STORNOWAY, Que. — Brush off that easy chair in the sugarhouse.
A new R/O is now on the market that is completely automated, programmed to carry out virtually every function on its own from starting and stopping to washing and flushing.
"You can sit on a beach in Florida and monitor what is going on in the camp these days," said Steve O'Farrell, sales director for MemProTec, the Canadian R/O manufacturer.
The company's new MemPro DI-SS Series (available with up to 20 membrane elements) and its MemPro TI-SS Series (available with up to 30 membrane elements) is designed to take all guesswork (and all the physical work) off the plate of the sugarmaker.
"It's an intelligent system," O'Farrell said. "As the tank fills during the night, you will get a signal on your phone and the R/O will tell you its going to start concentrating sap."
The sugarmaker can pre-program the level of desired concentration, up to 35 brix in one pass. The R/O will also choose the tank it wishes to open and draw sap from, and it chooses to direct permeate to a chosen tank as well, O'Farrell said.
The R/O will switch tanks when they fill up.
The best part is every function is viewable on the sugarmaker's iPhone, Android or tablet and all data is recorded so the sugarmaker can analyize data after the sap run and make adjustments.
"The machine can even do its own performance test," O'Farrell said.
If performance drops 10 percent or more the machine knows that it needs to give itself a cleaning. It then will flush itself with compressed air, pushing all concentrate into the tank and then rinse and clean. It even loads its own chemicals.
In December, inventor and company president Denis Cote delivered the first machine to Jose Halle, a sugarmaker in Stornoway, Que. Cote and Halle both said that the machine will make the large sugaring operation much easier to manage, and with less staff.
The machine is so automatic that the sugarmaker can turn it on at the beginning of the season and shut it off at the end without having to touch it the entire time, O'Farrell said.
"With a machine like this, it can do all of the work in place of a staff," O'Farrell said.