New intelligence for McDonald’s
Over 800 McDonald’s restaurants in the UK are being fitted with Trend intelligent building control systems, supplied and engineered by Powell System Engineering Ltd, a Trend Technology Centre. The systems use Trend IQ3xcite controllers whose versatility has proved ideal in every situation, despite the wide variety of air conditioning and other plant they are called to control, and despite the variations in restaurants, which include drive-throughs and shopping centre sites, plus both purpose-built premises and conversions.
The Trend systems deliver many benefits to the McDonald’s organisation. Energy consumption is reduced through precise temperature control and the prevention of the unnecessary operation of plant and lighting. Optimum chiller performance is achieved by ensuring the air conditioning operates correctly. Powell System Engineering has also incorporated low ambient switching: when compressors have been running for a considerable time, they are switched off automatically, leaving the air conditioning to function for a period using the latent cooling built up during operation. Energy is saved while the compressor is not running.
Trend IQ3xcite controllers monitor cold stores, fridges and air extracts at each site, as well as monitoring and controlling air conditioning. At drive through locations, the controller also switches on and off external signage and car parking lighting automatically, depending on natural light levels.
McDonald’s is required by food safety regulations not only to maintain cold room temperatures as required, but also to record and store temperature data for audits. The Trend system presents the data required in a clear graphical format, common to each restaurant, and allows the restaurant manager to print the data as required for audit.
The restaurant manager can view data and temperature trends, and change times and settings using a local PC. Powell System Engineering has embedded standard graphics into each Trend IQ3xite controller. These provide a highly user-friendly operator interface which is easy to understand and operate. The common graphical presentation, irrespective of plant variations from site to site, is operationally familiar to staff transferring between restaurants so there is no need to retrain staff on its use.
Each restaurant is linked to McDonald’s virtual private network (VPN) using the internet. Data from each Trend system can be accessed as necessary by McDonald’s management, by the service companies responsible for maintaining the plant (such as food chillers and air conditioning) on each site and also by Powell System Engineering which can update software as necessary, view system data, adjust plant settings and rectify system problems, all without visiting the site.