The Importance of Detailed Standard Operating Procedures

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that PSM Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) provide instructions clear enough that employees will be able to effectively utilize them. SOPs must be documented in sufficient detail and provide specific direction so that employees can follow the procedures and determine how to safely perform service and maintenance activities.

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Eight Reasons to Ditch the Paper and Go Digital with PSM

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) mandates Process Safety Management (PSM) for industries involved with highly hazardous chemicals. For example, food processors often have large ammonia refrigeration systems and must comply with OSHA standard 1910.119, or Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals.

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The R-22 Used to Cool Your Plant is Being Phased Out. Now What?

Numerous substances used in industrial refrigeration are believed to be responsible for ozone depletion, especially a common low-temperature refrigerant – R-22. While R-22 is widely used in numerous food plants and cold storage facilities, an international treaty, the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, calls for a halt in the production of R-22 and other chemicals damaging to the atmosphere.

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Food Processing Plants Cut the Cord With Wireless Automation

Many food processors are turning to wireless automation to improve the efficiency and interoperability of the plant’s control systems. This method of automation architecture offers significant cost savings in engineering and installation, while providing more flexible access to data for monitoring and analysis.

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Considerations for On-site Wastewater Treatment

Stellar often partners with The Probst Group on wastewater treatment projects. Hank Probst, a partner with The Probst Group, contributed to this blog post.


a wastewater treatment tank


Reducing the costs of wastewater treatment spent at an outside facility is leading many food processing plants to consider treating their wastewater on-site. In addition to treatment costs based on volume, municipalities typically impose a surcharge if the characteristics of the wastewater stream exceed the municipality’s typical domestic strength. It becomes an ROI issue and fairly easy for plants to justify.

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Food Processing Plant Design: Designing the Most Efficient Waste-piping System


Round floor drains are becoming more common.


There are numerous factors to consider when designing a wastewater piping system for a food manufacturing plant. Where will drains be located? What types of piping materials will be used? Can the system be designed to accommodate future physical growth of the facility? Yet the most important factor of a waste-piping system is efficiency – efficiency in location, layout, materials and installation. Here’s what you need to know:

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Five Ways to Ensure Your Food Safety Audit Goes Well

Quality assurance is one key to a successful food safety audit


The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) expanded the FDA’s authority to regulate the conditions of food manufacturing facilities and how products are produced, manufactured, transported, imported and marketed in the United States. Food safety audits, whether conducted by an internal team or by an outside consultant, will ensure that your food processing plant is in full compliance with FDA regulations. Continue Reading “Five Ways to Ensure Your Food Safety Audit Goes Well”

Standard Equipment Specifications: Benefits and Considerations

A maintenance access platform illustrates a sanitary design that leaves no chance for any possible bacterial harborage.

While designing a new food processing production line or adding to a line, there are a number of factors to consider when outlining equipment specifications, including product run rates, packaging format, temperature and many others. Plant managers often turn to different vendors to provide different components, but it is essential to have standardized equipment to improve efficiency, production, sanitation and aesthetics.

Inappropriate or incompatible equipment can mean loss of production time and loss of income. Whether you’re adding a single piece of equipment or designing a full production line from scratch, detailed, standard requirements should be communicated among the entire team participating in the design process.

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Getting the Most Out of Your HMI

Your team relies on HMI screens to monitor real-time performance of your refrigeration control systems. But if your dashboards are not presenting that information in a clear, usable format, you’re not getting a clear picture. Your HMI should present performance metrics in a format that’s customized for your system to allow your team to effectively diagnose, analyze and manage your systems.

Your HMI screens should include an overview of the entire plant in addition to a single view of the machine room. Each piece of equipment can be animated and color-coded to show operational status, capacity, pressures, communication errors and other functions. Alarms and other critical issues are easily recognizable with pop-ups and red animation.

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