SMART WAY TO SAVE TIME
Remote monitoring is the way forward if the industry is to improve the performance of its storage, says Tim Kitson of Potato Solutions, who manages stores spread all over East Anglia.
While remote monitoring doesn’t completely remove the need for visiting stores personally, it can reduce that need while ensuring the job is done better, he says.
Among the companies he works for is Carter Storage and Haulage Ltd, which has two stores with total capacity of 5,000 tonnes at Shouldham Thorpe, near Kings Lynn.
They hold crops grown on contract across the region which are bound for the processing market. The stores are generally loaded over the autumn and may be run until May.
Crop Systems Ltd’s SmartStorTM was installed as part of a major refurbishment programme two seasons ago, and enables him to monitor and manage the stores remotely:
“The refurbished stores feature re-designed under-floor ventilation that helps us to balance the airflows, and to optimise the environmental management of the store.
“SmartStorTM really is something different; we are all getting busier and this system enables me to monitor and manage the environmental conditions in the store no matter where I am. It gives any store manager much more control and flexibility”.
While he might have had to visit each store several times a week in the past, now he can plan visits more strategically:
“Given the value of the crops stored on the site it is really important to keep good control over the store. But doing every check manually meant a lot of travel and cost.
“I live around 90 minutes away from Carter’s stores. SmartStorTM avoids a lot of travel – those potatoes’ carbon footprint is that much smaller as a result!
“Now, instead of visiting several times a week, I may only need to visit once, apart from crucial periods which require further on-site assessment.
“SmartStorTM enables me to prioritise my time and ensure it is used to best effect.
“The system’s graphing function means I have a complete track of how the store is performing, and means I can ensure we hold the crop is held without stress which impacts on its sugar stability, dormancy and longevity”.
It also enables him to monitor the weather and air temperatures and make quick decisions about altering store settings to make best use of conditions to manage in-store temperatures:
“It effectively enables us to minimise the risks to which the crop is exposed, while helps protect the growers’ investment. It is something every store manager should consider unless they have staff on site.
“Its not just potato storage – its smart storage”.