What updated OSHA standards mean for your facility’s roof and how to protect maintenance workers on your property
Feb 15, 2018
There’s a prevalent double standard when it comes to food facility safety management. Think about the measures taken when a visitor enters a food plant production area: You have to dress out, walk through a foot bath, take off jewelry, wear a smock. All of these precautions are designed to keep your product safe — but what about your maintenance crew?
It’s not uncommon to see safety standards and attention to cleanliness become more relaxed in maintenance areas or on the roof of a food plant. Food safety precautions get a lot of attention because owners (rightfully) fear product contamination and highly publicized recalls, but what about the risks outside your building? One maintenance or construction accident can do just as much damage in negative publicity and lawsuits as a product recall.
Feb 8, 2018
Major food recalls are a reminder of how critical detection technology is for a food facility — and lately, it seems we’re being reminded far too often. There are a lot of variables when it comes to x-ray and metal detection systems: What should you buy? How much protection is enough? How do you maximize performance? Let’s start by understanding the difference between x-ray and metal detection technology.
Breaking down your options as the R22 refrigerant is phased out
Feb 1, 2018
The turn of the new year signaled the most recent step of the R22 refrigerant phase-out in the United States.
As a reminder, here’s the timeline according to the EPA final rule:
- On January 1, 2018, R22 production dropped 30 percent from the 2017 supply to 9 million pounds
- On January 1, 2019, production will drop 55 percent 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.
Since the supply just dropped at the beginning of this year, that means R22 prices (and repair prices) are increasing yet again.
If your refrigeration system uses R22, or any other refrigerant with a high Global Warming Potential (GWP), you have some decisions to make — and the clock is ticking.
Jan 25, 2018
A new year means a new start for some food and beverage companies: Some will be building new plants, others will be renovating existing ones. But no one wants to kick off the new year with a bloated budget. An integrated approach to designing and constructing your next big project can help your bottom line in 2018. Let’s look at how.
Jan 18, 2018
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.
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) refers to connected devices and technologies that can collect, monitor, analyze and exchange large amounts of data and provide valuable business information to improve processes, quality or maintenance activities within a plant.
Are you thinking about using more of this technology in your facility? Let’s look at some advantages, considerations and potential pitfalls.
Jan 11, 2018
China’s economy has been on a rapid upward trend for the last 20-plus years. It has become the second-largest economy in the world and is flirting with taking the first-place spot. If your company is in any way, shape or form connected to the global economy, chances are you have some connection to China.
With a growing middle class and upper class, China still finds it extremely challenging to supply itself with the kind of quality and value-added food products that these growing populations want.
This has made it enticing for a lot of U.S. food companies to create an even greater presence in China, usually in the form of establishing their own in-country food processing plant.
If you are one of these U.S. companies planning or contemplating establishing a food processing facility in China, here are some things you may want to consider with regard to designing and building the structure:
Dec 21, 2017
Believe it or not, 2018 is just around the corner. A lot happened in the food industry in 2017, including groundbreaking mergers like the Amazon-Whole Foods deal, the first major compliance deadlines for Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) rules and the dawn of a new presidential administration.
We know the food industry doesn’t slow down, so what should you keep an eye on as we venture into the new year? Here are some of my top trends to watch in 2018.
What you need to know about retrofitting an existing facility, mergers & acquisitions, OEM integrations and more
Dec 14, 2017
This year was characterized by continued change and disruption in the ever-evolving food and beverage industry from a record-breaking hurricane season to the Amazon-Whole Foods merger.
As a design-build firm specializing in food and beverage plants, we at Stellar observed some notable trends in 2017 that are shaping the way facilities operate and the way companies in the industry do business.
As we approach the new year, here are a few of my reflections and takeaways from the past year in the food and beverage industry.
Dec 7, 2017
Virtual walkthroughs with VR headsets
Virtual reality (VR) is changing the game when it comes to designing facilities for the food and beverage industry. With a VR headset, you can “walk through” your new building during the design phase, months before the first brick is laid.
Rather than examining a 2D design on a sheet of paper, 3D modeling coupled with virtual reality technology can bring a building to life without having to interpret complicated designs.
Nov 30, 2017
So you want your building to be LEED certified, but what level should you pursue? Does a more energy-efficient facility mean completely revamping your processing? What about food safety?
LEED certification is a good thing, but it should not dictate every decision in a new-build or plant renovation. Checking credits off your LEED checklist shouldn’t come at the expense of performance and food safety.
Let’s look at some factors to designing a sustainable facility that go beyond the traditional aspects like electricity and water use. But first things first: where to begin?