Paul Mueller logo

PMC MilkSecure IIoT Platform and Control System

Paul Mueller Company is cooling the world’s milk. By working with dairy farmers, technicians, haulers, and processors throughout the dairy supply chain they provide tailored solutions to cool and store milk. At the heart of each solution are stainless steel tanks made in America and The Netherlands, and shipped to any place cows are milked.

The process of getting healthy milk from the cow to the grocery store shelf is a complex one – maintaining exacting temperatures and tank hygiene are of paramount concern, and managing expedited logistics are all absolutely critical to milk quality. One wrong calculation or improper calibration, and thousands of gallons of milk, dollars, and hard work are lost. For large and small dairies alike, the stakes are high.

How They Challenged Us.

As younger generations take over family farms, they drive greater digital transformation and the use of more connected devices. Mueller® recognized a demand for a control to address the dairy farmers’ need for work-life balance and the service technicians’ desire to be more proactive. The Mueller team suspected a “modernized” version of the HiPerform™ III cooling and wash control would meet that demand.

From a boots-on-the-ground perspective, users desire greater device flexibility, more remote capability, increased data storage and usability, and better connectivity to do their jobs more effectively and efficiently. Advancements in technology have emerged to make that all possible—and that meant the time was right for Solvative and Mueller to partner with a focus on bringing the controls into the 21st century.

Our Process: Getting Up Close and Personal.

To see exactly where and how the HiPerForm III might be improved, we headed to the dairy farm for some hands-on experience and a chance to take a walk in our end-users’ boots. The Solvative team, accompanied by Mueller experts, shadowed users at three different dairies to understand their operations around milking, storage, cooling, and hauler pickup. We observed how each person interacted with the control, the farm, the cows, and the process.
Dairy Farmer using MilkSecure on Tablet.
Our goal was to identify requirements critical to functionality and user needs, pinpoint where the current deficiencies lay, and highlight weaknesses from a technology expert’s point of view—in other words, issues the users hadn’t even considered.

What We Discovered.

By standing side by side with the people who actually had to use the devices, we captured important control performance details. We were able to observe in-the-moment behaviors unlikely to come to light if we had simply chosen to interview the end-user in an office setting. Our time shadowing identified four critical areas for improvement:
  • Data Visibility – The temperature graph was recorded on a spirograph and paper only. Data was not visible or logged anywhere digitally and this had to change.
  • Control Interface Improvements – The few icons and instructions on the screen were the opposite of intuitive, making every control activity take longer and leaving far more room for error, which was unacceptable.
  • Data Storage and Analysis – With no data-capturing/storing capabilities, users were flying blind when it came to their ability to use any past performance information to optimize current operations. In fact, users still had to record data like current temperatures with a pen and paper. This practice was outdated and inefficient.
  • Functionality – Users needed more features and wanted automation. Previous controls had limited remote capabilities, forcing the user to have to be right at the tank to access and manage key controls. There were opportunities to improve the process and further reduce the possibility of user error.

How We Transformed the Control.

When the last iteration of the HiPerform control was introduced, it was considered state-of-the-art. Of course, we all know technology advances at hyperspeed, which can cause obsolescence pretty much overnight. Our teams transformed the HiPerForm III milk tank control by enabling internet connectivity, adding an intuitive touchscreen, incorporating an electronic tank and temperature recorder, creating a dashboard to view real-time tank temperature and volume data, and establishing cloud data management with a level of data security like never before.
The controller Solvative and Mueller designed addressed every weakness and essentially catapulted the HiPerform control into the 21st century—while also positioning it to accommodate new technologies we know are already being developed.
Design features of the new HiPerform plus control with MilkSecure™ technology:
  • Critical data-storage capability – A key opportunity for improvement was adding reliable performance data storage capabilities. We designed the new HiPerform plus device to hold a minimum of 30 days of data on milk storage temperatures, cleaning-cycle histories, and other operations critical to safeguarding a perishable product. We gave users the ability to view and utilize this data remotely from any smartphone, tablet, or computer by simply connecting to the cloud-from anywhere. Dairy owners say it’s given them peace of mind like never before.
  • Total data security – When we created the ability for the HiPerform plus to transmit data remotely and store it in the cloud, we knew we also had to mitigate the risk of a security breach—a growing concern in the agriculture industry. To do this, we created the MilkSecure control interface and the On-Farm MilkSecure cloud portal, which together added ultimate data protection.
  • Future-proof functionality – Mueller and Solvative designed the progressive HiPerForm plus for use in both traditional and robotic dairy farm operations; it can be retrofitted to become a wash and cooling control that works with any programmable milk cooler. Additionally, the new built-in MilkSecure technology, which sends data via the cloud directly to secure Amazon’s Web Services (AWS), ensures every dairy’s information is fully protected now and in the future; even as more features and functions are added to the HiPerform plus system. Amazon’s AWS infrastructure is built for the utmost reliability offering data protection and redundancy unsurpassed by many other organizations. With integration to AWS Cloud services, the HiPerform plus data remains secure and always available.
  • Highly intuitive controls – Now dairy producers can navigate every critical control function with intuitive ease, including immediately accessing the status of milk volume, milk temperatures, equipment alerts, and more.
  • Seamless installation – Equipped with what is essentially a “plug-and-play” software, it comes in a package that provides better service and maintenance capabilities for the dairy storage system. This helps to ensure seamless operations and fewer headaches for managers.
HiPerForm Plus Control Mockup small

We enhanced the functionality of the HiPerForm III with a robust suite of 21st-century touchscreen actions and advanced features — All Capable of Remote Operation.

New features included:

  • Electronic Time and Temperature Recorder – User can continuously monitor and log crucial dairy data and generate reports from anywhere, anytime.
  • Tank Temperature and Volume Monitor – User can access real-time data via the MilkSecure dashboard from anywhere, anytime.
  • State Monitor and Alert Management—User can view equipment state and alert statuses from anywhere, anytime.
  • Volume Indicator – User can view the level sensor, and the newly designed volume indicator, which provides the basis for precise, controlled tank cooling, from anywhere, anytime.

Enhanced features included:

  • Automatic Interval Agitation – User can ensure proper milk temperatures at all times from anywhere, anytime.
  • Troubleshooting Test Program – User can run troubleshooting tests to guard against critical losses from anywhere, anytime.
  • Wash & Cooling Controls – User can operate the fully-programmable wash and cool cycles and even set cooling and wash time delays to allow streamlining of the milking process from anywhere, anytime.
  • Built-In Robotic Interface – Thanks to remote capability, the milk hauler can access the controls and start the pickup procedure at the press of a button; the control takes care of the rest, from anywhere, anytime.
  • Flexible Voltage Control Switch – User is able to choose from two different control outputs. The option to use 24 VAC or dry switch closure allows for flexibility in controlling external systems.
HiPerForm Panel on Milk Cooler Tank

To learn more about the HiPerForm plus control with MilkSecure technology visit paulmueller.com

Get in touch.

We would love to hear from you and see how we can help.

    Thanks

    for your interest

    We will get back to you soon

    Send another message.

    Support

    Looking to discuss a project or just say hello? Here’s a few ways you can reach out to us.​

    For New Projects

    For Support

    Want to join our Team of Solvers?