New Automation and Controls System? Educate and Involve Operators Early

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New Automation and Controls System? Educate and Involve Operators Early

As more food and beverage processing moves from mechanical to automated, it’s important to hire the right people who can operate and troubleshoot from the plant floor. Once you have qualified technical staff in place, transferring knowledge about your automation and controls systems to them is crucial.

At Stellar, we often help food manufacturers configure new facilities, so we understand the process and what it takes to make it go smoothly. When it comes to training your plant personnel on the automation and controls, follow these tips for an efficient startup at your next facility.

 

Do These 5 Things to Maintain Food Safety in Your Older Facility [Infographic]

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Do These 5 Things to Maintain Food Safety in Your Older Facility

 

You don’t need to build a brand new facility to meet modern-day food safety standards. The reality is that most companies don’t have the budget to build from scratch as often as they’d like, but that doesn’t mean your decades-old plant can’t be a shining example of food safety.

Let’s look at five things you can do now to ensure your older facility is up to today’s food safety standards.

 

Recalls on the Rise: How to Design Food Safety into Employee Welfare Areas

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Recalls on the Rise: How to Design Food Safety into Employee Welfare Areas

Food safety has never been more important at processing and manufacturing facilities.

One in six Americans gets sick every year from eating contaminated foods, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Plus, the problem is only growing: Food safety regulators in the U.S. are recalling about twice as many products now as a decade ago.  

While there are numerous best practices for incorporating food safety into the actual processing, employee welfare areas are a critical point of potential risk that can’t be ignored. This is especially true for facilities that have both raw and ready-to-eat (RTE) operations.

Let’s examine the various touch points employees encounter at a facility and how to design these spaces to maximize food safety.

 

6 Hot Trends in Cold Storage Warehouse Construction

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6 Hot Trends in Cold Storage Warehouse Construction

At Stellar, we construct a lot of cold storage facilities and distribution centers. In fact, over the years we’ve designed and built more than 10 million square feet of public refrigerated warehouse space.

My point? We notice patterns in consumer demand, common challenges and external factors that influence the market as a whole.

Here are six of the top things affecting the cold storage construction industry right now.

 

How to Keep Your Food Plant Construction Project on Track

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How to Keep Your Food Plant Construction Project on Track

Technology and ever-increasing consumer demand are driving food and beverage companies to compete at a different level than ever before. Speed to market is increasingly important to doing business — the faster a new plant can be built or renovated, the sooner it can begin producing a return on investment.

So how can you ensure your next construction project stays on track? Let’s look at five ways to set yourself up for success, whether you’re tackling a greenfield project or a retrofit.

 

Back to the Basics: How to Optimize Your Clean-in-Place System

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Back to the Basics: How to Optimize Your Clean-in-Place System

A number of food manufacturing facilities have been utilizing clean-in-place (CIP) for years. It’s the method of cleaning processing equipment and piping without disassembling it. While most of us already know what CIP is, when was the last time you performed a thorough audit of your system?

Over the years, changes to the systems being cleaned may have caused the CIP system set-point ratios to change without notice to the operators — making it more out of whack than you may realize.

 

6 Points, One Stone: How Low-Impact Development (LID) Can Help Achieve LEED Certification

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6 Points, One Stone: How Low-Impact Development (LID) Can Help Achieve LEED Certification

If you’re not familiar with low-impact development (LID), you may want to keep reading before building your next facility or warehouse. Thanks to recent changes in LEED requirements, we’re going to see an increase in projects utilizing LID in the near future.

What exactly is low-impact development? How can you make the most of LID and maximize it when applying for LEED certification? Let’s unpack what it means for your next project.

 

Food Plant Sanitation: Choosing Flooring, Walls, Ceilings and Doors to Improve Food Safety

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Food Plant Sanitation: Choosing Flooring, Walls, Ceilings and Doors to Improve Food Safety

Whether you’re designing a new food and beverage facility or renovating an existing one, it’s important to consider the materials you choose for to surround your processing — literally.

When it comes to food safety, these features sometimes get less attention than other factors — such as equipment, ingredient storage/segregation and product handling — but they can be a plant’s Achilles heel if ignored.

Today, we’re going to look at the best practices when selecting materials for your facility’s flooring, walls, ceilings and doors.

 

A Cost Segregation Study Can Save Thousands on Your Next Facility Renovation or Construction Project

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A Cost Segregation Study Can Save Thousands on Your Next Facility Renovation or Construction Project

Renovating an older food manufacturing facility, or building a new one altogether, is a complex process with a lot of moving parts. You need to vet firms and contractors, navigate design decisions, select materials, choose equipment, consider the possibility of future expansion…the list goes on and on.

Like with any investment, there are always ways to cut costs based on what options you select for your facility — but what if you could reap savings off the top, regardless of what materials and equipment you choose? With a cost segregation study, you can.

 

The Pros and Cons of Your Facility Location with Stricter LEED v4 Criteria

3 site selection credits that are now harder to earn in LEED v4

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The Pros and Cons of Facility Location with Stricter LEED v4 Criteria

When it comes to earning LEED certification, the location of your building plays a major role. After all, site selection accounts for 26 out of a possible 110 credits under LEED v4 New Construction — that’s more than halfway to the 50 credits required to achieve LEED Silver status.

A variety of factors determine whether your site is eligible for certain credits. Many times, simply looking 10 feet beyond the city limit and into county land can make a dramatic difference in cost or eligibility to earn certain credits.

Urban sites offer many “given” points that don’t require site modifications, such as access to public transit, but property near a city center is often more expensive. On the other hand, “paid” points that involve investing in site modifications — such as Sustainable Sites credits — realistically require a larger piece of land, which is often hard to find near a downtown area.