Cold Storage Warehouse Automation: 6 Money-Saving Benefits Beyond Labor Costs

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Cold Storage Warehouse Automation: 6 Money-Saving Benefits Beyond Labor Costs

Automation is on the rise in industrial facilities, food processing plants and cold storage warehouses. At Stellar, we’ve seen more client requests for automation in the past year than ever before.

When people think of automation and cost savings, the obvious usually comes to mind first: labor costs. Projected minimum wage increases and the scarcity of people willing to work in a cold storage environment are driving more owners to invest in automation.

But automating your warehouse can yield more savings beyond just the payroll. Here are six more benefits that you may not have considered.

 

5 Budget Factors to Consider When Designing Cold Storage Warehouses

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5 Budget Factors to Consider When Designing Cold Storage Warehouses

The need for cold storage facilities is greater than ever. Product integrity and fresh products are in demand as Millennials become major players in the consumer market. This generation of buyers favor healthier, fresher and higher quality products that have a shorter shelf life — meaning an efficient distribution network is crucial to serve these consumers.

But how can you design your warehouse cost-effectively?

 

Improve Your Food Plant’s Sustainability With These 5 Tips

The best eco-friendly investments that also generate ROI

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Improve Your Food Plant’s Sustainability These 5 Tips

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).

 

Industrial Dust Collection Systems: Which Is Best for Your Food Processing Facility?

The dangers of dust in food manufacturing

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Industrial Dust Collection Systems: Which Is Best for Your Food Processing Facility?

Controlling dust is a major concern in food manufacturing, whether you’re roasting coffee beans, mixing spices or using flour as a release agent for your baked goods. Whenever there is potential dust in your processing environment, you want to capture it at the source.

Managing dust is critical for a variety of reasons:

 

What Can IIoT Sensors Measure and Monitor in a Food Processing Facility?

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What Can IIoT Sensors Measure and Monitor in a Food Processing Facility?

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:

 

Building a Food Plant on a Short Schedule: 4 Ways to Fast-track Your Construction Project

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Building a Food Plant on a Short Schedule: 4 Ways to Fast-track Your Construction Project

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.

 

Construction Labor Costs: 4 Ways to Avoid Budget Surprises in 2019

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Photo by Matt Harding, Yuma Sun

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.

 

Pit Dock Levelers vs. Vertical Dock Levelers: Which Is Right for Your Food Plant Loading Dock?

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Pit Dock Levelers vs. Vertical Dock Levelers: Which Is Right for Your Food Plant Loading Dock?

When it comes to designing loading docks for today’s food and beverage manufacturing facilities, there are two main choices when it comes to dock levelers: ones that store horizontally and ones that store vertically.

Pit, or recessed, dock levelers store horizontally and are the most commonly found across all industries. This traditional style of leveler has been around for decades and is used in a variety of facilities.

Vertical storing dock levelers have emerged as a newer alternative to pit levelers, and they are a better choice for food and beverage facilities and refrigerated warehouses. They are hydraulic powered and stand upright inside the building when not in use.

Which option is best for your facility? If you are a food or beverage processor, a vertical leveler is likely your best bet. Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of this equipment to understand why.

 

Designing Food Plant Welfare Spaces to Attract and Retain Employees

7 features of a modern, personnel-focused facility

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Designing Food Plant Welfare Spaces to Attract and Retain Employees

Source: Bell & Evans (Robert Pepple)

 

Food and beverage manufacturing facilities in the U.S. today are experiencing a labor shortage, mostly due to a healthy economy and low unemployment rate. Turnover rates at these facilities are already high to begin with, so more food plant owners are looking to attract employees and increase retention rates.

Many of Stellar’s clients — whether they are building new facilities or renovating existing ones — are asking us to design employee welfare spaces to be more unique and attractive to prospective employees.

While processing areas are still the heart of a food plant, these spaces are increasingly being viewed from a personnel-focused perspective. Plus, break rooms and employee amenities are becoming more important for business than ever before.

 

Augmented Reality in Building Design and Construction

How we’re using AR technology, HoloLens and more to build the facilities of tomorrow

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Augmented Reality in Building Design and Construction

Image credit: VisualLive‘s AR app, MobiLive

 

Augmented reality (AR) — superimposing computer-generated images on the user’s view of the real world — is increasingly used in a variety of applications today. From smartphone games and social media filters to furniture design and classroom education, this technology is being utilized across virtually every industry, and building design and construction is no exception.

In fact, exciting developments are happening at the intersection of AR and the work we do at Stellar. While it’s been used as a marketing and selling tool, we’re beginning to apply AR on job sites more frequently. It’s safe to say this powerful technology is revolutionizing the way buildings are designed, constructed and renovated.