[Infographic] 7 Best Practices for Gluten-Free Manufacturing

The demand for gluten-free products isn’t just a passing trend. In fact, the gluten-free foods market is projected to be valued at $7.59 billion by 2020. Plus, researchers have noted a rise in celiac disease rates in recent years — just more evidence that the need for GF products isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Before you begin producing gluten-free products in your facility, however, consider these principles to ensure you cater to this growing market safely, efficiently and effectively.

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Understanding LEED v4’s Energy and Water Use Prerequisites and Credits

When it comes to green building, LEED v4 is the new standard. As of October 31, 2016, the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) will only accept new LEED registrations under LEED v4. Although the registration date was extended, the last day projects can submit for v3 certification — the sunset date — is still June 30, 2021.

The latest version of the LEED rating system features more rigorous standards, and while some of the credits and prerequisites are essentially the same as the 2009 version, there are some significant changes.

I outlined those changes in a previous post, but now let’s take a closer look at some of the new prerequisites and credits ushered in by LEED v4, specifically those involving energy use and environmental impact.

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[Infographic] Installing Packaged Refrigeration vs. Traditional Systems

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 as 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:

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The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and What It Means for Your Food Plant

By now, you’ve likely heard about the various ways our homes are getting “smarter.” We now have devices such as the Amazon Echo, Wi-Fi-connected toaster ovens and doorbells with live-streaming video. Nowadays, you can lock your front door from your smartphone, tell Siri to turn on the lights inside your house and control your thermostat from anywhere you have an internet connection.

These networks of physical devices embedded with electronics, sensors and software that allow them to connect and communicate are often referred to as the Internet of Things. This new era of technology isn’t just limited to your home, though — food and beverage plants are taking advantage of smart devices as well.  

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6 Things to Consider When Designing and Building a Food Processing Plant in China

China’s economy has been on a rapid upward trend for the last 20-plus years. It has become the second-largest economy in the world and is flirting with taking the first-place spot. If your company is in any way, shape or form connected to the global economy, chances are you have some connection to China.

With a growing middle class and upper class, China still finds it extremely challenging to supply itself with the kind of quality and value-added food products that these growing populations want.

This has made it enticing for a lot of U.S. food companies to create an even greater presence in China, usually in the form of establishing their own in-country food processing plant.

If you are one of these U.S. companies planning or contemplating establishing a food processing facility in China, here are some things you may want to consider with regard to designing and building the structure:

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[VIDEO] See How Virtual Reality Can Take You Inside Your Food Plant Design

Virtual walkthroughs with VR headsets

Virtual reality (VR) is changing the game when it comes to designing facilities for the food and beverage industry. With a VR headset, you can “walk through” your new building during the design phase, months before the first brick is laid.

Rather than examining a 2D design on a sheet of paper, 3D modeling coupled with virtual reality technology can bring a building to life without having to interpret complicated designs.

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How to Achieve LEED Certification Without Sacrificing Process Performance

So you want your building to be LEED certified, but what level should you pursue? Does a more energy-efficient facility mean completely revamping your processing? What about food safety?

LEED certification is a good thing, but it should not dictate every decision in a new-build or plant renovation. Checking credits off your LEED checklist shouldn’t come at the expense of performance and food safety.

Let’s look at some factors to designing a sustainable facility that go beyond the traditional aspects like electricity and water use. But first things first: where to begin?

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How to Conserve Energy Across Every Aspect of Your Food Plant


Everyone wants to improve their energy management, and while there are countless best practices to improve energy efficiency in your processing, I look at it from an engineering perspective.

When designing a new facility or renovating an existing one, I consider the different ways the plant can prioritize energy management within each engineering group that brings the building to life. Let’s explore how you can design energy management into your next greenfield or renovation project.

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Industrial Automation: Is It Time to Upgrade Your Control System?

How old is the control system at your facility? In most processing plants, the control system consists of field instruments that are wired to I/O cards which feed to a central PLC controller. Operators communicate with the PLC through a human machine interface (HMI) computer.

While the lifespan of an HMI computer is about the same as a typical desktop computer, the instruments, field wiring, I/O boards and PLC controllers last a lot longer — and the mentality of most operators is: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Upgrading a control system is a costly investment, and, as a result, many facilities have field hardware that is decades old.

So, when is it worth upgrading your control system? And what options do you have?

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5 Tips for Phased-Occupancy Construction Projects

Food and beverage is a fast-paced industry where speed-to-market is often a major factor in how decisions are made. Sometimes the priority is increasing output and/or beginning production as soon as possible. In these cases, some plant owners decide to take a phased-occupancy approach to a greenfield or renovation project.

Phased occupancy allows project owners to begin using as much of their new building as possible, as early as possible.

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