At this time of year, many food processors are planning next year’s capital expenditures, which often means piecing together budgets for upcoming food plant construction projects. It is important to create the most accurate budget possible: a tricky task. Frequently, food processors prepare budgets without the assistance of an experienced design-builder. By doing so, they make assumptions that can skew their entire budget.
All lighting is not created equal. When selecting LED or fluorescent lighting for your food facility or warehouse, understand that each type is better suited for some areas rather than others. How can you know which is the right fit for your plant?
Do you give enough care and consideration to your food processing facility’s electrical equipment? As a senior electrical engineer for Stellar, I joined several of my peers in a discussion in this month’s Food Engineering article, “Electrical systems and components: The lifeblood of your facility,” on electrical safety, systems maintenance and more. In the article, I reviewed factors that impact your plant’s electrical well-being. Below I describe them in greater detail for Food for Thought’s readers: Continue Reading “3 Ways to Prevent Food Plant Electrical System Malfunctions”
When cooling loads change gradually, your refrigeration equipment and controls undergo gradual changes and your system remains stable and efficient. However, if rapid load fluctuations occur as a result of production or sanitation activities, many systems experience pressure or temperature fluctuations, which can cause sanitation and quality issues as well as increased energy usage. There are several strategies food manufacturers can employ to deal with these challenges. Continue Reading “How Production Loads in Your Food Processing Plant Affect Refrigeration Efficiency and Stability”
Food and beverage processors are increasingly turning towards robotics for the technology’s slew of benefits including reduced costs, upped throughput and increased food and worker safety. Earlier this month, I contributed to the Food Engineering article, “The rise of robotic automation,” discussing the functionality for robots in the food processing industry. While robotics does boast various benefits to food manufacturing, it’s important to follow some best practices during your own implementation. Continue Reading “5 Best Practices for Using Robotics in Your Food Processing Plant”
Because billions of particles lace unconditioned air with dust, dirt, bacteria and pathogens, your plant’s air filters are crucial to preventing contamination and ensuring food safety. But when it comes to filtration, more isn’t necessarily better. This is especially true with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters. While HEPA filters may be a necessity for some plant environments, they could be expensive overkill for others.
Recently, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) updated NFPA 13: Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems. The majority of the changes clarify issues contained in the code’s previous versions, but there have been some very significant changes that may impact manufacturing and warehouse facilities. Not all local and state jurisdictions have adopted the 2013 version of NFPA 13, so it’s important to check with the applicable permitting agencies to determine which version they use.
As product lines become more diverse due to increased demand in specialty ingredients in multiple sized packages with private labeling, manual processes become both costly and time consuming. Many food processing plant managers are recognizing the benefits of automating previously manual processes to increase production and reduce labor costs.
Piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&IDs) are designed to communicate a general layout of your facility’s process system piping, valves and equipment. These diagrams are the foundation for every Process Safety Management (PSM) program.
It is critical to plan for the future when designing your food processing plant’s mechanical systems. We find that many plants are now undergoing expensive retrofits because future needs were not appropriately considered. Not only are retrofits expensive, but if new equipment is not sized and sequenced effectively, it can significantly affect your energy costs. To avoid these issues, here are four budget considerations to address when designing your plant’s mechanical system: