9 Bulk Material Handling Headlines to Sift Through from September

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Tragedy struck. Strategies were made. (Still) facing uncertain times, organizations were tasked with implementing difficult policies. The prices of particular goods hang in the balance of natural resources. Here are 9 stories from the world of bulk material handling that mattered last month and that matter today:

August results reveal U.S. manufacturing uptick 

Sept. 1

Numbers for August’s U.S. manufacturing activity were available in early September as Bloomberg reported that rising backlogs, faster orders and production growth all contributed to an uptick in activity. The publication cited The Institute for Supply Management in order to present data of factory activity rising from 59.5 to 59.9.

Forbes op-ed prioritizes ‘improvement’ over ‘perfection’ for manufacturers

Sept. 1

The “perfect silver bullet” from policymakers isn’t something manufacturers should wait on, according to an opinion piece by Lisa Caldwell in Forbes last month. As the Biden administration took a 100-day look at how the country could strengthen its supply chains two months ago, manufacturing boards and management teams should now set about “leading their organization’s own journey of continuous improvement,” says Caldwell.

COVID-affected farm and meatpacking workers to receive grants

Sept. 8

A new $700 million aid program from The U.S. Department of Agriculture was announced last month for meatpacking and farmworkers who, throughout the pandemic, have bought their own protective equipment and experienced unpaid leave as the virus directly affected their industries in the last year. These workers will be eligible for grants of up to $600 per person. At least 22,000 meatpacking workers were exposed to or infected by coronavirus, according to The UFCW union (representing about 80% of the nation's beef and pork workers as well as an estimated 33% of its poultry workers).

Food Engineering podcast details dust hazards in food industry

Sept. 9

Systems manager of CAMFIL APC Jon Ladwig gave an overview of the various concerns food manufacturers have about dust hazards in their production processes on the Food Engineering podcast last month. Though we at AZO have delved into the threat of combustible dust and the regulations that the NFPA creates to better mitigate these problems, Ladwig explained a few other issues that dust can create in a workspace.

“Once dust becomes airborne, it begins to get away from your process,” he said during the episode. “Once it does that it can start settling on surfaces. When it settles onto the person that’s working, when it settles on to the floor that they’re working on, when it settles on to the pipe or forklift truck or the bag or whatever that's in the area — the device that they brought product in with — it’s carried out of the room and can easily be transferred to other areas.”

Not only is this a concern for combustion and product cross-contamination, but Ladwig explained how dust can also cause allergic reactions to workers who shouldn’t be inhaling such quantities of facility dust. 

OSHA tasked with vaccination rule, also fines poultry plant 

Sept. 15 and 17

In a month where the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) also was instructed to write a rule for employers with at least 100 workers to ensure vaccination (or implement weekly test results), the organization also fined a food manufacturer following a chemical spill. The tune of $154,674 was proposed for Foundation Food Group Inc. in response to the death of six workers in January who fell victim to a released container of liquid nitrogen.

Meatpacking workers found dead, investigation still underway

Sept. 15

The third major incident to occur in one meatpacking plant during the past decade occurred last month. Valley Proteins’ meat processing plant in Fayetteville, NC, was where two maintenance workers lost their lives, though the only details released were that the event is still under investigation and a hazmat team was sent to the facility.  

Ethical considerations for introducing insects as ingredients explored in IEN piece


As the month of October surfaces, one ingredient many might consider “scary” has been seeing a rise in interest for some time already. $1.18 billion is the number relating to the global value of “insect-farming” that is suspected to pass by 2023, according to Industrial Equipment News. A piece from their website explores the ethical considerations of farming what some are calling “mini-livestock.” 

Coffee prices expected to rise in cafes and groceries

Sept. 27

The price that large-volume buyers agree to pay for coffee months into the future doubled in late July, according to IEN. This, known as “coffee futures,” hasn’t seen a rate similar since 2014. Many factors are contributing to farmers’ costs to grow coffee beans, and the article explores how droughts in Brazil contributed to this projection.

Op-ed stresses that manufacturing sector can spearhead diversity and inclusion through accessibility technology

Sept. 28

Talent shortages were the focus of an op-ed from last month that stressed the importance of filling vacant positions in the manufacturing world. One of the points made in the piece reflected how robots have become a beneficial asset to manufacturers, a topic that we at AZO have brought up on the blog before.

Handling materials is our world at AZO. If you have any other questions or concerns regarding material handling, feel free to contact our sales team. Our pneumatic conveying guide covers the unique benefits of dense, dilute, pressure and vacuum conveying as well as other topics like how to avoid breakage with “hybrid conveying” and the hidden costs related to conveying systems. 

We have more than seven decades of experience in the ingredient automation world and have added tons of other topics also covered at length on our blog.

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