By digitally monitoring your refrigeration system you can make a blind system sighted. The first goal of Web Integrated Management (WIM) for your cooler is to generate the up-to-the-minute information your business needs to ensure that everything is properly refrigerated, and if not, that those who can correct any problems are alerted in a timely fashion. The second goal is to gather that same information over time and display it in a way that can help you run your business.
The traditional way to monitor the operation of a refrigeration system was to simply wait until the product seemed to be getting warmer. Keeping a thermometer within view inside the space is a step up from this, but doesn’t help when nobody is around to see it. Temperature alarms are a further improvement, but usually require a visit from a refrigeration technician to troubleshoot the problem on site. Now that we are in the digital age it is possible to not only more quickly respond to such emergencies, but also to know much more about the operation of systems and make adjustments well before they lead to major problems. Electronic controllers for electromechanical devices like refrigeration equipment are becoming more common and are increasingly being tied into the “Internet of Things” (IoT). This is having a positive influence on commercial refrigeration reliability and efficiency.
When an electronic controller is tied into the Internet, real-time remote monitoring of temperatures, humidity, and the status of connected devices is possible. With alarms of various types, automatic telephone notifications, and email alerts, improper or inefficient operation can be brought sooner to the attention of whoever needs to be alerted. Systems can be properly commissioned, their performance evaluated, and their settings adjusted without a service technician having to visit the site. Historical temperature, humidity and runtime data makes troubleshooting problems easier. With problems being analyzed and solved sooner, systems run more efficiently.
An electronic Cooler Controllertm from Freeaire®, for example, can monitor multiple data points like inside, outside and evaporator temperatures, humidity levels, and equipment runtimes. The information can be easily organized and displayed in graph form. In the example below, it was clear that there was an issue in the cooler because the compressor was running 100% of the time (other than normal defrost cycles). This was because the other compressor cooling that two zone space had a valve problem. This meant that the compressor pictured here was forced to do the work to cool the entire space. The temperature never went out of range, but the system was working hard to keep it at the appropriate level.
By getting on top of this problem, the owner was able to schedule a normal maintenance visit and fix the other compressor without any loss of temperature in the box. You can now see that the compressor went back to running normally, about 40% of the time. If he hadn’t known, he would have ended up waiting for the compressor to burn out – and an expensive emergency service call and potential capital replacement.
Historical data on temperatures is important for proper compliance with health and safety regulations dealing with perishable foods. Electricity use data is important information for cash flow analysis and other forms of financial planning.