Ospelt Catering, a high-end catering and restaurant company based in Liechtenstein, has several restaurants, a deli shop, a cafè, a wine cellar, and event venues. They have had several challenges with their fridges and freezers and their recent investment in a new IoT sensor solution helped them overcome their challenges and improve their efficiency and reporting within six months.
Ospelt Catering’s food production is focused on high-quality, locally sourced, homemade food for company cantines and events, and around 50 restaurants and hotels in Liechtenstein and Switzerland. They started as a butcher shop in Vaduz almost 130 years ago and have 180 employees and 130 temporary workers. They take great pride in their business and customers.
Challenges faced with the food production process
Across all their operations, Ospelt Catering relies on hundreds of fridges and freezers to keep their food fresh. This is a critical part of their business, as the quality of their food is vital for both delivering high-quality products and compliance with food and health regulations.
During the food production process two major challenges were encountered:
1. Time spent on administrative tasks
The production, supply, and storage of food must be carefully managed and monitored at all stages of production. There are strict rules and regulations that must be followed to ensure that the food is of the highest quality.
Adhering to the compliance requires a lot of time and includes:
- manually checking thermometers inside each cooling unit
- noting the temperature in the recording table
- consolidating the readings from all locations
Each of these activities is completed once a week and takes employees away from more important tasks.
2. Maintenance and upkeep of cooling equipment
At the end of 2020, one of the central freezer units failed, and they didn’t notice until it was too late. This resulted in a major loss, estimated at 50,000 CHF (47,800 euros) of goods.
Using sensors to remotely monitor each fridge and freezer
DT EN12830 Temperature Sensor placed in a freezer
With the need to reduce administrative tasks, be compliant with regulations, and eliminate or reduce food waste resulting from a machine failure, Ospelt Catering looked for possible solutions.
As a result, they chose a sensor solution from Disruptive Technologies (DT) as the ideal way to meet these requirements.
Ospelt Catering has today deployed DT wireless temperature sensors in 175 cooling devices, across their 15 companies. They specifically chose the DT Temperature Sensor EN12830, which is approved for monitoring the storage temperature of food. This sensor reports the temperature level at a 5,5-minute interval.
They have one Cloud Connector in each of their 15 locations, transferring the sensor data to the cloud, and they are using DT Studio to access sensor data. DT Studio also provides them with:
- Visualization of sensor data through dashboards
- Custom alerts and notifications triggered by sensor data
- Easy sensor administration and user access
- Simple integrations to other systems using data connectors or the DT API
Sensor features that are important for Ospelt Catering
- Simple installation: Ospelt Catering did the installation themselves. Non-technical personnel quickly and efficiently installed the sensors exactly where they were required.
- Peel and stick - every sensor has a strong adhesive that lets you attach the sensor exactly where you need it. No technical expertise is required.
- The Cloud Connector, a plug & play gateway, securely relays sensor data to the Cloud via Ethernet or 4G cellular technology.
- Accuracy: The EN12830 Temperature Sensor is certified according to the EN12830 European Standard, which specifies the technical and functional characteristics of temperature recorders for the transport, storage, and distribution of temperature-sensitive goods.
- Long lifetime: The EN12830 Temperature Sensor has an expected battery life of 5 years, reducing the ongoing administration to a minimum. The sensors are also IP68 rated, meaning they are robust enough to endure a life in the freezer.
- 24/7 monitoring: Automatically reports the temperature of the freezers every 5.5 minutes.
- Tiny sensor size and wireless data transfer: at 19 x 19 x 2.5 mm, the DT sensors are the smallest wireless sensors in the world. As a result, the sensors do not get in the way of the daily use of the fridges and freezers and can be installed where you need them.
- Affordable: the lowest cost per insight in the IoT sensor market.
- Designed for scale: The solution easily scales from a few sensors to thousands.
Real benefits of the sensor solution for Ospelt Catering
Ospelt Chef scanning sensors to identify each sensor The benefits of deploying the DT temperature sensor solution are real and tangible to Ospelt Catering. They help solve the original business challenges:
- the solution automatically monitors and records the temperature in the cooling devices every 5.5 minutes. This replaces the once-per-week manual check that previously took place
- data is accurate, and not subject to human error
- the data is transmitted and stored securely
- the information can be exported and made into reports with results published as required
- as data points are collected automatically the resources previously involved with their collection can concentrate on the core business of providing customer service
- the sensor solution generates alerts when temperatures are above or below the customer set thresholds, giving employees one less thing to worry about.
- the estimated time saved in manual labor that can be used for other activities is:
- one visit per thermometer per week (175)
total = 175 readings x 52 weeks = 9100 data points per year
- one minute to view temperature, record, and update the recording table
= 152 hours per year, or approximately 5 200 euros in salaries.
- other saved time derived from the consolidation of data and reporting.
With the sensor solution the information provided to Ospelt Catering is much more frequent and accurate:
- The sensors provide a vast increase in data points, which are monitored and recorded automatically. All sensors create a data point every 5.5 minutes
Total data points = 175 sensors x 262 data points per day x 365 days
= Over 16,7 million data points per year
- As data is recorded automatically it is not subject to either human error or falsification and can be used for compliance and for documentation to public authorities.
Maintenance and upkeep of cooling equipment
- Equipment maintenance
- By taking data points every 5.5 minutes the detection of a cooling unit problem is much quicker. The notification and alert functions in DT Studio can be set to notify if there is any major deviation of temperature from the required level.
- Energy Efficiency
- Once they started using the solution, Ospelt identified that some of the cooling units struggled to keep their temperature and were constantly running. These devices have now been replaced, with significant savings on electricity usage.
Ospelt Catering also identified that with many devices the defrosting phases were programmed at very unfavorable times e.g. during lunch service in the restaurant. As a result, the devices have been reprogrammed, representing a significant added value in quality.
By using the temperature sensors from Disruptive Technologies, we no longer have to carry out and file our temperature records by hand on a daily/weekly basis. With currently 15 companies and around 175 cooling devices, this is a cost factor that will amortize the acquisition costs in the first 6 months.
Philipp Moosburger, Head Chef at Ospelt Catering
Future plans for the sensor solution?
Ospelt Catering is experiencing constant growth and will add additional sensors for their new locations and equipment. They are also testing DT sensors in other areas of their production, to make their processes easier and more accurate. One example is monitoring and reporting humidity levels when aging meat in the DryAger cabinets.
Basically, every company that values high-quality products must be able to monitor its premises. It doesn't matter whether it's open doors, room temperature, humidity, etc. Disruptive Technologies offers a good, easy-to-use, product with great software that can map all parameters.
Philipp Moosburger, Head Chef at Ospelt Catering
- The manufacturing and storage of food products are subject to significant rules and regulations. Compliance with these requirements is essential for quality, health and safety, and legal reasons.
- After suffering a substantial loss following a freezer failure, Ospelt Catering chose to install DT temperature sensors to automate and improve their monitoring processes.
- Their fridges and freezers are now monitored every 5.5 minutes, providing up-to-date data points. Any deviation of temperature from the required level generates an alert allowing for rapid and cost-effective remediation.
- The data is automatically collected and reported to satisfy legal requirements.
- The sensors allowed Ospelt to identify faulty equipment, which was replaced before causing any damage. The collected data also allowed Ospelt to reprogram some cooling systems to better support their business.