Archive for the ‘Advanced Manufacturing’ Category
Two new products are announced by our friends at Sister Schuberts!MSKTD Food Facility Group recently finished the 48,500 sf addition that added new production lines at Sister Schuberts’ Horse Cave, Kentucky plant.MSKTD designed the original plant – a 108,000 sf production, warehouse and distribution facility, which was completed in 2007.
The U.S. Green Building Council recently announced that over one billion square feet of commercial projects had been certified. Part of that was achieved with the Sweetwater Sound headquarters which achieved LEED Platinum. We also have a number of projects with Ball State University and Ivy Tech Community College that are registered and working towards certification. But whether or not our clients choose LEED certification, we understand the dynamics of image, function, environment and technology; efficiency, sustainability, and expandability, and we strive for the very best for our clients.
Joshua Snyder, Structural Engineer at MSKTD, has written an article for the November 2010 issue of Modern Steel Construction about our project for Sweetwater Sound located in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Planned and constructed for sustainability, this new music facility earned LEED Platinum certification as well as acclaim.
Vermont Governor Jim Douglas joined Commonwealth Dairy officials and Agriculture Secretary Roger Allbee to break ground at the site of the company’s new Brattleboro, Vermont plant on March 18, 2010.
“This is a key milestone for our vision of a world-class yogurt facility here in Vermont,” said Dieter Dobousek, Commonwealth Dairy’s Vice President and Chief Technical Officer. “We are looking forward to being an important part of the Brattleboro and Vermont family.”
MSKTD’s Advanced Manufacturing team designed the $32 million, state-of-the-art, LEED compliant, Class II dairy processing facility. The facility will initially process over 50 million pounds of milk per year.
Commonwealth is partnering with Ehrmann AG. Ehrmann Yogurt is a family-owned firm with more than a billion dollars in sales in 40 European and Asian countries. The founder’s grandson, Christian Ehrmann, Chairman of the Board of Ehrmann, attended the groundbreaking and spoke about his vision of a US yogurt facility.
“We are committed to making Commonwealth an industry leader,” said Christian Ehrmann, “Like the State of Vermont, our company has built its reputation on quality, and we are looking forward to continuing that legacy here.”
Ehrmann yogurt is a family-owned company, located in a small German village of Oberschonegg.
The facility will produce Yogurt under private label and co-pack arrangements; as well its own all-natural, rBST-free “Mountainberry” branded product, with a special emphasis on ”made in Vermont.”
The new class II dairy processing facility will utilize alternative energy sources and will be designed to accept milk from the open market as well as segregated milk streams, such as organic and local. The 39,000-square foot production facility is being built on 5.9 acres of land in the Omega Campus. The facility is expected to create at least 24 jobs within 3 years.
A local news report is available here.
The challenge of food contamination has led architects to refine design strategies for modern food processing plants.Written by George Bachnivsky, MSKTD(originally published Nov 2007)Everyone in the food processing industry has a least favorite contamination nightmare.Take the experience of a mid-western plant that ran into a bacteria problem last year. Every couple of weeks, tests would indicate the presence of bacteria. It was often different, suggesting different sources. The plant manager pressurized the building and implemented other tactics to keep bacteria out — to no avail.The general manager summoned an architect to look at the building and determine whether or not the facility’s design had some weakness that was causing the problem.While walking through the building to study the doors and windows, the architect discovered a trail of open doors leading down a corridor and outside to the parking lot. Someone had propped open all the doors with cardboard wedges.It was the plant’s laundry service. When the delivery person arrived to pick up and deliver uniforms, he found he could do his job faster if he propped the doors open while he moved the clean uniforms in and the dirty uniforms out. Flies followed him into the facility.Of course, the building had been designed to prevent contamination. The heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) system pressurized the building to prevent outside air from flowing in. Various airlocks and interlocks as well as delineating red zones also helped prevent contamination. But the delivery person violated key procedures when he blocked the doors open — and allowed contaminants to penetrate the building’s defense systems.The purpose of a food plant is to facilitate the clean, safe processing and packaging of foods. In short, a food processing plant must be designed to protect food from contamination from the time it arrives at the plant until it is shipped to the store — despite the threats posed by nature and more commonly human contact.Protecting food today requires sophisticated building design safeguards. Equally important, as the food processing industry changes with the times, plant design must also evolve to facilitate efficient operations without compromising safety.Keeping the great outdoors out thereBelieve it or not, the exterior design of a food processing facility affects the cleanliness and safety of the foods made inside the facility. Exterior design issues include traffic patterns, vegetation and landscaping design, the roofing design, and other exterior building features.Starting at the property line, facility designers create separate approaches and roads for various kinds of plant traffic. The goal is to prevent different kinds of traffic from crossing paths. For example, a delivery truck that travels through rural areas and picks up manure on its tires should not cross the path used by employees to walk from the parking lot to the facility door. By isolating these different kinds of foot traffic and vehicular traffic, it is possible to prevent the truck from contaminating a walkway with bacteria, which employees then collect with their shoes and track into the building.Isolation should continue while arriving trucks are loaded or unloaded. Drivers should park in a receiving bay and then wait in an isolated lounge designated for them and not be allowed to enter the facility.Another exterior design issue involves vegetation, which attracts bacteria-carrying insects and birds. Critical design considerations include keeping vegetation at least 50 feet away from the building and sidewalks, to prevent employees from tracking contaminants into the building. It is also important to isolate dairy receiving areas from vegetation by at least 100 feet.Techniques include separating buildings and vegetation with vermin strips. The vermin strips can be either concrete or pea gravel. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.Roofing for food processing plants has changed over the years in response to three problems characteristic of basic membrane roofs with gravel ballast.First, geographies with severe freeze-thaw cycles can cause membrane roofs to fail. Water tends to get into cracks and crevices in stone ballast. In the winter, the water freezes and expands, fracturing the stones. When the stones break apart, the result is smaller stones with razor sharp edges. When maintenance technicians walk on the roof, their shoes will literally cause the sharp rock to slice up the roof.Ballasted roofs also harbor bacteria, a condition made worse by the discharge of food particles in a processing plant’s venting system. Bacterial concentrations attract insects, which lay eggs and produce maggots.Finally, when a processing plant vents air from its HVAC system, the air often contains oils used in food preparation. When oil settles on the roof, it causes the membrane to soften and deteriorate.Recent plant designs have gone to a hygienic roofing system, one used in Europe for a number of years. Called Thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO), it does not require ballast. Its seams are heat welded together, which protects against bacterial attacks that often injure glued roofs. Finally, the material resists the effects of oil.Because there is no ballast, owners can wash down the roof with a fire hose every year. This reduces the amount of bacteria and other kinds of growths that might accumulate on the roof.Building codes vs. insurance underwritersDesigners follow building codes. But insurance underwriters often require higher standards than building codes to write policies at their lowest rates. Owners and architects would be wise to talk to insurance carriers before design gets underway.Chances are, the carrier will go beyond a number of building code provisions. Possibilities include the amount of water per square foot that the sprinkler system will pump in the event of fire. Underwriters also tend to require roofs to support more snow than building codes require. Another difference arises as underwriters want roofs to weather more powerful wind uplifts than building codes specify.Walkable ceilingsYears ago, plants would shut down for a week every year to maintain pipes, valves, motors and other building infrastructure.Today, however, food-processing plants operate 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week, with no allowance for downtime to maintain equipment or easily change out components.To deal with the problem, architects have begun to design walkable ceilings in plants. Cables connected to the roof suspend walk-able ceilings, which enclose overhead piping and electrical, refrigeration, and mechanical systems. By enclosing these systems, maintenance technicians can access them for cleaning and repairs without requiring the plant to shut down.Walkable ceilings cost more per square foot to construct, and many owners don’t want to pay a premium. But there is a payback in that the ceiling allows the plant to operate continuously without as many maintenance related shutdowns.More to comeDon’t think this is the whole story on modern food plant design. Many other design issues come into play, from site selection and foundations that resist movement in soft soils to vapor barriers that prevent mold and bacteria growth and even appropriate cleaning procedures for materials used to construct the plant.Owners and architects today are reviewing virtually every food-processing plant design concept to determine what does and doesn’t work, improving some systems and replacing others. Before everything is said and done, food plants will be safer and cleaner than ever.