How Stocking Up (or Not) on Spare Refrigeration Parts Can Impact IIAR 6 Compliance

When using ammonia refrigeration in a facility of any kind — whether it be meat or poultry processing, frozen food production or cold storage — compliance with ammonia safety standards is a must.

The International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration (IIAR) is a membership-based technical society focused on ammonia refrigeration advocacy, education and standards. As an accredited American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Developer, IIAR establishes the minimum requirements for safely inspecting, testing and maintaining closed-circuit ammonia refrigeration systems.

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Is Your Refrigeration Contractor Pencil-Whipping Your Preventive Maintenance Program?

Temperature control is vital in the food and beverage industry, where slight fluctuations can threaten product integrity and put consumer health at risk. 

Preventive maintenance programs (PMPs) help ensure refrigeration equipment operates at peak performance, regardless of a system’s age or the refrigerant it uses.

Unfortunately, the repetitive nature of maintenance work can elevate the risk of complacency. This is extremely dangerous in the context of industrial refrigeration because even a single oversight can quickly become life-threatening.

Have you noticed your technician or contractor mindlessly checking boxes on inspection forms, failing to report daily or weekly anomalies in equipment run data, or generally failing to give your system their undivided professional attention? If so, I have bad news: you may be dealing with a pencil whipper, and you’ll want to address the issue sooner rather than later.

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Food Plant Safety: Lockout/Tagout Best Practices

It’s no secret that working in a food processing plant can be quite dangerous. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has listed the food manufacturing industry as one of the most hazardous. A big contributor to workplace accidents is improper lockout/tagout (LOTO) procedures. 

When production in a food processing plant is halted for the installation, servicing or maintenance of machinery and heavy equipment, there must be a LOTO procedure in place to prevent the machine from turning back on and injuring a worker. 

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What Is Your Maintenance Program (or Lack of One) Costing You?

For many manufacturers — especially in the food and beverage space — the COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in new challenges and increased demand, all at the same time. This has many corporate leaders under the gun and pushing production to the max in order to keep their pipeline filled. To meet this demand, many are working overtime, plants are reluctant to shut any lines down and smaller maintenance jobs have dropped lower on the priority list.

But, none of that matters if you’re rushing in the wrong direction. Ignoring maintenance or only fixing things when they fail (a reactive approach), has long-term consequences. The continual deferment of maintenance will ultimately result in failure.

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New Automation and Controls System? Educate and Involve Operators Early

As more food and beverage processing moves from mechanical to automated, it’s important to hire the right people who can operate and troubleshoot from the plant floor. Once you have qualified technical staff in place, transferring knowledge about your automation and controls systems to them is crucial.

At Stellar, we often help food manufacturers configure new facilities, so we understand the process and what it takes to make it go smoothly. When it comes to training your plant personnel on the automation and controls, follow these tips for an efficient startup at your next facility.

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[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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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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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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Food Plant Sanitation: How to Integrate Regular Cleaning Into Your Facility’s Processing

Most of us enjoy cooking food that we love to eat. It’s the cleanup that we hate. Have you ever made a home-cooked meal that didn’t involve cleaning? Probably not. Also, those of us who like to cook would never start with dirty utensils and pans, right?

Food manufacturing facilities operate in the same way. They aim to produce high-quality products while minimizing the cleanup involved, but they must first begin processing with clean equipment. But that can be easier said than done.

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How to Prevent a Dust Explosion at Your Food Processing Plant

Dust explosions have been linked to numerous fatal accidents in the United States. Between 1980 and 2012, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board investigated more than 280 combustible dust incidents that killed 141 people and injured 767 others.

Food manufacturing plants are among the most susceptible to these incidents, especially those in the baking segment that use a lot of flour and sugar. Of course, protecting your facility and employees is paramount, but the risk factors aren’t always obvious. Before we look at how to proactively protect your facility, let’s examine how these disasters can happen.

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