Meat producer saved by sensor warning when freezer door was left open

Situated in the idyllic surroundings of Ørsta in southern Sunnmøre, the family business Hovdenakk Hjort specialises in deer farming just outside the door of their own farmhouse. They provide real Norwegian venison from their own slaughterhouse to restaurants, shops, and individuals, making the conditions for the animals and the quality of the meat their top priorities.

Since 2015, family father Jan Eldar Hovdenakk and his adult sons Hans Nicolai and Per Andreas have been establishing their own deer farm after applying for, and receiving, the required permits. They have carefully set up an approximately 4.5-km deer fence around the area, and they make sure to let the animals live peacefully in good growth conditions and with good fields to graze on. 

‘We take good care of the animals and keep track of them, from conception to the finished product’, says Per Andreas Hovdenakk, who is responsible for marketing and much of the administration involved in the operations.

His brother, Hans Nicolai, became a full-time farmer in 2019. Running the farm is now his main occupation.  He also handles much of the animal care and outdoor operations with his father, Jan Eldar.

Per Andreas, Jan Eldar and Hans Nicolai Hovdenakk runs the only deer farm in Møre og Romsdal county.


‘Our ambition is to have some FTEs here and get more employees in the long run. Deer farming and game meat are a growth industry, and operations have actually grown faster than we expected’, Per Andreas continues.

The triumvirate is now active in REKO-ring with their sights set on establishing a shop with open sales at the farm. They have also constructed an EFTA-approved slaughterhouse approved by the Norwegian Food Safety Authority for slaughtering, butchering, and further processing venison. The family wishes to offer both private individuals and businesses the chance to purchase top-quality game meat, and deer hunters connected to the farm may also deliver their kills to the butchery for the processing they desire. Otherwise, they can choose to sell to Hovdenakk Hjort for commercial sale.

Read more about Hovdenakk Hjort here.

‘We have stringent inspection requirements in Norwegian food production – which is a good thing. We also place strict requirements on any slain deer that is delivered to us by others. If you want your animal butchered, then it must either undergo a field inspection or be approved by the Norwegian Food Safety Authority’, Per Andreas continues, and he cannot emphasise enough how important quality is to them.

Avoiding losses through sensor monitoring

Hovdenakk Hjort became aware of El-Watch sensors in 2019. They needed to keep track of temperature levels in their cold rooms and freezer rooms, and they needed to document temperature levels. By installing the Neuron PT100 sensor, all three employees now maintain a complete overview via an app on their phones. The app provides a continuous overview of the exact temperature of refrigerator and freezer facilities, and will send an alarm signal if anything should fail.

Read more about Neuron PT100 and see the other sensor selction here

‘We have over 150 square metres of refrigerator and freezer space, and avoid downtime and errors in the facility at all costs. With the sensors installed, we can ensure early warning and prevent any degradation in the quality of our products – or in the worst-case scenario, having to throw them away. We also have the ability to notify an electrician if anything should need to be repaired.  There have been several instances where we could quickly go in and prevent major losses’, says Per Andreas, going on to say:

‘We have an open/close sensor on the freezer room door. During our peak season, there is a lot of traffic in and out of the freezer, with many different people. The app, which warns us when the door is open, has come to our rescue many times, preventing all our meat from being spoiled’.

Simplifies our day

Per Andreas is a trained electrician and is impressed with the simplicity, user-friendliness, and value of using sensors to monitor the slaughterhouse.

‘The sensor system was very easy to set up, and it provides us with a great sense of security. Not to mention that it simplifies our day. We used to do manual logging every single day to comply with official requirements, and I’ve got to say it was pretty tricky. Now we have a full overview in the app, and we get a log that lets us check our history. Extremely straightforward and fully satisfactory for our requirements’.

He goes on to mention some early challenges involving the thermal walls in the freezer rooms, which caused some issues with the signal strength of the sensor data. This was easily resolved with a small cable going leading into the freezer room. With the sensor itself attached to the outside of the room, this now functions very well.

‘I’ve got to say the system has a great range. We have the PT100 in the freezer as well as normal temperature sensors in the refrigerated rooms, as well as the open/close on the freezer room door. These are all placed on the first floor, and we only have one gateway on the second floor, which receives signals from all the sensors and transmits them to the associated cloud solution and then into the app. And the investment in sensors is pretty small and completely reasonable, and it’s far from being a big expense even for a fairly small company’, Per Andreas believes.

In other words, El-Watch sensors aren’t just for the giants of the industry. Instead, they’re just as simple, accessible, and easy to use for smaller entities, such as farm slaughterhouses, cheese makers, and anyone else who has a refrigeration or freezer system that must avoid downtime and errors.

No customer too small – No customer too big

There are countless areas of use, and the vast majority will benefit from preventing downtime at a low cost.

Do you have any questions, or are you wondering if sensors may be right for your cold room/freezer room or other units in your business?

Contact us for a nice chat about sensors.


Hallvard Helgetun


Phone: 0047 909 37 847

Other contact information for El-Watch here.

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