Cost saving digital solutions for refrigeration units

How IoT allows customers to monitor, track and interact with their refrigeration assets remotely.

Staycold International have just introduced their latest technology development that allows their customers to monitor, track and interact with their refrigeration assets remotely. This is through a collaboration with Digital Twin and their recently developed Marconi device.

Lena le Roux, Staycold’s managing director is upbeat about the new solution on offer and commented, “This is a great addition, especially for our corporate and bottler clients, to manage their assets more effectively and easily, by a simple click of a button.” Digital Twin’s MD Richard Creighton commented: “We are proud to offer this affordable and complete IoT solution that is reverse compatible with any recently manufactured (since 2014) Staycold unit as well as new units. It is a simple plug and play connection and the data costs are fixed, no matter where the units are globally. This is the next level for clients to view their Staycold differently.”

We asked Sebastian Hills, Staycold sales and marketing manager, to elaborate further on this innovative collaboration:

How does it work?

The Marconi enables full virtual visibility of an asset, allowing for better asset management and maintenance of units, as well as the added benefit of being an innovative sales driver. This will help clients, especially those with a large fleet of assets in multiple locations, have the ability to proactively manage their fleet of units and ultimately bring the total cost of ownership (TCO) down.

What does this innovation mean to Staycold?

The key driver here for Staycold is that we have been able to – through our refrigeration knowledge and extensive market research regarding IoT solutions – offer our customers a solution that is the most affordable and practical way of unlocking the benefits of IoT and cloud-based monitoring services with our units. We believe in assisting our customers with not only products, but also solutions to their needs. The asset management/utilisation solutions and savings that IoT offers up over the course of a unit’s lifespan; with our products’ reputation for performance, durability, reliability and efficiency (all of which are measurable with the help of IoT), is a real step forward in the sector if used effectively. More importantly, something that we want to make our customers aware of too, is that the operational costs of a cooler are often overlooked, compared to the scrutiny which is given to the CAPEX cost.

Why the collaboration?

Staycold were motivated to collaborate with Digital Twin, as they are also a South African company. This is aligned to their buy local mindset to help boost the South Africa economy during these times. Staycold has been manufacturing self-contained commercial fridges and freezers from their factory in Parys, in South Africa for 40 years. They pride themselves in making reliable, durable energy efficient fridges and freezers which are more cost-effective over the unit’s lifetime.

How significant is this collaboration?

We singled out Digital Twin because of their dynamism and capability in the IoT space, as well as their flexibility and enthusiasm for our product. Through our joint learnings we are really beginning to open new avenues of opportunity,   both on a product development perspective as well as a market learnings front, all of which is driven by the data accumulated through the IoT solution. The most important aspect of the collaboration is that it is focused on driving solutions from South Africa out into Africa and the wider world – and that excites us greatly. It really is a collaboration built on the spirit of Ubuntu.

What does this mean for customers?

Through Digital Twin’s cloud-based portal and technology, asset owners can now, from anywhere, at any time, interact remotely with their assets. They will have the ability for example to confirm a unit’s location, turn lights on and off, adjust the temperature or change the ECO management strategy. They will also be able to monitor the unit’s refrigeration system’s condition and react proactively before time, if the need arises, to send out technicians. This drastically reduces emergency call out costs when a unit goes down.

Can you elaborate further?

Customers can also set up notifications via alarms on their phone, to warn if the condensers are showing signs of getting blocked, for example. An alarm is sent, and remedial action can be taken. Real time actions such as this also stop the unit drawing too much electricity, so there is an environment spin off as well as a TCO saving.

How does it impact on asset management?

The benefits of this new solution are believed to be multiple and address key pillars for asset owners. These include raw asset management, i.e., the console shows at any time where assets are, key indicator diagnosis to see the condition they are in for timeous reaction; easier maintenance; and lastly, as a sales driver. The device gives the ability to monitor key sales indicators like door opening, product temperatures, etc; and the ability to compare this information with other assets in the fleet nearby. This enables companies to maximise asset placement locations and ultimately product sales.

How innovative can refrigeration go in the future?

The science of the refrigeration system is defined by the laws of thermodynamics, so innovation in that aspect is quite well defined. However, how you power your refrigeration system as well as its insulation properties and materials used in its construction, are areas that are constantly evolving. Staycold prides itself at being at the forefront of innovation, but we always have to balance up the practicalities of any changes, with questions such as suitability, cost impact, and market acceptance. A refrigeration system’s source of power is a key focus across the board, and there are a lot of opportunities that present themselves in that respect. Is the hydrogen fuel cell powered refrigerator that dispenses its “emissions” in the form of chilled water a long way off? Who knows, but it’s an exciting field to be involved in.

Main image credit: Staycold.


Sebastian (Seb) Hills is the Sales and Marketing Manager for Staycold International. His physics background, experience in hospitality retail management, catering and refrigeration; as well as an interest in all things mechanical and technical, allows for a unique perspective on problem solving and finding solutions for customers’ needs.




Staycold International is a sponsor on and with Retailing Africa, will be publishing a series of thought leadership articles on the refrigeration industry in South Africa and Africa. Staycold International is a South African refrigeration company which manufactures self-contained commercial fridges and freezers for South Africa and the African continent from their factory in Parys, South Africa. Their business began in 1979 in Parys, where their home base factory is still located; and where they manufacture units primarily for the beverage and hospitality industries. They have been running for over 40 years with the principles of quality, efficiency, performance, reliability and durability.

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