Apr 11, 2019
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:
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 21, 2019
The economy is thriving, the labor market is competitive and disruptive innovation is shaping the present and future of the food industry. Food plant owners are always looking for cost savings, especially in today’s fast-paced market. Could your packaging be a ripe opportunity?
Let’s look at a few considerations for optimizing your packaging process.
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 28, 2019
When it comes to your facility’s process safety management (PSM), switching from paper to digital is a no-brainer. Using a digital platform saves time, makes document storage more convenient and allows you to have more control during OSHA audits.
We live in an online, digital world where software technologies make our work more efficient. Why should one of the most important elements of your business — the health and safety of your employees — be any different?
Stellar has been a pioneer in the digital PSM market since 1998, and we’re raising the bar.
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.
Feb 14, 2019
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.
Feb 7, 2019
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.
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: