Ammonia Refrigeration: Debunking 3 Myths

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Ammonia Refrigeration: Debunking 3 Myths

In previous blog posts, we’ve discussed that owners of hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) refrigeration systems have some decisions to make as R22 refrigerant is phased out and states take on regulations and enforcement.

Natural refrigerants, like CO2 or ammonia, are good alternatives, but they can sometimes get a bad rap. We’ve debunked some myths about CO2 before — now let’s look at ammonia.

 

HFC Refrigerant Regulations: What to Do as States Adopt SNAP Rule 20

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HFC Refrigerant Regulations: What to Do as States Adopt SNAP Rule 20

When the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced they were going to phase out hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants in 2015, many in the industry began preparing for the coming changes. The new proposed regulations under Section 612 of the Clean Air Act, known as SNAP Rule 20, established a schedule to phase out common HFC refrigerants such as R-22, R-124 and R-507.

However, when major chemical companies challenged the EPA in federal court in 2017, a judge ruled the EPA didn’t have the authority to mandate the changes. Attempts to appeal the court’s decision failed, and the EPA acknowledged they will not enforce the rule.

However, just because the rule was overturned at the federal level doesn’t mean you’re in the clear if you use these refrigerants.

 

Decision by Committee: The Pros and Cons of Group Decision-making

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Decision by Committee: The Pros and Cons of Group Decision-making

In recent years, more food and beverage companies have adopted a different perspective on decision-making. Rather than having one person making unilateral decisions, many businesses have shifted toward a “decision-by-committee” approach, where a small group of stakeholders are part of the process.

This trend is especially prevalent in larger companies that are adopting a more inclusive corporate culture. The goal is to foster greater pride and buy-in from employees by including diverse perspectives in decisions that affect them.

For example, I recently worked with several owners who utilized the decision-by-committee approach when Stellar was building their new food plant. These facilities are multimillion-dollar investments, and these leaders increasingly want to seek input from their employees who will be working in the facility and with the equipment every day.

 

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.

 

The Industrial Internet of Things is Revolutionizing These 4 Areas of Food Manufacturing

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The Industrial Internet of Things is Revolutionizing These 4 Areas of Food Manufacturing

By now, we’ve all realized the reality of today’s internet-connected world: Smart devices aren’t just in our pockets and in our homes. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is revolutionizing the food and beverage industry.

We’re seeing more connected sensors, motors and controllers on the plant floor than ever before, and they’re being used in innovative new ways to optimize processing and inform operations decisions.

There are four main areas of a food plant where IIoT technology is having a major impact:

 

NH360: How Packaged Refrigeration Equipment Can Help Your Bottom Line and Project Schedule

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What is packaged refrigeration?

Low-charge packaged refrigeration systems are “packaged” or “modular.” The refrigeration equipment is built off site, mounted on a structural steel base (skid), and then delivered to your plant as a self-contained, “plug-and-play” system.

Not only is low-charge packaged refrigeration equipment safer, it also comes with advantages in terms of:

  • Installation
  • Field labor savings
  • Schedule savings

 

Installing Packaged Refrigeration vs. Traditional Systems [Infographic]

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Installing Packaged Refrigeration vs. Traditional Systems [Infographic]

Low-charge packaged refrigeration is a safe, innovative solution that uses CO2 or ammonia and a secondary refrigerant, such as glycol. This allows facilities to reap the benefits of ammonia’s excellent thermodynamic properties while minimizing the refrigerant charge and risk because the ammonia is isolated to one area and only the secondary refrigerant is circulated throughout the facility.                                                                  

The system is “packaged” or “modular,” with refrigeration equipment built off-site, mounted on a structural steel base, and then delivered to a plant as a self-contained, “plug-and-play” system.

One of the major advantages of a packaged refrigeration system is ease of installation. Here are some of the main reasons why:

 

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.

 

The Underrated Value of Industry Conferences: Reflections from the 2018 IIAR Natural Refrigeration Conference & Expo

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The Underrated Value of Industry Conferences: Reflections from the 2018 IIAR Natural Refrigeration Conference & Expo

I had the opportunity to attend the 2018 IIAR Natural Refrigeration Conference & Expo in March, and it got me thinking about the value in these industry events. Why do we attend them?

There are countless niche conferences that cover every segment of the food and beverage industry, from packaging to refrigeration and from dairy to meat. These events bring professionals together from across the country and world — but why are they so important?

 

Building the Arc: LEED v4.1 Emphasizes USGBC Data Platform

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Building the Arc: LEED v4.1 Emphasizes USGBC Data Platform

It seems like only yesterday that we were discussing the launch of LEED v4 and its emphasis on energy and water conservation (OK, that second post was just two months ago). That new iteration of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) certification for sustainable construction was a significant leap forward from previous versions. The USGBC will now only accept LEED registrations under LEED v4.

Back in November, however, the USGBC announced it was fast-tracking the development of yet another update called LEED v4.1. At the Greenbuild Boston conference, it promised that the new standard will be “improved and agile” ensuring that the USGBC will “deliver on the vision of green buildings for all.”

Since LEED v4.1 is now in the pilot stage and available for jobs, I thought I’d take a look at the new certification standard and what it means for those in the food manufacturing sector. In particular, I want to focus on LEED v4.1’s emphasis on using the USGBC Arc platform and data analysis to drive improvements in sustainability.