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.
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 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.
Mar 7, 2019
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.
Feb 21, 2019
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.
Jan 24, 2019
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.
7 features of a modern, personnel-focused facility
Jan 17, 2019
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.
Jan 10, 2019
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:
How we’re using AR technology, HoloLens and more to build the facilities of tomorrow
Dec 20, 2018
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.