How to organize your “snake pit” with consolidation and valve banks
Jun 13, 2019
Breweries and distilleries can be infamous for their “snake pits,” the areas of the facility where transfer hoses can become a tangled mess.
Flow panels and hoses are widely used to route product and cleaning solutions through brewery and distillery piping systems, and they are a cost-effective initial investment. However, as a facility grows, so do the number of connections — and that can quickly get out of control.
These snake pits can pose serious problems for your facility’s efficiency and the safety of your workers. Let’s examine five major risks associated with snake pits, and what you can do about them.
Jun 6, 2019
When the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced they were going to phase out hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants in 2015, many in the industry began preparing for the coming changes. The new proposed regulations under Section 612 of the Clean Air Act, known as SNAP Rule 20, established a schedule to phase out common HFC refrigerants such as R-22, R-124 and R-507.
However, when major chemical companies challenged the EPA in federal court in 2017, a judge ruled the EPA didn’t have the authority to mandate the changes. Attempts to appeal the court’s decision failed, and the EPA acknowledged they will not enforce the rule.
However, just because the rule was overturned at the federal level doesn’t mean you’re in the clear if you use these refrigerants.
May 30, 2019
Summer is around the corner, which means now is the time to ensure your refrigeration system is ready for the upcoming hot months. Summertime is when these systems work their hardest, so how can you make sure yours is running efficiently and at peak performance levels?
Here’s a short checklist to prepare your refrigeration system for the summer:
5 questions to ask when growing your meat-free manufacturing business
May 23, 2019
In case you missed the memo: Plant-based diets and meat alternatives (like the quinoa burgers above) are on the rise. U.S. sales of plant-based “meats” jumped 42% between March 2016 and March 2019 to a total of $888 million, according to Nielsen. Traditional meat sales only rose 1% to $85 billion in that same time frame.
Plant-based food manufacturers aren’t just targeting vegan and vegetarian consumers, either. Sales of meat alternatives are also being driven by an increasing number of “flexitarians” who are incorporating more plant-based foods into their meat-eating diets.
Thanks to all of this buzz, what was once just a niche market has now become more crowded. That means manufacturers of plant-based proteins and other animal-free foods are being forced to rethink how they can scale and remain competitive.
May 16, 2019
Managing total package oxygen (TPO) can be a challenge for beer producers looking to grow their output. TPO is the total concentration of oxygen (O2) present in packaged beer at the time of packaging. When beer comes into contact with air, it begins to oxidize — and too much oxygen can negatively affect the beer’s flavor.
The ultimate goal is to reduce the amount of oxygen allowed in during packaging to prevent oxidation and maintain product quality and taste. However, this can be easier said than done, especially if you’re transitioning from a smaller-scale production with manual processes to greater throughput with increased automation.
May 9, 2019
You’ve likely heard a lot about Industry 4.0 and the impact of predictive and prescriptive maintenance on the food and beverage industry. It can sound overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, a few basic investments and the right partner can help streamline the way your facility operates and communicates
Food manufacturing facilities are complex and have various ecosystems operating at different levels, including:
- Raw materials and receiving
- Processing and KPIs
- Monitoring (HMIs, PLCs and networks)
- Inventory and work orders (ERP and PRM)
- Packaging and distribution
- Quality, process safety management (PSM) and safety
But all of these systems don’t always talk to each other. In many facilities, an equipment failure triggers a lengthy domino effect: Maintenance staff has to assess the problem, create a work order, check if a replacement part is available and so on.
Does this scenario sound familiar?
May 2, 2019
If you’re a decision maker in the food manufacturing space, ask yourself these questions:
- Does your company value sustainability and transparency in its processing?
- Is your boardroom as diverse as your customer base?
- Are your company’s leaders listening to those customers to anticipate what they want?
- Is your company taking tangible steps to be innovative, or does it just say it is?
If you want to thrive — not just survive — in today’s market, you must be answering “yes” to these questions… or at least taking actionable steps toward a “yes.”
The food and beverage industry is changing more than ever before thanks to disruptive innovation, the internet, evolving customer values and more.
Don’t be the next Blockbuster, Kodak or Myspace. The key is to be proactive, not reactive. Where should you begin? Consider these leading trends shaping the industry.
The best eco-friendly investments that also generate ROI
Apr 25, 2019
Most food and beverage companies aren’t against being more eco-friendly — it’s just that achieving sustainability in a food processing plant can be easier said than done.
The upfront investment associated with energy-efficient solutions, such as “green” building materials and equipment, can be difficult to justify. How do you know which energy-efficient options will provide the best return on investment?
As we observe Earth Day this week, let’s look at ways to invest in your food plant that are both good for the planet and provide a solid return on investment (ROI).
The dangers of dust in food manufacturing
Apr 18, 2019
Controlling dust is a major concern in food manufacturing, whether you’re roasting coffee beans, mixing spices or using flour as a release agent for your baked goods. Whenever there is potential dust in your processing environment, you want to capture it at the source.
Managing dust is critical for a variety of reasons:
Apr 11, 2019
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is revolutionizing how food manufacturing facilities operate, from processing to building maintenance and everything in between. Food and beverage companies have access to more data than ever before, and that’s helping them make more informed decisions.
Internet-connected sensors are the “eyes and ears” in a food plant, collecting all the data that makes those insights possible. These devices can measure a variety of inputs from electrical currents to vibrations to air temperature.
Stellar installs sensors in many of the modern facilities we design and construct today, but many owners have the same question: What exactly can I measure?
Let’s look at a few ways sensors can be used in your food plant: