Factory Automation
Batch Processing
Process Automation
Packaging Automation
On the Edge

Batch Processing Desk

September 22, 2014 | By Renee R. Bassett
Bacon is basted and cooked in its own juices in a spiral oven, providing the appearance of a pan-fried product. Source: Unitherm
A spiral convection oven provides compelling advantages over linear microwave ovens, mass-producing products that look and taste like they were pan-fried at home. Food processors also like the footprint and energy savings.

The world’s growing appetite for bacon seems insatiable. In Chicago alone this summer, the city’s 6th annual Baconfest included 160 restaurants inventing culinary creations using 7,800 pounds of the pork product to feed 4,500 people hungry for “swine dining.”

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September 22, 2014 | By Renee R. Bassett
New report on Dragonfly malware
According to a new report, the target of the Dragonfly malware campaign was not the energy industry, as was first reported. The implication is that now discrete manufacturers, not just the critical infrastructure industries, need to factor advanced attacks into their cybersecurity risk assessments.

If you think “cybersecurity threats” only mean terrorist attacks on electrical grids or chemical plants, or malicious downtime of “important” operations, think again.

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September 18, 2014 | By Renee R. Bassett
Robotic cucumber harvester. Source:
Just like their food processing counterparts, U.S. food farmers are using data-based decisions to maximize production and increase profitability.

Smart machines, real-time communication, integrated networks, big data, high-speed processing—these technological advances sound familiar to today’s food & beverage processors, who are in the midst of transforming their manual and isolated operations to better compete on a global scale. But I bet you didn’t know that automation also is infiltrating food growing counterparts around the world—commercial farms, orchards, hatcheries, and the like. There are lessons to be learned from these efforts, because automating factories is actually easier than automating farms.

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September 18, 2014 | By Renee R. Bassett
The acquisition expands Maverick’s batch process and systems validation capabilities, and increases its distributed control systems (DCS) capabilities for the for life sciences, chemical and metals industries.

When searching for a main automation contractor (MAC) or system integrator for a batch control system upgrade or line expansion, pharmaceutical and chemical plants need partners with specific experience. Maverick, a global vendor of industrial automation, enterprise integration and strategic manufacturing solutions, has made an acquisition to expand it batch process and systems validation capabilities, and increases its distributed control systems (DCS) capabilities for the for life sciences, chemical and metals industries.

Maverick has acquired CQS Innovation, Inc. This Michigan-based systems integrator expands Maverick’s size and scale as a global organization with 19 office locations and 500+ engineering professionals.

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July 31, 2014 | By Renee R. Bassett
Resolution affects vision system quality. The image on the left was taken with 640x480 image sensor. The right photo is the same image taken with 1600x1200 sensor. Source: Teledyne Dalsa
Industrial vision systems can improve quality or automate production, but choosing systems that match the application and ownership requirements can be confusing. Here are factors to consider when integrating vision.

Every vision system has one or more image sensors that capture pictures for analysis and all include application software and processors that execute user-defined inspection programs or recipes. Additionally, all vision systems provide some way of communicating results to complementary equipment for control or operator monitoring. But there are many types of vision systems on the market, and choosing among them can be confusing.

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