Aug 17, 2017
Any time you transport product from one stage of processing to another, you introduce the possibility of food safety risks. There are a variety of ways to move your product from receiving to packaging, but how do you minimize the opportunity for outside contamination during the steps between?
Hydrovey systems are a popular option, particularly in facilities that produce canned goods. This semi-closed-loop system transports product through piping using a stream of water and can be a safer alternative to conveyor belts. I’ve designed hydrovey systems and have seen them used in the production of several food products, including fruit, corn and beans.
Apr 27, 2017
Breweries and distilleries can be infamous for their “snake pits,” the areas of the facility where transfer hoses can criss-cross in a tangled mess.
Flow panels and hoses are widely used to route product and cleaning solutions through brewery and distillery piping systems, and they are a cost-effective initial investment. However, as a facility grows, so do the number of connections — and that can quickly get out of control.
Apr 20, 2017
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.
Apr 13, 2017
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.
Apr 6, 2017
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.
Mar 30, 2017
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.
Minimize the top food safety risks in your food and beverage facility
Sep 22, 2016
Ask any food manufacturer or processor if they are committed to high safety and quality standards and their answer will, of course, be yes. But even with the strictest standards, thousands of recalls are still issued each year in the U.S. In 2015, the FDA recalled 9,178 products, a 12-percent increase over the previous two years. If you weighed the amount of goods the USDA recalled last year alone, it would be as heavy as 52 Boeing 747 airliners. That’s a lot of product gone to waste.
Meat manufacturing facility case study
Sep 8, 2016
No matter how well-planned a food plant project is, it can still present challenges. After decades of experience in the food and beverage industry, we’ve found you can best overcome these hurdles with two simple solutions: frequent communication and flexibility. Stellar recently put these practices into play in the design-build of a meat manufacturing plant for an international company. Here, we review how these solutions led to success in the project and how they can help in your own endeavors, too.
Top takeaways from Engineering News-Record webinars
Aug 25, 2016
Photo courtesy of DJI
Recently, 7-Eleven made headlines by using a drone to deliver “a chicken sandwich, donuts, hot coffee and candy.” This happened the same week Amazon “partnered with the British government to significantly expand drone testing.” Approximately 3,000 companies in the U.S. are currently authorized to use drones—a number that continues to grow. Stellar recently purchased our first drone, and we are using its aerial imaging capabilities during construction of a new food manufacturing facility.
Aug 18, 2016
Photo courtesy of Shecco Media
One of Florida’s oldest third-party logistics companies is introducing one of refrigeration’s newest innovations into its new cold storage facility: low-charge packaged refrigeration systems. With a focus on moving to eco-friendly refrigerants, McDonald’s franchisee Caspers Cold Storage and Distribution will be cooling its new warehouse with an ammonia/ CO2 and low-charge ammonia DX system. Because Stellar will be designing and building the new systems, Accelerate America editor Andrew Williams interviewed Stellar’s Brandon France to learn more about the project. Check out the feature article, “I’ll have CO2 and ammonia with that” in this week’s blog post to learn more about how the company is using low-charge refrigeration systems to lower costs, reduce installation time and utilize green refrigerants.