The food industry is one of the largest fields with the estimated year-on-year growth of 6.21% worldwide.
It is not just about the size of the market but also about the fact that people inceasingly require high quality of food and the right approach to its processing and storing. In our first exaple, we will look at the use of IoT in a company that does exactly that.
Why Does the Food Industry Need IoT?
Food and produce in general have to follow very strict and high standards because their low quality can lead even to serious sickness. It is, therefore, one of the areas that can hide the biggest risks.
That is the reason why it i snecessary for companies doing business in production and storing of food to have efficient systems that keep on checking the safety and quality of the products.
One way to do this is to use Internet of Things technologies. ioT can be used for monitoring and checking of various apects of production and storing – from temperature levels and humidity to energy consumption. But it is far from only collecting data. Appropriate control and overview dashbaords can give hint to companies about what is going on and if any non-standard situations requiring attention emerged.
Specific Problem – Quality
One of the main problems the food industry is facing is the quality of products. This causes high financial losses but also potential problems with customers and hygiene if this issue is not uncovered on time. The result is the complete throwing out of all the produce, time, effort and money right into the trash can. And in the food industry that can be just a step away.
The IoT technology can be used in the food industry in three ways with regards to preventing spoilage – tempmerature check, humidity check and non-standard state alerts.
IoT sensors can be used to monitor the level of temperature in the whole company – in rooms, fridges, freezers, etc. Sensors have no limits there. They ensure that the final products have the optimal temperature during the whole production and storing process.
Each environment has its specific temperature settings which is why it is necessary to do a good plan prior to installing the sensors. This plan should include what does the company want to monitor and where. Sensors then enable employees to mmonitor temperature remotely through a web app or interface to interfere when necessary – and in time.
Sensors can also be connected to automation systems that adjust the temperature based on the external conditions and preset parameters.
IoT sensors also monitor the levels of humidity to prevent spoilage related to inappropriate levels of humidity and mold.
Outside of this information being at hand for the employees to react to any swings, the data also has to be connected to a system that can display not only data regarding humidity but also the temperature data. This enables the company to see any correlation between various changes and be better able to efficiently work with it.
Non-Standard State alerts
One thing is sensors collecting and displaying data. Another step is to connect them to automating systems to ensure specific changes under specific conditions. And yet another step is to work with urgent situations.
It is really handy for a fridge to lower automatically the temperature when it goes up but what if the power goes out? Even the best automating systems alone cannot do anything. And at that point the sensors come into play again.
Sensors are not dependent upon central power supply which is why they can notice when something isn’t right and they immediatelly notify responsible personnel. To prevent false alarms, the company sets the conditions before the sensors are implemented – when should the alert come, how and who should receive it.
That is how employees remain informed not only about these critical conditions but they can also receive a notification regarding any state that happens in production. The company calls the shots.
Real Life Example as a Conclusion
We have seen several way IoT makes the food industry more efficient – and that was just regards to products getting spoilt. Our customer Bevia, previously I Love Hummus, had a real experience with this kind of problem. You can read about it in the case study “IoT Ensures Efficient Work of the Food Industry“.