ASX listed CCP Technologies (ASX: CT1), which specialises in providing real-time monitoring and analysis of critical control points in supply chains, has adapted its monitoring service for commercial refrigeration systems to use Thinxtra’s Australian Sigfox network.
By so doing, CCP says it is now able to offer: a stand-alone solution which is not reliant on local networks or infrastructure; a long-lasting battery-powered solution which is capable of uninterrupted operation even during power failures; simple plug and play installation.
Also, CCP says that, by using Sigfox, it will be able to offer the service in the 60 countries where Sigfox networks are expected to be deployed by the end of 2018.
CCP CEO, Michael White said the company’s cloud-based analytics platform provided the business intelligence required to manage food safety and compliance and improve business efficiencies associated with costly refrigerated assets.
Beware of your smart fridge
In a recent CCP blog post he explained that commercial refrigeration systems, even when operating normally, can be detrimental to food quality, and even safety.
“In response to growing demand for energy efficiency, the commercial refrigeration industry has offered ECO mode, but look before your leap,” White wrote. “ECO mode can operate in different ways. For example, some are pre-programmed (eg ECO mode starts at normal store closing time); and some ‘smart’ fridges include controllers that ‘learn’ when to automatically make energy saving adjustments to operating parameters.
“But how does the refrigeration unit know what product-level temperature will sustain food safety and product integrity? The answer, of course is that it doesn’t. And that’s where problems can start.”
White cited the case of one CCP customer that had had a new fridge installed with Eco mode activated. “With CCP installed in the fridge, our system analytics identified a disturbing temperature pattern. Temperature tolerances in this new (very expensive) fridge were being regularly breached, in one case for six hours.
“The shop owner investigated the issue and the cause was quickly found. A licensed refrigeration mechanic installed the new fridge with ECO mode switched on. At night, when there was minimal movement and fridge door events, the fridge controller’s ECO mode fuzzy logic kicked-in and decided it didn’t need to keep the fridge as cold. But unfortunately, the fridge ECO mode didn’t consider food safety regulations and the need to maximise product shelf life. So, the ‘smart fridge’ wasn’t so smart after all.”
He added: “Manual temperature checks will not detect issues unless you check the product-level temperature when the fridge is in its low-energy mode.”