Robotic kiosks that provide automated and contactless dispensing of groceries for consumers are being refrigerated by Carrier Transicold NaturaLINE® units, which use the natural refrigerant carbon dioxide (R-744).
Typically used on marine shipping containers to protect perishables and frozen food shipped between continents, NaturaLINE units can also be used on land. The units store perishables and now transfer groceries directly from retailer to consumer through an advanced kiosk made by Estonian robotics innovator Cleveron.
For more than a decade, Cleveron has developed “click and collect” automated solutions for a variety of applications, and the grocery kiosk is among its newest. At a time when consumers’ health and safety is the highest priority, the Cleveron 501 kiosk offers a convenient and touchless 24/7 alternative to in-store shopping or pickup, as well as home delivery.
The 20-foot and 40-foot long refrigerated shipping containers equipped with NaturaLINE units were a natural choice for the Cleveron 501 application, according to Mihkel Ilp, chief operating officer at Cleveron.
“We realized that combining refrigerated shipping containers and our robotics would enable us to create a product that is easy to transport and quick to install, and that also delivers solid cooling and withstands the forces of nature,” said Ilp. “Carrier was selected as our preferred partner because of its long history in the field of refrigeration and shipping containers, and because Carrier offers the NaturaLINE system with R-744 refrigerant.”
NaturaLINE unit’s natural refrigerant has an ultra-low GWP value of 1, the lowest among all other container system refrigerants currently in user. Ilp added that NaturaLINE’s sustainability appeals to its customers, many of which are large multi-national grocery retailers with significant green initiatives, working toward carbon neutrality.
NaturaLINE units are recognized for tight temperature control, a factor that is important given the variety of locations where Cleveron 501 kiosks are located. They can be installed in parking lots near grocery/retail operations, near office buildings, in busy city centers and other locations where retail space is scarce or expensive.
The system is easy to use. Customers place orders online and are given a time for pickup. The retailer then picks, bags and places frozen and perishable items in totes that the Cleveron 501 kiosk automatically stores in the appropriate temperature-controlled compartment. When the customer arrives, a code is scanned from their phone, and the kiosk quickly dispenses their order.
To date, Cleveron 501 kiosks using Carrier Transicold’s NaturaLINE units have been deployed throughout Europe in grocery/retail environments, sharing a footprint with sustainable in-store R-744-based systems by Carrier Commercial Refrigeration Europe. Cleveron 501 systems have also been deployed in the Middle East, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States.