10 Game-Changing Process Innovations Inside the Starbucks Soluble Coffee Plant

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10 Game-Changing Process Innovations Inside the Starbucks Soluble Coffee Plant

Photography: Robert Pepple

When Starbucks engaged Stellar to design and build a soluble coffee manufacturing facility, they set the goal of creating the most functionally and technologically advanced plant in the United States. To say they achieved that objective might be an understatement, as the award-winning facility has set a new standard in the industry.

From food safety practices that adhere to the rigorous British Retail Consortium Food Safety Standard to features designed to meet LEED Gold certification requirements, the Starbucks soluble coffee plant in Augusta, Georgia, is a modern marvel. Nowhere are the facility’s many innovations more on display than on its processing and packaging line.

 

How an Innovative Starbucks Processing Plant Takes Food Safety to New Levels

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How an Innovative Starbucks Processing Plant Takes Food Safety to New Levels

Photography: Robert Pepple

In response to the growing demand for home-brewed instant coffee that delivers true “coffee shop” flavor, Starbucks came to Stellar wanting to build a unique soluble coffee plant. The award-winning facility in Augusta, Georgia, was designed to produce the company’s VIA® instant coffee products, and it’s cutting-edge in every sense of the word.

Among the plant’s many innovations, food safety was a top priority. There are several lessons food and beverage manufacturers can learn from how Starbucks addressed this critical issue.

 

How to Keep Your Food Plant Construction Project on Track

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How to Keep Your Food Plant Construction Project on Track

Technology and ever-increasing consumer demand are driving food and beverage companies to compete at a different level than ever before. Speed to market is increasingly important to doing business — the faster a new plant can be built or renovated, the sooner it can begin producing a return on investment.

So how can you ensure your next construction project stays on track? Let’s look at five ways to set yourself up for success, whether you’re tackling a greenfield project or a retrofit.

 

Back to the Basics: How to Optimize Your Clean-in-Place System

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Back to the Basics: How to Optimize Your Clean-in-Place System

A number of food manufacturing facilities have been utilizing clean-in-place (CIP) for years. It’s the method of cleaning processing equipment and piping without disassembling it. While most of us already know what CIP is, when was the last time you performed a thorough audit of your system?

Over the years, changes to the systems being cleaned may have caused the CIP system set-point ratios to change without notice to the operators — making it more out of whack than you may realize.

 

6 Points, One Stone: How Low-Impact Development (LID) Can Help Achieve LEED Certification

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6 Points, One Stone: How Low-Impact Development (LID) Can Help Achieve LEED Certification

If you’re not familiar with low-impact development (LID), you may want to keep reading before building your next facility or warehouse. Thanks to recent changes in LEED requirements, we’re going to see an increase in projects utilizing LID in the near future.

What exactly is low-impact development? How can you make the most of LID and maximize it when applying for LEED certification? Let’s unpack what it means for your next project.

 

Food Plant Sanitation: Choosing Flooring, Walls, Ceilings and Doors to Improve Food Safety

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Food Plant Sanitation: Choosing Flooring, Walls, Ceilings and Doors to Improve Food Safety

Whether you’re designing a new food and beverage facility or renovating an existing one, it’s important to consider the materials you choose for to surround your processing — literally.

When it comes to food safety, these features sometimes get less attention than other factors — such as equipment, ingredient storage/segregation and product handling — but they can be a plant’s Achilles heel if ignored.

Today, we’re going to look at the best practices when selecting materials for your facility’s flooring, walls, ceilings and doors.

 

Ammonia Refrigeration Compliance: How an Engineering Bid Package Can Provide Owners with a Comprehensive Compliance Solution

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Ammonia Refrigeration Compliance: How an Engineering Bid Package Can Provide Owners with a Comprehensive Compliance Solution

Compliance audits for ammonia refrigeration are increasingly more detailed with regulatory standards maturing every year. Which begs the question: How prepared or risk-prone do you want your facility to be?

Compliance is just one of several issues on the agenda this week for the regional conference hosted by the Central Florida Chapter of the Refrigerating Engineers & Technicians Association (RETA). In addition to refrigeration maintenance and operation, attendees at the Central Florida Ammonia Refrigeration Regional Conference will also focus on the importance of compliance with regulators like OSHA.

 

6 Ways You’ll Achieve Greater Speed to Market on Your Next Design-Build Food Project by Working With a Fully Integrated Firm

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6 Ways You’ll Achieve Greater Speed to Market on Your Next Design-Build Food Project by Working With a Fully Integrated Firm

We all know the design-build methodology, by nature, is faster than the traditional design-bid-build approach. But if speed to market is your goal (hint: if you’re in the food and beverage industry, it probably is), then you can’t beat the agility that a fully integrated firm offers.

We’ve previously explored how a fully integrated design-build firm — one that offers process design, building and infrastructure design, and construction services with all in-house resources — can save you money and increase your plant’s food safety. In this post, I’m going to discuss the numerous ways an integrated approach can streamline your next project and get you from concept to commissioning faster than any other method.

 

3 Ways an Integrated Design-Build Firm Can Improve the Food Safety of Your Next Food Manufacturing Facility

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3 ways an integrated design-build firm can improve the food safety of your next food manufacturing facility

Will your new food or beverage facility be the source of a future recall? The answer could all come down to communication. I’m not talking about how well your staff on the plant floor can work together or how effective your leadership skills are as an owner. The fate of your plant can be decided well before a big ribbon is cut and your processing lines whir to life.

The food safety quality of your next facility depends on whether the people designing and constructing your plant can communicate effectively.

This may feel like something that’s outside of your control — but who you hire can be the difference between a project with streamlined communication and a multi-million-dollar game of “telephone” where mixed messages put food safety (and your budget) at risk.

 

3 Ways You’ll Save Money on Your Next Design-Build Food Project by Working with a Fully Integrated Firm

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3 Ways You’ll Save Money on Your Next Design-Build Food Project by Working with a Fully Integrated Firm

Food and beverage companies are faced with a decision when they decide to construct a new facility: contract a design-build firm or go with the traditional design-bid-build project delivery method. Nowadays, design-build is an increasingly popular option because it allows a project to be completed under one contract and in one unified workflow from initial concept through completion.

Not all design-builders are created equal, however. In the food and beverage industry, working with a fully integrated firm can save money, improve safety and increase speed to market on a project.

I call it the “three-legged stool” methodology: A fully integrated firm provides design, construction and process engineering services — the three major components to build a food plant — all under one roof.