Food Engineering Magazine performed their 37th Annual Plant Construction Survey and found that the number of reportable new construction projects was down a bit from 2012. With a total of 555 projects, down 45 projects from 2012’s 600 reportable projects, the article on the Food Engineering Website speculates several reasons why the number of projects could be down from last year:
1.) Firms had more proprietary projects that weren’t listed
2.) Catch up projects started in 2007/2008 were finished in 2012
3.) Consolidation of plants occurred or a large plant was built to replace several older facilities
4.) Merger and acquisition costs took money away from expansion projects
The article sums up the 2 biggest trends affecting food plant projects as efficiency and food safety/sanitation. The FSMA, the Global Food and Safety Initiative, ISO 22000 and OSHA’s National Emphisis Program have all affected how plants view and plan for food and employee safety. All food and beverage plants are starting to be held to the high food safety standards that have in the past been reserved for environments that must be highly sanitized. Customers want to know that all facilities are taking precautions in order to produce high quality products free of all contaminants. Consumers also want to be able to trace the various places their food comes from.
Making food plants more efficient and trying to attain LEED-certified facilities is also very important in food processing projects. The article quotes Tim Gibbons of ESI Group USA, “These days’ terms like sustainability, environmentally friendly and energy efficient are more than just a fad- they are a way of doing business.” Many processors have worked with their current facilities in order to renovate them to become more energy efficient as opposed to building new locations. Increasing spending on new more efficient equipment, new technology and new product development while performing waste and water reduction projects and technical training have also helped processors become more efficient states the article. Some facilities have focused on consolidating locations in order to save money and energy.
Machines can also help increase food safety and efficiency of products and processes. Automation reduces human error and makes it easy to spot defects and inconsistencies in products. Food Engineering talks about how wireless technology has really taken off in plants. Smart phones, tablets and laptops can help monitor temperatures, help with troubleshooting, can trace data and can help meet strict requirements for operations and regulations.
Products such as SlipNOT® non slip metal flooring can be used in both expansion/renovation projects and new construction. Slip resistant stainless steel products are used in food processing plants worldwide and can be cleaned with harsh chemicals while remaining non slip. Products can be retrofit over existing dangerous flooring or can be custom designed to replace outdated safety products.
Labs, Wayne. “37th Annual Plant Construction Survey: Hygienic Design for Safe Food.” www.foodengineering.com June 9, 2014. July 22, 2014