The COVID-19 pandemic forced many companies to improvise as the sudden shift to remote working disrupted “business as usual” for a lot of employees. At Stellar, we had emergency plans in place to allow for an easy shift to remote work — and it was so successful that the company adopted a full-time work-from-home model for the majority of its workforce.
With restrictions easing and vaccines more readily available, we’re slowly returning to some sense of normalcy. And while there are plenty of things we won’t miss about pandemic life, there are tools and strategies that flourished over the past year that yielded more efficient, predictable and accurate project results for our clients. Let’s look at a few that are here to stay:
Today, the processing facility is a full-fledged operation supporting Sunsweet’s ongoing growth. Given its complexity and the company’s investment in cutting-edge features, the plant also serves as a “learning lab” where Sunsweet can test ideas and experiment with different processing efficiencies that will be applied to its future facilities.
When Sunsweet decided to expand their existing facility in Chile and needed design help, they turned to Stellar for a partner to help them not only design the facility but guide them through the entire process. From selecting the right site, to understanding sanitary design principles which ensure food safety, to vetting of local subcontractors, choosing the right firm to support your project is one of the most important decisions you face.
Among all these moving parts, it can be easy for a plant owner’s original vision or goals to be lost or not fully realized. That’s why commissioning is becoming a critical part of the design-build process. A commissioning partner works with the owner throughout the design-build process to ensure their goals are achieved.
Mergers and acquisitions are a driving force in the food industry today. Plus, a growing middle class and the millennial population are less brand loyal than previous generations, leading to a surge in store brands. What does this mean for food manufacturers? How should they respond to this disruption in the industry?
Acknowledge that the next generation is changing the food game
We can’t rely on what we used to know about how consumers make purchasing decisions. “That’s what we’ve always done” is no longer a valid justification in today’s food and beverage market.
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.
Controlling dust is a major concern in food manufacturing, whether you’re roasting coffee beans, mixing spices or using flour as a release agent for your baked goods. Whenever there is potential dust in your processing environment, you want to capture it at the source.
Managing dust is critical for a variety of reasons:
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is revolutionizing how food manufacturing facilities operate, from processing to building maintenance and everything in between. Food and beverage companies have access to more data than ever before, and that’s helping them make more informed decisions.
Internet-connected sensors are the “eyes and ears” in a food plant, collecting all the data that makes those insights possible. These devices can measure a variety of inputs from electrical currents to vibrations to air temperature.
Stellar installs sensors in many of the modern facilities we design and construct today, but many owners have the same question: What exactly can I measure?
Let’s look at a few ways sensors can be used in your food plant:
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