What Refrigerated Warehouses Need to Know About Ammonia Utilization in California

Source: CalARP Resource Compliance

California has long been an epicenter of food manufacturing in the United States. With more refrigerated warehouses looking to become sustainable in the 2020s, California is primed to be a major market where cold storage facilities transition to natural refrigerants.  

However, “The Golden State” has unique regulations that refrigerated warehouses must follow when updating their systems. Most critically, there are strict regulations on ammonia, which traditionally has been the preferred refrigerant because of its efficiency, low cost and safety when the system is properly designed.  

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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.

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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.  

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Ammonia Refrigeration: Is Your Machine Room Ventilation Up to Code?

When it comes to ammonia refrigeration machine rooms, ventilation updates can often be overlooked.

Current and new mechanical codes — International Mechanical Code (IMC) and Uniform Mechanical Code (UMC) — defer to IIAR 2 (and sometimes ASHRAE 15) as the referenced code for ammonia refrigeration systems, including the machine room ventilation.

Just because your ammonia system was designed to code years ago it may not necessarily be code compliant today.

If you have updated your refrigeration system recently, did you update your machine room’s ventilation as well?

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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:

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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.

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Machine Learning and AI in Food Plants: Where to Start

So you want to incorporate artificial intelligence and machine learning into your food processing facility — but where do you start? These tools have grown increasingly popular, and you’ve likely heard people discussing different platforms like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure. But how do you get access to these tools and what can they do?

Three layers of cloud computing

When it comes to introducing machine learning to your processing, think of it as a three-tiered ecosystem:

1. Service providers (AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure)

2. IoT solutions partners (system integrators, data experts, etc.)

3. End users (Facility operator, plant owner, etc.)

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How to Avoid Equipment Delays in Your Next Food Plant Construction Project

We still have a few months left in 2019, but if you’re considering building or renovating a facility sometime next year, the time to start planning may be now. Equipment lead times are growing longer — upwards of 18 to 26 weeks in some cases — and it can be even more for equipment shipped from overseas.

So how can you best prepare for your upcoming project so you don’t encounter equipment delays? In my experience, there are two major things to consider before meeting with your builder.

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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.

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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?

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