What Is Your Maintenance Program (or Lack of One) Costing You?

For many manufacturers — especially in the food and beverage space — the COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in new challenges and increased demand, all at the same time. This has many corporate leaders under the gun and pushing production to the max in order to keep their pipeline filled. To meet this demand, many are working overtime, plants are reluctant to shut any lines down and smaller maintenance jobs have dropped lower on the priority list.

But, none of that matters if you’re rushing in the wrong direction. Ignoring maintenance or only fixing things when they fail (a reactive approach), has long-term consequences. The continual deferment of maintenance will ultimately result in failure.

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An Inside Look at Sunsweet’s Prune Processing Facility in South America [PHOTOS]

Sunsweet, a grower-owned cooperative based in California, is the world’s largest and most famous brand of dried tree fruits. When the company decided to expand their prune processing facility in Chile, they partnered with Stellar to plan, design and navigate the international construction process.

Today, the processing facility is a full-fledged operation supporting Sunsweet’s ongoing growth. Given its complexity and the company’s investment in cutting-edge features, the plant also serves as a “learning lab” where Sunsweet can test ideas and experiment with different processing efficiencies that will be applied to its future facilities.

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Sunsweet Case Study: 3 Tips for Designing an International Processing Facility

When Sunsweet decided to expand their existing facility in Chile and needed design help, they turned to Stellar for a partner to help them not only design the facility but guide them through the entire process. From selecting the right site, to understanding sanitary design principles which ensure food safety, to vetting of local subcontractors, choosing the right firm to support your project is one of the most important decisions you face.

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Building a Food Plant on a Short Schedule: 4 Ways to Fast-track Your Construction Project

In today’s increasingly fast-paced food and beverage industry, everyone wants their next facility built as soon as possible so it can start shipping product quickly. While hiring an experienced firm to design and build (or renovate) your plant is critical, there are things owners can do to ensure a project moves as efficiently as possible.

Success story: US Cold Storage

Stellar recently designed and built a food distribution facility for US Cold Storage in Laredo, Texas. The project had an aggressive schedule, and as the senior project manager, my job was to ensure we met those deadlines.

Despite a month of unexpected weather delays, we worked creatively and brought in additional crews that worked ten-hour days and six- to seven-day weeks. This allowed us to complete the project in only eight months, just in time to harvest Mexican strawberries.

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7 Security Measures to Increase Facility Safety [Infographic]

Ensuring security and safety at your food or beverage plant has never been more important. Facility owners are increasingly considering how to best protect their product, investments and, most importantly, their employees. Following 9/11, the government even increased security regulations for these processing plants that are so integral to the nation’s food supply.

Of course, no amount of planning can absolutely guarantee safety or prevent an incident, but these design measures are effective at discouraging threats and improving security.

At Stellar, we’ve built numerous food plants, and we’re constantly exploring and designing new security measures into our projects. Here are seven ways to increase safety at your facility:

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Food and Beverage Plant Flooring: 5 Questions to Ask When Selecting a Flooring System

Photo credit: Robert Pepple

Flooring systems are one of the most critical elements in food and beverage facility design. However, owners often don’t consider selecting a flooring system until after the preliminary design phase. This is the wrong approach. You should discuss flooring systems before they are specified and before designers are in the bidding phases to facilitate the most successful system for your facility.

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Hog Chilling: Why Quick Chill Systems are Worth the Investment

There are more than 68,000 pork producers in the United States alone—competition is fierce. So how can your hog facility remain competitive? By producing the highest quality product possible for consumers, efficiently. And an effective chilling system is key to facilitating the most premium product for your consumers: a flavorful cut of meat with appealing color, firmness and moisture levels. The faster a carcass is cooled after slaughter, the better quality the meat will be. Quick chill systems, specifically, reduce chill time and produce a better cut of meat. While they may be a significant upfront investment for your food plant, this method offers significant advantages and long-term ROI.

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