Prominent Speakers Highlighted Powder Show Conference

The conference provided an opportunity for the processing community to reflect on its past and present while envisioning its future.

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Image courtesy of Informa

Sixteen months after it was initially scheduled, the Northern Hemisphere’s only event serving the essential powder and bulk solids handing and processing community, the International Powder & Bulk Solids Conference & Exhibition, took place August 24-26 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL. The live exhibition and conference attracted industry-leading attendees including, 3M, Anheuser-Busch, BASF, Clorox, DuPont, Duracell, General Mills, Honeywell, Procter & Gamble, Shell, and more.

In addition to the practical tips and insights into the design and engineering of powder and bulk solids manufacturing and handling processes for which the conference is known, this year the conference also provided a unique opportunity for the process engineering community to reflect on its past and present while envisioning its future. Each day of the conference began with a keynote presentation addressing these themes, followed by topical sessions led by industry experts.

“We were eager to reunite the community in person at iPBS and serve as the global meeting place for much-needed in-person connection and education as we work together to overcome unprecedented challenges,” said Steve Everly, group event director. “The powder and bulk solids processing and handling community is in a period of transformation, driven by pressures that existed before the pandemic. While the pandemic presented unprecedented supply chain challenges which have accelerated the adoption of automation and digitization and stoked renewed interest in concepts like reshoring and distributed manufacturing, manufacturers in general were already facing greater complexity in consumer demand than ever before. For the powder and bulk solids community—the specialist process engineers, scientists, technologists, and executives whose activity constitutes over 70% of the lifecycle of all products-these issues are especially important and even existential.” 

The 2021 edition welcomed the return of world-renowned industry expert and Powder Show conference speaker Eric Maynard, vice president at Jenike & Johanson. Maynard led three sessions at this year’s conference:

Selecting & Troubleshooting a Mixing or Blending Application

This session detailed how to obtain and maintain a uniform blend of dry bulk solids throughout your process, coveried what blend uniformity means, reviewed different types of blenders and effective particle sampling techniques.

A Proven, Step-By-Step Process for Bin & Feeder Design
Attendees learned the steps for bulk storage system design using the specific flow properties of the stored material and other handling requirements to ensure a safe and efficient process.

Demystifying De-mixing: Understanding Segregation
Maintaining a uniform blend of dry bulk solids is critical to avoid rejected material, extra blending time, and defective end products—engineers and operators in industries as varied as chemicals, pharmaceuticals, foods, plastics, and battery production attended this session.

Keynote Presentations

Todd Smith, iPBS keynote moderator and business and strategy manager of Kansas State University’s Bulk Solids Innovation Center, said, “Everyone in our industry knows that powders and bulk solids pose some of the most challenging and interesting technical problems faced by manufacturers. What are the biggest challenges and how do we keep improving the state of the art?”

This year’s two keynote presentations:

From Dark Art to Discipline to Code: The Powder & Bulk Solids Technology Sector at (Almost) 70


* Karl Jacob, independent consultant, University of Michigan
* Liz Del Cid, R&D engineer, Jenike & Johanson
* Tim Bell, senior engineering fellow, DuPont

Moderator: Todd Smith, business & strategy manager at Kansas State University Bulk Solids Innovation Center

The powder and bulk solids technology sector continues to play a key role in shepherding economies through the worst of the pandemic. An essential business, the sector encompasses more than 70% of the manufacturing lifecycle for all products and has ensured that manufacturers of essential products like food and medicine, consumer packaged goods, and personal protective equipment are able to manage the impacts of the crisis successfully. Despite its importance, it grapples with an existential talent crunch that spans the generations. On one end, perceived as messy and low-tech, would-be new entrants are attracted to other fields. At the same time, more senior experts continue to retire in large numbers—often without sharing crucially important wisdom and experience. With fewer and fewer people on the plant floor, pressure mounts to digitize and automate. 

The Future of Computational Modeling & Simulation for Powders, Bulk Solids & Dry Manufacturing Processes

Speaker: Mohammadreza Ebrahimi, senior EDEM engineer, Altair EDEM

No matter the industry, the future of manufacturing is found in a more profound understanding of the behavior of material. The technologies used to model and simulate how material behaves--especially powders and bulk solids--are an exciting new tool in the toolbox for the process engineer. What are these technologies and how can you use them to make your process better today? What is in store tomorrow – and where do you find the right people to use these powerful tools?

About the Author(s)

Powder Bulk Solids Staff

Established in 1983, Powder & Bulk Solids (PBS) serves industries that process, handle, and package dry particulate matter, including the food, chemical, and pharmaceutical markets.

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