8 Bulk Material Handling Headlines We Found Fascinating from February

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Supply chain issues overwhelmingly made up headlines in the bulk material handling world last month, but beverage news and advancements in technology found their place within published stories as well. 

It should also be mentioned that world news made a major impact — Russia invading Ukraine directly affected trade and various manufacturers who handle bulk materials. Here are 9 news headlines related to bulk material handling that caught our attention:  

‘The case for track and trace,’ Food Engineering offers op-ed

Feb. 9

Food processors can’t afford to not incorporate track and trace functionality, according to an article last month in Food Engineering. Potential recalls make monitoring every step of a product’s journey through a plant particularly advantageous, a function AZO is all too familiar with when discussing our COMPONENTER® systems.

FDA compliance, “thwarting theft,” and consumer demand were among some of the major reasons Food Engineering listed for investing in track and trace technologies. They also offered this article to be appreciated in podcast form.

Cost of homemade gin and tonic, other beverages increase with supply chain bottlenecks and spiking energy costs

Feb. 11

The price of mixers made by major tonic brands (including Schweppes and Fever-tree) rose sharply in February, according to The Guardian and data from research firm Assosia. The culprits are supply chain bottlenecks and soaring energy costs. Specifically, soft drinks manufacturers have also had to accommodate for rising cost of carbon dioxide and supply issues linked to increasing wholesale gas prices.

2022 set to be a ‘game-changer’ for manufacturing says Forbes

Feb. 15

If manufacturers "make bold investments in talent, technology and innovation," 2022 could be the year to achieve long-term wins. So says a contributor post from Ethan Karp in Forbes last month that listed 5 specific opportunities American manufacturers can seize right now. As supply changes have made it clear that manufacturing as a whole is “an ever-changing environment,” contributors Timm Riesenberg, Tomm Dovasia and Tobias Exler stress that digitization and automation make quick adaptation to these changing environments possible. 

Industry 4.0 advancements discussed by AZO blog among others  

Feb. 15

Industry 4.0 continues to evolve with a whole host of technological advancements, but John Clemons made the case last month that technology alone is not what drives businesses forward. Clemons stressed that “smart people using smart technology” actually “get the job done.” 

We at AZO published content last month agreeing with this approach. Both an article detailing what will constitute a real opportunity in bulk material handling (when it comes to Industry 4.0) and how reliability will determine what advancements can actually improve an operation are available on the AZO site. Coming soon is an entire PDF guide detailing how intuitively designed control systems make all the difference for bulk ingredient handlers. In it, we also outline how we believe operators and control systems should work together to immediately assess the situation, solve the problem and get production up and running again as quickly as possible. While automation implies a complete lack of human interaction (where machines do 100 percent of the work), we believe this is both unrealistic and not cost-effective.

Reducing food waste the focus of another supply chain op-ed 

Feb. 21

Balancing orders with incoming ingredients in the face of supply chain disruptions was the focus of a February article in Food Engineering. According to RizePoint account manager CJ Pakeltis, utilizing a “punch list” can help mitigate food waste and revenue loss..

Material handling world affected by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Feb. 24, 25 and 26

As many Ukrainian citizens fled the country by any means necessary, as one might expect, Russia’s invasion directly affected Ukrainian industries and manufacturers. The changes with who handle food, beverages and wheat supplies were chronicled by Powder & Bulk Solids, Manufacturing.net and Bakeryandsnacks.com, to mention a few material handling outlets outside the realm of news you might expect covering the conflict.  

Many food and beverage firms are currently located in active war zones, including Anheuser-Busch InBev’s local headquarters in Kyiv. Whether companies are limiting production output or ceasing operations altogether, supply chains all around the world are likely to get “hit hard” as Ukraine is commonly referred to by some sources as “the breadbasket of Europe.” 

More international news:

German beer sales still down due in part to pandemic lockdowns

Feb. 1

2.2 billion gallons of beer may seem like a lot, but beer sales in Germany were around 7 percent higher before the coronavirus pandemic hit. Dropping 5.5 percent in 2020, lockdowns added to an already downward-facing trend caused by health concerns and other factors. For 2021, it was again reported by the German Federal Statistics Office, that beer sales in Germany fell – this time by only 2.2 percent.

Survey reveals most aware of issues in sustainable chocolate 

Feb. 14

Published on Valentine’s Day, an article about chocolate described some heavy issues the global industry faces. As most consumers are concerned about sustainability issues including deforestation and even child labor, Confectionery News made the case that brands who acknowledge these issues and source traceable chocolate will benefit “people, the planet and their sales figures.”

“By creating and marketing products with unimpeachable sustainability credentials, chocolate brands can access a large, growing consumer group that is willing to pay a premium for confectionery that aligns with their values,” the article states. “The question is how to create chocolate with such unimpeachable sustainability credentials.”

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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