The COVID-19 pandemic has made the term “social distancing” a regular part of our daily lexicon. Large gatherings, like sporting events and concerts, are largely postponed as we fight the spread of the virus, but many group activities remain an essential part of our lives. We need to go to the store to pick up our groceries, and kids need to get an education.
During the pandemic, the approach to schooling has been largely determined by the number of cases in an area and local restrictions. Some schools are maintaining remote learning, while others are cautiously reopening their doors and figuring out how to best maintain socially distanced learning.
Social Distance Challenges
Effective social distancing requires structure and compliance. Historically, in-person schooling has been a very social activity. Students and teachers gather together and move from classroom to classroom and then to the lunchroom and the gym throughout the day.
Disrupting entrenched behavioral patterns is a major challenge. The school administration and teachers can implement health checks, require facemasks, introduce staggered schedules, and create smaller classroom pods, but kids are still learning how to focus and control their behavior.
While it is going to take time and trial and error to learn the best way to maintain social distancing in schools, introducing physical barriers is a powerful first step.
Solutions for the Academic Setting
The threat of virus transmission has forced a radical shift in the way schools approach group learning. Recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other regulatory agencies help guide schools through this challenging environment.
What kind of solutions can be put to work in different parts of a school?
- Classrooms. Classroom safety has always been paramount to schools. In the age of COVID-19, safety measures include maintaining adequate distance between teachers and students. For example, schools can use Sneeze Buddy social distance separation panels between desks to help keep students and teachers safe while facilitating group learning. These panels are reconfigurable, allowing schools to move them and adjust them to meet their needs.
- Gymnasiums. School gymnasiums are large, open spaces that normally pack in hundreds of students and staff for assemblies and sporting events. Now, these spaces need to be approached differently. Industrial curtains can be used to create separate enclosures, allowing smaller groups to still use the space.
- Cafeterias. Cafeterias are also large gathering spots for schools. Industrial curtains can be used here as they are in gymnasiums, creating smaller, enclosed areas to adhere to maximum capacity requirements.
- Hallways. The hallway environment has always been less structured than the classroom. Students are rushing to their next classes, stopping at their lockers, and catching up with friends. But, schools still need to think about hallway safety. Industrial curtains can be set up as hallway dividers, keeping foot traffic moving in one direction. Entrances to designated areas off of hallways can also be sectioned off with curtains.
- Buses. Bus protocols developed by Education Weekly recommend limited capacity, distanced seating, a barrier around the driver, mandatory facemasks, regular disinfection, and open windows to maintain the circulation of fresh air.
AmCraft has completed a project for a South Barrington, Illinois high school, providing curtains for the school’s cafeteria and gym. Learn more about how we can help your school follow the necessary safety precautions as the world continues to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cannabis may not be federally legal at this point, but that hasn’t stopped the “green rush” from flourishing in states with medical and recreational programs. Still a relatively new business emerging from years of prohibition, cannabis regulations are stringent and evolving. Everyone who participates in the industry–from growers to retailers and everything in between– needs to stay abreast of local and state requirements while learning how to establish and expand their business. Learn how industrial curtain walls can play a role in making cannabis business operations run smoothly.
Challenges in the Cannabis Industry
Licensed cannabis cultivators create the raw product that is used to create consumer products, including dried flower, edibles, oils, and more. Growers face a number of challenges including pests, humidity control, and temperature control. Once cannabis is successfully harvested it has to be processed, which may occur at the same site of cultivation. Or, it might be shipped to an extraction laboratory or manufacturing facility. These licensed facilities are challenged to create consistent products at scale, which means their interiors are carefully designed and equipped. Finished products are then packaged and sent to retail locations, like dispensaries. Dispensaries need to have a welcoming atmosphere for their clients, but they also need to be able to store their products.
How Industrial Curtain Walls Can Help
Industrial curtain walls are a versatile solution that can be used in multiple different industries, including agriculture, consumer packaged goods, and retail–all of which play a role in the cannabis business. These industrial curtains can help control temperature and humidity and create effective barriers between work spaces.
Solutions for Different Cannabis Business Environments
Different environments within the cannabis business necessitate different industrial curtain solutions. See how these curtains can be effective in four major areas of the industry:
- Cultivation facilities and greenhouses. Cannabis is grown in both indoor cultivation facilities and outdoor greenhouses. Both of these environments require exact temperature and humidity control. Industrial curtains can come in insulated variations, which can help facilities manage temperature and humidity control. Industrial curtains can even have airtight edge sealing, which can help to reduce the risk of pests.
- Extraction laboratories. Extraction laboratories require precise conditions for the processing and extraction of cannabis. Floor-to-ceiling industrial curtain enclosures can be a cost effective way to create separate areas within a laboratory. These industrial curtains can help with air flow management, temperature control, fume and dust control, and more. The curtain walls can also be used to help create spaces for sterile testing and quality control.
- Manufacturing facilities. Cannabis manufacturing facilities make a number of different types of products, including edibles. There are industrial curtains, both stationary and retractable, that are specifically designed for food processing facilities. These food grade industrial curtains, designed to meet FDA and USDA requirements, can be configured to create separate spaces in manufacturing facilities that make the baked goods and gummies so popular with consumers.
- Dispensaries. Dispensaries are the retail outlets of the cannabis business. The customer-facing portion of a dispensary will typically feature educational material and information on the products available for sale, but these stores also need separate storage areas. Industrial curtain walls can be used to create separate areas for products in the back of the retail store. Dispensaries can opt for custom curtain walls with printed logos, which can maintain an aesthetic consistent with the location’s branding.
If you have a cannabis business or you are in the process of ramping up operations, you know the importance of detail. Learn more about industrial curtain wall options, how they can be used in the cannabis business, and request a quote to get started.
Human talent will remain core to the manufacturing and logistics space, but the adoption of new technology is inevitable. Whether it is to safeguard operations or improve efficiency, a variety of new technologies are well on their way to becoming commonplace in the industry. Here are five technologies to watch in the manufacturing and logistics space:
Transportation Management Systems
Customer expectations are higher than ever, and the details of manufacturing and logistics are becoming even more complex. Transportation management systems (TMS), arising out of that challenge, are designed to manage the ins and outs of moving goods, according to TechTarget. Today, these systems are mostly cloud-based and integrated into larger enterprise resource planning and supply chain management platforms.
As the market for this technology grows at a rapid pace, users are finding significant return on investment. For example, a survey conducted by ARC Advisory Group found that companies using a TMS reported approximately 8 percent freight savings.
The Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a vast system of technologies that enable the transfer of data. Things like wearable smart watches and smart home appliances are examples of how people use the IoT in everyday life. The IoT is already taking on a specific application in the manufacturing and logistics industry through the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). The IIoT is made up of devices specifically designed to improve processes in the industrial space. For example, smart sensors can help capture and analyze data that be used to improve efficiency and quality control, according to IoT Agenda.
The global market value for the IIoT is expected to reach $933.62 billion by 2025, according to a report from Million Insights.
Blockchain is a major buzzword in nearly every industry. This shared digital ledger technology offers a secure way to track and record transactions, according to IBM. Its potential applications in the manufacturing and logistics space are many. For example, blockchain could provide more transparency in the supply chain by providing a record of every single time an asset is moved all the way from manufacture to sale, according to Supply Chain 24/7. The technology is already being used in the space and it will only become more prominent going forward.
Augmented reality (AR) adds virtual elements to an existing environment. While it has multiple applications in entertainment – think about the Pokémon Go app craze – AR is also making headway into the manufacturing and logistics industry. This technology has the potential to improve employee training and drive more efficiencies. For example, AR devices could show employees information on package contents and weight, cutting down the time it takes to find this information manually, according to Venture Beat.
Already large companies are integrating AR devices into their manufacturing processes. Boeing is using AR headsets in its wire assembly process, which has resulted in a 25% reduction in assembly time and reduced errors to approximately 0 percent, according to Transparency Market Research.
Artificial intelligence (AI) sounds like a futuristic concept, but this technology is making huge strides today. Machine learning, a type of AI, could streamline the entire supply chain process by offering real-time insight into process management and productivity. The introduction of autonomous vehicles, an iteration of AI-driven technology, could be a game changer for transportation and delivery in the manufacturing and logistics industry, according to Supply Chain 24/7.
AmCraft Manufacturing is a leading supplier of Industrial Curtain Walls for the manufacturing and logistics industry. Contact us today and speak with one of our curtain specialists regarding your space separation, temperature control or noise reduction needs.