Two Approaches, One Goal: Reducing Your Ammonia Charge

Efficiency and low cost are the major reasons ammonia is the preferred industrial refrigerant in the food processing industry. Ammonia is often a natural refrigerant and has no ODP/GWP. However, ammonia is a dangerous substance and there are several advantages to lowering the overall amount of ammonia used at a facility.

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Five Steps to Developing the Most Effective Food Processing Emergency Response Plan

You’ve conducted the required emergency response training with your employees — but are they truly prepared for an incident? Recognizing that government-mandated training is often not enough, many food processing safety managers are going above and beyond mandated requirements and customizing training to ensure employees are prepared for a range of unexpected scenarios. Below are five key steps you can take to ensure your employees are prepared for any emergency:

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Hoses Are The Arteries of Food Production: Have You Selected Wisely?

6 takeaways from a recent Food Processing webinar

Like the human body is dependent upon veins and arteries to support a beating heart, so are food-grade hoses vital to safely connecting various stages of production to an uncompromised finished product.  

Safety is the number one priority of every food processor, and as such owners need to protect the safety of the food they handle every step of the way.

Selecting the correct hoses is essential to success, especially when there are a variety of hoses on the market created for a range of applications, from distilleries to dairies. The specification process becomes paramount: A poorly chosen hose can easily become a weak link in a plant’s food safety program, and even prove a danger to employees.

Degradation from fats and oils is a perpetual battle in maintaining the integrity of hoses, as are other conditions, such as functioning under high pressure as well as the high temperatures of the liquids they transport. Abrasion from machines and flooring within the facility is an added consideration that is sometimes overlooked. 

Food Processing magazine hosted a webinar in December discussing the importance of food-grade hoses for food production. Food Processing magazine editor-in-chief Dave Fusaro led a conversation on the topic alongside two experts from Parker Hannifin Corporation: Matthew Davis, business development manager of the Hose Products Division, and Dylan Shamakian, sales manager of Fluid Connectors Group Hose Products Division. 

Here are some of the most important things to consider when choosing the right hose to keep employees and products safe:

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Best Practices for Building an Enterprise Data Warehouse from Scratch

Business intelligence (BI) and data analytics empower and enable organizations to quickly make fact-based decisions that improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their operations. 

Building an enterprise data warehouse can offer many benefits for food and beverage manufacturers and their construction partners, including improved safety, budget certainty, warranty tracking and knowledge management. 

Successful BI and analytics strategies are only possible when the database where information is stored is properly maintained. If any member of your team inputs incorrect or incomplete data, you’ll ultimately get inaccurate results, which could end up costing your facility money and time.

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Low-Impact Development: From Eco-friendly Trend to Industry Standard

Environmentally conscious construction sites have earned praise over the years as the world’s priorities have shifted to address growing climate concerns. 

The World Green Building Council (GBC) estimates the building and construction sector is globally responsible for 50% of the world’s resource consumption, 36% of energy consumption and 38% of energy-related carbon emissions. Keeping this in mind, any time a building or facility can feature sustainable design, it’s a win for the planet.

Expectations are changing, however. What was once seen as the “cherry on top” of a construction project is quickly becoming standard practice.

A prime example of this is the evolution of the use of low-impact development (LID).

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Food Safety in China: What Food Processors Need to Know

Food processing facilities in the U.S. have long made food safety one of their top priorities. Unfortunately that’s not the case in China. In recent years the country has been plagued with numerous high-profile food safety scandals, from grilled kebabs made from cat meat to pork buns so loaded with bacteria that they glow in the dark.

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How Ergonomics Affect Employee Wellness (and What Manufacturers Can Do to Improve it)

Americans have been quitting their jobs in record numbers since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The so-called Great Resignation is significantly impacting the food and beverage industry. In response, many industry leaders are focusing on ergonomics strategies to improve employee comfort and safety, and in turn, retention. 

“If the workplace is designed to meet peoples’ needs, it demonstrates the employer’s commitment and enables employees to be fully engaged in the workplace,” says Jeff Sanford, an ergonomics expert at VelocityEHS, a provider of environmental health and safety (EHS) solutions.

Sanford recently spoke at a webinar hosted by Food Processing magazine, in which he shared best practices for improving ergonomics and employee safety within the food and beverage industry.

The goal of ergonomics is to prevent soft-tissue injuries and musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) caused by sudden or sustained exposure to force, vibration, repetitive motion and bad posture. This is especially important in the U.S. food and beverage industry, which has the highest lost-workday incidence (LWDI) across all industries with a rate of 6.5 injuries and illnesses per 100 full-time workers, compared to the standard of 3.3.

These numbers especially matter in today’s competitive labor market. A recent study on ergonomics cited in the webinar found employee turnover dropped anywhere from 23% to 49% within companies that employed an ergonomics strategy. Meanwhile, the same study found absenteeism dropped between 42% and 116%. These statistics could help some processing facilities justify the cost of implementing ergonomic changes. 

What can facility owners and plant managers do to improve employee ergonomics? Below are some common issues and solutions shared during the webinar.

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Your Checklist for Updating Your Facility’s Risk Management Program

Facilities, including food and beverage manufacturers, that use certain flammable and toxic substances in amounts that exceed threshold quantities must have a documented Risk Management Plan (RMP) per Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirements. Companies must update and resubmit their RMP at least every five years.

The EPA requires each facility to review all sections of their RMP, update where appropriate, and certify that the entire RMP is accurate and complete.

According to the EPA’s checklist, here are the key elements that should be reviewed for resubmission:

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April Series: Refrigeration Controls

This April, we’re taking a look at refrigeration controls systems. While they represent a significant capital investment, automation components, software and systems are critical to the success of any food processing or cold storage facility. But no technology—no matter how innovative—can last forever.

In our series of articles, we will explore signs that it’s time to replace your refrigeration controls system, the benefits of newer systems, remote monitoring, and HMIs.

Stellar provides state-of-the-art automation services to help clients achieve maximum efficiency for their refrigeration systems. We are the only approved Rockwell Automation Solution Partner for refrigeration controls.

We look forward to your thoughts and questions on the information in this series.