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Project Description

Blue Sparq developed this IoT device to monitor a four tap keg based Nitrobrew coffee dispenser. We took a basic drink dispenser that did not have a computer system and made it an IoT device. The telemetry device was capable of reading four flow meters, two temperature sensors, several inputs, and driving several solenoid outputs. It also has cellular, wifi, and ethernet connectivity. The device actively monitors the flowmeter and pressure sensors to alert maintenance staff if drinks or pressure levels are running low. The temperature sensors measured the difference between the refrigeration temperature and the dispense temperature to ensure compliance with NSF standards. The keypad and LED’s on the front of the device provide quick and easy maintenance checks without having to access the device’s online dashboard.

The main goal of the device is to read sensor data and transmit it to the cloud. Once it reaches the cloud, the information is displayed in easy to understand graphics. Operators can set alerts to email or text, making it easy to monitor their devices without having to manually check the dashboard. Alerting the operator before their machines run empty reduces downtime saving time and money, ultimately keeping the product flowing all the time.

Case Study: McDonalds Broken IceCream Machines

You may have heard about the running joke that McDonalds ice cream machines are always broken. A website, mcbroken, made by Rashiq Zahid helped bring the ice cream crisis to light. His website displays a map of the United States showing the status of each machine at each location on the map. Zahid was able to write a Python bot to interface with the McDonald's app. The bot would try to add a McSundae every 30 minutes. If successful the store location of the map would get a green dot, if it fails the location gets a red dot. Currently at time of writing 13.06% of all McDonalds in the United States have a broken ice cream machine. Maybe if they had a custom BlueSparq IoT telemetry device, McDonalds service teams would be notified of upcoming maintenance and issues before the machine breaks. Keeping the ice cream flowing, one machine at a time.

Project Details