Reducing food waste with ABB PLCs and drives

Reducing food waste with ABB PLCs and drives

About 14 percent of all food produced for human consumption is lost before it reaches consumers. In a time of rising inflation caused by the recent pandemic and current geopolitical changes, a growing number of people around the world lack access to fresh food. Not to mention the impact that it has on the environment and climate.

According to the United Nations (UN), emissions from food loss and waste amounted to around 2 percent of total global greenhouse gas emissions in 2017. Up to almost 12 percent of food is lost because of a faulty cold chain. Consequently, the food cold chain has serious implications for climate change and the environment. Breaks in the cold chain can occur due to a myriad of issues, ranging from operator error to trivial issues, such as walk-in cooler doors being left open for too long. Any of these breaks can damage food irreversibly, as even relatively small temperature difference can impact the quality of perishables.

Bundled solutions for energy saving and sustainability

Mebrafe Soluções em Refrigeração Industrial, situated in Caxias do Sul in Brazil, provides industrial refrigeration solutions, trying to guarantee products with great performance, efficiency, and economy to support the cold chain. Since they were founded in 1981, they have grown to be the second most important metal mechanic hub in Brazil, with over 1,000 projects realized.

“We are aware of the strain poorly executed refrigeration solutions can have on the environment and try everything to lessen this strain. ABB always has and always will stand for sustainability, social progress, and the preservation of resources. Mebrafe shares these ideals, and it is an honor to work with them to implement sustainable practices across the cold chain,” explains Jorge Fernando, Specialist of Product at ABB.

  • The company is the second most important metal mechanic hub in Brazil, with over 1,000 projects realized (Source: Mebrafe)
  • Mebrafe Soluções em Refrigeração Industrial provides industrial refrigeration solutions for Brazil to support the cold chain (Source: Mebrafe)

As part of ABB’s sustainability strategy 2030, ABB is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions through leading technologies. A key part of this is to support the customers and suppliers to reduce their emissions – in this case, however, ABB is working together with Mebrafe to reduce food waste and emissions along the cold chain.

Version 3 (V3) of the AC500-eCo Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) is the perfect fit for this task. It is built to offer the most flexible and economical configuration available, low-cost, and straightforward servicing. The Version 3 CPUs provide more Input/Output (I/O) channels, more scalability, and include various fieldbus communication capabilities and connectivity to cloud applications with secure protocols. 

The AC500-eCo V3 has tight control over all variable speed drives / variable frequency drives in production, ensuring they are in optimal working condition. This means the PLC tracks every step in the production process and reduces motor speed to the actual demand, increasing energy savings and improving cost-efficiency. Furthermore, it no longer needs a battery to store programs or data and can be extended using up to three option boards. It can meet customers’ and application-specific requirements while reducing footprint and costs.

Dedicated and cost-efficient solutions for application-specific requirements

Mebrafe also expressed interest in bundling the PLC solution with an ABB drive, and other low-voltage products. The selected ACS580 general-purpose drive offers features suitable for food and beverage applications, such as cooling and refrigeration. When combined with a motor, the drive can provide average energy savings of more than 25 percent.

Fast delivery time and easy migration to the customized solution ensured smooth operation even during the migration itself. ABB’s fast and reliable technical support will continue to work together with Mebrafe to improve the cold chain and reduce food waste.


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