Refrigeration Sector Gives Green Push

September 1, 2008
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Attendees head to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas for the start of the Food Marketing Institute Show.

LAS VEGAS - Sustainability and its cousin, “going green,” have stepped up their presence in the refrigeration sector, following their gaining a high-profile position over in air conditioning.

The most recent Food Marketing Institute Show found dozens upon dozens of the close to 800 exhibitors promoting themselves as sustainable and green in some way, from simply encouraging supermarket decision makers to ask customers to make a one-time purchase of a cloth shopping bag and using that over and over again for hauling groceries to asking those deciders to invest in high-efficiency, state-of-the-art refrigeration equipment.

In that latter category were the latest in secondary loop and distributed technologies designed to reduce the amount of HFC refrigerants used, energy and environment management systems to run systems efficiently, and even curb bacteria and mold growth, and so-called “intelligent store” customized architectures.

And as befitting a show that emphasized comfort cooling as well as the refrigeration and freezing of many food products, the show took place in the desert, in Las Vegas, where HVACR is a year round absolute necessity.

Here then by topics is a sampling of some of the latest refrigeration trends and products on display in Las Vegas.

REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS

As a play on the buzzword of the show, Hill-Phoenix (www.hillphoenix.com) used the phrase SustainABILITY as in its ability to provide sustainable equipment. The company had an expansive booth with 27 areas of attention and provided a floor plan to attendees to work their way through the site.

Hussmann (www.hussmann.com) also had a large booth with a wave of new technologies. The company announced that its Protocol line of distributed refrigeration technology now included a smaller platform (SP) configuration with three compressors in a case for convenience stores, foodservice operations, and supermarket remodels.

It was described as an indoor unit that can be mounted on top of coolers or hung from ceilings. As with the distributed approach, one intention was to reduce the refrigerant charge. Mechanicals are within the unit, eliminating the need for extended piping to bring refrigerant to the site from a rear mechanical room. Besides the refrigerant charge reduction, the unit is also said to reduce leak rates, an important consideration in commercial refrigeration with pending mandates from the EPA to considerably lower to currently permissible level of leaks.

Also on display at the booth were high- and medium-temperature units with both temperatures running on R-744 (CO2). The configuration was a double cascade approach with liquid overfeed that could be tied into the primary mechanical system.

The company’s EMS (Environment Management System) was a two-stage cleaning system that first creates reactive oxygen species (ROS) to help sanitize the air and reduce odors with several of the ROS components working only with the EMS unit and existing for less than one second. Next, surfaces are cleaned and air barriers created with the release of low levels of long-acting ROS.

Like other companies, Hussmann included a map of its floor plan to guide attendees.

Kysor//Warren (www.kysorwarren.com) also stressed its commitment to sustainability, claiming to do it “with creative, innovative solutions with designer, eye-catching graphics, sleek design, colors, and innovative technological advances.” One unit was displayed with ecological-looking graphics.

Its QM1LV specialty case for cold products is said to have aluminum fine copper tube coil, a bottom-mounted coil, and permanent split capacitor energy-efficient fan. The SSFJ service case had the same features as well as a configuration that allows rear piping to be run together or separately and digital thermometers in each refrigerated section.

Another focus on specialty cases came from Structural Concepts (www.structuralconcepts.com) that said it had “one part passion, two parts science.” It had five new products: a floral case with convex and concave curves, a market-style deli with a combination glass enclosed and open cases, a refrigerated deli walk-around, an island deli for hot and cold products, and a combination style deli with a refrigerated open work counter.

Coilexpert (www.coilexpert.com) uses technology from Gunter of Germany and described its secondary loop cooling and electronically commuted fan motor options. Applications included unit coolers for reach-ins; process rooms; and low-, medium-, and high-profile options.

Flexible was the focus at the show on the equipment from EuroCryor (www.eurocryor.com), headquartered in Solesino, Italy. For example, the Classic line was billed as a “just plug in and chill out” concept. Another focus was on “softness of lines and design.”

Beverage cases were on display by True (www.truemfg.com) in such configurations as one-, two-, and three-swing doors, two-, three-, and four-slide doors, and air curtain merchandisers with no doors.

IN CONTROL

“Is your operation efficient?” That was the question posed at the booth of Emerson Climate Technologies (www.emersonclimate.com). The promotion was for the use of the company’s Intelligent Store™ concept. Part of that approach included avocation of the use of Copeland Discus™ compressors for refrigeration. Officials said their use “guarantees consistent installations and cost savings, fewer components, and less wiring.”

Further, the company said, “Intelligent Store can centralize your compressor monitoring operations, which will allow technicians to troubleshoot problems before traveling to the site. Technicians can be automatically dispatched if there is an alarm generated.”

Refrigerant management was stressed by Verisae (www.verisae.com). The company said its services allow a facility manager to monitor refrigerant usage and document methods and efforts at containment to meet requirements and guidelines of the Environmental Protection Agency.

AT THE DOOR

Strip door products were on display at the booth of Aleco (www.aleco.com). Its JetSream™ air curtain is designed for building entryways “that require insect, dust, or climate control. It provides precise, continual, and uniform air distribution with adjustable air velocity through a directional plenum, reducing infiltration of outside air into heated or air conditioned areas.” Its Clear Flex II® strip door was designed to minimize loss of heated or cooled air when a walk-in cooler or freezer door remains open during loading or unloading.

Freezer and cooler doors were shown by Anthony International (www.anthonydoors.com) with the slogan, “Protecting Our Environment and Preserving Our Food Chain” depicted with what the company said were high-efficiency superinsulated frames.

Night blinds, usually used to cover open freezers and coolers for stores that are not open 24 hours, were shown by Miatech (www.miatech-advantage.com). With the slogan “Energy Green” the company noted one advantage of its technology was “a new style of speed reducer that prevents rapid roll up. Many night blinds rolling up without speed reducers can snap back, damaging or destroying the blind.”

MISTING

Those misting systems often seen in supermarkets in the produce section also require precise technology and are subject to new developments.

Prodew (www.prodew.com) has come up with what it calls the VersaFresh® low-profile mist track “that provides just enough water to keep perishables moist and attractive.” The company said the products were designed for low maintenance by using reusable filters, as well as non-corrosive, non-clogging plastic nozzles.

SYSTEMS

Mueller Refrigeration Products (www.muel.com) featured falling film chillers designed to cool fluids to within 2°F of its freeze point. The primary application was said to cool food-grade liquids that will become an ingredient in a food product or that will come into contact with a food product.

CXV evaporator condensers were shown by Baltimore Aircoil (www.baltimoreaircoil.com). The coil technology was described as able to reduce scaling potential. Air inlet louvers are wide-spaced. The water distribution system is accessible from the unit’s exterior while the unit is operating.

PMC-E evaporator condensers from Evapco (www.evapco.com) were said to have such new features as drift eliminators to save water and reduce water treatment costs, a field seam to reduce the need for a large number of fasteners, an individual fan drive system, flopped pan bottoms, water distribution with large orifices and improved heat transfer efficiencies.

Semco Manufacturing (www.semco.com) had a range of products including portage “ice banks,” promoted as turnkey ice production and distribution systems. In the production process, ice slides forward on high-density polyethylene floors, moved along by galvanized chains. The approach is “first-in, first-out” to maintain ice freshness.

Another ice technology is flake ice created with a stationary insulated cylinder and helical reamer as shown by Geneglace (www.geneglace.com). A pump carries water from the base to the upper water tray. Water runs continuously on the cold surface where it is frozen. The refrigerant evaporates inside a double wall to freeze the water. The reamer sweeps the surface while rotating. It causes the ice to crack and break off.

The shift to Las Vegas comes after the show had been held for many years in Chicago and also came at a time when the show is going to an every other year format, with the next FMI Show scheduled for May 10-13, 2010, again at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. (Part of the 2008 FMI Show was Marketechnics, an aspect focused on computer and Internet-based products and services. Marketechnics will run as a stand-alone event May 6-9, 2009, in Dallas before joining up again with the FMI Show in 2010.)

Publication date: 09/01/2008

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