Digital monitoring finds easy energy savings

S3FOOD partner ASINCAR provides the first success story for Ecubo’s plug & play solution

Energy efficiency is top of mind for food manufacturers that want to minimise both their costs and their environmental impact. Spanish technology company Ecubo has developed a plug & play solution to make energy optimisation easy – and they used the pilot plant of S3FOOD partner ASINCAR to demonstrate how it works.

Over the course of six weeks, the food industry resource management system – FI.RMS – gathered real-time energy consumption data from all over the plant. The outcome was even better than expected.

“Our investigations found the potential to cut energy costs by almost 39%. In a commercial-scale food processing company, savings of between 10% and 20% would be enough for our business model to work properly,” says business developer Alberto de las Fuente, who has partnered with Ecubo for the project.

Integrated system
FI.RMS comprises electrical network analysers and temperature and humidity probes which are wirelessly connected to the plant energy installation. Real-time data, registering more than 40 parameters, is then sent via an integrated web server for processing. An energy management software platform displays the visual analysis.

Roberto Morán, R&D&I project manager at ASINCAR

Roberto Morán, R&D&I project manager at ASINCAR, reports that the plant is currently implementing the FI.RMS recommendations.

“The key value of this solution is that it makes recommendations that are easy to implement and do not require high investment. The results obtained here are a good success story that Ecubo can use when they launch FI.RMS on the market.”

Open to SMEs
At ASINCAR, one of the primary objectives is to make the pilot plant available to SMEs that need to test and validate new food industry technology. More than a thousand food technicians and process operators come to the plant each year for training. The pilot plant itself has facilities for working with a broad range of food development projects.

“Like many food SMEs, we set up our pilot plant in a primarily analogue age. So we are happy to open our doors to companies like Ecubo. It means we, too, are progressively implementing the latest digital solutions,” Roberto explains.

ASINCAR has also made the pilot plant available for S3FOOD training. Moving forward, Roberto expects ASINCAR to play a growing role in the European network of Food 4.0 living labs. Launched through S3FOOD, the network will progress within the EU Smart Specialisation Platform Smart Sensors 4 Agri-Food.

Ideal for validation
Alberto agrees that the pilot plant provides the ideal food-processing environment for the validation of FI.RMS. Ecubo is now preparing for its commercial launch as a free-to-install solution. For food SMEs, the only charge will be a success fee.

“Our research shows FI.RMS is especially suitable for meat, dairy, fish and seafood companies with annual energy bills above EUR 60,000,” Alberto says.

“We will continue to scale up the model and incorporate more automation in the process as we build up business.”

See the S3FOOD description of the FI.RMS project here.

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