Planning For Your Next Food Plant Expansion or Greenfield Project

Has production at your plant reached its capacity? If so, how will you handle additional production needs? If the need is for a small, but quick increase in capacity, an existing facility retrofit or expansion may be the ideal solution. If a larger increase in capacity is desired, or if there is a need for redundancy, a greenfield project could be the better fit. In either case there are seven main factors that need to be addressed while planning your next food plant expansion or greenfield project.

    1. Location: Both greenfield projects and existing plant expansions come with unique needs. If you determine a plant expansion is more feasible than a greenfield project, you must make provisions with your design-build team within the construction planning stages to reduce any impact on current operations. If a greenfield approach is taken, several factors may impact location such as state regulations, labor pools, transportation routes, etc. and must be weighed by your project team.
    2. Production: One of the first items to address when planning your next process expansion is to determine what product(s) will be produced within the expansion. Different products come with different rules of governance, they require different equipment, which can result in different utilities being required.
    3. Food Safety: Will your facility be SQF or BRC certified? Typically, this is a business decision and can impact the construction of the facility. Passing information along early to your design team will help keep unforeseen costs down. Along with certifications, level of controls (environmental or zones) should be discussed with your design team as each can add complexity and cost to your project.
    4. Utilities Consumption Resume: After equipment has been selected and environmental controls have been designated, a proper utilities consumption resume can be completed. This resume will help manage the heart of the facility by supporting the sizing of all major mechanical and electrical equipment.
    5. Technology: When planning for your new project with your design-build team, technology can play a big impact on the final result of the project. Determining what new technologies to implement on the building side (such as TPO roofing or LED lights) as well as the equipment side (central controls, location of HMI panels, control rooms) can play a major part in facility energy consumption and level of process control.
    6. Size & Scope: Equipment & Food Safety will both play a major part in determining the size of a facility while also impacting production efficiencies. Adding spaces to make sanitation processes easier may be a good idea. Circulation corridors help facilitate flow paths outside of high care areas. Along with size, material selections should occur early on with your design team to help prepare more accurate budgetary costs.
    7. Time Frame: When planning a project with your design-build team it is very important to communicate key dates, such as when equipment will be available to move in and when production will start. Both dates will affect the feasibility stage early in the process, and depending on available time could impact cost due to accelerated or winter conditions.

Tippmann Group has designed and built temperature controlled facilities for the food industry for more than 40 years, including retrofitting existing facilities, expansions, and new greenfield buildings. With recent processing experience including the meat, dairy, and produce industries, Tippmann Group is ready to help plan your next food plant expansion or greenfield project. For more information, please send us an email or give us a call at (260) 490-3000.