3 Ways Semiconductors Are Used in Food Storage and Prep

Few other inventions have ever had the impact on engineering that semiconductors have. Food service industry representatives haven’t been exempt from advancements in this field, either. By way of diodes, transistors, and integrated circuits, they’re designing new pieces of equipment that are helping to bring food storage and preparation technology into the 21st century and beyond.


1. Semiconductor-Based Refrigeration Units


Conventional electronic coolers work by forcing a compressed gas through a small tube until it dumps heat away from an internal container. This works fairly well, but it tends to use a lot of power and generates huge amounts of heat behind the chilled cabinets. Temperature-controlled semiconductor chips could potentially do this work without putting so much stress on the facility that they’re designed in. Thermoelectric cooling is still fairly energy intensive, but it’s becoming more efficient and engineers believe that they’re close to developing compact solutions that would work well in any setting. Current generation devices are being used in a wide variety of applications, especially when portability is a concern. Technologists have proposed installing waste heat collectors to make the process less expensive.


2. Energy Infrastructure and Automation Solutions


Refrigerators and electric coolers use a great of power when their compressors are running. As soon as they switch off, this kind of equipment essentially doesn’t use anything. Technicians who work with energy infrastructure and industrial automation gear are finding that they can connect these devices to smart grid outlets that give them a greater degree of control over how electricity gets used.


Doing so can save a substantial amount of power, which is great news for cold storage plants that are working on cutting their greenhouse gas emissions. It’s also an excellent idea for commercial cafeterias and other smaller operations that might be struggling to pay their electric bills. Quite a few larger operations might find that using smart automation technology powered by semiconductor chips could even reduce the risk of brownouts by better-managing power coming into their establishments. Once these issues are out of the way, they’d be able to explore other new solutions.


3. Intelligent Food Packages and Labels


Next-generation packaging products often include a quick response code that could be snapped with a mobile telephone handset or other semiconductor-powered device. Warehousing and cold storage operations use these to track food shipments throughout their own networks. Retailers are now turning to smart food packages as a way to ensure that none of the products they’re carrying are out of date. Microprocessors running dedicated firmware can automatically warn staffers when a particular product expires.


Even more promising is the ability of these packaging solutions to prevent products from going bad in the first place. Having all that date-related information at one’s fingertips is usually enough of a reminder to keep staffers regularly rotating the stock. With these and other developments on the horizon, it certainly looks like the food storage and preparation industries are readily adapting many semiconductor-based solutions to simplify their workflows and enhance efficiency.

Image: DepositPhotos

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