As today’s supermarkets continue to evolve, it’s not uncommon for store directors and customer service representatives to find themselves busier and with more complex tasks to maintain store operation. Advances in software technology, however, are helping to simplify critical refrigeration management issues.

One aspect involves visualizing a store’s refrigeration system through an interactive tool that allows real-time alarm, defrost, and temperature status information to be displayed.

In such a case, the software can be loaded on existing store PCs, or installed on a separate touch-screen computer dedicated to the task. In the example of the Visual Interface Program (VIP), the software reads input-output information from Danfoss’ line of supermarket energy management controllers such as the Akcess 55 and AK 255. As a result, store personnel have the ability to see real-time temperatures and pressures, view which refrigerated areas are in defrost, and provide both an audio and visual indication if an area exceeds alarm limits.

By starting with a drawing of a building layout in AutoCAD® or Windows Metafile format, the site layout can be used as a backdrop for the VIP. Using the Edit mode, the program can be customized, allowing small boxes to be plotted anywhere on the drawing as needed to provide a space for the temperature sensor reading. After retrieving input and output points from the building’s controllers, a list of points is available for use. The list of temperature sensor points can then be used to display real-time temperature readings at each refrigerated case section.

Color codes automatically built into the case temperature displays help managers immediately identify problem areas, which can expedite response time to save product and money. Cases in defrost will appear as text in front of a yellow background. If a case sensor should exceed its alarm parameters, the case background will blink with a red background to allow the case to be easily noticed and identified, giving store personnel the information they need to respond to the problem.

More Information

Additionally, by clicking or tapping on the sensor reading, the user can find more information for each case section, including:

• Case status;

• Case target setting;

• Alarm settings;

• Defrost details;

• Manual defrost option;

• Graph of case temps based on user-selectable time periods.

The VIP system also allows users to access other parts of the Danfoss AKA65 software program, normally used for remote or direct-connection to energy management controllers. Controllers can be uploaded, downloaded, and edited in real-time from the users’ PC. The AKA65 button, therefore, allows a route to return to the main screen for the application.

The Refresh button is available if users want to verify readings are current, and Zoom In and Zoom Out buttons are provided to scale the drawing to personal preference. A list of the active and cleared alarms from all controllers can be viewed or acknowledged by selecting the Alarms button. An access code is needed to acknowledge alarms. If desired, the list can be reduced to only display active alarms. More detailed graphs can be compiled and displayed with the History button.

The technology can be tailored to include links to other pages with more detail relevant to the store’s system and needs. These links can be used to provide quick access to information on individual compressor racks, HVAC systems, or lighting loads, including photocell and lighting override options.

Publication date: 09/05/2011