Most often when facility design gets involved it’s starting from the ground up, but with vacant facilities all over the landscape at cheap prices some companies in the food chain are using customized facility designs to retrofit and repurpose buildings that are already standing.
That was the case for Hudsonville Creamery & Ice Cream Company in Michigan, when they took an abandoned former auto manufacturing facility and designed it to fit their growing ice cream business.
One of the design features implemented by Hudsonville was to move all of their bulk raw material silos inside the facility, which allows them to control the ambient temperature, environment and security of their ingredients. With two large truck bays positioned right by the storage silos, raw milk, cream and liquid sugar are delivered right inside giving them the safe and secure work flow through the facility.
“We were really ahead of our time because we designed the new facility to do it right, which meant bringing most things inside instead of out behind the plant like at most food manufacturing facilities,” said Cary Grover of Hudsonville. “Now we can control everything, temperature, pressure and the security around the different raw materials we use.”
Some other trends companies are taking advantage of in design are using better and modern materials to create more efficient and safer waste-piping systems. New designs often use more efficient routing throughout the facility to minimize the number of code-required vents and in turn lower the labor, material and overall installation costs of new systems.
At the same time, other companies are looking to improve their sustainability efforts in regards to warehouses by designing (or redesigning) the facility for on-site wastewater or byproduct recycling. Where flexibility and adaptability are available, companies are choosing to reuse and recycle everything they can before it’s disposed of entirely.
Wastewater designs allow for treated water to be used in irrigation, condensers, refrigeration systems and other non-potable uses.
Beverage, dairy production and also meat packing plants are taking advantage of their manufacturing and processing operations to turn wastewater and other byproducts, such as methane gas, into energy that can be reused in their facilities to help trim energy costs and reduce their carbon footprint.