If there is one word dominating the refrigeration sector - especially as related to ice machines, reach-ins, and walk-ins - it is Energy Star®.
It is described by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a “government-backed program helping businesses and individuals protect the environment through superior energy efficiency.”
As of the first of the year, tighter efficiency standards have been issued for Energy Star recognition. And across the show floors of the National Restaurant Association (NRA) show in Chicago, and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) expo in Las Vegas (both held this past spring), exhibitors were promoting refrigeration products that either have already been certified to those standards, or were in line to win such approval. Printed information from the EPA concerning Energy Star was in a number of booths.
Eight types of commercial food service equipment were noted as being eligible for Energy Star recognition: refrigerators/freezers, ice machines, dishwashers, hot-food holding equipment, fryers, ovens, griddles, and steam cookers.
At the same time, exhibitors of refrigeration equipment assured customers that their more-efficient equipment was able to perform its most important duty, keeping products at the proper temperature. This was important, since so many products at these shows were consumable, be they ice, frozen foods, or foods that needed to be kept cool at very precise temperatures.
One example was at the booth ofTraulsen(www.traulsen.com) at the NRA show, where its G Series of refrigerators and freezers were described as “Energy Star qualified to save you up to 45 percent on your annual energy costs,” and come with “microprocessor control and TempAssure airflow systems to enable you to precisely set and maintain the temperature between 34 and 38°F in the refrigerators, and 0 to -5° in the freezers.”
Continental Refrigerator(www.continentalrefrigerator.com) said it won the 2010 Energy Star Award of Excellence “as the result of outstanding contributions to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by sponsoring significant consumer-education efforts promoting energy-efficient products.”
An overriding point made byManitowoc Foodservice(www.manitowocfsusa.com) was its recognition by the EPA as a 2010 Energy Star Partner of the Year, “for its contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by manufacturing energy-efficient products and helping to educate consumers about those products,” according to the manufacturer.
Scotsman(www.scotsmanice.com) noted that its Prodigy® products have more than 50 Energy Star-qualified models. “Prodigy was one of the first models to exceed both the 2008 California Energy Commission and 2010 Federal Energy Efficiency regulations by up to 22 percent,” the company said. “This result is made possible, in part, through an accelerated-harvest feature that pushes ice off evaporator plates.”
ThermalRite(www.thermalrite.com) said it was “embracing corporate responsibility today for a sustainable future” with its walk-in coolers and freezers. That company, like others, referenced its compliance with the 2009 Energy Independence and Security Act related to energy consumption and R-values of equipment.
KEEPING COOLWhile most everyone was referencing regulatory matters, technological developments were also evident at FMI and NRA.
Hill Phoenix(www.hillphoenix.com) announced that it “has improved its walk-ins division to deliver innovative, new product design and provide expanded sales and service support.”
“During the past year, we received a lot of important feedback from our customers, managers, and employees on how we can further develop this area of our business to be even better at meeting their needs,” said Marion Brown, director of operations for Hill Phoenix walk-ins. New features included a floor screed with beveled edges and predrilled holes; a hinge that raises the door three-fourths of an inch; and a panel joint design that creates a vapor-proof sealed panel joint without using butyl.
Master-Bilt(www.masterbilt.com) announced new additions to its Fusion Series, including three freezer models (MBF) and three refrigerator models (MBR) in one-, two-, and three-door versions. With capacities of 23, 49, and 72 cubic feet, each model comes with three adjustable, heavy-duty, epoxy-coated wire shelves per door. Additionally, all models feature reversible door swing.
“The new Fusion Series offers operators a variety of reach-in configurations to meet the needs of their busy foodservice areas,” said Bill Huffman, vice president of sales and marketing for Master-Bilt.
Hussmann(www.hussmann.com) noted the introduction of its LifeLine Premier Series of reach-in cases. The company said it “has introduced the industry’s first multideck display cases and reach-ins with Microban® antimicrobial protection.” The technology is designed “to reduce stain- and odor-causing bacteria on touch points in supermarkets.”
Back bar coolers and direct-draw keg refrigerators is the focus ofEverest Refrigeration(www.everestref.com). Both had back-mounted condensing units for one-door models and side-mounted units for two- and three-door models. Condenser and evaporator coils are intentionally oversized to set temperatures in a minimum time period.
Solid-door reach-ins fromAscend(www.ascendmfg.com) came in full-door and half-door options with digital display temp controls.
New for 2010, according toBeverage-Air(www.beverage-air.com), are bottom-mount reach-ins, as well as reach-ins and pass-throughs in its Lumavue Series.
Glass door upright coolers with forced-air refrigeration and wide-finned condensers are new from theATC(www.atccoolers.com).
International Cold Storage(www.icsco.com) has one-piece walk-ins for inside or outside use. They come as coolers, freezers, or as combos.
A range of refrigeration components is offered byTurbo Air(www.turboairinc.net), with unit coolers, semi-hermetic discus compressors, and refrigerants.
International Cold Storage(www.icsco.com) offers to refurbish old walk-ins. The company said it could recondition any manufacturer’s walk-ins through its Extreme Makeover: Walk-In Edition program.
ICE MACHINESOver in the ice machine sector, new products got the rollout at NRA.
Manitowoc Ice(www.manitwocice.com) had a number of announcements, such as:
• An expanded line of flake ice machines, including self-contained units that make a smaller, finer-grained ice. The company said the flakers have “a new, robust, dual-bearing design that extends the overall life of the equipment. A thrust bearing protects the top radial bearing from the downward forces of the auger, while the radial bearing protects the evaporator from side-to-side loads.”
• Large-capacity ice bins that have been “redesigned to offer better ergonomics, more efficient food safety features, and are constructed with heavy-duty stainless steel and polyethylene construction.”
• Nugget ice machines with “robust design that results in a longer operating life and that provides maximum ice production levels with minimum operating loads. The evaporator water drain solenoid automatically opens with every hour of compressor run time, to perform a self-flushing procedure to remove solids.”
Scotsman(www.scotsmanice.com) also had new product announcements, including:
• The CU50 50-pound cube ice machine, which produces up to 65 pounds of “gourmet ice” in 24 hours, and stores up to 26 pounds of ice.
“Gourmet ice is a crystal-clear, slow-melting ice that won’t dilute the flavor of mixed drinks and other beverages,” explained Terry Toth, marketing communications manager at Scotsman Ice Systems. “The CU50 is perfect for commercial applications with tight spaces inside and outdoors.” It features a water-quality sensor that detects hard-water conditions. A control system pumps mineral-laden water every harvest cycle, which helps extend time between cleanings. And a control panel indicates when power is on, and alerts operators to no-water conditions and scheduled cleaning reminders.
• The Prodigy cuber C2448 is capable of producing up to 2,400 pounds of cube ice in 24 hours. It features “self-monitoring technology that meets protocol for smart kitchen applications,” said Toth. “Self-monitoring and diagnostic features ensure that Prodigy ice machines consistently and reliably deliver the best ice product possible.”
Ice-making and -storage equipment for cruise ships, bars, clubs, and sports medicine were among the products shown byKold-Draft(www.kold-draft.com). Evaporators are electro tin-plated copper, ice drop is 100-percent gravity assisted, and harvest is said to be rapid to reduce ice meltage.
A modular crescent cuber fromHoshizaki(www.hoshizaki.com) produces up to 440 pounds of ice production per 24 hours. The unit uses a stainless steel evaporator and R-404A refrigerant, and it complies with California Energy Commission guidelines, according to the manufacturer.
Ice-O-Matic(www.iceomatic.com) had information on determining the best size for a specific location based on meeting peak usage during the hottest times of the year, the location(s) within a facility, and planning for future growth. Regarding the latter point, the company suggested “building in 20-percent additional capacity on new installations.”
Ice storage and handling were the focus ofKloppenberg(www.kloppenberg.com), with ice-fill stations that included shuttle plus storage systems, ice dispensers, ice carts, single-door upright bins, and double-door ice bins.
An automatic ice-bagging and -dispensing system, the IcePro™ fromFollett(www.folletice.com), was also shown.
OTHER ISSUESAmidst all the discussions of efficiencies and proper operation, the issue of water quality remained.
“It’s time to change your water filter,” saidEverpure(www.everpure.com). The company pointed out that filters can deal with such minerals as calcium and magnesium, as well as lime scale deposits.
Another topic in the restaurant industry is carbon dioxide for beverages. Among the exhibitors at NRA addressing the topic wereAirgas Retail Solutions(www.airgasretail.com) and NuCO2 (www.nuco2.com). Both focused on timely delivery and proper handling.