Converting an Existing Building into a Food Plant? Don’t Ignore These 4 Areas

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Converting an Existing Building into a Food Plant? Don’t Ignore These 4 Areas

Recent construction growth is forecasted to continue in the coming years, and when it comes to their next food processing facility, many companies are retrofitting existing buildings rather than building new. Speed to market is a top priority in today’s rapidly changing food industry, so this often seems like a quick solution for a growing business.

However, food and beverage facilities have unique and specific infrastructure needs, so if you’re converting a non-food facility into one, there are four main factors you’ll have to address.

 

Maximizing Drone Technology on Food Plant Construction Sites [VIDEO]

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Maximizing Drone Technology on Food Plant Construction Sites from Stellar on Vimeo.

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones, are revolutionizing the way buildings are designed and constructed. Stellar leverages this technology on our job sites to make projects more efficient, accurate and cost-effective.

Here are some of the ways we utilize drones:

 

What is Total Package Oxygen in Beer?

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What is Total Package Oxygen in Beer?

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.

 

AR on the Construction Site: See How Augmented Reality Benefits Builders and Owners [VIDEO]

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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:

 

Decision by Committee: The Pros and Cons of Group Decision-making

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Decision by Committee: The Pros and Cons of Group Decision-making

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.

 

Building a Food Plant on a Short Schedule: 4 Ways to Fast-track Your Construction Project

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Building a Food Plant on a Short Schedule: 4 Ways to Fast-track Your Construction Project

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.

 

Construction Labor Costs: 4 Ways to Avoid Budget Surprises in 2019

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Photo by Matt Harding, Yuma Sun

Photo by Matt Harding, Yuma Sun

 

As the economy thrives and capital investment grows, the construction market continues to face a labor shortage in 2019. This can especially be a factor when it comes to skilled labor for specialized disciplines, such as refrigeration.

What does this mean for food and beverage companies looking to build or expand? If it’s been a few years since your business has tackled a large capital investment project, you’ll need to manage expectations and plan accordingly. Today’s economy is a different playing field with different challenges.

If you’re planning to invest in a new facility, renovation or expansion, here are four things you can do to avoid budget surprises along the way.

 

An Inside Look at the Award-winning Royal Cup Coffee & Tea Processing Facility [PHOTOS]

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An Inside Look at the Award-winning Royal Cup Coffee & Tea Processing Facility [PHOTOS]

For more than 120 years, Royal Cup Coffee & Tea has been rooted in its hometown of Birmingham, Alabama. Over the past century, Royal Cup has grown from selling coffee out of a horse-drawn wagon to a major international importer, roaster and distributor of premium coffees and teas.

Recently, in an effort to meet the demand of its rapidly growing consumer base, Royal Cup consulted with the Stellar team on how it could revamp its 40-acre campus to increase production as well as set the industry standard for safety and efficiency.

 

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.