Aug 8, 2019
It’s always a good time to check up on your facility’s safety — but now the stakes are even higher when it comes to safety violations.
Employers across the U.S. have been facing higher penalties from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) this year. In January 2019, the federal agency announced it was increasing the maximum penalty for serious and other than serious citations to $13,260 and the maximum for repeat and willful violations to $132,598.
That means conducting a safety audit is especially critical if you’ve already received citations at any company facility, since a repeat offense could trigger a costly willful violation.
Aug 1, 2019
Image source: NOAA
Regardless of how active or inactive a particular hurricane season is predicted to be, it only takes one storm to significantly damage your food plant or cold storage warehouse.
Here are some basic steps to prepare your facility for a hurricane:
Jun 27, 2019
This is the last year that R22 can be manufactured in or imported to the United States.
As a reminder, here’s the timeline according to the EPA final rule:
- On January 1, 2018, R22 production dropped 30% from the 2017 supply to 9 million pounds
- On January 1, 2019, production dropped 55% from the 2018 supply to 4 million pounds
- On January 1, 2020, R22 will be phased out completely with no new or imported R22 allowed in the U.S.
If your refrigeration system uses R22, you have some decisions to make — and the clock is ticking.
Jun 20, 2019
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:
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.
May 9, 2019
You’ve likely heard a lot about Industry 4.0 and the impact of predictive and prescriptive maintenance on the food and beverage industry. It can sound overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, a few basic investments and the right partner can help streamline the way your facility operates and communicates
Food manufacturing facilities are complex and have various ecosystems operating at different levels, including:
- Raw materials and receiving
- Processing and KPIs
- Monitoring (HMIs, PLCs and networks)
- Inventory and work orders (ERP and PRM)
- Packaging and distribution
- Quality, process safety management (PSM) and safety
But all of these systems don’t always talk to each other. In many facilities, an equipment failure triggers a lengthy domino effect: Maintenance staff has to assess the problem, create a work order, check if a replacement part is available and so on.
Does this scenario sound familiar?
May 2, 2019
If you’re a decision maker in the food manufacturing space, ask yourself these questions:
- Does your company value sustainability and transparency in its processing?
- Is your boardroom as diverse as your customer base?
- Are your company’s leaders listening to those customers to anticipate what they want?
- Is your company taking tangible steps to be innovative, or does it just say it is?
If you want to thrive — not just survive — in today’s market, you must be answering “yes” to these questions… or at least taking actionable steps toward a “yes.”
The food and beverage industry is changing more than ever before thanks to disruptive innovation, the internet, evolving customer values and more.
Don’t be the next Blockbuster, Kodak or Myspace. The key is to be proactive, not reactive. Where should you begin? Consider these leading trends shaping the industry.
The best eco-friendly investments that also generate ROI
Apr 25, 2019
Most food and beverage companies aren’t against being more eco-friendly — it’s just that achieving sustainability in a food processing plant can be easier said than done.
The upfront investment associated with energy-efficient solutions, such as “green” building materials and equipment, can be difficult to justify. How do you know which energy-efficient options will provide the best return on investment?
As we observe Earth Day this week, let’s look at ways to invest in your food plant that are both good for the planet and provide a solid return on investment (ROI).
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.