New Study Utilizes Innovation and New Technology to Transform Next-Gen Food Processing Facilities

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IAMC and SIOR release their latest study from the DesignFlex2030 initiative titled, “Recipe for Change: The Flexible Food Processing Plant of the Future,” which explores design approaches for next-gen facilities.

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Given today’s volatile economic environment, it was important that the paper demonstrate the viability of using and re-using the same facility for multiple purposes and across numerous industries.

The Industrial Asset Management Council (IAMC) and the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR) released the findings of their latest study today titled, “Recipe for Change: The Flexible Food Processing Plant of the Future.” The paper documents creative and practical suggestions on how to extend the lifecycle of future food processing facilities so they can be repurposed quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively as needs and users change.

“The DesignFlex2030 prototype food processing facility situates production equipment within prefabricated slide-in, slide-out modules leaving the building envelope free to quickly accommodate new production technologies and, later, to be converted to completely different uses,’” said Tate Godfrey, Executive Director, IAMC.

“Recipe for Change: The Flexible Food Processing Plant of the Future” unveils a conceptual rendering highlighting six areas of innovation – structure, process, utilities and environment, design, location, data and analytics – and suggests directions for future research and exploration as well as smart technologies.

Key aspects of next-generation design and best practices include:

  • Incorporate architecturally significant building envelope with sleek design features and attractive landscaping, which leads to increased public acceptance, better community relationships, and creates heightened interest from economic developers.
  • Locating closer to customer markets, reducing transportation time and cost.
  • The plant of the future should be designed as a single level, open floorplan.
  • Facilities should not consume any more energy or water than they can generate on their own.
  • Use daylighting, solar panels, and wind turbines, resulting in lower energy costs.
  • Consolidate numerous activities at the plant (production, packaging, etc.), which will lead to lower transportation costs, increased quality control, and potentially reduced food safety risks through less handling.
  • Meet the growing demand for fast, fresh, local, and customized foods at affordable prices.
  • Gather data and analytics on what consumers are buying and not buying, gathered in real-time, to keep the senior management team informed on emerging trends and allow for better connectivity across the value chain.

The DesignFlex2030 research initiative is commissioned and funded by the Industrial Asset Management Council (IAMC), the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR) and the SIOR Foundation to explore the potential of new design approaches that could lead to more flexible, adaptable, and sustainable facilities in the future. The project will develop prototypes for three facility types: food processing, pharmaceuticals and distribution.

“Recipe for Change: The Flexible Food Processing Plant of the Future,” the first project report, highlights six areas of food plant innovation (structure, process, utilities and environment, design, location, data and analytics); proposes a new way to consider costs and returns on investment; and suggests directions for future research and exploration as well as smart technologies. Cresa, an international corporate real estate advisory firm, contributed a generous sponsorship for this work.

“The average lifecycle of today’s newly built food processing plant is 20 to 30 years, as opposed to some older facilities that were in continuous use for more than 100 years,” said Richard Hollander, Executive Vice President, SIOR. “Given today’s volatile economic environment, it was important that the paper demonstrate the viability of using and re-using the same facility for multiple purposes and across numerous industries.”

The full study can be found at http://www.iamc.org, http://www.sior.com and http://www.siorfoundation.org.

About DesignFlex2030:

The DesignFlex2030 initiative explores the potential of new design approaches that could lead to more flexible, adaptable, and sustainable facilities in the future. The DesignFlex2030 papers offer recommendations for economic developers and federal, state, and local policy-makers on ways to encourage the construction of more flexible industrial facilities; highlights the six areas of innovation (structure, process, utilities and environment, design, location, data and analytics); proposes a new way to consider costs and returns on investment; and suggests directions for future research and exploration as well as smart technologies. IAMC, managed by Conway, is the leading association of industrial asset management and corporate real estate executives, their suppliers, service providers and economic developers. SIOR is the leading professional office and industrial real estate association that promotes and funds programs that advance the real estate profession. For more information, visit http://www.iamc.org.

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