Artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data in food processing plants
Aug 15, 2019
Food and beverage manufacturing has been one of the slower industries to adopt new technology. While machine learning and artificial intelligence may sound daunting, this technology offers a valuable return on investment.
Here are three major ways to benefit from big data tools in your processing plant.
Jun 20, 2019
Maximizing Drone Technology on Food Plant Construction Sites from Stellar on Vimeo.
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones, are revolutionizing the way buildings are designed and constructed. Stellar leverages this technology on our job sites to make projects more efficient, accurate and cost-effective.
Here are some of the ways we utilize drones:
5 questions to ask when growing your meat-free manufacturing business
May 23, 2019
In case you missed the memo: Plant-based diets and meat alternatives (like the quinoa burgers above) are on the rise. U.S. sales of plant-based “meats” jumped 42% between March 2016 and March 2019 to a total of $888 million, according to Nielsen. Traditional meat sales only rose 1% to $85 billion in that same time frame.
Plant-based food manufacturers aren’t just targeting vegan and vegetarian consumers, either. Sales of meat alternatives are also being driven by an increasing number of “flexitarians” who are incorporating more plant-based foods into their meat-eating diets.
Thanks to all of this buzz, what was once just a niche market has now become more crowded. That means manufacturers of plant-based proteins and other animal-free foods are being forced to rethink how they can scale and remain competitive.
May 9, 2019
You’ve likely heard a lot about Industry 4.0 and the impact of predictive and prescriptive maintenance on the food and beverage industry. It can sound overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, a few basic investments and the right partner can help streamline the way your facility operates and communicates
Food manufacturing facilities are complex and have various ecosystems operating at different levels, including:
- Raw materials and receiving
- Processing and KPIs
- Monitoring (HMIs, PLCs and networks)
- Inventory and work orders (ERP and PRM)
- Packaging and distribution
- Quality, process safety management (PSM) and safety
But all of these systems don’t always talk to each other. In many facilities, an equipment failure triggers a lengthy domino effect: Maintenance staff has to assess the problem, create a work order, check if a replacement part is available and so on.
Does this scenario sound familiar?
May 2, 2019
If you’re a decision maker in the food manufacturing space, ask yourself these questions:
- Does your company value sustainability and transparency in its processing?
- Is your boardroom as diverse as your customer base?
- Are your company’s leaders listening to those customers to anticipate what they want?
- Is your company taking tangible steps to be innovative, or does it just say it is?
If you want to thrive — not just survive — in today’s market, you must be answering “yes” to these questions… or at least taking actionable steps toward a “yes.”
The food and beverage industry is changing more than ever before thanks to disruptive innovation, the internet, evolving customer values and more.
Don’t be the next Blockbuster, Kodak or Myspace. The key is to be proactive, not reactive. Where should you begin? Consider these leading trends shaping the industry.
Dec 6, 2018
A growing number of food and beverage processing facilities are investing in robotics and automation, as the technology continues to advance and costs continue to normalize. These tools can be a game-changer for many businesses, offering benefits such as reduced operating costs, upped throughput and increased food and worker safety.
That said, such a significant investment requires careful implementation. Before incorporating robotics into your facility, consider these important best practices to ensure you invest wisely and efficiently.
Aug 23, 2018
Photography: Robert Pepple
When Starbucks engaged Stellar to design and build a soluble coffee manufacturing facility, they set the goal of creating the most functionally and technologically advanced plant in the United States. To say they achieved that objective might be an understatement, as the award-winning facility has set a new standard in the industry.
From food safety practices that adhere to the rigorous British Retail Consortium Food Safety Standard to features designed to meet LEED Gold certification requirements, the Starbucks soluble coffee plant in Augusta, Georgia, is a modern marvel. Nowhere are the facility’s many innovations more on display than on its processing and packaging line.
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.
From virtual reality to pre-prepared foods
Nov 9, 2017
Source: Flexible Packaging magazine
I had the opportunity to attend Pack Expo 2017 in Las Vegas this fall with a team from Stellar. We met leaders from various segments of the F&B industry and enjoyed showing off our virtual design construction (VDC) technology.
These shows are always a great opportunity to network with food industry leaders and to see the very latest technologies and trends. This year was no exception. These were my big takeaways:
Sep 21, 2017
Photo: Food Engineering’s “How to determine the best sensor for filling applications”
Filling and weighing systems are a fundamental part of the food and beverage industry. On the line, they establish fill weights, volumes and levels for products whether it’s flavorings, beverages, slurry products or bulk containers of dry and/or liquid ingredients.
When it comes to recipes, the slightest change in ingredients can spoil an entire batch of product — that’s why precise weighing is paramount.