5 Things to Consider Before Investing in Robotics for Your Food Processing Plant

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5 Things to Consider Before Investing in Robotics for Your Food Processing Plant

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.

 

The 3 Most Popular Organic Food Categories in 2017

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The 3 Most Popular Organic Food Categories in 2017

The organic food market is no longer a fringe segment, and Big Food is paying attention. Sales of organic products totaled a record $45.2 billion in 2017, according to the Organic Trade Association (OTA) — and it shows no signs of slowing down.

It’s a trend food and beverage manufacturers can’t ignore, but exactly what segments are growing? And which aren’t? Let’s look at the top-selling organic products from last year.

 

10 Game-Changing Process Innovations Inside the Starbucks Soluble Coffee Plant

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10 Game-Changing Process Innovations Inside the Starbucks Soluble Coffee Plant

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.

 

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.

 

3 Food Processing Trends from Pack Expo 2017 (and Beyond)

From virtual reality to pre-prepared foods

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3 Food Processing Trends from Pack Expo 2017 (and Beyond)

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:

 

Want Clean Labels for Your Bakery and Snack Products? Try Freezing Them

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Want Clean Labels for Your Bakery and Snack Products? Try Freezing Them

Consumer demand for “clean labels” with simple and natural ingredients has been a driving force in the food industry in recent years. In fact, clean-label foods is forecasted to be a $180 billion global market by 2020, and many food manufacturers are reformulating recipes to adapt with the growing trend.

The idea behind clean eating is avoiding foods with preservatives, artificial additives and “ingredients you can’t pronounce.” Although most of these additives are USDA-approved and technically safe to consume, they have undoubtedly developed a stigma among consumers.

 

Are You Getting the Most Accurate Weight Measurements from Your Load Cells?

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Are You Getting the Most Accurate Weight Measurements from Your Load Cells?

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.

 

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.

 

18 Design and Construction Acronyms Food Plant Owners Need to Know

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18 Construction Acronyms Owners Need to Know

With all its abbreviations, acronyms and jargon, the AEC industry can feel a lot like alphabet soup. Navigating the industry-speak is important to understanding your projects from start to finish, so we put together a list of some of the most common — and sometimes misused — acronyms to help you out, and make it easy as A-B-C!