SAUKVILLE, WIS. ­— Matrix Packaging Machinery on April 3 offered tips to pet food and other manufacturers to help keep packaging equipment clean and fully operational as many food and other essential goods processors work around the clock to meet demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company suggested four areas of consideration: keep equipment clean and sanitized, consider preventive maintenance, have spare parts in-stock in case of emergency and maintaining open lines of communication with service providers.

Matrix pointed out that clean equipment generally runs more efficiently and, in light of heightened awareness for employee health and product safety, sanitation should also be top-of-mind.

Increased production is no excuse to put off preventive maintenance, Matrix said, because packaging machinery requires intermittent inspection to keep systems up and running. Turning a blind eye to preventive maintenance could cause a system to fail prematurely and resulting downtime could have a major impact on a business at this time.

Spare belts, knives, heating elements and other critical components for packaging systems are good to have on hand, Matrix said, to streamline repairs and maintenance that may be needed.

Above all else, maintaining communication with suppliers is important to keeping the food industry moving. Matrix said its representatives will likely attend to preventive maintenance appointments at this time, so processors should stick to these schedules to avoid unexpected downtime going forward.

Matrix issued a statement addressing the novel coronavirus on March 17, stating it will continue business as usual, with a few adjustments to adhere to heightened health and safety standards.

The company has established a COVID-19 Response Team to keep track of recommendations from federal and state governments, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). This designated team will monitor any health, safety, travel or operational issues in relation to COVID-19.

Read about how other manufacturers, suppliers and retailers are coping with COVID-19.

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