Strike while the iron is hot.
That seems to be the motto for food and beverage manufacturers across the country, because with a strong economy, many are now looking to complete major capital projects. From facility repairs and expansions, to replacement facilities and new greenfield projects, companies are moving quickly to invest in their manufacturing facilities.
At Ibberson, we’re proud to be part of many of these projects, and our involvement from pre-planning to final construction gives us unique insight into the latest developments in the industry. To share our expertise, here are just a few of the hottest design and construction trends in the food and beverage manufacturing industry.
The most significant change in food and beverage facilities may not be what’s coming down the production line, but the production line itself. As consumer appetites evolve and new food trends come and go, companies are increasingly looking to design and build facilities that can more readily adapt to changing market conditions.
To accomplish this, more companies are building flexibility into their overall plant design, leaving space to change lines, add equipment and accommodate new technology. This has become especially prudent for manufacturers of allergen-free foods. These companies are placing increased emphasis on airflow systems and designing facilities to include more space for cleaning down equipment and surfaces to ensure safe food processing procedures. Companies building for future expansion are also more common than they used to be as brands try to position themselves to respond to the inevitable changes in the market that lie ahead.
While certainly not a new trend, sustainability continues to be a driving force in manufacturing facility renovations and builds. Whether it’s an effort to meet regulatory requirements or to be good corporate citizens at a time when the public is increasingly concerned with climate change, companies are investing in advanced technology and design improvements to become more eco-friendly. Some of the most common sustainability strategies include changes to packaging processes, waste and sanitation systems, and the reengineering of systems to make water and energy use more efficient. Forward-thinking companies are also looking for ways to utilize renewable energy sources, particularly in greenfield projects. Designing facilities to incorporate biomass and solar capabilities is one of the more popular trends in the industry as companies look to reduce power consumption and diversify their manufacturing power sources.
For food manufacturers, the future is spelled I-I-o-T. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has already started to revolutionize the way food and beverage brands bring their products to market, and that doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon. When it comes to IIoT’s impact on facility design and construction, it depends on the age of the project.
For new builds, food and beverage brands are designing around the latest IIoT devices and equipment, making sure floor layout and site infrastructure are built with the IIoT in mind. But for facility renovations and updates, things aren’t so simple. Equipment and production systems that are reaching 20 years old or more weren’t designed for the IIoT. While there are bolt-on solutions that allow companies to modernize old equipment, this isn’t always possible. Instead, companies are facing the prospect of buying new equipment (which may necessitate facility design changes) or building more modern facilities altogether.
With IIoT technology still relatively new to the industry, many brands are still trying to figure out how best to leverage their new data capabilities. As they further adapt processes and update equipment, the design and construction of manufacturing facilities will undoubtedly reflect the impact of IIoT technology in increasingly profound ways.
It’s no secret that emerging companies have disrupted the food and beverage industry. But these smaller businesses are also taking a new approach to their facilities as well. Rather than taking on expensive greenfield projects, emerging brands are increasingly choosing to lease space from developers who build and operate the manufacturing facility. As they become more established in the market, they’re likely to build their own facilities, signaling yet further change for the design and construction of food and beverage manufacturing facilities.
Ready to set trends of your own with a new design-build project? Contact Ibberson today and see how our team of experts can help your food and beverage business stay ahead of the curve — and the competition.