What Can IIoT Sensors Measure and Monitor in a Food Processing Facility?

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What Can IIoT Sensors Measure and Monitor in a Food Processing Facility?

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:

 

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and What It Means for Your Food Plant

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The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and What It Means for Your Food Plant

By now, you’ve likely heard about the various ways our homes are getting “smarter.” We now have devices such as the Amazon Echo, Wi-Fi-connected toaster ovens and doorbells with live-streaming video. Nowadays, you can lock your front door from your smartphone, tell Siri to turn on the lights inside your house and control your thermostat from anywhere you have an internet connection.

These networks of physical devices embedded with electronics, sensors and software that allow them to connect and communicate are often referred to as the Internet of Things. This new era of technology isn’t just limited to your home, though — food and beverage plants are taking advantage of smart devices as well.  

 

5 Ways to Improve Equipment Reliability and Avoid Downtime in Your Food Processing Plant

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Reliability

There is one thing that food processing plants cannot afford: downtime as a result of equipment failure. The loss of a single piece of equipment can halt production and lead to product loss, not to mention a loss of revenue.

Some studies have shown that downtime for a typical food packaging line can result in $15,000 per hour of lost revenue. That’s $250 per minute!

 

Food Plant Refrigeration: Everything You Need to Know About Blast Cells

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Food Plant Refrigeration: Everything You Need to Know About Blast Cells

Whether your food plant packages frozen orange juice or processes chicken breasts, a blast cell freezer can be used to freeze almost any product. It’s important to understand the common misconceptions, the importance of proper design and how to operate your blast cell.

 

Can Compressed Air Systems be a Source of Contamination?

2 ways to prevent contaminated air in your food facility

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Can Compressed Air Systems be a Source of Contamination?

Did you know that compressed air systems can be a source of contamination in your food plant? Dangerous bacteria and pathogens can be difficult to spot in your facility—especially if they are airborne. It’s a common misperception that compressed air is considered as clean as the air from the outdoor environment that surrounds your facility—NOT true. Once in the compressor, the air outside of your facility (ambient air) mixes with other elements within your compressor (i.e., corrosion, worn seals). Whatever is not caught in your filtration system is then circulated throughout your plant.

 

5 Details to Give Your Design-Builder for a More Accurate Food Project Budget

Avoid discrepancies by providing details about utilities, food safety and more

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5 Details to Give Your Design-Builder for a More Accurate Food Project Budget

At this time of year, many food processors are planning next year’s capital expenditures, which often means piecing together budgets for upcoming food plant construction projects. It is important to create the most accurate budget possible: a tricky task. Frequently, food processors prepare budgets without the assistance of an experienced design-builder. By doing so, they make assumptions that can skew their entire budget.

 

How to Choose the Best Lighting for Your Food Facility

Examining the best applications for LED and fluorescent lighting

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How to Choose the Best Lighting for Your Food Facility

All lighting is not created equal. When selecting LED or fluorescent lighting for your food facility or warehouse, understand that each type is better suited for some areas rather than others. How can you know which is the right fit for your plant?

 

3 Ways to Prevent Food Plant Electrical System Malfunctions

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3 Ways to Prevent Food Plant Electrical System Malfunctions

Do you give enough care and consideration to your food processing facility’s electrical equipment? As a senior electrical engineer for Stellar, I joined several of my peers in a discussion in this month’s Food Engineering article, “Electrical systems and components: The lifeblood of your facility,” on electrical safety, systems maintenance and more. In the article, I reviewed factors that impact your plant’s electrical well-being. Below I describe them in greater detail for Food for Thought’s readers:

 

How Production Loads in Your Food Processing Plant Affect Refrigeration Efficiency and Stability

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How production loads in your food processing plant affect refrigeration efficiency and stability

When cooling loads change gradually, your refrigeration equipment and controls undergo gradual changes and your system remains stable and efficient. However, if rapid load fluctuations occur as a result of production or sanitation activities, many systems experience pressure or temperature fluctuations, which can cause sanitation and quality issues as well as increased energy usage. There are several strategies food manufacturers can employ to deal with these challenges.

 

5 Best Practices for Using Robotics in Your Food Processing Plant

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5 best practices for using robotics in your food processing plant

Food and beverage processors are increasingly turning towards robotics for the technology’s slew of benefits including reduced costs, upped throughput and increased food and worker safety. Earlier this month, I contributed to the Food Engineering article, “The rise of robotic automation,” discussing the functionality for robots in the food processing industry. While robotics does boast various benefits to food manufacturing, it’s important to follow some best practices during your own implementation.