On Mon. morning, Sept. 23, members of the packaging press were treated to a dollop of dairy at the PACK EXPO Market Data Press Event & Breakfast. The early morning event featured a presentation from Donna Ritson, owner of DDR Communications LLC, and author of a new study released by PACK EXPO owner and producer PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies.
Dairy has been a bright spot in a sometimes-dismal economy. Globally, milk production is expected to reach 827 million tons in 2020-19 percent over 2010-and dairy product sales are expected to reach $494 billion in 2015. The need for efficiency has been driving that growth, according to the 2013 edition of PMMI's "Dairy Industry-A Market Assessment."
"The dairy industry is interested in optimizing production, and with that comes a willingness to adopt new technologies and doing more with less," says Jorge Izquierdo, vp, market development, PMMI.
As a result, 80 percent of the processors interviewed for this study reported that they're evaluating their machine needs, and out of that group, 75 percent plan to purchase equipment in the next 12 to 24 months. Wish lists include robotic controls, greater output, more inspection systems and energy-savers like sleep mode.
Technologies like these are front-and-center at PACK EXPO at the Center for Trends & Technology (CTT), sponsored by Rockwell Automation and its Partner Network Program, Izquierdo notes.
"Line integrations, wireless configurations and diagnostics, mobile solutions, and safety are few of the areas the displays at CTT will cover," he adds. "They're also concentrating on solutions for enhanced productivity."
Dairy manufacturers are also looking at product innovations, including aseptic processing, and changes in packaging shapes and materials, and food safety is always top-of-mind. However, in an industry that is already heavily monitored and regulated, good food safety practices are in place, so dairy processors are focusing more intently on the documentation and record-keeping requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
"The study found that increasing production is their first priority, and FSMA is second for two-thirds of the manufacturers," says Izquierdo. "Dairy processors are performing internal audits and acting upon them, implementing or upgrading their track-and-trace programs, creating a compliance manager job function and working on FSMA documentation. Their future machinery needs will center on easy-to-clean features and data collection that facilitates documenting operations," he says.
Registration for PACK EXPO is open throughout the show. Register online at www.packexpo.com or on site, for $60/person.