4 Food Plant Design and Construction Trends from 2017 That are Shaping the Industry

What you need to know about retrofitting an existing facility, mergers & acquisitions, OEM integrations and more

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Food Plant Design and Construction: 5 Trends We Learned From in 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.

 

[VIDEO] See How Virtual Reality Can Take You Inside Your Food Plant Design

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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.

 

4 Lessons for Pioneering a New Process in Food Manufacturing

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4 Lessons for Pioneering a New Process in Food Manufacturing

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.

 

[PHOTOS] An Inside Look at the First Organic Humane, Animal Welfare-Focused Chick Hatchery in the U.S.

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[PHOTOS] An Inside Look at the First Organic Humane, Animal Welfare-Focused Chick Hatchery in the U.S.

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.

 

Why You Shouldn’t Use a Spec Building for a Food and Beverage Facility

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Why You Shouldn’t Use a Spec Building for a Food and Beverage Facility

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.

 

[Infographic] Design Only vs. Design-Build: Pick the Best Delivery Method for Your Next Food Project

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Design-Build vs. Design-Only: Pick the Best Delivery Method for Your Next Food Project [Infographic]

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:

 

How to Run Effective Food Processing Equipment Design Meetings

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How to Have Effective Food Processing Equipment Design Meetings

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.

 

Hydrovey Systems: 4 Things You Need to Know to Ensure Food Safety

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Hydrovey Systems: 4 Things You Need to Know to Ensure Food Safety

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.

 

Cold Storage Roofing: 4 Things to Consider When Designing Your Facility

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Cold Storage Roofing: 4 Things to Consider When Designing a Facility

Generally speaking, a roof is designed to keep the interior of a building dry and safe from the elements. When it comes to roofing for cold storage facilities, however, just being water-tight isn’t enough: Vapor-tight and energy-efficient roof systems are a specialty requirement.

There are a number of variables to juggle when designing and building a cold storage warehouse, including flooring systems, doors, equipment options and whether you’re incorporating any value-added service offerings. But don’t forget to look up — the wrong roof can make or break the long-term success of a refrigerated facility.

 

3 Unexpected Food Processing Solutions Inspired by Different Industries

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3 Unexpected Food Processing Solutions Inspired by Different Industries

I see a lot of neat things working in the food and beverage industry, especially because I have the opportunity to work with a wide variety of clients across different sectors.

Of course, food manufacturers know their product best, because ultimately, it’s their product. However, when it comes to their processing and the technology they use to make their product, I often encourage owners to keep an open mind.

Here’s the thing: Many times, companies can get boxed in and only focus on their particular product and the way things are “typically” done in their industry. Their factories and boardrooms can act as echo chambers for their ideas.