Industry 4.0 and COVID-19: The Future of Downstream Automation for Food Packaging

Since the start of the global COVID-19 pandemic, a lot has changed in the food industry. In response to challenges with the supply chain, labor shortages, and increased demand for food, medicine, and other essentials, manufacturers in the food industry are all looking for ways to increase automation in their facilities. However, the changes that coronavirus brought aren’t the only factors that heightened the need for automation in food production facilities. In fact, when the beginning of what’s considered the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0) began around 2014, more and more robotics and automation were introduced to the manufacturing setting. Industry 4.0 marked significant technological advancements and production restructuring in all types of factory facilities as well as worldwide societal changes and a new kind of industrial capitalism. At Forpak, our innovative solutions for food packaging equipment and production line engineering follow the patterns of Industry 4.0 with advanced software systems, downstream automation, and intelligent reject capabilities. With Forpak equipment, production lines can incorporate fully automated systems for sorting, laning, stacking, conveying, autotransfer, discrepant product rejection, and more.

Latest Industrial Revolution

There have been several industrial revolutions throughout history, and they almost always evolve in response to new technology. In the late 1700s to early 1800s, the First Industrial Revolution came with the development of steam and water power in addition to new textile manufacturing capabilities. The Second Industrial Revolution came in the late 1800s to early 1900s with electricity, railroad, telegraph, and the introduction of more machinery to the production line. The Third Industrial Revolution occurred in the late 20th century as the digital age and the internet were introduced. Today, we are in the midst of the beginning of Industry 4.0.

COVID-19 Pandemic

After the COVID-19 pandemic, Industry 4.0’s trends for increased automation only expanded. The pandemic resulted in a drop in the workforce, a need for greater sanitation, and a serious growth in demand. In response to these concerns and to stay current with the changing Industry 4.0 standards, manufacturers around the world have been greatly increasing the amount of automation in their facilities. This includes food packaging and food processing companies.

Food Packaging

If you’re looking to increase automation in your facilities, Forpak equipment is your answer. Our fully automated food packing equipment designs fulfill operational requirements for many production lines and meet standards for sanitation and hygiene in the bakery, meat, and pizza industries. In addition to our equipment designs engineered for laning, sorting, stacking, conveying, autotransfers, and rejection, we also work with clients to build customized systems to meet their unique needs for automation.

The future of COVID-19 and the Fourth Industrial Revolution will likely lean farther and farther toward complete automation. To learn more about how Forpak will continue to support downstream automation with our food packaging equipment designs, contact us by calling (612) 419-1948 or emailing You can also request more information online today or request a quote to get started with us today.

Microfabrication for Medical Device Manufacturing

For almost 25 years, MultiSource Manufacturing LLC has worked to engineer and fabricate precise parts, components, and full assemblies for the medical device industry. Medical equipment production requires a level of perfect accuracy, strict design specifications, and bio-safe engineering knowledge. No matter what kind of devices we manufacture, from surgical equipment to implantable devices, we adhere to the highest industry standards, and our own goals for quality and safety during every step in the production process. Our engineering team and manufacturing technicians understand the importance of a reliable, well-made product for all industries, but especially for the medical device field. The quality of a medical device when put to use in a hospital, emergency room, or other treatment center can mean life or death for a patient. To eliminate the potential of any of our devices compromising a patient’s health and well-being, we follow a set of meticulous but basic standards for quality and precision. Many of our medical device manufacturing operations also utilize microfabrication processes to build intelligent electronic designs and tools for bio-integration.

Uses of Microfabrication

There are many uses for microfabrication when it comes to medical device manufacturing. From a biochemical standing, microfabrication is key for creating solutions for cell biology treatments, biosensors, and other components that involve medical procedures at a molecular level. Our microfabrication capabilities operate on a slightly larger scale than molecular biology, but we still work to build parts that are almost invisible to the naked eye. Tolerances often run as tight as +/-0.001″ (+/-0.0025mm) on our medical device production floor.

Much of our microfabrication for medical devices works with semiconductor and electronics fabrication. Some processes we utilize in our microfabrication operations include:

Thin-film deposition

Made from silicon, metals, or plastics, thin films can be used in microcomponents for masking, structure, subtractive manufacturing, and more. Thin films deposited on surfaces are typically fused with chemical reactions, but can be attached with physical operations. Common films use silicon dioxide or silicon nitride, both dielectric substrates (electrical insulators).

Wet processing

For semiconductors and other microcomponents, wet processing is a critical part of developing a precise design. Wet processing immerses parts into an etching solution, which chemically removes areas of a chip or part that is not masked with specific films or other photoresist agents. We also use wet processing to apply strip lines and other parts of a microchip and wafer system.

Electronics integration

With our capabilities for semiconductor microfabrication and our medical device manufacturing skills, we can pair microcomponents with electrical systems. Circuits, chip boards, electrodes, capacitors, insulators, and other parts of electronic medical devices of all kinds rely on our microfabrication and precision in the full assembly of parts, from catheterization, ablation, and other implantable devices to drug delivery systems and pharmaceutical packaging.

To learn more about our medical device manufacturing, contact MultiSource Manufacturing LLC at (952) 456-5500. You can also request more information, or request a quote to get started with us today.