Remote rabbi restart

SMS relay
The SMS relay connects remotely the boiler system at a kosher food plant to the rabbis who are responsible for restarting the boiler. Source: Phoenix Contact.

Kosher food plants are pretty particular about quality, and they have to be if they want to maintain their Orthodox Union (OU) seal on the packaging of their products. One of the requirements to maintain the integrity of the OU seal is that a rabbi is the only person who can check the production system and give a blessing to restart a boiler if it should go down for any reason.

A major issue for an eastern Pennsylvania kosher food plant is that its rabbis don’t live near the plant; the closest is 90 miles away. Therefore, if a boiler goes down, and the plant loses steam, the plant has to wait two to four hours for a rabbi to arrive to bless and restart the boiler. This is a lot of production time to lose, and no plant manager wants to have any downtime in a production facility.

The processor reached out to Loman Control Systems, a CSIA-certified integrator in Lititz, PA, for a solution. The two companies worked together to resolve the distance problem by granting remote control of the boiler. As both companies looked deeper into the problem, they discovered remote operating devices that would not only send a signal, but could also receive a signal back from the source. The device they picked was the Phoenix Contact SMS relay, which Loman tied into the boiler system.

Now, if a boiler shuts down unexpectedly, and the temperature drops below a certain set point, the SMS relay automatically dials one of the rabbis and sends a text message. The message might say, “A boiler is down. Please restart.” Once a rabbi receives the message, instead of driving to the plant, he simply responds with a text message saying, “OK. Start the system.” The SMS relay translates the text into a start signal sent straight to the boiler.

The SMS relay looks like a small programmable controller. The device, paired with a prepaid GSM SIM card from a cell phone, uses text-message commands to control the boiler. According to Juan Escolarte, a Loman-certified technology manager, the selector switch chooses a phone number to send the custom text message to. The output block is programmed to turn on if a certain password is submitted.

“Once the rabbi receives the message on his cell phone, he enters his own unique password and replies with a text message and the command to start the boiler,” says Escolarte. “We try to make it as simple as possible for them. We are using only one output, and we tell them what message to send. It’s a dynamic system that can be programmed any way you want.”

According to Escolarte, there is no reason this device couldn’t be used for other systems, for example, remote pumping stations, pipelines or unmanned wastewater treatment plants. This relay, however, proved to be the right device for the remote boiler control. The processor says the rabbis are pleased with it, and it minimizes downtime, saving this kosher processor money.

For more information, visit Loman Control Systems, the Control System Integrators Association and Phoenix Contact.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Food Engineering Magazine.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

Food Engineering's Food Automation & Manufacturing Conference and Expo 2015

Images from Food Engineering's Food Automation & Manufacturing Conference and Expo in Clearwater Beach, Florida, April 12-15, 2015. The event brought food and beverage processors and suppliers together to gain valuable information on the latest trends and technologies in manufacturing, automation, sustainability and food safety.


Burns & McDonnell project manager RJ Hope and senior project engineer Justin Hamilton discuss the distinctions between Food Safety and Food Defense as well as the implications for food manufacturers of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
More Podcasts

Food Engineering

Food Engineering May 2015 Cover

2015 May

The May 2015 issue of Food Engineering explores effective tools for hitting manufacturing targets. Also, read how processors are looking for faster ways to detect harmful pathogens in food and beverages without sacrificing accuracy or reliability.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Plant Facility/Site Issues

What issue about your current plant facility/site keeps you up the most at night?
View Results Poll Archive


Food Authentication Using Bioorganic Molecules

This text provides critical tools and data needed to augment routine food analysis and enhance food safety by aiding in the detection of counterfeit, and potentially deleterious, foods.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.


FE recent tweets

facebook_40.pngtwitter_40px.pngyoutube_40px.png linkedin_40px.pngGoogle +

Food Master

Food Engineering Food Master 2015Food Master 2015 is now available!

Where the buying process begins in the food and beverage manufacturing market. 

Visit to learn more.