First the Food Marketing Institute Show featured the latest in commercial refrigeration for supermarkets and c-stores. Then about 10 days later, the National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show highlighted similar technologies for use in restaurants, hotels, and motels.
The significance for contractors is pretty basic. These are the new products that manufacturers are trying to get end users to install in their facilities. And more than likely, contractors will be involved in many of the installations and aftermarket servicing.
The following is a meshing of the refrigeration technology from both shows. (Products beyond the refrigeration criteria, but still of interest to HVACR contractors, will be featured in the Sept. 3 issue ofThe NEWS.)
ICE MACHINESThe Prodigy Cube ice machine by Scotsman (www.scotsman-ice.com) is said to be one of the first cubers to exceed both the 2008 California Energy Commission and 2010 Federal Energy Efficiency regulations. It has a WaterSense adaptive purge control designed to reduce scale buildup by detecting hard-water conditions and automatically adjusting the purge water amount. The product was one of the winners of the 2007 Kitchen Innovations Awards presented at the NRA show.
Brema Ice Makers, shown at the NRA show byMarkham Sales(www.markhamsales.com), feature stainless steel evaporators and what was called a ‘chocolate’ system, in which water is sprayed into chilled peduncles producing a pyramid shaped cube that chills without diluting. “While forming on the evaporator, they resemble a box of candy chocolates,” the company says. “Then, one by one, the cubes come off the evaporator into the storage bin.”
Manitowoc(www.manitowocrefrigeration.com) featured multicircuit condensers with its QuietQube® ice machines. The configurations come with vertical discharge condensing units and are available with hermetic, semi-hermetic and scroll compressors. In addition to ice machines, the mechanicals have applications for walk-in coolers and freezers.
Among other items promoted as new at the Manitowoc booth was a 22-inch-wide flake ice machine with 929 pounds of ice production in 24 hours and an air-cooled remote ice cube machine part of the QuietQube line that has interconnecting refrigerant lines, ice deflector, and ice storage unit.
Ice-O-Matic(www.iceomatic.com) showed its new Pearl Ice™ line of commercial icemakers said to produce high volumes of soft, chewable ice crystals.
Hoshizaki(www.hoshizaki-ice.com) has a 24-inch-wide self-contained flaker with 300 pounds of ice production a day and up to 80 pounds of storage space. The unit is made of stainless steel and uses an auto flush system. It uses R-404A refrigerant and the mechanicals can be accessed from the front.
The IceButler fromKold-Draft(www.ice-butler.com) is a commercial-grade ice machine producing up to 110 pounds of ice per day and is for under counter applications.
DISPENSERSIce-O-Matic featured a hotel dispenser for tight spaces. It is 22 inches wide with turbo ice dispensing. The company said the unit “has easy access for cleaning.”
Follett(www.follettice.com) noted Ice Device, which are carts on wheels. Ice from a machine can be loaded into the bins without need of hands or a scoop and then transported to where the ice is needed. The concept comes in a variety of carts and configurations.
If you ever wondered how sno-cones are created,Echols(www.echolsdirect.com) showed one method with its ice shaver that is said to work with any ice from cubes to chunks. Those shavers are “constructed of heavy-duty cast aluminum,” the company said.
Cornelius(www.cornelius.com) included among its recent offerings an ice drink dispenser that dispenses different ice types thanks to the contour of the hopper and geometry of the equipment.
COOLERS/FREEZERSMaster-Bilt(www.master-bilt.com) unveiled its new ATMC Series air-through milk coolers. The air-through design allows for improved airflow, which also permits the refrigeration system to perform at maximum efficiency with reduced energy consumption, officials said.
ATMC models are said to offer a greater capacity for return of the “produced air” to the unit cooler. The ATMC Series comes in six models: three available in single access and three available in dual access; all are constructed of a stainless steel interior and exterior. The cassette-type refrigeration system is mounted on the side of the cooler for easier servicing and more efficiency.
“We’re excited about our new upgraded milk cooler line which features a number of added benefits to its users,” said Bill Huffman, vice president of sales and marketing for Master-Bilt. “With the three new sizes, in both single and dual access, we can satisfy about any need.”
The new milk coolers have fold-back doors that lock to safely stay open during use. There are four swivel casters, two of which lock, ensuring the coolers stay safely in place when necessary. Additionally, the insulated door ensures the unit stays at an operating temperature of 38°F.
The manufacturer has also announced that it had won a 2007 Kitchen Innovations Award presented by NRA for its optional Master Controller with Reverse Cycle Defrost for walk-in refrigeration systems. The Master Controller is an electronic control system that regulates an electric expansion valve for precise refrigerant pressure and superheat through the evaporator coil. It also features demand defrost which automatically detects when defrost is necessary.
And the company announced a structural floor option for walk-ins. The new floor design is capable of withstanding 5,000 pounds, evenly distributed. The floor consists of insulated panels made of nonconductive foamed-in-place structural pillars with plywood under layment and 0.08 textured aluminum finish for maximum strength. The floor is designed to withstand a pallet jack (or equivalent transporter) with an evenly distributed load of 5,000 pounds over all four wheels.
Milk coolers fromNorlake(www.norlake.com) were shown that had R-134a refrigerant, an air-cooled condenser, copper tubing, and aluminum-finned coil that is mounted on the side of the unit. The evaporator coil is flush-mounted on the side of the cooler with all components outside the milk storage compartment.
The Chill Chamber fromHussmann(www.chillchamber.com) is said to chill beer down to 22° without freezing “by using a sophisticated cooling system.” The selling point for end users is what the manufacturer called “extreme cold beer.” The unit uses a high-capacity refrigeration system for fast chill down. At the restaurant show, the unit was being shown in conjunction with products packaged in aluminum bottles from Anheuser-Busch.
According to the beer manufacturer, “The coldest ice or an ice bath can get beers to about 32°. If standard refrigeration is turned down to 22°, it is likely the beer will freeze. With aluminum bottle packaging, the Chill Chamber uses a technology that super-cools beer down to 22° without freezing.”
Also in the cooler/freezer sector,Delfield (www.delfield.com) launched the Versa Drawer™ product line which combines four separate refrigeration units each with individual control functions to allow operators to freeze, refrigerate, chill, and thaw in a single unit. All drawers operate independently of the others in any of the four functions, each in its own dedicated compartment.
Electrolux (www.electrolux.com) featured what it calls a Smart Refrigerator linked to a total of four temperature probes, allowing for continuous management of ambient, internal storage, condenser, and evaporator temperatures.
The Electronic Control System includes a memory function that will record up to 24 hours of performance time and temperature history. This feature also allows the appliance to continue to work even in the event of a probe failure. By alerting the operator of temperature variation towards critical limits, the Electrolux SMART Refrigeration system maintains observance of the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) food safety compliance. The system is equipped with preset temperatures with optimum humidity levels that can be selected by food category: meats, cheese, vegetables or dairy products. The defrosting function automatically detects ice buildup on the evaporator and de-ices only when required, saving running costs and ensuring a constant temperature in the storage area.
Bottom-mounted compressors are found in refrigerators and freezers fromTurboAir(www.turboairinc.com). The units have stainless steel exteriors and interiors with digitally controlled uniform temperature.
Half-door reach-ins were featured byCold Tech(www.coldtechUSA.com). The units come with dual-temperature controls, dual condenser fan systems on the freezers, high-rpm fan motors, and semirecessed door handles.
Another recurring trend at the May expos was frozen dessert display cabinets, especially those for use with gelato, a frozen food gaining a great deal of attention at both shows.
Carpigiani(www.carpigiani-usa.com) showed cabinets that were said to have “a heavy-duty refrigeration system, semi-hermetic compressors, even cabinet air circulation, and hot gas condensation control.”
Vinotemp International(www.vinotemp.com) featured the Green Line Series of wine cooling units that offer thermoelectric technology that has minimal moving parts for low vibration and keeps the temperature stable.
Outdoor refrigerators with stainless steel exteriors were shown bySummit (www.summitprofessionals.com). Configurations include a three-drawer refrigerator and glass door cabinets. The company’s commercial wine cellar has automatic defrost and a double-pane tempered glass door.
Outdoor equipment fromFranklin Chef(www.franklinchef.com) included refrigerated beverage carts, coolers, refrigerators, and ice machines. The cooler has two compartments with individual temperature and lighting controls. The ice machine produces 44 pounds of cube ice in 24 hours and comes with a dual-drainage system.
SERVICES AND STORAGESales, installation, and service for walk-in and reach-in coolers and freezers were noted byKool Technologies(www.kooltechnologies.com). The company also noted it sells and services display coolers/freezers, prep tables and other forms of refrigerated restaurant equipment.
Hotshot byDelivery Concepts(www.deliveryconcepts.com) provides conversion services for vehicles that transport heated and refrigerated products. For example, the ColdShot Express is a dual-purpose vehicle. With the refrigeration on, cold products are transported at a consistent 34°. With it off, the aluminum diamond plate interior allows for the hauling of dry goods.
Transport refrigeration is also on the mind ofPolar Leasing(www.polarleasing.com), which provides short- and long-term refrigeration rental. It provides delivery and pickup of walk-in coolers and freezers as well as transportable coolers and freezers.
Interstate Warehousing(www.tippmanngroup.com) notes it has refrigerated distribution facilities throughout the United States.
Another provider of refrigerated warehousing services isAtlas Cold Storage(www.atlascold.com), which also has a range of storage facilities.
Also exhibiting as a cold storage provider wasGeneva Lakes Cold Storage(www.genevalakescoldstorage.com) with a facility in central Wisconsin.
BLAST CHILLINGBlast chillers are designed to quickly and safely take food through the temperature ‘danger zone.’ The International Food Safety Council says the leading cause of food-borne illness is improper holding temperatures accounting for 30 percent of cited causes of illness. Blast chilling is promoted as an effective method of cooling food to 40° before storing the product in a conventional refrigeration unit.
Such contentions cause a continuing wave of products in the blast-chilling category.
Traulsen’s(www.traulsen.com) RBC Series blast chillers with the SmartChill controller is designed to assist in proper cooling of product so that food spends the minimum amount of time in the danger zone. Food service operators can chill between 50 and 200 pounds of product in approximately 90 minutes with the blast chillers.
Blast chilling also allows operators to prepare food ahead of time and blast chill it to be used later in the week, while preserving the quality of the food. Said Mike Kauffman, product line manager for Traulsen, “Our customers are finding blast chillers not only improve food safety, they save labor by allowing managers to balance production schedules throughout the week.”
Delfield(www.delfield.com) also was showing a new line of blast chillers/shock freezers. Each model is capable of performing one of three functions: soft chilling to 38°, hard chilling to 38°, and shock freezing to 0°. “Chilling food from 180° to 38° is normally accomplished in 90 minutes,” said Bill Keske, vice president of marketing for Delfield. “Shock freezing food from 180° to 0° is done in less than 240 minutes.”
Another company highlighting blast chilling wasVictory Refrigeration(www.victory-refrig.com) in which units can be moved from the normal storage mode of 38° into the blast chill mode. There are also high-chill or soft-chill cycles. The hard chill circulates colder air for most applications. The soft chill keeps the air circulating above 32° for more delicate food products.
ALSO NEWA forced-air pizza preparation table refrigerator fromContinental (www.continentalrefrigerator.com) has a low-profile recessed pan rail with an airflow pattern that allows products to maintain 33° to 41°.
RollSeal(www.rollseal.com) has a roll-up door system for cold storage consisting of an upper drive shaft roller, two offset lower tension roller bars, three-ply woven polyolefin and polyethylene curtain fabric.
Eliason(www.eliason.com) had double-action doors for food service applications. Included were café doors that have visual separation without the use of full height doors.
Visual Ice(www.visualicemarking.com) showed an advertising approach for freezer or refrigerator doors. Invisible until the door is opened, Visual Ice technology responds to temperature change by producing a promotional design or logo on the door.