McDonald’s to Implement Echelon’s Power Line Networking Technology
Echelon Corp. announced that McDonald’s Corp. has chosen its LonWorks® technology to network its restaurant kitchen equipment in order to create the "kitchen of the future," which aims to lower energy consumption and increase operational efficiency. McDonald’s is encouraging its kitchen equipment manufacturers to include Echelon’s power line technology in new equipment for its restaurants.
"We are committed to being a market leader in environmental responsibility and energy management, so it’s great to have a proven platform that we can use to address such an important issue," said Bob Langert, McDonald’s Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility. "Echelon’s technology will also enable our franchisees to create restaurants that are easier to operate, facilitate preventive maintenance and provide new services while saving energy."
McDonald’s is using Echelon’s power line networking technology to provide communication and data exchange between various pieces of kitchen equipment in its restaurants to allow the development of business process improvement applications, manage energy use, and reduce maintenance costs. This communication occurs over existing power lines, making for easy installation and retrofitting of equipment while enabling McDonald’s to install the equipment without tearing out walls. McDonald’s tested various alternative technologies, including radio frequency (RF), but found Echelon’s power line technology to be the most reliable and cost-effective solution.
Echelon’s i.LON® Internet Server will be used to collect data from McDonald’s kitchen equipment, reducing labor costs spent on gathering data and creating reports while reducing potential data compilation errors. Food safety issues are a concern in the industry and smart equipment can provide the data needed to support Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) requirements of health departments. This will save labor costs now spent on reading thermometers and creating reports.
"Open, standards-based technologies are very important for McDonald’s because we believe the food service industry will follow suit and realize the benefits of networked equipment, including streamlined operations and energy reduction," said Bernard Morauw, Senior Director, Worldwide Equipment Systems for McDonald’s Corp. "The LonWorks platform allows multiple manufacturers around the world to have clear open standards to provide integrated solutions to McDonald’s restaurants."
The LonWorks enabled "smart kitchen" equipment could easily integrate with other existing or planned building sub-systems, such as heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems and lighting systems that are also based on the LonWorks protocol, in order to extend energy management capabilities throughout the entire restaurant. Such measures are an element that can facilitate LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for the restaurants, and further reduce energy use.