How to Prevent a Dust Explosion at Your Food Processing Plant

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How to Prevent a Dust Explosion at Your Food Processing Plant

Dust explosions have been linked to numerous fatal accidents in the United States. Between 1980 and 2012, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board investigated more than 280 combustible dust incidents that killed 141 people and injured 767 others.

Food manufacturing plants are among the most susceptible to these incidents, especially those in the baking segment that use a lot of flour and sugar. Of course, protecting your facility and employees is paramount, but the risk factors aren’t always obvious. Before we look at how to proactively protect your facility, let’s examine how these disasters can happen.

 

[Infographic] 7 Best Practices for Gluten-Free Manufacturing

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[Infographic] 7 Best Practices for Gluten-Free Manufacturing

Stellar recently exhibited at IBIE 2016, and the gluten-free market continues to be a key topic of discussion among attendees. We’ve been examining the gluten-free industry leading up to the expo, and we’re concluding the series with best practices you need to know if you’re entering this space. Before you begin producing gluten-free products in your facility, consider these principles to ensure you cater to this growing market safely, efficiently and effectively.

 

Gluten-Free Manufacturing: How to Capitalize on the Market’s Growth Opportunities

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Gluten-Free Manufacturing: How to Capitalize on the Market’s Growth Opportunities

Last week, we explored how to overcome four common bakery challenges for implementing gluten-free products into your offerings. As the IBIE Baking Expo kicks off this weekend, we’ll continue exploring the growth of the gluten-free market and how bakeries can safely integrate these niche products into their facilities.

 

Gluten-Free Processing: How to Overcome 4 Common Challenges in Your Bakery Plant

Adapting your processing and distribution to gluten-free nuances

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Gluten-Free Processing: How to Overcome 4 Common Challenges in Your Bakery Plant

Stellar is gearing up for the International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE) in October, and gluten-free baking continues to be one of the hot industry topics this year. The gluten-free food segment is projected to reach $4.8 billion by 2021. So, where does your plant fit into the gluten-free market?

 

Cold Storage Distribution: How Caspers is Utilizing Packaged Refrigeration Systems

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Photo courtesy of Shecco Media

 

One of Florida’s oldest third-party logistics companies is introducing one of refrigeration’s newest innovations into its new cold storage facility: low-charge packaged refrigeration systems. With a focus on moving to eco-friendly refrigerants, McDonald’s franchisee Caspers Cold Storage and Distribution will be cooling its new warehouse with an ammonia/ CO2 and low-charge ammonia DX system. Because Stellar will be designing and building the new systems, Accelerate America editor Andrew Williams interviewed Stellar’s Brandon France to learn more about the project. Check out the feature article, “I’ll have CO2 and ammonia with that” in this week’s blog post to learn more about how the company is using low-charge refrigeration systems to lower costs, reduce installation time and utilize green refrigerants.

 

7 Ways to Integrate Gluten-free Manufacturing Into Your Bakery Plant

An in-depth look at how to safely produce gluten-free products

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7 Ways to Integrate Gluten-free Manufacturing Into Your Bakery Plant

Stellar recently exhibited at the American Society of Baking’s (ASB) annual BakingTech conference in Chicago. “Gluten-free” continues to be a topic on the rise among the attendees. This isn’t surprising, as more and more companies are incorporating gluten-free products into their offering arsenals. However, a common challenge for food manufacturers going gluten-free is preventing cross-contamination, whether it’s modifying existing plants or embarking on greenfield projects. Gluten-free products also require specific distribution and processing considerations that may differ from what manufacturers are used to, from mixing methods to storage. So, how do you safely integrate gluten-free manufacturing into your bakery plant?

 

Comment Deadline Approaching for Proposed HARPC FSMA Amendment

The FDA made the preventative controls for human food rule more flexible

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FSMA
After receiving over 20,000 comments, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently amended several previously proposed rules for the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), including the Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls (HARPC) for Human Food rule. To address food safety from the beginning, the proposed HARPC rule requires preventative measures be taken at food processing facilities. While the FDA is currently accepting comments on the update, the December 15 deadline is rapidly approaching.

 

Benefits of Upgrading Your Refrigeration Controls

Refrigeration Control Series

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Rockwell Automation’s AC drives offer a comprehensive power range for a wide variety of motor control applications including pumps, fans, and conveyors. The Dual-port EtherNet/IP™ Option Module provides flexible, cost-effective methods for leveraging EtherNet/IP networks. Stellar is currently using these VFDs on a large-scale expansion project for Bahamas Food Services. Used with Permission of Rockwell Automation, Inc.

Modern refrigeration controls systems have truly come of age. If your controls system is more than a few years old, you might be surprised at the benefits that newer systems provide:

1. Ethernet architecture — Unlike older serial networks with slower, linear structure, new control systems operate via your existing Ethernet. These networks are non-proprietary so in-house IT teams can easily troubleshoot issues, and repair and replace parts.

2. Improved compressor and VFD communications — Hard-wired serial control systems are slower to communicate with your compressors and VFDs. With an Ethernet platform, the system can pull data much quicker and more efficiently.

3. A single integrated platform — Old systems are often disjointed, with input/outputs, PLC hardware, VFDs, communications protocols and automation controllers all operating independently or requiring customized interfaces. Newer systems are integrated, providing you with a single, unified platform with standards-compliant methods for configuring, operating and maintaining a range of instruments and equipment.

4. Increased data availability — With a single, integrated platform, you’ll have increased access to energy, production, and utility cost information, leading to better decision-making at the management level. You can generate trend analyses, alarm logs, energy management data, and runtime reports in real-time to make the necessary changes and modifications to ensure your refrigeration system is running at optimal efficiency.

 

Is it Time to Upgrade or Replace Your Refrigeration Controls?

Refrigeration Control Series

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As a Rockwell Automation Recognized System Integrator, Stellar utilizes Rockwell’s ControlLogix® systems PLC programmable logic controller, which provides integration between the programming software, controller, and I/O modules. Used with Permission of Rockwell Automation, Inc.

While new refrigeration control systems are significant capital investments, their value far exceeds their cost. In large food processing or cold storage facilities, refrigeration typically accounts for more than half of the facility’s total electric energy use. And with unplanned downtime costing many facilities tens of thousands of dollars per day, an aging refrigeration control system can put your business at significant risk.

If you answer yes to any of the following questions, it may be time to upgrade or replace your existing system:

  • Is your current control system more than 10-15 years old?
  • Have you experienced unplanned facility downtime due to refrigeration failures?
  • Are the individual components of your refrigeration controls system operating as islands, meaning they work independently and don’t “talk” to each other?
  • Are you still operating on a serial network that’s linear, making it difficult to expand your capabilities?
  • Do you have unstable suction and head pressures? Are you unable to trim fans and pumps via VFD control?