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Equip your plant for the spike in pet food manufacturing

As pet food manufacturers increase production in response to rising pet adoption rates, safety and efficiency are top concerns. These industrial vacs will help.

Anh-Tai Vuong
Written By Anh-Tai Vuong President, Corporate Sales & Business Development
Jul 2020

Some say the perfect companions never have fewer than four feet. With COVID-19 quarantine measures keeping us indoors, more people than ever are seeking out the love of a new pet to help them find comfort in chaotic times.

With pet adoption rates rising across North America, the demand on pet food manufacturing has also spiked considerably. The pet food manufacturing industry is working harder than ever to safeguard the health of the essential workers who produce that food.

More than 300 animals were adopted in a single week when British Columbia’s SPCA held a half-price adoption event in March, which comes as little wonder, since animal ownership decreases stress levels and keeps people calm during times of psychological turmoil. It’s called the Pet Effect.

But as people across the US and Canada seek four-legged companions to help them through isolation, the pet food industry has felt the impact.

Pet food manufacturing qualifies as an essential operation, and as facilities experience an increase in production, expansion is necessary to meet demand.

Manufacturing’s meteoric surge

Recent data shows that American pet food stores have experienced sales growth in the billions, and as pet owners stock up, manufacturers are ramping up production.

Pet food manufacturers are adding more shifts, hiring additional staff, and opening new facilities to stay on target, making it more important than ever that these facilities keep pace with safety requirements. After all, following proper procedure isn’t only about regulatory compliance — it’s also about taking care of workers.

To keep workers from contracting COVID-19, food processing plants need to be mindful of reduction measures, such as only using sanitizing products that have been registered with the EPA (as per FDA guidelines).

But companies should consider other safety obligations, as well. Because pet food manufacturing is so vital to the recovery of the North American economy, it’s important for all companies to honor their essential workers by also providing a safe, dignified working environment.

The manufacturing process of pet food is very similar to how food is processed for human consumption, and they often share similar ingredient DNA. Today’s pet food is a mixture of proteins, grains, and essential vitamins and minerals like potassium and magnesium.

And, as in human food manufacturing, pet food manufacturers must be aware of cross-contamination, combustible dust and general plant cleanliness.

The importance of worker safety

Big messes need a big cleanup solution, and on most pet food processing floors, shovels and shop vacs are not enough to keep combustible dust out of the air.

Dust is a natural by-product of the pet food pelletization process. Particles can affect worker productivity and mobility while also wreaking havoc on your machinery.

As pet food production increases, it takes more and more manpower to handle the dust buildup — and as the mess gets more out of hand, the danger of combustion increases.

To best handle airborne combustible dust, consider vacuuming systems engineered and designed to prevent fires, flashfires and explosions. Because industrial processing facilities have industrial grade housekeeping and spill recovery needs, DuroVac’s industrial-grade vacuuming systems are designed to reduce and eliminate dust buildup.

A natural evolution of DuroVac’s PowerLift® series, the Elevator is a portable vacuum loader that will collect almost any dry powder, granule, or pellet, and will allow your workers to fill Super Sacks, drums, or hoppers quickly and efficiently thanks to advanced material reclamation.

The Elevator combines top-tier filtration with the ease of forklift portability, allowing your plant to reclaim valuable material from potential waste with an engineering-controlled system. Available from 20 to 40 horsepower, this model is pre-wired and factory-tested, saving your company thousands in installation costs.

For larger operations, consider a central vacuum

If you run a larger operation, consider multi-operator central vacuums that provide consistent performance even as the number of operators increases. Our material-loading central vacuums operate at 15 to 500 horsepower and can connect with existing pneumatic conveyance networks to move a large tonnage of waste material.

The design flexibility of DuroVac’s modular components greatly reduce installation costs, and the filtration systems on our central vacuums will never clog with material, eliminating the need for multiple portable vacuums, and freeing up workers to concentrate their efforts elsewhere.

With upticks in production caused by the recent surge in pet ownership, it’s necessary to take every precaution to ensure worker safety. Protect your workers as well as production processes with a line of portable or central vac systems suited to both your company’s specific needs and NFPA 652 compliance standards.

If your pet food facility handles, processes, or generates combustible dust, consider investing in our line of industrial vacuuming solutions.

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