Lower Maintenance and Energy Costs with Operational Analytics
The Danfoss Group is a Danish global producer of products and services used within infrastructure, food, energy and climate. Their main focus is in areas such as cooling food, air conditioning, heating buildings, controlling electric motors, compressors, drives and powering mobile machinery.
With headquarters in their native Denmark, the company employs over 24,000 people worldwide, supplying products and services to customers in over 100 countries. One of its main focus areas is within Food Retail, where they offer services in operational stability, food safety, and energy savings around refrigeration systems.
Danfoss recognizes that refrigeration is a significant and growing consumer of electricity within supermarkets, with the remainder coming from HVAC equipment, lighting and other utilities such as in house bakeries. These costs can escalate further in warmer climates.
Consumer safety concerns have led to a regime where food products are frequently stored at temperatures below the required temperature in order to be extra careful. This pursuit of quality and regulatory compliance results in higher than necessary refrigeration-related energy costs.
For some time supermarkets have accepted that the cost for high customer volume, regulatory compliance and increasing energy costs were part of the business model. With this in mind, Danfoss has been providing a ‘Smart Store’ solution for the last 10 years, helping their customers across 5,000 stores worldwide optimize food safety and maximize energy efficiency. This solution also allows their customers to view their operations at a presentation level, create reports on alarms and performance, benchmark between stores, and reduce energy costs.
Central to the success of this solution in keeping food stored correctly and safely is how it continuously measures, monitors, analyses and implements the performance of their customer’s stores and the reliability of the equipment involved. Using Danfoss’ own products, such as controllers, gateways and sensors, customers have access to the stores performance 24/7 via dashboards, which provide them with insight into food control, temperatures, reports and much more.
Key to the success of this is monitoring the condition of the assets that contain the produce. Data values, including compressors, valves, light sensors, energy meters, condensing units and more, ensure that personnel are kept up to date with the condition of each piece of refrigeration equipment in real time.
There were many critical success factors enabling Danfoss customers to manage their supermarkets more efficiently and to aid decision-making. Central to these is the alarm management system that is in place to monitor food quality and energy efficiency along with a visualization component to bring all of the information together in one place.
Alarm Management System
An underlying alarm management system means any alarms based on a potential failure or a threat to an asset when a threshold has been reached is raised automatically. The difficulty here was identifying which alarms needed attention and which could be dismissed as a result of defrost cycles, or when refrigerator doors are being accidentally left open.
Danfoss use Bentley’s AssetWise Amulet software to count repeated similar alarms and identify which are real and which are false, and notify the right people. This leads to a more proactive approach to maintenance as opposed to reacting after an event. Eliminating false alarms from the system significantly cuts costs by reducing needless callouts of maintenance engineers.
Alarm histories could also be used against the asset, the fault, or the site to highlight patterns, such as determining the reason why a particular alarm was occurring against the same asset consistently across multiple stores.
Temperature, both with the refrigeration equipment and the ambient temperature within the store itself, plays a large part in condition monitoring. Closely monitoring temperatures within cold stores and refrigeration equipment means any change outside of normal running conditions will be noticed. Any significant increase or decrease in temperature can be monitored to allow action to be taken so that the condition of the asset can be assessed.
Danfoss addresses regulatory food compliance with Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) reports, a monitoring and reporting system that assures food production and storage facilities are safe. Using Amulet for data collection and visualization, HACCP reports show the average temperature during an hour (from typically four 15-minute intervals) of any asset containing food.
These reports are displayed within AssetWise Amulet’s dashboards and allow Danfoss and its customers to spot, at a glance, any differences in behaviour in an asset’s temperature by using colour-coded boxes to indicate whether an asset is operating above or below its normal level.
Coupled with the Temperature Quality Index report, which displays the overall performance of an asset in terms of how much of a percentage it is operating within its set points, the reports bring a complete picture of asset performance and condition in near to real-time, where certain events can be predicted and actions taken ahead of time.
Load Shedding and Set Point Management
Other functionality provided by Amulet includes the addition of automated load shedding and set point management. Load shedding (or demand response) involves Amulet to help facilitate the automatic switching on/off of certain assets by interfacing directly with the hardware.
This is to reduce energy consumption and receive financial incentives from power companies who need to reduce peak demand. This could include HVAC systems, store and car park lighting.
From the Amulet dashboard, levels can be set that will send a signal to certain controllers, such as lighting zones, turning them off over a set period of time. Each level of load shedding can include any number of assets, from a few to all. These measures help reduce energy consumption while the initiative also encourages financial incentives from the energy provider.
Set point management automates corrections in hardware value points to ensure error control regulation of asset temperatures, switch status, and alarm values. This means that Amulet constantly checks values to specific hardware, like a switch or a set point, making sure they are correct.
If a change occurs, or is made accidently by a third party, it can be entered into an audit trail and automatically corrected to the original value. It means that situations can be avoided, like if a switch is accidentally turned on, such as increasing compressor performance, then it will be overridden without any loss of food or any extra stress on the equipment. This ensures continuity to the operational performance of the store and its assets.
Visibility of Operation
Through the use of operational analytics, Danfoss has achieved complete visibility of its whole operation, including energy usage against external parameters like outside/inside temperatures and other factors. By monitoring these patterns for their customers, the firm can regulate the environment in which its assets work. For example, refrigerators won’t need to work as hard if the temperature or humidity in the store is controlled at an optimum level.
The company is able to determine that substantial energy savings can be achieved and affect its customers’ bottom line. Key operational benefits included:
• Ensure food safety and minimize food loss
• Reduce energy consumption
• Anticipate failure of refrigeration equipment by continuous
• Filter, identify, and notify alerts and real service maintenance needs
• Prescriptive load shedding for
optimal power reduction
• Prescriptive set point remapping when overriding settings
The Amulet alarm management system allows customers to monitor and track their assets performance and intervene when necessary if an alarm is triggered. With Amulet’s variety of specialised alarms such as threshold, percentage, and hold down, raised alarms have been filtered to only notify users of critical alarms of when an asset’s condition will affect performance, thus reducing false alarms and maintenance call outs.
The Danish company is committed to ensuring that their customers are ready and fully prepared to meet the challenges within the food retail sector, including climate change, new demands on energy efficiency, and concerns about food safety and standards. Technological trends also bring their own concerns, including harnessing the Internet of Things (IoT) and the challenges presented by the rise in big data.
Danfoss continues to maximize energy efficiency in food retail, as can be seen with load shedding in helping customers reduce energy consumption, with the eventual long term goal of providing net-zero stores, even stores that give more than they take in energy consumption.
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