A South West cheese producer has benefitted from renting sensors to monitor its waste water tanks, with the new technology resulting in significant time and costs savings for the business. 

The cheese producer has four underground waste water storage tanks. At least once a day, in all weathers, a member of staff checked each tank manually, by lifting the heavy covers and using a dipstick to check the levels. When the tanks were almost full, transport was booked to take the waste water away.

“This system was really labour intensive and wasted a lot of time. And because there was a margin for error in manually dipping the tanks, there were occasions when tanks were emptied before they needed to be. The cheese producer needed a more accurate system, which cut down on staff time,” explains Colin Phillipson, co-founder of Glas Data.

Glas Data and its strategic partner, commercial Internet of Things installer Ver Facil provided the solution. Long-range, low power (LoRaWAN) sensors were installed inside the waste water tanks. The sensors have no need for wired power or a cellular network, instead, they transmit data to an antenna installed on one of the cheese producer’s buildings. The sensors have a long battery life and can stay in place until the batteries need to be changed in around two years’ time.

Accurate data every 30 minutes

The sensors now measure the waste water levels in the underground tanks to an accuracy of a millimetre, and the data is transmitted to the cloud every 30 minutes. The data is displayed on a GlasCore dashboard, which has been developed by Glas Data. The GlasCore dashboard can be checked quickly via a mobile phone, laptop or tablet and is set up to meet the requirements of each business.

“This new technology has resulted in significant time savings for the cheese producer, allowing staff to focus on more productive work,” says Colin Phillipson. 

“Before we installed this system, it would take 15 minutes to check each tank every day, and with four tanks on the site that is at least an hour’s staff time daily. That quickly adds up over the weeks and months.

“Not only that, but having a much more accurate understanding of the waste water levels in the tanks means that the expense of paying for them to be emptied now only happens when it is really needed.”

Benefits of renting equipment

Renting sensors to monitor farm operations, like this cheese producer opted to do, opens up the benefits of technology to farmers and food producers who may prefer not to buy new equipment.

“Adopting new technology is not just the preserve of large farms or food production businesses with big budgets. Although buying the equipment makes sense for some businesses, renting may be the best idea for others, particularly if they want flexibility or would prefer to try out equipment before they buy it,” says Colin Phillipson.

More information about how the Internet of Things technology works and examples of the cost and time savings it has delivered to farms and food producers, is available in this webinar.