David J. Atkins, PE, President of NuTec Design | 4 Min Read
I recently read an article on “the big trend” for food production facilities. The trend is what you might expect, facilities need to be built faster… and bigger.
Now, the first piece of that statement … (faster) is absolutely true in the industry. The faster a building is built = product sooner to consumers, providing a faster ROI. It’s Business 101 and no one can argue that point. Technology, design approaches, and construction methods are constantly improving to impact schedule and meet the clients’ goals. However, these are topics for another discussion.
I want to focus on the second part of the statement … (bigger). We’ve all heard over the years, from many clients, that floor space is at a premium in manufacturing facilities. Square footage is required whether it is office space, staff amenities, warehouse storage, production, or consolidation of existing facilities…and bigger is better.
When I first read that article, my mind went directly to mega-production/distribution facilities. Specifically, the ones requiring large amounts of square footage for production lines. These often have multiple adjacent process lines, laid out on the floor with raw product entering at one end and final product out the other.
I saw a building matching this description sitting on vast areas of land, including paved areas for all the truck traffic on site. That’s when I stopped to challenge my thinking, considering sites with sprawling buildings:
Sprawling buildings may not fit the overall operations of a production facility or the available site conditions. The reality is, most of the time,
clients are restricted on space.
Possible solution - A vertical process flow could provide a solution for operations, equipment selection, and process reliability on several of these projects.
First, let’s consider just a few of the simple design and maintenance items for a smaller footprint building, made possible with a vertical process flow.
When it comes to footprint, we know two things:
The amount of requirements for storm water management continues to rise across the country.
Smaller building footprint results in less disturbed acreage and potentially less material.