Mix-And-Match Options For Freezers And Coolers

July 31, 2003
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CHICAGO — Freezers, coolers, walk-ins, reach-ins, top-mounted, under-the-counter; the medium-temperature and low-temperature aspects for the storage of food products are a mix-and-match matter. Manufacturers offer a range of products, and the variations keep on increasing.

Contractors and technicians who were willing to make two trips to Chicago were able to see the latest in these products — most of them at the National Restaurant Association Restaurant-Hotel-Motel Show and others at the Supermarket Industry Convention and Education Exposition, sponsored by the Food Marketing Institute. (A third opportunity is offered every other year at the National Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers Expo, this year in early September in New Orleans.)

Here is a review of what was new in freezers and coolers from the NRA and FMI shows. (Note: Coverage of the ice machines on display at the NRA show was detailed in the July 7 issue of The News. Coverage of mechanical refrigeration for the supermarket industry as shown at the FMI show will appear in the Sept. 1 issue.)

Turbo-Air showed freezers with stainless steel interiors and exteriors in single- or multi-door designs.

Expanding Lines

One trend in walk-ins was the switch from an HCFC refrigerant (R-141b) to an HFC (R-245fa). One company noting its conversion was Bally (www.bmil.com/bally/index.htm), which reported that it had received an award from the Environmental Protection Agency for that conversion.

The company showed a range of walk-in coolers, freezers, and refrigerated warehouses. The mechanical configurations included single-stage hermetic or semi-hermetic compressors and internally compounded two-stage compressors for applications requiring temperatures of –40 degrees F or below.

The company also noted that it offers evaporators, air-cooled condensers, packaged outdoor air-cooled condensing units, indoor compressor/receiver units, and other products. It also featured its “Northwind” blast chillers.

Blast chillers were the focus of the booth for Beverage-Air (www.beverage-air.com), which is part of Carrier. Those chillers were touted for their ability “to cool or freeze cooked products quickly through the bacteria danger zone to 37 degrees for refrigerated products and 0 degrees for frozen products.”

A hinged fan cover is said to allow easy access to the evaporator and fan. An automatic door switch stops fan operation when the door is open. A core probe automatically indicates when the chilling or freezing cycle is reached, so the system goes into automatic hold.

Continental Refrigerator (www.continentalrefrigerator.com) noted that it has some 1,250 models of refrigeration equipment. Its Designerline offers air-cooled, hermetically sealed, capillary-type refrigeration systems installed on top of each unit. Plasticized fin coil and air circulating fans are contained within concealed “plug”-type insulated housing.

The company’s Valueline has an automatic electric condensate evaporator. Both lines use R-134a in the refrigerators and R-404A in the freezers.

ColdZone (www.coldzone.com/index.htm) featured a low-profile unit cooler for walk-in coolers and freezers. They are available in air, electric, and hot gas models. Computerized coil circuitry is used for varying applications. Staggered copper tubes are expanded into corrugated aluminum fins for increased heat transfer.

The internal placement of the defrost heaters allows for more rapid defrost, according to the company. There is a separate defrost termination thermostat and fan delay.

LiquiTech™ was billed as a means to “completely surround the cold pan openings with super-cooling eutectic fluid, creating five-sided cooling effect.” The technology — shown by The Delfield Company (www.delfield.com) — is said to provide 10 times more surface coverage than conventional cold pans. “Because the fluid stays colder longer, it keeps the surface cool and takes less energy,” the company said. “Therefore, the compressor doesn’t have to work as hard to maintain temperatures.”

The company also showed its line of blast chillers. The DBC-10 offers two independent cooling compartments, each equipped with its own compressor, controls, and food probes. “Two cooling compartments and three cooling modes allow the simultaneous cooling or blast freezing of an incredible variety of food,” the company said.

Hoshizaki showed the TempGuard dual-temperature reach-in with a storage capacity of 19.6 cubic feet and many of the same standard features as under-counter units.
Air-O-Chill® is the name given to the chilling equipment from Electrolux Food Service Equipment (www.electrolux-professional.com). The company offers both blast chillers and freezers. The cycle for each encompasses soft chilling, hard chilling, positive holding, shock freezing, and freeze holding.

A so-called “intelligent defrost cycle” is activated automatically whenever necessary, the company said. Also part of the equation is a system called Air-O-Check, which verifies the correct insertion of the core probe into the product and automatically selects the “core probe” or “time controlled” cycle accordingly. The evaporator is said to have antirust protection.

Hoshizaki America Inc. (www.hoshizaki.com) used the show to introduce under-counter refrigerators and freezers. The TempGuard™ UR2-SSA and UF2-SSA feature a side-mount, removable refrigeration system designed for accessibility and service. Standard features include removable and cleanable air filters, flush-mount door handles, stepped door design, back-up door perimeter heaters, and an alert system that indicates potential problems and assists in diagnostics.

The company also introduced its TempGuard dual-temperature reach-in unit, with a storage capacity of 19.6 cubic feet and many of the same standard features as the under-counter units.

Low- and medium-temperature refrigerated merchandisers were shown by Hussmann (www.hussmann.com) as part of its ConvenienceWorks® unit (www.convenienceworks.com). The refrigeration systems shown included air-cooled condensing units with indoor and outdoor applications. Compressors ranged from 1/2 to 20 hp, using refrigerants R-404A and -22. Condensing units were available with discus, hermetic, semi-hermetic, and scroll compressor options.

Products from Manitowoc Foodservice Group’s Kolpak unit (www.kolpak.com) included the R-Series with a stainless steel door, handle, and ramp design. The door has what the company calls an “air shield” design that avoids the need for plastic curtains. The refrigeration system is modular, the company said, allowing “for multiple installation options.”

Master-Bilt (www.master-bilt.com) used the expo for a major rollout of products, among which were PRS Series packaged refrigeration systems for mounting on the company’s indoor and outdoor walk-in coolers and freezers. The PRS can be equipped with an outdoor weather hood.

The system consists of a condensing unit and evaporator coil in one package, the company explained. The evaporator section mounts flush in a standard, 4-inch-thick ceiling panel, according to the company. On indoor models, a standard condensate evaporator pan eliminates the need for a drain line. The units are assembled, evacuated, charged, run tested, and wired at the factory.

The company’s three-door UC Series under-counter refrigerator features a forced-air refrigeration system and two fans for cooling efficiency. The self-contained units require no plumbing. The temperature range is 33 degrees to 41 degrees for refrigerators, -11 degrees to -3 degrees for freezers.

The company’s Ready-Bilt walk-ins are preassembled units delivered to a jobsite by gooseneck truck. They can be placed using a crane, boomlift, or forklift, the company said. Use of electricity from a single-source hook-up makes the walk-in ready to use. Single- and double-compartment models are available in a variety of lengths and widths.

A display merchandiser (FIP-40) is a narrower unit for frozen novelty products. It fits in a 40-inch-wide space. It has a self-contained, semi-hermetic condensing unit and a bare tube condenser. An electronic controller replaces such parts as a room thermostat, defrost timer, defrost termination/fan delay control, temperature indicator, and other components.

The Manitowoc Foodservice Group’s Kolpak unit displayed a line of walk-ins.
NorLake (www.norlake.com) promoted its ability to custom design a wide range of products, such as refrigerators, freezers, reach-ins, food prep refrigerators, and ice cream freezers.

Polar King International Inc. (www.polarking.com) offered what it called “seamless, one-piece, fiber glass walk-in coolers.” The products are prewired and are ready for operation once the unit is set in place and hooked up to the building’s power.

One option offered by the company is equipment that could be installed outside a facility. The units feature all-fiberglass construction and are free-standing. Each box is constructed with one-piece interior and exterior fiberglass with 4 inches of 2-pound-density urethane insulation. Compressors come from Copeland, evaporator units from Larkin.

The Summit Appliance Division of Felix Storch Inc. (www.summitappliance.com) featured a drawer refrigerator that is said to employ no-frost technology in an under-counter size. Paul Storch, executive vice president, said, “No-Frost convenience in the under-the-counter category … will be perfect for new installations as well as existing operations.”

Also shown were four full-size portable beer dispensers. The units include 5-pound CO2 tanks, regulators, draft towers, cleaning kits, etc.

RJ Trausch (www.rjtrausch.com) featured a line of coolers and freezers with interchangeable doors. According to the company, “The doors are the most used components of a walk-in cooler and generally need to be replaced before the wall panels. Worn door seals can increase the compressor run time, drastically increasing electric consumption and reducing compressor life.

“Our walk-ins are designed with an interchangeable door system that allows worn-out doors to be replaced independently from the rest of the cooler. Our standard doors are mounted to the frame with Kasson hinges, and the latch and striker are equipped with inside safety releases to prevent entrapment.”

Turbo-Air (jsherley@arcdist.net) showed freezers with stainless steel interiors and exteriors in single- or multi-door designs. Shelves could be adjusted by turning pegs rather than having to pinch them. Booth officials said the 18-month warranties on the units were longer than conventional warranties. The company also has a seven-day/week service department.

Victory Refrigeration (www.victory-refrig.com) launched the VBC-70, an under-counter blast chiller. It is the latest addition to Victory’s line of under-counter, reach-in, and roll-in blast chillers.

The new unit chills up to 70 pounds of food product in a 90-minute cycle, according to the company. At the end of each cycle, it reverts to automatic storage mode — a 38 degree refrigerator. Features include a three-step control panel, built-in printer for documentation and HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) recordkeeping, three food probes for temperature control, and seven pairs of adjustable, 12- by 20-inch pan slides.

The front, side, door, and work surfaces are constructed of stainless steel. The back and bottom are made of galvanized steel.

Publication date: 08/04/2003

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