New Automation and Controls System? Educate and Involve Operators Early

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New Automation and Controls System? Educate and Involve Operators Early

As more food and beverage processing moves from mechanical to automated, it’s important to hire the right people who can operate and troubleshoot from the plant floor. Once you have qualified technical staff in place, transferring knowledge about your automation and controls systems to them is crucial.

At Stellar, we often help food manufacturers configure new facilities, so we understand the process and what it takes to make it go smoothly. When it comes to training your plant personnel on the automation and controls, follow these tips for an efficient startup at your next facility.

 

Choosing the Right Refrigeration Condenser: 5 Variables to Consider

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Choosing the Right Refrigeration Condenser: 5 Variables to Consider

Condensers are one of the most critical elements of a refrigeration system. While optimizing the performance of your condenser is important for reducing energy usage and maintenance costs, if you’re building a new facility, it all starts with selecting the best option for your needs.

Location

When choosing a condenser, it’s important to consider where the facility is located. In colder climates, ice buildup and water freezing may occur with evaporative condensers. To work around this issue, you have two options:

 

Do These 5 Things to Maintain Food Safety in Your Older Facility [Infographic]

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Do These 5 Things to Maintain Food Safety in Your Older Facility

 

You don’t need to build a brand new facility to meet modern-day food safety standards. The reality is that most companies don’t have the budget to build from scratch as often as they’d like, but that doesn’t mean your decades-old plant can’t be a shining example of food safety.

Let’s look at five things you can do now to ensure your older facility is up to today’s food safety standards.

 

Pit Dock Levelers vs. Vertical Dock Levelers: Which Is Right for Your Food Plant Loading Dock?

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Pit Dock Levelers vs. Vertical Dock Levelers: Which Is Right for Your Food Plant Loading Dock?

When it comes to designing loading docks for today’s food and beverage manufacturing facilities, there are two main choices when it comes to dock levelers: ones that store horizontally and ones that store vertically.

Pit, or recessed, dock levelers store horizontally and are the most commonly found across all industries. This traditional style of leveler has been around for decades and is used in a variety of facilities.

Vertical storing dock levelers have emerged as a newer alternative to pit levelers, and they are a better choice for food and beverage facilities and refrigerated warehouses. They are hydraulic powered and stand upright inside the building when not in use.

Which option is best for your facility? If you are a food or beverage processor, a vertical leveler is likely your best bet. Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of this equipment to understand why.

 

Designing Food Plant Welfare Spaces to Attract and Retain Employees

7 features of a modern, personnel-focused facility

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Designing Food Plant Welfare Spaces to Attract and Retain Employees

Source: Bell & Evans (Robert Pepple)

 

Food and beverage manufacturing facilities in the U.S. today are experiencing a labor shortage, mostly due to a healthy economy and low unemployment rate. Turnover rates at these facilities are already high to begin with, so more food plant owners are looking to attract employees and increase retention rates.

Many of Stellar’s clients — whether they are building new facilities or renovating existing ones — are asking us to design employee welfare spaces to be more unique and attractive to prospective employees.

While processing areas are still the heart of a food plant, these spaces are increasingly being viewed from a personnel-focused perspective. Plus, break rooms and employee amenities are becoming more important for business than ever before.

 

The Industrial Internet of Things is Revolutionizing These 4 Areas of Food Manufacturing

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The Industrial Internet of Things is Revolutionizing These 4 Areas of Food Manufacturing

By now, we’ve all realized the reality of today’s internet-connected world: Smart devices aren’t just in our pockets and in our homes. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is revolutionizing the food and beverage industry.

We’re seeing more connected sensors, motors and controllers on the plant floor than ever before, and they’re being used in innovative new ways to optimize processing and inform operations decisions.

There are four main areas of a food plant where IIoT technology is having a major impact:

 

Augmented Reality in Building Design and Construction

How we’re using AR technology, HoloLens and more to build the facilities of tomorrow

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Augmented Reality in Building Design and Construction

Image credit: VisualLive‘s AR app, MobiLive

 

Augmented reality (AR) — superimposing computer-generated images on the user’s view of the real world — is increasingly used in a variety of applications today. From smartphone games and social media filters to furniture design and classroom education, this technology is being utilized across virtually every industry, and building design and construction is no exception.

In fact, exciting developments are happening at the intersection of AR and the work we do at Stellar. While it’s been used as a marketing and selling tool, we’re beginning to apply AR on job sites more frequently. It’s safe to say this powerful technology is revolutionizing the way buildings are designed, constructed and renovated.

 

7 Security Measures to Increase Facility Safety [Infographic]

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7 Security Measures to Increase Facility Safety [Infographic]

Ensuring security and safety at your food or beverage plant has never been more important. Facility owners are increasingly considering how to best protect their product, investments and, most importantly, their employees. Following 9/11, the government even increased security regulations for these processing plants that are so integral to the nation’s food supply.

Of course, no amount of planning can absolutely guarantee safety or prevent an incident, but these design measures are effective at discouraging threats and improving security.

At Stellar, we’ve built numerous food plants, and we’re constantly exploring and designing new security measures into our projects. Here are seven ways to increase safety at your facility:

 

5 Things to Consider Before Investing in Robotics for Your Food Processing Plant

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5 Things to Consider Before Investing in Robotics for Your Food Processing Plant

A growing number of food and beverage processing facilities are investing in robotics and automation, as the technology continues to advance and costs continue to normalize. These tools can be a game-changer for many businesses, offering benefits such as reduced operating costs, upped throughput and increased food and worker safety.

That said, such a significant investment requires careful implementation. Before incorporating robotics into your facility, consider these important best practices to ensure you invest wisely and efficiently.

 

Ready-to-Eat Food Manufacturing: 5 Recommendations for Future Growth

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Ready-to-Eat Food Manufacturing: 5 Recommendations for Future Growth

The demand for healthy and convenient ready-to-eat (RTE) food is on the rise. Already the largest segment in the overall conventional and non-conventional food industry, the RTE food market is forecasted to grow at a 21.8-percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2018 and 2023.

Many consumers today want foods that are both convenient and healthy, foods that require little to no preparation and that are natural, organic, non-GMO and more. So how can RTE food manufacturers prepare their facilities for this growing demand? Let’s explore some important considerations as these companies look to the future.