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:
Apr 4, 2019
Augmented reality (AR) is a powerful tool on Stellar’s job sites. Today’s AR technology is revolutionizing the way we design and build facilities, making construction projects more efficient and ultimately saving owners time and money.
Stellar leverages augmented reality in three major ways:
Mar 28, 2019
In recent years, more food and beverage companies have adopted a different perspective on decision-making. Rather than having one person making unilateral decisions, many businesses have shifted toward a “decision-by-committee” approach, where a small group of stakeholders are part of the process.
This trend is especially prevalent in larger companies that are adopting a more inclusive corporate culture. The goal is to foster greater pride and buy-in from employees by including diverse perspectives in decisions that affect them.
For example, I recently worked with several owners who utilized the decision-by-committee approach when Stellar was building their new food plant. These facilities are multimillion-dollar investments, and these leaders increasingly want to seek input from their employees who will be working in the facility and with the equipment every day.
Mar 21, 2019
The economy is thriving, the labor market is competitive and disruptive innovation is shaping the present and future of the food industry. Food plant owners are always looking for cost savings, especially in today’s fast-paced market. Could your packaging be a ripe opportunity?
Let’s look at a few considerations for optimizing your packaging process.
Mar 14, 2019
In today’s increasingly fast-paced food and beverage industry, everyone wants their next facility built as soon as possible so it can start shipping product quickly. While hiring an experienced firm to design and build (or renovate) your plant is critical, there are things owners can do to ensure a project moves as efficiently as possible.
Success story: US Cold Storage
Stellar recently designed and built a food distribution facility for US Cold Storage in Laredo, Texas. The project had an aggressive schedule, and as the senior project manager, my job was to ensure we met those deadlines.
Despite a month of unexpected weather delays, we worked creatively and brought in additional crews that worked ten-hour days and six- to seven-day weeks. This allowed us to complete the project in only eight months, just in time to harvest Mexican strawberries.