As the supermarket industry continues to embrace so-called ‘natural refrigerants,’ manufacturers also continue to seek improvements in energy efficiency with what they hope is easy to use equipment for service technicians.

The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Food Retail Show, which is held in even numbered years, was a major showcase for these developments at this year’s show in Dallas. Supplementing the information from that event were developments announced a few weeks later at the annual National Restaurant Association Restaurant-Hotel-Motel Show in Chicago.

The primary ‘natural’ refrigerant referenced was CO2, with equipment on the FMI show floor and announcements that indicated more supermarkets coming online in North America using CO2 both in cascade and transcritical situations. There were also reports of at least one store planning to use ammonia.

As the supermarket and restaurant sectors continue to look at embracing such refrigerants, the components and controls are also undergoing fine-tuning, as energy efficiency expectations and regulations drive developments regarding the refrigerant in a system.

The following is an alphabetical listing of what was being shown at both the FMI and NRA shows that will directly affect contractors who work on mechanical systems in supermarkets, restaurants, and lodgings.

AHT ( featured what it called a universal cabinet that covers the three temperature ranges of refrigeration (37 to 59°F, 0 to 32°, and 0 to -9°). The ranges can be adjusted on site, meaning different types of products can be moved in and out of the cases.

Anthony ( described retrofit options of existing equipment including adding glass doors to cases to eliminate frost and temperature control issues. One aspect was what the company called reskin refurbishment.

Bally Refrigerated Boxes Inc. ( featured the SmartVap II, an electronically controlled system designed to make electric defrost simpler. The unit controls box temperature, defrost initiation, defrost termination, and fan delay. There are two pipes and two wires to eliminate wiring back to the condensing unit.

Bermar America ( had Pod Bar with a refrigerated Verre de Vin wine preservation technology. It has digitally controlled temperature chambers.

Bry-Air Inc. ( featured EcoDry, an energy-efficient desiccant dehumidifier. It has a BrySmart microprocessor-based system controls with part load. Control algorithms simultaneously control reactivation airflow, temperature, and rotor speed.

Heatcraft Worldwide Refrigeration ( had as a theme ‘Think inside the box,’ with information on ½- to 6-hp air-cooled condensing units that have HyperCore™ microchannel coil technology, optional variable-speed EC (VSEC) motors with Orbus™ controller and optional factory-installed Smart Defrost Kit™ (SDK). The condensing unit was said to offer advancements that save energy, reduce operational costs, use less refrigerant, reduce sound, improve durability, and improve system performance. The VSEC motors with Orbus Controller “provide quick response to load changes and stable head pressure optimizing system performance and reducing energy consumption,” the company said. The SDK and scroll compressors “all contribute to lower operational costs,” it was noted.

The rollout from Hill Phoenix ( included a prototype service case with retractable glass that allows retailers to connect the case to self-service during nonpeak hours; a hot/cold station that runs dry, refrigerated, or hot; and PurView™ door system for more viewable area in medium-temperature cases.

Hussmann Corp. ( featured TerraChill, a refrigeration system that uses pumped liquid CO2 as a secondary refrigerant. By utilizing a natural refrigerant, “this system reduces HFC charge and features a lower carbon footprint than traditional central direct expansion systems,” the company said. It also noted that the system has the ability to handle a full range of temperature applications. Explaining further, the company said, “TerraChill utilizes CO2, a naturally occurring refrigerant, for its cooling media. A smaller amount of HFC-404a is used as its primary refrigerant when compared to a central DX system. The reduction could be up to 70 percent compared to typical central direct expansion systems.”

Intelleflex ( had information about its partnership with DeltaTrax ( to offer XC3 technology for tracking and monitoring the temperature and condition of temperature-sensitive products.

Manitowoc ( drew attention to its Delfield ( refrigerated prep tables and reach-ins, the latter consisting of freezers and refrigerators for commercial food service with top-mounted mechanicals.

Parker Hannifin ( had a number of announcements in conjunction with the FMI show. The company introduced the Sporlan Secondary Fluid Valve (SFV) and Controller for use in a secondary coolant system. “Normally, a set of balancing and solenoid valves are installed in a system,” said Clay Rohrer, business unit manager at Parker Sporlan. “When the Sporlan solution is installed instead, users have better control because the valve and controller automatically respond to varying system and ambient conditions.” Parker Hannifin also showcased its new plug-in refrigeration controllers — the Sporlan PSK –, a family of controllers intended to provide simple and reliable control to a wide variety of low temperature (below 35°) and medium temperature (35-45°) applications. A supermarket control system — the Sporlan MT Alliance System — has an intuitive interface connected to hardware and software for the control of supermarket refrigeration, HVAC, and lighting systems, according to the company. Visual indicators within the system provide users with facility management at a glance. Also announced was the MT Case Controller which uses valve profiles coupled with control algorithms. The idea is to have better control of electric expansion valves resulting in lower overall energy usage to maintain temperatures, and ultimately better overall food quality.

Praxair ( has what it called solid belt tunnel freezers and diced product chilling systems based on cryogenic technology.

Prodew ( offered an innovation called Fog Mist, which the company said was different than the traditional misting, humidity, and ultrasonic systems. “This unique system creates a visually pleasing fog in produce, meat, seafood, delicatessen, and floral displays while at the same time maintaining humidity levels to extend product line,” the company said in a statement.

Remis America ( showed the Safe T Door, a hinged door system with retrofitting capability. “We are seeing glass become more prevalent in North American retail stores and not just for the immediate energy savings,” said Matt Pletcher, Remis managing director. “Doors on cases stabilize case temperatures, improving product quality and reducing food spoilage.”

“Food is Theater and the Case the Stage …” was the theme at the Southern CaseArts ( booth, where it promoted energy efficiency in what it called “dramatic, compelling” fresh food merchandisers.

ThermoWorks ( introduced the Saf-T-Log™, a hand-held thermometer that measures, stores, downloads, and prints temperature reports for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) and food safety compliance. Windows® desktop software allows users to build lists of food items or equipment and set pass/fail temperature ranges. When connected to a PC (via USB port), the Saf-T-Log™ automatically uploads selected user checklists. Different lists can be used for each shift or service; or keep the same list until the menu or operation changes.

Publication date: 9/3/2012