Steve Hixon and Maggie O’Quinn at IPPE 2024
Here are my three biggest takeaways:
Automation and technology continue to get more savvy.
The three halls at the Georgia World Congress Center were packed with exhibitors and the most popular segment featured automation and technology suppliers. One of the highlights was BAADER Food Processing Machinery. Their exhibit included an automated portion control sorting line.
Innovation is helping the industry stay safe.
Regarding innovation, safety was a big driver. One game-changing safety system was demonstrated by GUARDIAN, who presented the industry’s first bandsaw with a zero-accident track record. This is a key innovation for both production lines and supermarket butchers, helping to instill confidence in the most novice team members cutting meat products on a further-processing line or to consumer orders in a retail store. Pair the GUARDIAN bandsaw with Eagle’s Diamond Textured Nitrile Gloves, and you have extreme protection and durability. Their statement at the show caught my eye, “Our gloves are tougher than herding caffeinated squirrels through a maze of unicycle-riding flamingos.” Corny but clever. It’s amazing to see the ways that the industry continues to evolve by harnessing human ingenuity and design skills to protect workers.
Eco-friendly solutions span a wide range.
I viewed several demonstrations that incorporated environmentally friendly features. The highlights included SEE’s new Cryovac® brand compostable overwrap tray. The solution was developed as a sustainable alternative to traditional EPS trays for processor production lines and was tested to meet the demands of the food value chain. The compostable tray will break down into organic material without leaving toxic residue. Another eco-friendly innovation is FoodSafe Drains, hygienic drain solutions that provide a safe, clean alternative to the standard trench drain. It’s a seamless solution that removes the moving parts of difficult-to-clean trench drain systems and the maintenance issues associated with them. My last stop was at ClearH2O where I took a look at their latest agricultural innovation, AquaBeads®. This innovation is designed to help poults locate their starter feed so they can get valuable nutrition and hydration they need for a strong start and improved health and growth performance. From packaging to equipment to feed, the industry continues to focus on solutions that keep the environment at the forefront.