Design: Food Processing Facilities

Design: Food Processing Facilities

Food Production Demands Unique Design Solutions.

Food manufacturing operations possess design challenges that are unique to the food industry. Unlike most other facilities, food plants will endure physical and chemical abuse on a daily basis with the ever present risk of biological contamination. The need to maintain a hygienic processing environment requires a facility that can be sanitized on a daily basis with harsh chemical cleaners and sanitizers in order to minimize the risks. The temperature requirements often range from the extreme heat of hot processing and cooking to the below zero cooling of products and rooms. The multitude of food product handling equipment moving throughout the facility presents the opportunity for damage to floors and walls with every passing.

The design of food production operations is the specialty of Food Plant Engineering, LLC. Our cohesive team works together to bring innovation to life in your facility. Many of our associates have hands-on experience in the food-processing environment and understand the special demands placed on a facility and its processing equipment. We bring to each project the mindset that every client is unique and deserves our undivided attention. And once the facility layout has been established, the components and materials of the facility design must be determined.  The design must account for considerations that affect food safety, sanitation, life-cycle cost, durability and maintenance.

The design of food production facilities must also balance the need for productive layouts with food safety considerations. A facility layout that will help reduce cross contamination caused by food-borne pathogens, food allergens, and people-and-product flow while producing products efficiently requires careful thought and planning. This planning effort must be followed by implementing sound facility design principles that allow for a facility be operate both efficiently and in a food safe manner.

Enhance Productivity with Smart Automation

Automation is the application of equipment and technology to produce food products with the goal of reducing the amount of human intervention, improving the process, and/or increasing productivity. Automation of food production processes that are normally performed by people can benefit a food plant in many different ways: reduced labor, higher throughput, higher quality, greater product consistency, and improvement in food safety. As with all choices, there are tradeoffs when weighing the level and complexity of the automation needed for the returns and benefits to outweigh the costs and risks. Food Plant Engineering, LLC has successfully applied food processing automation to many different types of food processing operations and can assist with the proper application in your operation.

Improve Food Safety with Intelligent Facility Design

Food Plant Engineering has extensive experience designing food facilities under regulatory inspection for food safety. With this background, we can bring to you innovative and cost-effective ideas for the construction of a facility that meets the needs of today’s requirements and the expectations of your customers.

The current necessity for FDA, USDA, FSMA, HACCP, SQF and BRC planning makes layout and design of the food facility very important. In order to produce safe products in the current environment, key factors should be considered when laying out and designing the facility. For example, how the food preparation, production and packaging flow are integrated into the layout of the facility affects the ability to implement FDA, USDA, FSMA, HACCP, SQF and BRC requirements. Also, the flow of this process and how it is integrated with employee movement is important for both efficiency and food safety.

Grow the Operation with Prudent Facility Features

Once the facility layout has been established, the components and materials of the facility design must be determined. The design must account for considerations that affect food safety, sanitation, life-cycle cost, durability and maintenance.

Food Plant Engineering has in-depth knowledge of the nuances of designing a food facility. We will discuss with you the many options and cost/benefits of different design solutions and material options to prevent problems such as:

AFloors: Food facility floors are under constant strain from the physical abuse of heavy traffic, thermal shock from temperature variations between cleanup and operation and chemical attack from harsh cleaning chemicals. We know the various materials, correct application of the materials and cost effectiveness of each type. Thus, we are able to specify flooring materials that can be maintained to withstand the abuse that floors in food facilities undergo.

BFreezer Floors: Freezer floor slabs are subject to heaving if not designed properly. Ice can also build up on freezer floors, making them slippery and hazardous. We know the design factors to prevent freezer floor slabs from heaving and ice from forming on the floor.

CCondensation: Condensation will occur in improperly designed facilities and can cause food products to become adulterated. Problems often stem from improper vapor barriers in insulated panel construction, vapor pressure issues or infiltration/exfiltration between different types of rooms. We know how to avoid these pitfalls and prevent condensation from occurring.

DWalls: Walls are subject to physical abuse from traffic and chemical abuse from cleaning products. We know the materials that can withstand the physical and chemical abuse, the proper application of the materials, which manufacturers to specify and the best methods for protecting walls from extreme physical abuse.

EFloor Drains: Floor drains are a source of potential contamination. We know who manufactures the most sanitary floor drains, which drains are easiest to clean and how to design process-waste systems that minimize the potential for food contamination.

FLights: Food facility lighting fixtures must be easy to clean and maintain. We know which fixtures are appropriate for each application in a food facility.

GPipes and Conduits: In a food processing facility, piping and conduit materials must be sanitary on the interior and exterior. We know the proper application of materials that are sanitary, able to withstand the abuse of chemical cleaning and hold up to temperature variations.

HAir Conditioning/Refrigeration/Ventilation Systems: Air temperature in a food facility is important for employee comfort, productivity and the safety of food products. Ventilation systems can also create food quality and contamination issues if not properly designed. We know the temperature and air balance necessary to maintain an environment for the efficient and safe production of food.

IEquipment Utilities: Food processing equipment can require different types of energy sources. Often, choices can be made between sources. We are familiar with all types of food processing equipment in the facility and the best sources of energy. We have designed many similar utility infrastructures and know how to design the most efficient total system.

JEquipment Connections: Food equipment requires many connections for operation. We have first-hand knowledge of the requirements for connecting food processing equipment and the experience to design them.

KSanitation Systems: Many types of sanitation systems exist - both wet and dry - and these systems must be applied properly. We know the best temperature and pressure requirements for wet cleanup and sanitation systems. We also know the various methods for heating, circulation and delivery of water, as well as the cost-effectiveness and efficiency of the equipment available.

LBio-Security: Today’s facilities must consider internal and external issues affecting the possible contamination of food. We understand how the receiving, storing and producing of food should be designed to help mitigate these issues.

MAutomation Opportunities : Most production operations must balance flexibility with efficiency. We know how to leverage automation while working with equipment suppliers to identify, evaluate and integrate opportunities to enhance operational efficiency.

Our complete package of design services includes:


  • Site/civil planning
  • Building code/zoning review
  • Space planning
  • Architectural/structural plans
  • Green design concepts
  • 3-D Modeling/BIM plans


  • Production capacity studies
  • Process flow plans
  • Material and work flow plans
  • Process piping
  • Dry ingredients
  • Wet ingredients


  • Cold storage systems
  • Coolers and freezers
  • Halocarbon/freon systems
  • Ammonia systems
  • Glycol systems
  • Heat recovery


  • Distribution systems
  • Lighting systems
  • Switchgear and MCC layouts
  • Controls
  • Process equipment integration
  • Back up power

Heating & Cooling

  • Clean rooms/HEPA filtration
  • Chilled water/glycol
  • Exhaust/ventilation
  • Condensation control
  • Plant airflow studies
  • Variable volume air systems


  • Process equipment piping
  • Boilers/steam/condensate
  • Natural gas/inert gas
  • Compressed air
  • Hot/cold water
  • Clean-up water/waste water