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Case Study #4: 'VentSmart' Commercial Kitchen Ventilation Controls


The VentSmart system was conceived as a means of dramatically reducing energy consumption in large commercial kitchens by actively monitoring air quality and adjusting extractor fan operation automatically.

Deployed in a large franchised fast food operation initialloy, the success of the system was confirmed when operators reported up to $8,000 a year in savings on their preveious power bills.

The Brief

Create a smart air quality management system that:

  • Reduces extractor fan power consumption in commercial kitchens by controlling the manual exhaust venting system, which is normally set to ON.
  • Uses a smart control algorithm that takes data received from radio sensors placed at strategic points around kitchen.
  • Achieves 100% reliability/up-time as any failures would result in kitchen closure and loss of income for the operator.
  • Issues

    Challenges for this project included:

  • System reliability - shall be at least as reliable as the ventilation fans and controllers (ie very high)
  • Custom antenna - must be able to reliably communicate with all peripherals 100% of the time in an environment with numerous metallic objects obstructing/reflecting RF signals.
  • Multi-point radio communications - system must integrate multiple radio devies all simulataneously transmitting.
  • Mechanical integration - devices must be able to integrate withe xisting mechanical systems easily.
  • Device pairing procedure - must be simple, reliable, robust, permanent.
  • Reliable system testing - must include a simple, reliable test feature.

  • System Architecture

    The following simple, robust architecture was devised for the VentSmart system.

    System components integrated in this solution included:

  • HopeRF RFM69HW 915MHz RF (Radio) Module
  • Hall Effect Sensor (used for device pairing)
  • STM32F105 ARM ® CortexT-M Microcontroller
  • I²C LED Driver
  • 20VAC/DC Power Supply
  • 240 VAC Input Transducers
  • Device Logic

    The device logical developed for this project was as follows:

    Helping innovative people create AMAZING!