Digital PSM: A Look at Stellar’s Updated NH360 Compliance Software Platform

When it comes to your facility’s process safety management (PSM), switching from paper to digital is a no-brainer. Using a digital platform saves time, makes document storage more convenient and allows you to have more control during OSHA audits.

We live in an online, digital world where software technologies make our work more efficient. Why should one of the most important elements of your business — the health and safety of your employees — be any different?

Stellar has been a pioneer in the digital PSM market since 1998, and we’re raising the bar.

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How Stellar Services Industrial Refrigeration Compressors [VIDEO]

Stellar – Compressor Rebuild & Repair Facility (How It’s Done) from Stellar on Vimeo.

We recently updated our refrigeration parts and compressor shops in Jacksonville, Florida, and Fort Worth, Texas. (Stellar also has shops in Modesto, California and York, Pennsylvania.) Each facility offers climate-controlled storage spaces and a compressor shop with a separate teardown room, clean room and paint booth.

From the time a compressor arrives at one of Stellar’s service facilities to the time it leaves, it undergoes an unrivaled 75-point quality inspection — a rigorous examination unlike any in the industry.

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Ammonia Refrigeration: Is Your Machine Room Ventilation Up to Code?

When it comes to ammonia refrigeration machine rooms, ventilation updates can often be overlooked.

Current and new mechanical codes — International Mechanical Code (IMC) and Uniform Mechanical Code (UMC) — defer to IIAR 2 (and sometimes ASHRAE 15) as the referenced code for ammonia refrigeration systems, including the machine room ventilation.

Just because your ammonia system was designed to code years ago it may not necessarily be code compliant today.

If you have updated your refrigeration system recently, did you update your machine room’s ventilation as well?

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HFC Refrigerant Regulations: What to Do as States Adopt SNAP Rule 20

When the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced they were going to phase out hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants in 2015, many in the industry began preparing for the coming changes. The new proposed regulations under Section 612 of the Clean Air Act, known as SNAP Rule 20, established a schedule to phase out common HFC refrigerants such as R-22, R-124 and R-507.

However, when major chemical companies challenged the EPA in federal court in 2017, a judge ruled the EPA didn’t have the authority to mandate the changes. Attempts to appeal the court’s decision failed, and the EPA acknowledged they will not enforce the rule.

However, just because the rule was overturned at the federal level doesn’t mean you’re in the clear if you use these refrigerants.

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Choosing the Right Refrigeration Condenser: 5 Variables to Consider

Condensers are one of the most critical elements of a refrigeration system. While optimizing the performance of your condenser is important for reducing energy usage and maintenance costs, if you’re building a new facility, it all starts with selecting the best option for your needs.


When choosing a condenser, it’s important to consider where the facility is located. In colder climates, ice buildup and water freezing may occur with evaporative condensers. To work around this issue, you have two options:

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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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5 Tips for Automating Your Food Processing Plant

Total automation may be an ideal for most food processors, but it can be difficult to determine how to connect every system in a food plant—or if they should even be connected at all. To optimize ROI, it’s important to learn which areas of your food processing facility are best suited for automation. Below are five tips for improving your plant’s automation capabilities.

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Do You Really Need to Upgrade Your PLC-5 Automation System?

Source: Rockwell Automation

Upgrading PLC-5 automation systems has been on the food and beverage industry’s radar for quite some time now. In fact, when I began working at Stellar 12 years ago, people were buzzing about Rockwell Automation moving the processor into retirement (“Silver Series” status). However, the PLC-5 1771 was such a widely popular system, Rockwell held back on pulling the trigger until recently. In August 2012, Rockwell revealed it would no longer support the PLC-5 processor anymore, including engineering replacement parts—big news, considering more than 80 percent of the marketplace owned these systems. Continue Reading “Do You Really Need to Upgrade Your PLC-5 Automation System?”