Cold rooms are in many ways like air-conditioning systems except that it keeps food frozen or chilled. Frozen food is kept at -20 deg C typically. When power failure occurs, the temperature takes a long time to rise. Sometimes it takes half a day to rise to -10 deg C. In such instances temperature monitoring of the frozen meat may not be critical. Monitoring of the refrigeration equipment may be important as repair of the equipment can be a full day's job or longer.
For chilled produce like fresh flowers, specialty vegetables, fresh fish, fresh milk need to be kept in a very controlled temperature environment. Deviation outside the acceptable temperature range will damage the goods. There was a case that a fresh food suppler discovered in the morning that all his stocks in the chillers room were damaged due to a faulty thermostat. The temperature fell to -8 deg C and "froze cooked" all the specialty vegetables. The damage done was SGD 40,000/-
Sometimes, cold room doors are inadvertently left opened for long hours leaving the compressors to run continuously, pumping up utilities bills. Picobox will be a useful tool for the owner as well as the cold room supplier to monitor the product (fresh food) and refrigeration equipment. As can be seen, failure in any component in the equipment can cause losses to businesses.
Signals available in a cold room refrigeration system for monitoring are: compressor pressure and temperature, condenser fan motor overload, evaporator fan motor overload, room temperature, door contacts, etc. An additional 23-inch LCD display to show status of the cold room is also feasible using the Picobox system, in additional to that, monitoring can also be done remotely over the internet.