As explained in this previous post, food processing operations require substantial energy. While utility costs are unavoidable, various factors can enhance efficiency and achieve long-term cost savings, including a facility’s water heating system. Considering your production specifications and overall environment, there are specific systems available that can effectively minimize energy consumption in your food or beverage production. Thus, it’s important to explore these systems and understand their differences. So, what are these systems, and how do they vary from one another?Continue Reading “Boilers vs. Direct-Fire vs. Glycol: Water Heating Systems to Consider for Food and Beverage Plants”
Automation is an integral component of a modern facility’s competitive advantage. In addition to enabling rapid throughput, robotics and automation solutions can help minimize production issues stemming from fluctuating factors like labor availability, supply chains and material prices.
Historically, hefty price tags have acted as the main bottleneck to investments in cutting-edge manufacturing technology. The good news is technology is getting cheaper and easier to implement, making it harder for plant owners to ignore the long-term return on investment (ROI) of upgrading their facilities. However, plant managers face another challenge in today’s market: What happens when these sophisticated systems need maintenance or repairs?Continue Reading “Proactive Measures for Minimizing Downtime in Automated Facilities”
Building information modeling (BIM) technology is a revolutionary tool used by architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) professionals. It improves overall project collaboration and communication across disciplines by transforming 2D paper-and-pencil concepts into virtual 3D models that decision-makers and end-users can interact with.
When renovating or designing a new food and beverage facility, one of BIM’s most beneficial applications is its ability to define scope in detail.
It’s difficult to determine exact cost estimates early in a project due to supply chain volatility, material costs, labor wage rates, site conditions and other variables. However, BIM software’s granular capabilities can significantly improve the accuracy of those forecasts and track decision impacts throughout the process.Continue Reading “The Advantages of Using BIM for Project Cost Estimating”
The construction industry continues to face a tight labor market as contractors manage ongoing demand, leaving some no choice but to turn down projects if their workforce cannot meet the project needs. In 2021, more than 40% of construction firms reported turning down work due to labor shortages, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
However, demand for construction workers is only expected to rise. In November 2021, President Joe Biden signed the $1.2 trillion bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act into law, which is expected to create an average of 1.5 million jobs each year for the next decade and provide $550 billion to improve the nation’s infrastructure over the next five years. This legislation would fund airports, ports and waterways, roads, bridges and more, which would provide food plant owners with better access to farms, raw ingredients and distribution channels.
As demand rises, plant owners should understand the options for securing the necessary labor to complete their new-build or expansion projects and how their choices could impact the project lifecycle.Continue Reading “Food Plant Construction: Local Labor vs. Self-performing Contractors”
The food and beverage design-build process demands attention to detail and a high level of expertise to navigate a maze of regulations, adhere to strict food safety guidelines, stay within budget and guarantee the facility is well-equipped to meet long-term production goals.
Effectively coordinating different disciplines, vendors and subcontractors to ensure timely and on-budget execution is an ongoing challenge in construction projects that requires careful planning and communication.
As an owner, you’re in the driver’s seat and play a pivotal role in the overall success of the project. Here are some key things you can do to support your design and construction teams and help streamline the process.Continue Reading “Building a Food Plant: 5 Ways to Prevent Schedule Delays”
There are certain performance expectations your food processing equipment should meet to maximize your return on investment (ROI). Failing to establish and standardize equipment specifications (specs) during the procurement process can directly impact your plant’s safety, sanitation, efficiency and profitability.
You may be thinking, “But Michael, I already have a specs list written out, and it’s worked perfectly for us so far.” And that may be true! However, in my experience, many small- and mid-sized companies have room to improve in this area.Continue Reading “How to Write Better Electrical Specifications for Food Manufacturing Equipment”
This past year has been a big one in the food and beverage industry, with new technology rolling out and (some) supply chain constraints waning. While new trends and practices are already appearing for 2023, it’s critical for manufacturers to reflect on 2022’s challenges and successes when planning for the one ahead.
That’s why we’re revisiting the topics our readers found most useful this year. From coffee trends to labor availability to cyberattacks, here are the five most popular Food for Thought posts of 2022.Continue Reading “2022 Recap: Our Top 5 Blog Posts of the Year”
Designing the processing system for a food and beverage facility is a lot like doing a jigsaw puzzle. You can probably force many of the pieces to fit into various spaces. However, if you do not find the perfect fit, you’ll ultimately wind up with holes and weaknesses in your finished puzzle — or in this case, elevated food safety and quality risks that may cost your business valuable time and money.
To make an educated decision about valve selection, owners and their construction partners should consider the different types of valves available in the market and how they will interact with other components in the individual facility’s production lines.Continue Reading “How to Choose the Best Process Valve Solution for Your Food and Beverage Facility”
Whether you’re building a new facility or upgrading an existing one, it’s vital to have a well-designed drainage system throughout your processing areas. In fact, the North American Meat Institute (NAMI) lists the prevention of liquid accumulation as one of the top three principles of sanitary facility design.
Poor drainage in a food and beverage facility can impede the sanitation process and greatly affect overall food safety. Meanwhile, proper drainage design speeds up cleaning and reduces health and safety risks for both workers and production.
When done incorrectly, your facility’s drainage system can contaminate ingredients and products that then must be discarded, directly impacting your bottom line. In addition, recalls caused by product contamination can damage both your company’s reputation and your product category.Continue Reading “Selecting the Best Drainage Systems for Food & Beverage Processing”
The flooring systems in food and beverage processing areas are an essential component of the facility’s daily operation. Whether you’re evaluating flooring in a food production, storage or welfare space, the floor’s cleanability, resilience, durability and surface characteristics are integral to the space’s sanitation and safety.
Selecting the appropriate flooring system for each area is an important and nuanced operational and budgetary decision, especially in a highly regulated industry like food processing. The decision requires careful consideration in the earliest stages of the design and construction process.Continue Reading “Choosing the Best Flooring Material for Food & Beverage Processing Areas”