LAS VEGAS - “The design of refrigeration systems in supermarkets is going through a state of flux not seen since the conception of man-made refrigeration some 130 years ago.”
That statement by piping manufacturer Georg Fischer, an exhibitor at FMI 2010, was reinforced throughout the Mandalay Bay Convention Center show floor at the most recent every-other-year event sponsored by the Food Marketing Institute.
The Georg Fischer statement also said, “The main drivers concern the environment and compliance to local and global regulations to reduce refrigerant charges.”
For a number of years, the supermarket sector has been responding to those drivers with changes to direct expansion systems and the introduction of distributed and secondary loop technologies - to go along with efforts to increase energy efficiencies across the board.
The latest Las Vegas show simply notched up the ante even higher. The established technologies underwent everything from tweaking to major overhaul, with everybody on the same page to reach Department of Energy (DOE) 2012 standards, and more than a few manufacturers proclaiming that their latest wave of new products have already met that standard.
Here then by category are some of the featured refrigeration-related technologies on the show floor - with manufacturers listed alphabetically within each category.
SYSTEMSGeorg Fischer LLC(www.cool-fit.georgfischer.com) featured Cool-Fit®, a piping system for secondary and indirect refrigeration systems. The target is systems using CO2 in cascade with medium-temperature indirect glycol refrigeration or complete indirect systems with salt solutions for both low and medium temperature. Cool-Fit is said to be “a dedicated piping system designed to specifically to suit the specific needs of indirect refrigeration.” The piping is ABS (Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene).
Hill Phoenix(www.hillphoenix.com) featured Second Nature Low Temperature Direct Expansion Cascade (SNLTX2) which the company said is “the next level in CO2 refrigeration.” The system uses CO2 as a direct expansion refrigerant. CO2 removes heat from the display case and walk-in freezers through copper piping smaller than what is typically found in an HFC direct expansion system. The HFC refrigerant is confined to the primary system located in the machine room, thus reducing the total HFC refrigerant charge. The system uses CO2 subcritical compressors.
Hussmann(www.hussmann.com) showcased Protochill, a distributed secondary system. The company said, “Protochill utilizes the Protocol HE platform in conjunction with an integrated pump and heat exchanger package for a medium-temperature application.” It is said to be applicable for new stores and remodels. Energy sayings are realized “as a result of the proper load matching and pressure drop reduction due to proximity of the units to the refrigerated cases and coolers.”
Structural Concepts’(www.structuralconcepts.com) Energy Wise refrigeration system was designed to reduce annual energy consumption by more than 50 percent, in part by allowing stores to run a warmer rack temperature (24-26°F) without compromising product temperature integrity in the case. According to a statement from the company, “Structural Concepts evaluated the entire case design - components, airflow, external influences - to be sure that EnergyWise offers a truly effective, energy-efficient design.”
The EnergyWise refrigeration system “uses a high-efficiency evaporator coil that reduces the amount of energy required to cool it. The tubing in the evaporator coils has more surface area to allow more heat transfer. Therefore, the refrigerant running through the tubing doesn’t have to be as cold.” Test results, said the company, show that the system reduces daily energy consumption to a level that exceeds the DOE’s 2012 requirements for open refrigerated display cases. A honeycomb feature placed in front of and outside of the shelves directs and forces the cold air straight down to the air return, creating an air curtain that keeps cold air in and ambient air out. ECM fan motors and LED lighting are also used.
CASESCorrigan(www.corriganmist.com) featured Ultramist™, a misting system for fresh food displays. The system, with several options, consists of a filtration pump for places where water hardness is low, a reverse osmosis unit when scale buildup on cases is a concern, a controller that turns misting on and off automatically, a QueTwo audio warning controller that provides stereo sound or messages just prior to misting, and three types of cones - a 80-degree hollow cone for misting from the canopy of the produce case, fan style for misting along the back of the produce case to avoid overspray, and a 110-degree hollow cone for undershelf installation and when product is close to the mist bar.
EconoFrost(www.econofrost.com) showed night covers for open refrigerated display cases. The manufacturer said the products are “engineered for performance and designed to integrate with store décor and merchandising.”
Hill Phoenix said its newest display case technology, called Synerg-E™, combines patented evaporator technology with proprietary airflow management system. According to a statement from the company, “The first half of the design starts with the NRGcoil, an evaporator design that features increased primary and secondary cooling surface, which operates at higher suction temperatures and decreases the total energy required as a result. NRGcoil includes an integral liquid subcooler that increases system efficiencies by supply liquid subcooling and vapor-free liquid to expansion devices. The second half of the design is an airflow management system that combines an air scoop, rear baffle design, reengineered top canopy supports, and high-efficiency fans.”
Hussmann showed a meat case called XtraLife that is said to reduce bacterial growth by providing a lower, more consistent product temperature, without freezing products. Also shown by the company were EcoVision doors for new or existing multideck dairy, deli, and beverage cases. The door design allows less heat into the case, the company said.
Kysor/Warren(www.kysorwarren.com) highlighted a multi-deck refrigerated merchandiser in the Stratus product line. The Stratus models feature standard ECM fan motors, recycled/recyclable bumper and drain pan, and options for LED lighting using Kysor digital lights and night curtains. According to the company, the 9-W fan motors have dual-speed programming and automatically adjust to load differences while maintaining a set speed and efficiency range.
Structural Concepts G Series display cases for deli, meat/seafood, and bakery merchandising come in low-, medium-, or high-capacity configurations. They meet the DOE’s 2012 energy standards, it was reported. They have stainless steel tub and fan shrouds. The company also noted the CO Series of refrigerated air curtain grab ’n go cases and the CT Series of refrigerated and nonrefrigerated countertop cases that can sit on or drop into counters.
Trade Fixtures(www.tradefixtures.com) noted that it has custom millwork for display cases.
COMPONENTSFrost(www.frostrefrigeration.com) provides insulated panels for processing plants, cold storage facilities, supermarkets, and distribution centers. The company has panels for interiors, exteriors, liners, exterior roofs, and walk-in coolers and walk-in freezers.
A humidification system for refrigerated warehouses was shown byMiaTech(www.miatech.org). “On average, when produce can be stored with added humidity to the amount of 90 percent rh or higher, the unpackaged product has reduced weight loss by more than 50 percent over produce that is stored in an environment without added humidity,” the company said.
Muller Industries(www.mullerna.com) highlighted the 3C condenser SH09 Series. According to the company it “combines the absolute latest technology to achieve the performance expected from an environmentally focused heat rejection system.” It has aluminum construction including a micro-channel heat exchanger, Ziehl-Abegg Owlet fans, and an optional ETAvent technology. The condenser is designed to reduce water consumption, and increase energy efficiency.
Randall (www.unifiedbrands.net) had a refrigerator/freezer system for use in refrigerated drawers, preparation worktop systems, and precision storage systems. Drawers operate independently, said the company, and users can switch from refrigerator to freezer. The technology, called FX Series, can also be used as a safety thaw system to thaw frozen food.
LIGHTSEcoBrite(www.ecobriteledlights.com) promoted what it called Precision Optical Performance™ (POP) for lighting. “Using specially designed optics that accurately focus the high-intensity beam of our LED lights, POP Technology™ makes display cases more visually appealing.
Hill Phoenix announced a proprietary brand of Clearvoyant™ light-emitting diode (LED) for refrigerated cases. The LEDs are said to use less energy than traditional fluorescent lamps with no mercury, phosphors, load, or UV rays. The company said they last an average of five to eight years.
Promolux(www.promolux.com) had lighting for fresh food display cases at the show. The company described the product as a “reduced radiation lamp” capable of extending the shelf life of products being displayed under the lights.