Food Plant Engineering, Design & Construction
Clients come to Dejong Consulting for food plant engineering support when they struggle to overcome productivity issues. Often, these issues manifest as:
- High Downtimes
- High Bacteria Counts
- High Staffing Requirements
- Low Margins
- Lost Product
- Wasted Byproducts
- Costly Trial and Error
Food production is a low-margin, high-volume business. This means that most plants don’t fail due to large mistakes. Instead, it is the tiny inefficiencies that add up, creating a “death by a thousand cuts” scenario.
From Recipe to Realization
As a full-service design and build engineering firm we help our partners design plants, reduce waste, repurpose by-products, and increase their overall production, all while maintaining industry standards for food safety and cleanliness. We work both with existing plants and new turn-key builds.
We’re A Solution Looking For A Problem To Solve
If you are frustrated by a challenge in your plant project or sanitary process and want a fresh set of eyes, we can be your easy button. Dejong is uniquely positioned with years of experience that eliminates costly trial and error. Whether you need an underperforming plant turned around, a high bacterial loading problem solved, or a brand new plant launched from the ground up, Dejong has done it all.
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Results Driven Engineering For The Food Processing Industry
DeJong Consulting can help you exceed consumer expectations through improved flexibility and solutions-oriented resources that are tailored to your organization’s needs. It all starts with a conversation.
During that conversation, we will listen and ask essential questions. After a full review to understand your organization’s vision and goals, we’ll provide unparalleled customer service to make those aspirations a reality. From plant design to process optimization, you’ll get uncompromising quality, no matter the size of your organization. All we ask in return is a willingness to innovate and consider unique solutions to your challenges.
Food Plant Productivity Experts
In our experience, most food production plants struggle to fix productivity inefficiencies. This doesn’t mean the plant isn’t working hard for efficiency – often, there is just a knowledge gap. For example, we’ve seen a plant that was willing to regularly throw away two days’ worth of product due to high bacterial counts. Their staff constantly reassured the plant managers that this was normal and nothing could be done to fix it – and, in fairness, it had been normal in their previous experience. But it didn’t have to be.
In another example, we were consulted by a plant that needed to increase productivity and was certain their machines were underperforming. We arrived on site and noticed “huddles” of team members physically handling the product because the automated machines weren’t performing due to transport inefficiencies. They did what they had to do to get the job done but didn’t know that it was possible to solve the problem simply. We replaced these huddles with more efficient conveyors, instantly increasing production and margins.
The challenge with most food production plants is that they will continue with business “as usual” so long as their system is “good enough”. If the maintenance man can keep it going, there is no reason to look at redesigns or alternative solutions. If payroll can be met, it can be hard to propose rethinking man-hours. However, competition chips away at the margins over time, forcing the need for outside advice. We are the experts you can lean on to solve the nagging problems that are killing your plant.
Why DeJong Is Different
DeJong is unique in our ability to bring cross-industry knowledge to our problem-solving approach. From breakfast egg products to pharmaceutical plants, we’ve done it all. This means that you get outside-the-box thinking whenever you bring a DeJong consultant to the team.
At the same time, because of our industry knowledge, we are extremely well-versed in where the most common problems lie. This means that when a DeJong consultant joins the conversation, you can expect pointed questions designed to get to the bottom of the problem.
DeJong is an on-demand food engineering company. Most clients bring us in for specific projects with defined outcomes as an extension of their on-site team to help drive design and execution. Our goal is for you to use our team when and where you need us to fill gaps.
How we can help
How food is being produced is changing with new farming practices and a growing world population. Your organization should be primed and ready to feed the hungry throughout it all without sacrificing quality or nutrition. We will help you find ways to reduce waste, repurpose by-products and increase your overall production, all while maintaining industry standards for food safety and cleanliness. Through strong industry partnerships, we are able to bring custom plant operations and process solutions that can fit a new or existing plant footprint.
Sustainability is important to us, whether through reduced waste or reduced utility costs.
We work with you to find process efficiencies and equipment improvements to elevate your plant to the next level. You’ll see your ROI increase, your plant production soar and the amount of waste you produce dwindle. We put clients first, no side deals with equipment vendors, no pushing products you don’t need. Just honest, creative problem solving.
Our services include process consulting, plant design, project management and equipment installation to support:
We strive to bring creative thinking and cross-industry innovation to the table as we work to solve customers’ process and plant operations challenges. We have an excellent track record of applying our experience from working in biotech, agriculture, nutraceutical, and even industrial processes into the sanitary requirements for USDA/FDA regulated food industry applications, inventing new product offerings in the process. There is no challenge too complex for our team to solve and no business too big or small for us to partner with. We particularly specialize in Egg and Dairy, as well as meat, biological fermentation, and beverage facilities.
Contact us today to elevate your food production processes!
Dave Erlebach, Intrinsic Organics
I work with DeJong Consulting because of his industry knowledge, drive and willingness to go the extra mile. Many consultants would prolong the problem to make extra money, but Michael does what it takes to get it done.
Food Production Requires Safety, Speed, and Economies of Scale
A properly designed food industry processing plant layout safeguards employees by minimizing their exposure to potentially harmful materials and processes. Effective engineering will allow reduction of high-risk activities such as enclosed space permit activities, minimize manual product or cleaning changeovers, and significantly reduce potential harmful chemical exposure.
At the same time, sanitation is key as food is protected from environmental and cross-contamination concerns. We have deep experience in sanitary design, and invest as much focus on designing an efficient cleaning process and a hygienic processing environment as we spend engineering the food production.
Our food process engineers can also assist in optimizing an existing plant that is struggling with bottlenecks. We can look at your current system and offer food plant engineering that will support sanitary processes, focus on waste reduction, and optimize cleaning processes.
We are pleased to be the market leader when it comes to rapid plant deployment. Because we are a boutique consultancy, we offer easy-to-reach account managers who communicate efficiently and who will manage the project relentlessly. Our focus on your project enables us to deliver an operational facility in a fraction of the time as our competitors require.
Food also needs speed for two reasons:
1) Faster throughput means greater production per square foot. If you can operate at high speed with good efficiency, you can maximize your space.
2) Typically, if you can operate more quickly, your overhead will reduce and margins will increase. To say it differently, if the same shift produces more food, labor and infrastructure will eat less margin.
Food processors almost always benefit from economies of scale if speed can be increased by getting more output for less cost in time and less raw material waste.
Food Plant Design
A good facility design will reduce the risk of cross-contamination. This can include everything from food-borne pathogens to food allergens and efficient human traffic flow.
Sound Facility Design principles promote shorter construction time and turn-key operation at build completion.
Our past experience lets us point out potential problems and navigate your build to a hassle-free completion. We can work around any throughput and manhour/work shift requirements – and assist you in finding the ‘sweet spot’ that balances automation and throughput against man-hours to make sure you’re not overspending either now or later.
Furthermore, our designers are well-versed and comfortable meeting FDA, USDA, PMO, FSMA, HACCP, SQF and BRC requirements for hygienic plant design.
Smart Automation Boosts Productivity
Automation is the new buzzword. In our designs, we use automation to reduce human intervention and error, improve productivity, and reduce labor costs.
Using automation in the processing of food leads to better manufacturing quality, which results in greater consistency and reliability.
Automation achieves a reduction in costs by reducing the amount of labor required for production and creating a more consistent flow of products.
The food manufacturing industry is going through a digitization revolution. Traditional controls are being replaced with networked computer systems, sensors, and data.
With the rise of technology, we may see a change in food quality.
We are excited about the opportunities coming with automation and the internet of things. This is a level of integration unseen in manufacturing before.
The workforce will also change, as we progress from mass production to craft production. Humans will have to work in more dynamic environments and on value-added batches of products rather than huge runs.
Food Processing Plants Design Principles:
Our framework ensures that we get it right every time. Different clients will have a different emphasis on each step. Our boutique food processing plant engineering system allows us to customize each plant.
- Process Flow and Material Handling
- Cleaning and Sanitizing
- Personnel Safety
- Energy Automation
- Food Contact Materials — Chemical Compatibility
- Quality Assurance
- Process Automation and Food Safety Auditing — Combined as HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points)
- Waste Minimization
- Switchgear and MCC Layouts
- Labor Efficiency
- Clean Rooms/ HEPA Filtration
- Transportation and Storage — Bulk Receiving to Final Packaging
- Process Capacity Studies
- Building Codes and Safety Standards
- Process Equipment Piping
Forward-Thinking Facility Features
You can tell how long someone has been in manufacturing by how many retrofits they have gone through. If you aren’t tearing down a wall to install some exclusive piece of equipment that was flown in from Italy, are you even in manufacturing design?
We prioritize the pragmatic. Our systems need to not only be efficient but to be easily maintained and optimized for low life-cycle cost.
The food processing equipment and engineering community is shifting from the traditional PLCs (programmable logic controls) to more modern automation systems with open-source software.
An open-source platform for automation enables faster integration of hardware and software components, eliminates proprietary lock-in, and increases maintainability.
Sanitation is a critical step. We help optimize each step for the best temperature, chemical, pressure, and flowrate. We implement both wet and dry sanitization, depending on t
Bio-Security & Food Safety
Food safety is crucial. We design walls and floors to minimize contaminant harboring for a bio-secure environment that protects the workers, equipment, and food. Each industry will have its own requirements and regulatory standards. Sometimes the minimum requirements don’t meet the process needs. We assist in navigating the ‘grey areas’ to ensure the best chance at successful outcomes in food safety and facility cleanliness.
Energy costs are the fastest-growing expense of a food plant. We work with our clients to decrease energy consumption, optimize for renewable energy sources, and help them obtain a higher yield per energy input. Often overlooked, ongoing energy efficiency is one of the primary ways to reduce plant operating expenses.
We optimize our clients’ processes for the highest quality food and the best yield per input. Our process analysis software helps us optimize your manufacturing for greater efficiency, turnover, throughput, and consistency.
With over 30 suppliers involved in a major plant built, inter-compatibility and equipment parts and spares can be a real problem. At DeJong Consulting, we have worked with all of the major suppliers and understand the intricacies of cross-manufacturer compatibility and equipment connections. We have long-established relationships with these suppliers to get the best rates and priority service.
Air Condition, Refrigeration, and Ventilation
We work closely with engineering firms that specialize in air conditioning and refrigeration to provide your facility with state-of-the-art cooling and humidity control for the best food quality and safety.
Fire Detection and Suppression Systems
A food processing facility can be a fire trap. We integrate fire detection and suppression systems for optimal protection of life and property. This can include halogen systems where needed.
Floors must withstand heavy traffic while being easy to clean. We work closely with our clients to optimize the floor and wall design for the best sanitation process.
Freezer floors must resist frost and high temperatures while allowing for optimal cleaning. Our design takes into account process conditions to effectively design floor slabs to prevent frost build-up, among other considerations.