Proper Air Balance is Critical to Employee Wellbeing and Food Safety

Food safety series

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Food safety series

Proper Air Balance is Critical to Employee Wellbeing and Food Safety

Proper air balance in a food plant is required to maintain the environmental parameters that keep the space food-safe, including temperature, humidity and the frequency of air replacement. Additionally, the direction of airflow is important, especially when dealing with raw animal products.

Now, in the post-pandemic world, clean, fresh air is more valuable than ever. As the world gets back to work, it’s important to examine your facility’s air system to ensure it’s up to par to keep workers and consumers safe.

 

4 Ways to Reduce COVID-19 Risk in Your Facility

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Now that COVID-19 is a risk encountered in everyday life, food plant owners and operators are looking for ways to protect their staff and facilities that are cost-effective and don’t hinder productivity.

As scientific authorities continue to nail down exactly how COVID-19 is spread, the overwhelming evidence suggests the virus primarily travels and is transmitted through droplets in the air. That’s why shielding your facility from an outbreak starts with its HVAC and refrigeration systems.

 

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.

 

The Secret to Optimizing Your Compressed Air System

Busting the myth that “another compressor” is always the answer

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Busting the myth that “another compressor” is always the answer

The Secret to Optimizing Your Compressed Air System

Credit: Kaeser

Compressed air is a commonly used power source in manufacturing facilities, but it isn’t necessarily a cheap one. Aided by the Compressed Air Challenge movement, which started 20 years ago, users have started treating compressed air as a utility with supply and demand. 

This has led to a greater understanding of how to use compressed air efficiently, but many facilities are still running on systems that are not optimized.  

 

Arc Flash Hazard Analysis: 4 FAQs

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Arc Flash Hazard Analysis: 4 FAQs

Arc flashes are a potential safety risk when it comes to your manufacturing facility’s electrical equipment. But how can you ensure your employees are protected?

The National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) 70E, “Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace,” provides safety procedures for using electricity on the job. One of its guidelines includes “arc flash” assessment and protection.

NFPA 70E is voluntary on the part of companies — that is, it is not enforced by any government agency — yet, we’re seeing more companies interested in conducting an “arc flash hazard analysis” of their electrical equipment.

Here are four frequently asked questions I’ve received about arc flashes and assessments to reduce them:

 

Internet-connected LED Lighting: 4 Benefits for Warehouses and Food Plants

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Internet-connected LED Lighting: 4 Benefits for Warehouses and Food Plants

LED lighting has quickly become the industry standard in warehouses and manufacturing facilities. It’s more powerful, less expensive to operate and more controllable than ever before.

Now, LED lighting is being offered more and more as a network-connected item in today’s Internet of Things environment. This “smart” lighting goes beyond just the average motion detector, allowing greater flexibility and features for plant operators.

 

Cold Storage Warehouse Automation: 6 Money-Saving Benefits Beyond Labor Costs

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Cold Storage Warehouse Automation: 6 Money-Saving Benefits Beyond Labor Costs

Automation is on the rise in industrial facilities, food processing plants and cold storage warehouses. At Stellar, we’ve seen more client requests for automation in the past year than ever before.

When people think of automation and cost savings, the obvious usually comes to mind first: labor costs. Projected minimum wage increases and the scarcity of people willing to work in a cold storage environment are driving more owners to invest in automation.

But automating your warehouse can yield more savings beyond just the payroll. Here are six more benefits that you may not have considered.

 

5 Budget Factors to Consider When Designing Cold Storage Warehouses

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5 Budget Factors to Consider When Designing Cold Storage Warehouses

The need for cold storage facilities is greater than ever. Product integrity and fresh products are in demand as Millennials become major players in the consumer market. This generation of buyers favor healthier, fresher and higher quality products that have a shorter shelf life — meaning an efficient distribution network is crucial to serve these consumers.

But how can you design your warehouse cost-effectively?

 

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.