Refrigeration / Freezers & Coolers

Efficiency and Volume Top Walk-In Wish Lists

Noise, Cost in High Demand for Restaurant Owners

September 9, 2013
Trans

In restaurants, those large, walk-in refrigerators and freezers need to be energy efficient to help maintain sometimes thin profit margins. And they need to run quietly so as not to disturb customers who may find themselves seated close to the kitchen.

Such efficiency and noiselessness extends to aspects including the condensing unit, monitoring equipment, and more.

Compressing the Noise

The Bertucci chain of Italian restaurants reported climbing electrical costs and an increased quantity of service calls amongst its struggles at the mercy of several pieces of aging refrigeration system equipment. Faced with constrained budgets for capital upgrades, the company was strapped financially and limited in its ability to make the necessary improvements.

When the time came to execute its wishes, the company turned to HVACR contractor Medford Wellington, Medford, Mass., who recommended some new energy-efficient equipment just entering the market. With return on investment still on the minds of decision makers, Medford Wellington used an outdoor condensing unit with a scroll compressor from Emerson Climate Technologies in a field trial. For one year, the XJ unit’s performance and energy savings were measured in comparison to existing standard equipment. As part of the process, the hot gas defrost was replaced with a different defrost scheme and evaporator fan units used electronically commutated motors (ECMs).

According to results, the condensing unit accounted for about 35 percent of its annual energy savings. In addition, CoreSense™ diagnostics allowed Medford Wellington’s technicians to troubleshoot any issues, helping to avoid unneeded service calls while protecting the system from premature failures.

Keep Quiet

New York City-based Manhattan Diner desired increased refrigeration capacity for its fleet of walk-in freezers and coolers.

Gibsen HVAC Inc., Roslyn Heights, N.Y., a refrigeration contractor, was called to address the situation. Gibsen technicians quickly learned that the scope of their work would be extremely limited due to space limitations. The contractor could not install conventional condensing units on the roof of the six-story building. Outside the diner, a 7-foot-wide alley was all that separated the restaurant from an adjacent hotel, causing noise and space challenges.

Indoor water-cooled condensing units with a cooling tower on the roof were initially being considered, but would add nearly $50,000 to the capital cost of the project, plus require ongoing maintenance.

“Placing the units inside was also a poor alternative since the equipment would take up valuable interior space,” said Nick Benetos, owner, Gibsen HVAC Inc. “The restaurant’s owner was struggling to find a cost-effective and reliable refrigeration option which would fit his particular location and fall within his budget.”

Benetos and his team turned to ABCO Refrigeration and Emerson Climate Technologies, finding a potential solution in a Copeland Scroll® Outdoor Condensing Unit (XJ Series). Benetos learned that the XJ could be a potential solution as the new units were not only highly efficient, but offered installation flexibility, low sound performance, and built-in protective diagnostics.

In order to install the Copeland Scroll XJ units safely on the wall, heavy-duty wall brackets had to be secured to the side of the building, providing a 12-inch clearance from the wall to ensure adequate airflow. Once plans were approved, the units were mounted in the alley, high enough so that they would not interfere with the ground area.

Monitoring Matters

Owners of restaurants, like their counterparts in supermarkets, need to make sure that refrigeration equipment, like walk-ins, maintain proper temperature and humidity once installations or retrofits are done. To this end, Heatcraft Worldwide Refrigeration prepared information on exactly how to achieve these parameters.

“Today’s refrigeration monitoring systems can take advantage of available data to offer users important feedback about their equipment,” said Heatcraft Worldwide Refrigeration representatives, in an article penned for its ColdFront publication. “For example, the system can help users track the efficiency level of their equipment, recommending or automatically taking steps to increase efficiency based on the actual application.”

It was noted that using prognostics to analyze trend data helps in predicting potential failures, identifying appropriate replacement part numbers and pointing to local wholesale inventory.

“These systems also feature troubleshooting that can pinpoint a problem by using the same logic and data that an application engineer may use when troubleshooting in the field,” continued the article. “By analyzing the alarm data, the controller can also prompt the user by providing a logical sequence of troubleshooting steps for the contractor to follow.”

The fact that such systems provide 24/7 control is important.

“A remote monitoring system allows one or multiple users to keep track of food temperatures, energy costs, and equipment performance in one of several locations via a remote communications network — anywhere they can access the Internet. A communications management center included with the system offers users performance analytics and diagnostics, provide alarms for food safety and quality issues, and sends alerts in the event the system experiences a component failure, or maintenance and repairs are needed.”

But the real savings comes through preventing system failures and malfunction, as well as the ability to diagnose issues and take corrective actions remotely as soon as they arise, it was noted.

As an example of a system that offers round-the-clock surveillance with emails, alerts, and texts, the company noted its Remote Refrigeration Control, which works with the Beacon II™ Refrigeration System to provide quick notification of potential problems when time is of the essence.

Publication date: 9/9/2013 

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