Refrigerator Controller

The refrigeration and cooling industry has grown tremendously over the years. Earlier, refrigerators were standard units primarily used to keep products at a lower temperature to preserve them for a longer time. However, a lot of improvement has been made in that arena with the advancement of technology.

Many international brands have used the advanced tech under their disposal to build smart refrigerators that provide automated temperature control. Some of them also have different compartments for various food items, variable sizes and also come included with an ice dispenser.

In today’s smart era, smart refrigerators with a functional and efficient UI are also one of the top choices of people. Such an intuitive device increases user convenience and goes above and beyond its capabilities as a refrigerator.

Overview

Our client is a big name in India with more than 15 business lines headquartered in the country. They are one of the highly trusted brands in the market in their century of operation. They have mainly been manufacturing domestic refrigeration products for close to seven decades.

The client wanted to occupy a bigger space in the market by developing products towards the higher end. This market is mostly dominated by international companies as they possess the required technology to deliver new and upgraded refrigeration systems to their customers regularly.

Our client had no presence in the high-end refrigeration space. Their products focused on targeting and delivering systems according to the local consumer demand. Even if they were to start making sophisticated refrigerators, they would still be a late entrant in the market. The client, therefore, needed to leapfrog the competition to penetrate their new target market. They also needed their product to adhere to the upcoming regulations and required higher energy efficiency.

Since we have years of experience in transforming products by elevating their performance, we were able to help our clients achieve their vision.

Approach

At Alpha ICT, we specialize in providing consumer electronics services to our diverse clientele. Over the years, we have accumulated significant experience in embedding IoT technology in consumer electronics to harness innovation and increase their functionality for consumers. With our all-rounded services, we were able to ensure that all our client’s product requirements were completely met.

We analysed the client’s recent products and outlined improvement plans. Since their refrigerators were on the lower end, they required the use of better compressor technology to improve the overall quality of their product. We also decided to include a highly interactive User Interface (UI) to increase the appeal of the product for the customers.

For the UI function to work seamlessly, we also recognized the need to establish remote connectivity to IoT. Doing this would enable the device to offer a more personalised service to each customer by appropriately saving and utilizing the user data. Additionally, we also detected the requirement of fault prevention.

Results

Once we finished analysing every aspect that had room for improvement, our team started working to transform the product. Our most important inclusion for this product was the implementation of a simple and intuitive colour-LED-based UI with CapSense input. Since our primary goal was to modify the compressor technology, our team of experts designed a newer and more efficient alternative that aligned with the client’s requirements.

We also prioritize providing a personalized experience to our customers. Therefore, we set up remote monitoring and control features in the new device. Additionally, we also implemented a simple UI so the user could get a wholesome experience by using the product.

By effectively implementing the design and technology strategies that our team conceptualized, we were able to achieve the following things –

  • Increased product relevancy
  • Complete ownership of technology to the client
  • Created a new market in the high-end refrigeration space
  • Conducted fault prevention and analysis
  • Developed a functional and easy to use User Interface
  • Establish remote monitoring and control
  • Facilitate machine connectivity

We at Alpha ICT possess significant experience in helping our clients transform their products. Our emphasis is on harnessing technology to create innovative products that can help our clients change the landscape of their sector. 

Conclusion

This project made use of our IoT technology services to set up a remote functioning and comprehensive AI. We also utilized our hardware, firmware and software services to deliver to our clients a highly structured and coherent product. With the help of this newly enhanced product, we also enabled our clients to secure their place in the high-end refrigeration sector. 

  • Refrigiration Control
  • Machine Connectivity
  • Remote Monitoring and Control
  • Fault Prevention and Analysis
  • User Interface

A total of 11 PCBs – all double sided PTH

Schematics, BOM, Layouts and Gerbers: PADS from Mentor Graphics

Microcontroller: Microchip PIC24F 16-bit general purpose MCU

CapSense: Cypress CY8CMBR3018 controller

GPRS: SIMCOM SIM800C

Constant current source drivers for WHITE LED panels

  • Code in C
  • IDE: MPLAB X
  • Microsoft SQL server database of MS Azure
  • ASP.NET Webforms application for visualizing the data
  • IDE: Visual Studio, SQL Management Studio