Asda sourcing arm undertakes project with IoT firm to track energy efficiency and asset performance at its production sites

The Hark Platform allows users to see real-time energy data

The Hark Platform allows users to see real-time energy data

Image: Hark

Asda’s fresh produce sourcing arm IPL has partnered with Hark, a Leeds-based energy management and industrial IoT firm, to improve efficiency at its facilities.

The two areas of focus for the project were energy monitoring and asset performance, with IPL looking to gain visibility of the industrial assets in its multiple packing sites in the UK.

The initial goal was to retrieve energy and asset performance data to feed into IPL’s OEE (overall equipment effectiveness) metrics.

IPL’s facilities contain production lines, refrigeration plants, and multiple sub-metered areas. Using Hark’s IoT software, IPL has established a central location to visualise and analyse its energy and process data.

In order to make substantial performance gains and energy savings, IPL knew it would need cloud connectivity to a real-time asset and energy management system.

Hark connected IPL’s industrial assets and meters to the cloud, to feed process, power and energy data directly into the Hark Platform using the existing secure network in the facility.

The Hark Platform gives users the ability to see real-time energy data, plant performance data, and real-time process line data that is set up in custom dashboards. This data allows users to start identifying where potential energy savings can be made and to highlight inefficiencies across the site.

Commenting on the partnership, Patrick Waterton, manager of engineering and hygiene at IPL, said: “Having a deeper understanding of what’s happening behind the scenes at our production sites has been a real game-changer for how IPL makes operational and capital decisions.

“The Hark Platform gives me and my team the insight we need to keep our assets running at peak efficiency and to identify potential improvement initiatives, which ultimately helps to reduce operational and energy costs.”

Founded in 2016, Hark provides technology that enables businesses to improve efficiency, reduce waste and maximise yield by connecting to, providing visibility of, and automatically controlling assets such as energy meters, building management systems, energy storage systems and industrial systems.

The business was recently acquired by the NASDAQ-listed company SolarEdge.

IPL, meanwhile, sources a variety of products for Asda from around the world. As well as fresh produce, IPL focuses on a number of other areas including beverages, protein, nuts, house plants and flowers.

The company procures everything from Australian Chardonnay to Kenyan flowers, South African citrus fruits, and British strawberries.

IPL prepares and packs fresh fruit and vegetables at one of two dedicated sites – either the head office in West Yorkshire or its sister site in Kent.