The saying goes, “What’s important when it comes to freezers and coolers — be it walk-ins or reach-ins — is what’s inside.” That usually relates to the product stored inside that must be kept at a proper temperature.

But it also could pertain to the extensive new technologies that refrigeration service technicians may find themselves facing on a service call.

Some of the newest electronic technologies were on display at the 2014 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show.

A master controller with a built-in defrost function was shown by Master-Bilt, a Standex Intl. Corp. Co. Web2Walk-In software was demonstrated to increase efficiency by monitoring coil temperature and automatically turning on evaporator fans for a short time when the coil is warm to melt accumulated frost and ice from the fan guards. This function prevents ice formation from blocking the cold airflow, resulting in more efficient cooling and lowering the risk of temperature fluctuations inside the walk-in caused by the constant opening and closing of walk-in doors, according to the company.

This new function may be accessed through the control panel, located on the evaporator coil or through the Web2Walk-In set points screen on any computer, tablet, or smartphone.

“The Master Controller is a result of Master-Bilt’s commitment to providing cost-effective, energy-saving, and performance-enhancing refrigeration equipment,” said Bill Huffman, vice president of sales and marketing, Master-Bilt.

He said Web2Walk-In provides constant access to data that can be used to improve refrigeration system performance and avoid service issues. The Web2Walk-In software loaded on each controller remotely monitors and programs all data and set points using any device with a Wi-Fi or cabled (cat 5) connection. (According to the company, an Internet connection is not required for controller operation). Web2Walk-In can pinpoint walk-in performance and maintenance issues, eliminating the need to enter the walk-in or access rooftop equipment to monitor or adjust the refrigeration system, Huffman said.

Also new internally was an air shield with a magnetic read switch or motion control activation as shown by Kolpak, a brand of Manitowoc Foodservice. Designed to mount vertically on the interior wall surface on the hinge side of the door, the Air Shield features a delivery system that channels a barrier of refrigerated air, allowing a horizontal flow across the interior side of the door opening. The Air Shield is designed to activate using a magnetic read switch or optional motion control when the door is opened, thus reducing the amount of warm air infiltration into the refrigerated space. The device turns off when the door closes.

Top-mount, expansion-valve refrigeration technology was shown by Delfield, a brand of Manitowoc Foodservice, in its branded Global Series reach-in refrigerators and freezers. The new platform is designed to meet global standards for dimensional, electrical, and certification needs, the company said. Interior storage capacity is maximized by having the one-piece, removable refrigeration system up top. New features include standard LED interior lights, integral side-mount door handles, stay-open/self-close door hinges, and three standard interior/exterior metallic finish sets.

Kolpak, in conjunction with RDI Systems, showed the ArcticFox™ system with Dmnd Defrost™, a control focused on the compartment as well as the refrigeration system providing refrigeration temperature control, light and door heater control, and alarms for both temperature and door ajar. The new Web-based addition allows for energy savings and food safety features to be viewed and monitored remotely.

Dealing with issues related to icing in walk-in freezers was addressed with what KE2 Therm Solutions called an enhanced Evaporator Efficiency controller (KE2 Evap). “By defrosting the evaporator only when needed and maintaining even tighter temperature control, the KE2 Evap reduces temperature spikes that can result in food sticking together,” the company said in a statement made at the time of the NRA show. “Maintaining steady temperature also retains moisture in the food, thus preserving the product quality and reducing the chance of freezer burn.”


Solid-wall walk-in refrigerators are not necessarily the only way to store refrigerated products. By employing a portage refrigeration unit, metal frames, and covering it with an insulated bag, end users have a 4-by-4-by-6-foot refrigerated space with 105 cubic feet of internal storage. The technology comes from Beverage-Air Corp. and weighs 300 pounds. It comes with a metal floor mounted on casters. The mechanicals are placed next to the flooring, extension poles are mounted to frame it in, and the R-39 insulated bag is drawn up and over the frame, down around the refrigeration system’s discharge outlet, and locked into place. The unit then plugs in.

Thermalrite showcased vacuum technology to increase the thermal resistance of insulation panels used in blast chillers and other insulated cabinets.


Among reach-in developments were those involving commercial refrigerators with glass doors. A trend at the booth of Hoshizaki America Inc. was the use of an energy-efficient, vacuum-formed, seamless, one-piece ABS interior liner as well as a ducted distribution system.

The continued emphasis on refrigeration for wine cooling was shown at the booth of Vinotemp. The company called its range of refrigerators: coolers, chillers, and fridges. Cooling was achieved using both conventional and thermoelectric means. Service technicians should also be aware of the interest in dual-zoning units with two independently controlled temperature departments for simultaneous cooling of red and white wines. Consideration should also be given that some of those units can accommodate up to 188 bottles, so they can be fairly large units.

Publication date: 7/7/2014 

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