5 Ways Facility Managers are Improving Their Food Plant Design in 2018

Facility Managers headerOver the years, there have been countless advancements regarding safety and hygiene in various areas of life. Many of these advancements have focused on the commercial industry, particularly food and beverage plants.

All types of improvements to plant design have been made, making them safer in every sense of the word. Here are some of the new and emerging food plant design trends to consider in your own food plant design.

1. Invest in High-Quality Machinery

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You cannot have a food plant without the right machinery to do the job, as the machines will do most of the work for you. But, you cannot go for the cheapest models or brands and expect them to be effective. Instead, it is essential that you take the time to do the proper research and invest in the best, high-quality machinery you can get.

While it may cost more money, your plant will have equipment that will last for many years, is safe to use, and will keep production running as smoothly as possible.

2. Properly Train Employees

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Even the best, easiest to use machinery is ineffective if employees do not receive the appropriate level of training. Before beginning work, employees should go through proper training. Part of this training should focus on the various safety precautions needed in a food plant.

Training should include topics like how to dress, what sort of protective clothing they need, and what they are allowed and not allowed to do while working.

Additionally, training should thoroughly cover the proper function and maintenance of all plant equipment and machinery. Employees should have a clear understanding of how all the equipment they use works, and at least a basic knowledge of the rest of the equipment, just in case the staff is ever short.

This will help ensure that, should something go wrong, there are more workers who can assist with the issue. Knowing how to recognize a problem with the machinery will also help to ensure that any problems that arise are dealt with quickly, rather than allowed to worsen and become a potentially dangerous and expensive problem.

3. Choose the Right Facility Set-Up

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While the layout of a facility may not sound like much, it is still an essential part of food plant design trends. When initially setting up a new food plant facility, it is critical that you consider what will go in which space. Every area should easily flow into the next, from the initial receiving of raw product all the way down to the packing and shipping. Each area should be clearly defined and given the appropriate amount of space for the given tasks.

But, the layout of your facility is only part of the overall set-up. You also want to pay close attention to the finishes you choose to go with, particularly for the floor. There are countless types of flooring options available, but not all of them are ideal for a food plant.

Flooring should be hygienic, easy to maintain, and slip-resistant. It is also important to keep in mind that some flooring, particularly those with special coatings, will need to be refreshed now and then, as they begin to wear down from constant use.

4. Install Slot Drain System

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When deciding on your flooring, you also want to keep in mind the importance of a good floor drain system. While, facilities traditionally use grated trench drains, these are not the best options available on the market anymore.

The grates are heavy, breakable, and cause a raised area on the floor, which can make maintenance more expensive and can create an unsafe work environment.

Slot Drains, however, are a newer, more efficient type of floor drain system. These drains are grateless and integrated directly within the floor, which helps eliminate tripping hazards. Additionally, Slot Drains use food-grade stainless steel, which is corrosion and bacteria resistant, making them ideal for food plant facilities.

Being easy-to-clean is another added benefit, as cleaning is much quicker and more efficient than with other types of drainage systems.

5. Practice Proper Facility Maintenance

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Another crucial design trend facility managers are turning to is changing their approach to facility maintenance. This includes everything from cleaning to how to handle machinery, especially if it is malfunctioning.

By creating clear rules and expectations in regards to maintenance, you are ensuring your facility does not get pulled into any legal issues, due to protocols not being properly followed.

When it comes to food plant design trends, there is less of a focus on the design aesthetics. Instead, the focus is on ensuring that the facility design allows for proper, safe, and hygienic functioning and that it meets the strict standards set forth by the FDA and USDA.

As you look at your food plant, keep these ideas in mind. While sometimes simple, they can have a considerable impact and significantly improve your facility. 

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