to decline even more in the current three-month economic period as the coronavirus pandemic spreads, according to Food Manufacturing. Some forecasters expect a rebound in the second half of 2020 as the Congressional Budget Office predicts a 21.5% growth rate in the July-September quarter. 

Surging infections in the southern United States indicate a lack of economic output for the year, according to Food Manufacturing. Chief Economist at Moody’s analytics was quoted by the publication as saying an effective vaccine needs to be available so any new waves of COVID will cause less damage and $1 trillion from Congress will be needed as further support to struggling businesses and the unemployed.

If you have any other questions or concerns regarding plant process challenges, feel free to contact our sales team. AZO has seven decades of experience in the ingredient automation world and tons of topics we’ve covered on our blog.

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