SUPERMARKETS OF THE FUTURE: WITH KIRETI MMR STORES ARE UPGRADED TO “INDUSTRY 4.0”
One of the most dynamic MMR companies in Northern Italy which operates in the food trade has chosen to adopt the SITE S.p.A. Kireti platform for transforming 62 of its stores into “Smart Factories”.
Striving to continuously satisfy its customers’ shopping needs by providing prompt service at moderate prices, the company has always distinguished itself throughout its 40 years of activity for being a pioneering supermarket chain committed to energy efficiency and sustainability.
In order to render its end users’ shopping experience safe and comfortable, each store has a wide range of machinery and systems that are essential for storing, cooking and keeping food products fresh. This product diversity entails a highly complex management of maintenance operations, high energy consumption and use of machines of less than optimised performance. For these reasons, this MMR client decided to invest, with the support of SITE, in a project of innovation that would comply with the Industry 4.0 principles and logic.
Using the KIRETI platform, the client could apply the “Internet of Things” paradigm and enjoy tax incentive benefits provided by the 2017 National Budget Bill and offered to companies investing in innovative goods.
Thanks to KIRETI, machines and systems could now be interconnected and integrated into a single platform that measures energy consumption, automate the detection of malfunctions and subsequent calls for maintenance operations, detects flaws based on data analysis, and reports all information required for decision-making in a simple and direct way.
- Client: A leading mass market retailer
- Project area: 62 stores distributed over Lombardy and Piedmont
- Project type: Industry 4.0 machinery management and monitoring introduced by implementing the KIRETI platform with an integrated ticketing system for a smart management of store maintenance
- Business relation with SITE: Started in 2018 – ongoing
The client was looking for an innovative solution that could follow the Industry 4.0 logic and use open standards in order to upgrade store management.
On the one hand, the client was seeking to implement new energy control strategies, while on the other it wished to increase the efficiency of production machinery, as well as optimise all maintenance processes.
Specifically, the actual project objectives focused on the following aspects:
- Improving energy efficiency by monitoring and controlling power consumption using interconnected meters;
- Increasing the efficiency of baking and roasting ovens by monitoring and controlling cooking cycles, operating or alarm conditions, and cases of non-standard procedures;
- Automating the air-conditioning system alarm triggering and its operation according to detected store temperatures;
- Automating and digitising maintenance processes as part of the platform, and triggering maintenance operations automatically using a vertical ticketing system integrated in the platform;
- Counting the number of entries through the entrance gates and of any irregular event.
One of the main project challenges, from the point of view of hardware and software, was the need to integrate in a single software platform a group of machines and systems that were extremely different in type, functionality and technical characteristics.
In fact, in terms of plant engineering, we faced a great diversity of communication protocols and, in some cases, devices with a total lack network interfaces. Establishing a system that is entirely interconnected was a requirement for fulfilling the objectives set for this project in terms of energy efficiency, productivity, and safety.
To meet all clients’ requests, SITE configured the KIRETI Smart Building platform so it could interface with production machinery using diverse communication protocols (Modbus TCP, Bacnet TCP, MQTT, OPC, etc.). Integration was based on the “field data integration” concept where, through dedicated virtual-gateways, logic and intelligence were applied to existing devices which have lacked them previously. This approach allowed us to model according to clients’ needs an actual software intelligence layer between the machines and field devices, to be managed by the platform control centre.
This type of configurable virtual gateways allowed data acquisition and machine and tool control based on the use of software modules that communicate with the various devices using the appropriate protocol of each of them, allowing such devices to finally be able to send and receive data from and to the Kireti platform through TCP/IP protocols. Thanks to this type of architecture, SITE Engineering was able to develop software solutions that provide network interfacing even in situations where the machines had proprietary or non-standard communication protocols (i.e., machines that were not Industry 4.0 ready).
Below is a list of the main machines and systems that can be controlled and their provided functionalities:
STORE ENTRANCE GATES
Entrance gates were interfaced for statistical and operational purposes, that is, for counting the number of shoppers and for monitoring the gates’ condition regarding maintenance. Since gates cannot use an open protocol, but only dry contacts (volt-free), they were integrated using an RTU (remote terminal unit).
AIR CONDITIONING SYSTEMS
Trane and Lennox systems were interconnected to detect alarm situations and sensor temperature; in the case of the Lennox system, a remote control of the set-points has been added. The latter functionality plays a fundamental role in managing the store by the client. Remotely controlling and adjusting the air quality parameters allows the client to provide its shoppers and personnel high level of comfort and to optimise maintenance operations based on prompt adjustments. An analysis of the air conditioning system power consumption and efficiency helps create and optimise automated management programmes.
BREAD BAKING OVENS AND MEAT GRILLS
System elements have been interconnected for both production and maintenance purposes. The client can now monitor cooking procedures and cycles in order to ensure compliance with company directives. An additional benefit is the continuous monitoring of machinery alarm conditions.
MONITORING OF ENERGY CONSUMPTION AND OF ELECTRICALLY POWERED UTILITIES IN THE ENTIRE STORE
The platform reads an average of 10 utilities/sections per store using networked energy meters. These utilities can be of different types, including lighting systems, production machinery, MT-LT cabinets, solar systems, cold rooms, etc. The client can choose to measure the total active energy, active power, or active power of the 3-phase current. Customisable tables of analysis results were created with great care to display consumption rates and peaks.
Store monitoring involves storage of consumption logs in order to facilitate the implementation of efficiency policies. A fundamental feature in analysing collected data is the possibility of comparing results from different stores and assessing the performance of similar systems in different stores. This way the client can analyse consumption trends and proceed to correct or improve performance.
Finally, in order to help manage the maintenance ticketing system, a vertical CMMS software application (Computerized Maintenance Management System) has been integrated into the KIRETI platform; the application generates and sends tickets and work orders automatically directly from the machines that are connected to the KIRETI platform.
Implementing the KIRETI Smart Building platform helped turn 62 of the client’s stores into truly Smart Factories. The IoT system was designed to be compliant with Industry 4.0 requirements stipulated in Annexes A and B of the 2017 National Budget Bill, to help make the client eligible to receive tax incentives offered by the state to companies investing in innovative goods.
The systematic collection of data related to machinery power consumption and operation cycles led to adjustments that improved energy efficiency at the monitored stores, and consequently to energy savings of over 10%.
The continuous monitoring of operating systems, on the other hand, helped optimise maintenance procedures, minimising disruptions and making best use of resources.
Thanks to its scalability, the KIRETI platform could in the future help the client develop new improvements and seize new growth opportunities, such as monitoring the flow of shoppers in its stores; analysing shoppers’ behaviour and crossing it with current special sales; and monitoring the outdoor car parks for security purposes.