5 Impacts of Remote Cooling Monitoring on Agribusiness Efficiency
In the ever-evolving world of agriculture, the optimisation and high-efficiency of cold chains has become a critical factor in ensuring the freshness and quality of produce. Thanks to remote monitoring technology, farms, and agribusinesses now have a powerful tool to achieve this goal. Remote monitoring is improving first-mile cooling, by supplying real-time visibility into temperature, humidity, energy consumption, and other vital parameters. This capability gives full data transparency on conditions inside and outside the cold room, all to achieve the highest possible product quality and shelf-life, while reducing food losses.
In this article, we explore how InspiraFarms Cooling’s remote monitoring solution has empowered and streamlined its clients’ cooling needs and paved the way for improved operation efficiency and cooling quality.
Leveraging data for informed decision-making
Wiserow, a leading agricultural enterprise specializing in blueberry production and export, has benefited from the power of InspiraFarms’ remote monitoring cold room service.
Gone are the days of manual monitoring for Wiserow’s cooling facility, which includes a new receiving cold room of 104㎡, which includes 56㎡ of receiving cold room and two pre-coolers with a dimension of 48㎡. Thanks to InspiraConnect, an innovative data collection system that sends real-time updates to the cloud every 15 minutes, Wiserow now enjoys seamless remote monitoring of its cooling operations. Bruce Meikle, the General Manager at Wiserow, expressed how this shift to digital data monitoring has positively impacted their entire cooling process.
For them, the key advantage of this remote monitoring solution lies in the valuable insights it provides. With continuous access to critical data such as temperature, energy consumption, humidity, and door openings, Wiserow’s team can now make informed decisions based on solid evidence. Moreover, the ability to review historical cooling data in real-time has proven to be a game-changer for Wiserow. In case of shipment complaints, they have been able to effortlessly look back at the live history of their cooling data, allowing them to pinpoint any potential issues and address them promptly. This not only enhances their customer service but also strengthens their commitment to delivering top-notch quality produce to international markets.
Energy efficiency has also improved significantly for Wiserow, thanks to the comprehensive energy usage monitoring provided by InspiraConnect. With a deep understanding of their energy consumption patterns, the enterprise can implement strategies to optimise their energy usage and reduce costs. Bruce emphasised how crucial this access to reliable energy data is for their ongoing plans to transition part of their packhouse to an off-grid powering solution.
2. Streamlining operations with remote technical assistance
Still from Zimbabwean blueberry grower and exporter, Wiserow Enterprises, Bruce shares that the InspiraFarms data platform’s remote diagnostics system has been a game-changer in technical support. It has enabled engineers from InspiraFarms Cooling to supply swift assistance without the need for an immediate on-site visit every time troubleshooting is required. Without this solution, whenever technical issues arise, Wiserow Enterprises would have had to wait for a technician to arrive on-site to diagnose and fix the problem. However, with the implementation of InspiraFarms’ remote monitoring system, that whole process has been streamlined and optimised. Now, when any technical issues emerge, the engineers at InspiraFarms can access the data platform remotely and troubleshoot the problem. This immediate response capability has drastically reduced downtime, enabling Wiserow to maintain smooth and uninterrupted cooling operations.
3. Ensuring energy efficiency through data
In Zimbabwe, Lauetta Investments, a blueberry exporter founded in 2019, has emerged as a remarkable success story in the blueberry export industry. In 2020, InspiraFarms Cooling highlighted Lauetta’s successful first blueberry export to Hong Kong, Europe, the UK and the Middle East. In brief, the enterprise started off with 20 hectares of production and by 2021 they had begun their expansion to 40 hectares under production. Since the start, they had, as a priority to build a cold chain infrastructure as close as possible to their production areas, setting a world-class performance cold chain and post-harvest practices that guarantees the delivery of premium quality blueberries.
A crucial factor contributing to Lauetta Farm’s success is their efficient cooling facility, whose cold rooms operate with the aid of InspiraCoolCloud, a remote monitoring cloud-based platform by InspiraFarms Cooling. The platform collects real-time data from the facility and sends updates every 15 minutes, enabling optimal monitoring and management of the cooling operations. This empowers the farm’s team to closely monitor the facility, alerting them to any power surges or faulty units, thus ensuring continuous and reliable cooling. Additionally, the platform provides detailed energy readings, giving the customer the ability to verify energy usage and explore potential cost-saving opportunities.
In 2021, Lauetta Farm further expanded their enterprise by 20 hectares, a testament to their growing success. Atherton Squire, a representative from Lauetta, highlights how their new cold room is also equipped with remote monitoring facilities, complete with a user-friendly app accessible on both phones and computers.
This has proven invaluable to Atherton and the team at Lauetta , particularly when they are offsite. Through the app, they can effortlessly oversee every aspect of the pack shade, from precoolers to the maintenance room and storage area. Given that temperature and humidity are vital parameters for their operations, being able to monitor these variables remotely ensures that their cooling process is consistently maintained at peak efficiency, even in Atherton’s absence.
4. Seize more control over your product’s cooling.
As part of their ambitious expansion strategy, Kakuzi made an investment in InspiraFarms Cooling during 2020. Two cold rooms, each spanning 100 sqm and capable of accommodating 40 pallets, were installed, providing a combined capacity for 288 trays, each weighing 4 kg of premium avocados. To ensure a seamless flow from delivery to packaging and dispatch, Kakuzi implemented a temperature-controlled prefabricated distribution corridor that seamlessly connects the cold rooms to their respective packhouse and dispatch docks. This design has been instrumental in streamlining operations and maximizing efficiency within Kakuzi’s facility.
Central to Kakuzi’s successful cooling operations are the advanced monitoring systems integrated into their facilities. The operations team benefits from a user-friendly portal that allows them to log in at any time and gain real-time insights into the status of their avocados. The portal provides valuable data on temperature control, energy consumption, and stock levels, empowering the team to make informed decisions promptly.
David Migot, the Engineering Manager at Kakuzi, praised the alarm and maintenance system embedded in the software, which grants them unparalleled control over the condition of their avocados at any given moment. This level of precision ensures that avocados are optimally preserved, preserving their quality and extending their shelf life.
Real-Time Insights for Enhanced Supervision
During a past interview, Kenya Horticultural Exporters (KHE), a fresh vegetable exporter and an InspiraFarms Cooling’s client precooling unit, commended its design and efficiency. The inclusion of a remote monitoring system further impressed them. Dickson Kimathi, the then Head of Agriculture, expressed the positive feedback on one of the standout features is its integrated remote monitoring system. This tool allows KHE to supervise and consistently measure the storage conditions, energy consumption, and machinery performance of the precooling unit. With the ability to access this data online, as a manager, Dickson no longer need to be physically present on the farm to monitor the precooler’s status. The unit is equipped with an online access feature, allowing them to keep tabs on its performance from anywhere. This real-time access to data ensures that they are always informed about the precooler’s condition, even when off-site.
Overall, the implementation of remote monitoring technology in the agribusiness sector has proven to be a game-changer, significantly impacting efficiency and productivity. The above positive experiences from InspiraFarms Cooling’s clients demonstrate that, by incorporating user-friendly features, state-of-the-art monitoring capabilities, InspiraFarms Cooling continues to prove itself as a reliable partner for businesses seeking advanced cooling solutions in the agricultural sector. Interested in this service? Get a quote today: