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Highlighting Smart Systems for National Food Safety Education Month

Ed_McKiernan Ed McKiernan | President, Cold Chain, Electronics & Solutions

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

September is National Food Safety Education Month. With food safety emerging as a top priority for retailers and store operators, we’re looking at how evolving technology and solutions are giving industry leaders opportunities to streamline their operations and ensure safety. To read the full article, which was featured in Convenience Store News, click here.

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Health-conscious lifestyles and food safety are top priorities for a growing number of consumers, forcing food retailers and producers to focus on implementing solutions and strategies that help ensure food is safe throughout its supply chain journey. Smart technology has evolved to help them automate critical tasks and meet increasingly stringent regulatory requirements.

Automated temperature monitoring and management capabilities are some of the best ways to maintain food safety from harvest and processing to transportation, post-processing, distribution and receiving. Since it’s Food Safety Education Month, we feel it’s an especially good time to highlight a few examples of food safety modernization.

Small trackers, big results

Rather than manually recording temperatures at load and unload or using analog sensors to detect out-of-range temperatures, leading growers are transitioning to using real-time trackers at the transportation level to determine optimal conditions for food freshness. These trackers are about the size of a deck of cards and monitor freshness throughout the entire food journey.

Maximize refrigerated shipping container lifespans

Because refrigerated shipping containers have both a high value and long-life expectations, maximizing their lifespans is crucial. By implementing remote monitoring systems for intermodal containers, shipping companies can detect problems with the compressor, system runtimes, interior temperature or lighting conditions and route the container for repair whenever needed. This same data can also be used to monitor perishable food conditions within the container.

Continuous temperature tracking

Food safety can be compromised, even after relatively short periods of temperature deviations. Now, temperature conditions can be recorded and monitored throughout the entire journey to a retail destination and, upon arrival, can connect automatically to Wi-Fi based systems for instant validation of safety.

Incorporating IoT

IoT and cloud-based solutions have emerged as necessary tools to maintaining food safety. These technologies enable data storage in the cloud and provide operators throughout the food supply chain with information to help maximize efficiency and ensure that perishable food is always kept safe.

Given the transparency that consumers are demanding about the food they’re eating, supply chain stakeholders are almost certain to make better use of automated and shared data by applying temperature management, data gathering and other IoT/cloud-based solutions across the entire food supply chain. Large retailers are also likely to embrace an interconnected approach to capturing data at every step to help drive consumer confidence.

This is an extremely dynamic period in cold chain history. As the industry moves to a more data-driven paradigm, we will undoubtedly discover improved methods of operation and new ways to engage and protect consumers. In recent years, Emerson has focused on expanding our capabilities across every domain within the cold chain to support this shift because we know the importance of providing data and information insights as food travels along its journey from farm to fork.

National Food Safety Education Month is a reminder of the importance of recognizing the efforts required to maintain food safety throughout the cold chain. Emerson focuses on these challenges every day: developing new technologies, strategies, solutions and products that not only help to optimize your operations, but also deliver the safest and freshest product possible.

 

Connecting the Commercial Kitchen

Paul_Hepperla Paul Hepperla | Vice President, Solutions Integration – Foodservice

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

Internet of Things (IoT) and connected kitchen capabilities are transforming the modern commercial kitchens of restaurant operators. Read the full article to learn more.

Connecting the commercial Kitchen

The abilities to consistently prepare and deliver safe, fresh and high-quality products to customers are at the core of modern restaurant and convenience store operations. To help them meet this promise, many operators are introducing IoT technologies to connect the equipment used in the preparation of their constantly evolving menu items. It’s a concept we refer to as the connected kitchen.

The connected kitchen gives foodservice operators the ability to transform common kitchen equipment into smart devices that communicate with each other and leverage the power of cloud services to improve operational efficiencies. In doing so, the connected kitchen potentially addresses a variety of challenges at key points throughout the foodservice supply chain:

  • Store managers and service technicians — automate the monitoring and reporting of equipment statuses; receive maintenance alerts for diagnostics and fast issue resolution
  • Foodservice operators — establish centralized control of their store network, including visibility to not only kitchen equipment, but also HVAC, refrigeration and lighting systems
  • Corporate analysts — track trending consumer behaviors for targeted marketing initiatives
  • Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) — gain access to performance analytics for research, development and product improvement purposes

From temperatures to cook times, energy consumption to consumer foot traffic, product hold times to refrigerated door openings, the range of information available grows every day. This data comes from communicating equipment, sensors, controls and local gateways and is then transferred to the cloud (or another data repository) for remote access.

But turning this abundance of data into useful, actionable and secure information for each potential end user is the key to a successful IoT implementation. For example, a store manager has completely different priorities than an OEM. Where the store manager needs quick access to equipment and system status in an easy-to-interpret interface, the OEM may be gathering deep equipment performance data to inform the engineering and design processes.

It’s a common misperception that IoT and connected kitchens are implemented as cookie-cutter solutions. In reality, they are driven by a variety of factors, including: operational priorities; information technology (IT) infrastructures and preferences; security considerations; and preferred equipment provider capabilities.

While still relatively new in terms of widespread adoption, there are many examples of connected kitchens delivering measurable improvements, but even small degrees of connectivity can yield significant benefits. One leading restaurant chain connected their ovens to push recipes across an 800-store network via an automated process that helped save $100,000 annually. Another operator installed equipment monitoring capabilities in nearly 100 ice machines located around the globe, transforming their reactive maintenance model to a proactive and preventative approach.

Third party providers like Emerson have the deep domain experience to serve as neutral collectors of information, helping OEMs preserve data security while creating intuitive user interfaces for restaurant operators. For more information regarding IoT and connected kitchen solutions, read the full article here.

How Retailers Are Shrinking the Grocery Footprint

Ed_McKiernan Ed McKiernan | President, Cold Chain, Electronics & Solutions

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

Emerson was recently featured in a Winsight Grocery Business article about shrinking grocery footprints, energy usage, the click-and-collect model and more. New technology is helping grocers adapt to a rapidly changing market and shifting consumer preferences. To read the full article, click here.

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Grocers worldwide are making energy conservation a top priority; they’re always looking for ways to reduce the amount of energy and waste they create. Prioritizing energy conservation benefits the environment as well as the bottom line, potentially saving thousands of dollars annually on energy costs and equipment. What’s more, the operational costs saved on energy present opportunities to invest in solutions and technologies that could also improve the customer experience.

Revamping refrigeration systems is a good starting point for grocers seeking to incorporate more environmentally friendly and cost-efficient practices into their operations. Refrigeration costs account for roughly 60 percent of energy bills. While refrigeration system upgrades can come with significant installation costs, this new equipment can help deliver energy reductions from 30–50 percent.

As the click-and-collect model continues to rise in popularity, refrigeration upgrades have become even more crucial. The term click-and-collect refers to the process of ordering items online and then picking them up at the nearest store after a grocery associate has hand-picked your items. But this added convenience for consumers presents new refrigeration challenges for grocers, mainly due to repeated door openings from workers going in and out of the cold storage room or refrigerated locker. The more often the door needs to be opened, the more difficult it gets to maintain precise setpoints and manage humidity concerns.

Emerson has a wide range of solutions to help address these concerns. By combining high-efficiency scroll compressors, distributed controls and alternate refrigerants in display cases, operators can potentially achieve a lower cost of operation in their store refrigeration. Then, efficient condensing units with supervisory controls can be used to optimize click-and-collect refrigeration requirements, helping operators achieve temperature reliability and further reduce energy consumption in these critical systems.

Today, one out of every three grocers offers some form of click-and-collect, and 20 percent of Americans purchase groceries online — with that number expected to grow to 70 percent by 2025. When you consider this within the context of today’s dynamic regulatory climate and corporate sustainability initiatives, it’s easy to understand why many grocers are looking to upgrade their refrigeration strategies.

Emerson has a wide range of components, advanced controls and industry expertise to help grocers meet these demanding refrigeration challenges while reducing their energy usage and carbon footprints. We believe that a robust refrigeration strategy can help you reshape your business and save you money, and we’re ready to show you how.

 

 

A Carnival of Fun and Learning for Emerson’s We <3 STEM Kids Day in Hong Kong

Lieny Jang | Marketing Director, Asia-Pacific

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

Continuing the legacy of Emerson’s global commitment to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education, our team in Hong Kong recently hosted a We <3 STEM Kids Day for our employees and their children.

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Dubbed as the STEM Carnival, kids aged 2 to 16 years old participated in an exciting series of STEM-themed games and activities together with their parents. The games included the Dash Robot Coding Challenge where kids learned how to control a robot through coding and raced against each other; the Little Bits Bubblebot Challenge where they were taught about the basics of electrical circuits; and an InSinkErator-themed mobile app game that showed the inner workings of a food waste disposer. There was also a photo booth where kids can have their picture taken dressed in their STEM-themed costumes like an engineer, a pilot, or a doctor.

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STEM Days are so memorable for both Emerson employees and our kids. The kids get to see where mom and dad work and the impact they are making to societies. They are so proud and highly inspired by their parents, who are their most important role models

Through STEM Day events, we hope to continually inspire and empower the next generation of innovators by making science, technology, engineering and math more fun and accessible.

Emerson Study Compares CO2 and Hydrocarbon Energy Efficiency in Europe

The study found that those opting for integral R-290 systems could potentially achieve up to €51,000 savings per store on maintenance, energy consumption and refurbishment. The study also points to the ongoing evolution of natural refrigerant technologies and highlights the differences between CO2 and hydrocarbon refrigeration strategies.

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