Biofilm can form just about anywhere in a food processing plant — even the cleanest looking surfaces can be a threat to food safety if an invisible layer of bacteria is present. Why does biofilm form and how can it be prevented? Knowing how to detect and eliminate biofilm is crucial to ensuring your food plant’s processing equipment is contaminant-free.
An in-depth look at warning signs, proper sanitation procedures and prevention
Mergers and acquisitions are a driving force in the food industry today. Plus, a growing middle class and the millennial population are less brand loyal than previous generations, leading to a surge in store brands. What does this mean for food manufacturers? How should they respond to this disruption in the industry?
Acknowledge that the next generation is changing the food game
We can’t rely on what we used to know about how consumers make purchasing decisions. “That’s what we’ve always done” is no longer a valid justification in today’s food and beverage market.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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?
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
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).
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.