FMI Showcase Mixes Old With New

September 3, 2007
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Andy Taylor and Barney Fife’s squad car may have offered nostalgia at the FMI Expo in Chicago, but most of the show was high tech, especially with the latest in controls technology. (Click on the image for an enlarged view.)

CHICAGO - On the floor of the most recent Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Show, much attention was directed to a replica of the squad car that Andy Taylor and Barney Fife drove for many years in mythical Mayberry, N.C. It was at the display area of Diversity Brands that was launching a line of food products called “Mayberry’s Finest.”

Putting in an appearance were the actress and musicians who portrayed Charlene Darling and her bluegrass picking brothers on “The Andy Griffith Show.”

It was all designed as a major trip down memory lane with heavy doses of nostalgia and a longing for the good old days.

But just a few aisles over, a modern day reality check was taking place. For it was there that FMI was showcasing an aspect of its expo called Marketechnics. It was billed as showing products that allow for “incorporating technology into traditional equipment, service, and products.”

In other words, commercial refrigeration (the latest of which, for food-related industries, was covered in the July 2 issue of The NEWS) is a critical component in keeping food products at the proper temperature. It is just that these days there are a whole lot of vital, high-tech ways to make sure the mechanicals are doing what they are supposed to do, to warn someone when they are not, to allow technicians to make adjustments literally with the touch of a finger, and to do all that in the most energy-efficient way possible.

Once upon a time, Gomer Pyle, Mayberry’s garage mechanic, tried to fix a freezer on the back porch of the Taylor home - without much luck. Today’s more trained refrigeration service technicians need to be aware of some of the newest high-tech aspects of mechanical equipment.

IN CONTROL

One example of the new technologies was shown by TAC Com-Trol (www.tac.com) that had a whole line of commercial refrigeration and building system controllers. One of the newest was the Crysalis Enterprise Server™. The CES was created, the company said, “to centrally monitor and support multiple retail sites through an intuitive Web- based dashboard.”

In the package are an “enterprise-level operations dashboard, alarm management, historical data collections, and a relational database management system interface and reports subsystem.”

Lonnie Laue, vice president for strategic accounts at TAC, said, “Crysalis brings together Com-Trol’s line of commercial refrigeration controllers and TAC’s line of HVAC control products. The new CES units have all these features to create a simple, cost-efficient, and completely scalable system to meet a wide variety of supermarket and retail control requirements.”

Also new from TAC was Andover onSiTE™, a prepackaged, Web-based control for small buildings. “The system is designed to bring energy savings, lighting efficiency, and the convenience of Web-based monitoring to owners of chain stores, branch offices, and small office buildings,” Laue said.

TAC is one of three companies under the umbrella of Schneider Electric. The other companies are Square D and Juno Lighting. Among products on display from Square D was the PowerLogic® power monitoring system and Powerlink® lighting control panels.

Crysalis Enterprise Server™ from TAC Com-Trol is designed to support multiple retail sites.

Maynard Exchange (www.hbmaynard.com) has technology that deals with a place familiar to most all technicians - the backrooms that house conventional direct expansion mechanicals as well as a lot of product storage. “Out of sight, out of mind?” asked the vendor. “How is your backroom organized and managed?”

The company called the backroom “the unseen driver of a store that holds tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in inventory.”

Visual Backroom Management for Retail™ “uses lean principles to establish a safe, efficient, and visual backroom, and determine the amount of back stock needed in the backroom,” the company said. Part of that equation is 5-S, said to be a strategy “for creating a clean, uncluttered, safe, and orderly environment.” The 5-Ss consist of “spot and remove, shine and inspect, set locations and visual cues, system-a-tize, and stay the course.”

Promotion of the technology from a company called 1010data (www.1010data.com) included the phrase: “We’ll handle the hardware, software and data warehouse. You handle the mangos.”

The company said it custom-tailors its services at its own facility. The customer then transmits whatever data it wants to the vendor. Users can then open a Web browser and request “standardized reports for ad hoc analysis.”

Officials said, “You can shortcut the traditional database design phase and go straight to analyzing your data. Our software is designed to operate on your data without indexes, pre-aggregations, or specially de-signed data structures.”

Warehouse management and inventory optimization were stressed by Aldata Solutions (www.aldata-solution.com). The company said it offered “modular solutions” driven by the retail sector. Its approach involves what was called “optimal sourcing, sales, stock and replenishment management from a single, centralized database.”

Energy savings was stressed in the products and services offered by Verisae (www.verisae.com). Its Enterprise Energy Management™ product was said to provide historical utility data, real-time energy monitoring and reporting, critical system monitoring, weather data, and site-specific asset energy attributes.

PowerLogic® is a power monitoring system with stores among its places for application.

MORE ENERGY EFFICIENCY

Energy efficiency was also emphasized with makers of fans and fan motors that were on display at both the FMI Expo and the National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show that took place a few weeks later, also in Chicago.

At the NRA show, GE ECM by Regal-Beloit unveiled what it called “next generation” high-efficiency commercial refrigeration evaporator-fan motor. “The ICE 59 line takes 20 years worth of experience in designing and refining electronically commutated motors (ECM) technology and combines it with engineering solutions for the unique needs of commercial refrigeration,” said Tim Neal, industry leader, Commercial Refrigeration at GE ECM.

The motor uses a brushless-DC, permanent-magnet design that allows for high efficiency across a wide operating range. It is designed for evaporator-fan use in walk-in coolers and freezers. The 1/15-hp motor is a form-fitting, drop-in replacement for typical 3.3-inch motors.

In a related announcement, the company said it has redesigned its ECM Website (www.theDealerToolbox.com). The site “offers instructional and sales videos, information on training classes, service resources, product information, literature downloads, an online store and more,” said Paul Selking, industry leader for Residential ECM Products.

Fan technology included a number of products from Ebmpapst (www.ebm-papst.com).

Acmaxx air conditioning fans have integrated drive and control electronics, high airflow, variable-speed control, failure detection, optional humidity or salt fog protection, and speed and function monitoring. The EC-Systems™ for fans and blowers has electronic commutation to allow the control of the motor speed that is defined by how fast the magnetic fields inside the motor alternate.

Publication date: 09/03/2007

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