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.
Oct 26, 2017
Last week on the blog, we examined the brand new, state-of-the-art hatchery Stellar completed for poultry processor Bell & Evans. The facility — which is the first certified organic, humane, animal-welfare focused chick hatchery in the United States — is an example of trailblazing a new approach to traditional food processing.
Not only does it employ fascinating and cutting-edge technology, but this project contains lessons for any food manufacturer looking to pioneer or experiment in their own particular market.
Oct 19, 2017
This summer, Stellar completed one of its more unique design-build projects: a state-of-the-art, organic-certified and highly publicized chick hatchery for poultry processor Bell & Evans. The 120,000-square-foot facility in Fredericksburg, Pennsylvania began operations in September and is the first of its kind in the United States.
As the project developer, I worked with the Bell & Evans team to help develop this unique, industry-shaping facility.
Oct 5, 2017
If you’re considering sites for a new facility, you may come across listings for speculative (“spec”) buildings. Developers often construct these basic, pre-engineered buildings in anticipation of a future tenant, and they can be attractive for owners looking for a new space.
What’s the catch? Spec buildings may seem like a convenient and cost-effective option, but not all tenant needs are the same, especially when it comes to food and beverage manufacturing. In fact, investing in a new spec building may end up costing you more in the long run than if you were to just construct a custom facility from scratch.
Aug 31, 2017
When it comes to constructing a new food or beverage facility, there is no one delivery method that works best for all projects. Each approach has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Design-build can be fast and efficient because construction begins while the design phase is still underway, but completing the entire design before any ground is broken can give you greater insight to anticipated final costs. How do you choose? Check out our infographic to help narrow down your decision:
Aug 24, 2017
So you’re building a new food manufacturing facility, or maybe you’re revamping your current processing lines. Either way, the equipment design phase is critical to the timeline of your project and the success of your plant.
Efficient and effective design meetings play a huge role in ensuring your schedule doesn’t stall and that the best decisions are made. I’ve seen how poorly run meetings can hamper the equipment design process — not only does it make life more difficult for the firm you’re partnering with, but it can create headaches for your internal team as well.
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.