CHICAGO - There were 2,000 exhibitors, several hundred of which were showing mechanical refrigeration products that contractors and technicians will be more than likely called upon to install or service. The National Restaurant Association 2005 Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show here was the place to be.

The expo had a wide range of new refrigeration-related technologies, from the basics of ice machines and walk-in units, to new ways of dispensing beer and adding extra flavoring to soft drinks.

Ice Machines

Hoshizaki America ( used the expo to launch its Serenity Ice Machine Series. One product produces crescent cube ice, the other produces cubelet ice. The cuber produces up to about 1,300 pounds of ice in 24 hours and the cubelet produces up to 830 pounds of ice. Additional models are planned for the future.

Donper showed an icemaker (left) and an ice cream machine.
Ice-O-Matic ( noted that the ICEU 300 undercounter unit has an oversized compressor for increased ice production. It is 30 inches wide and 39 inches tall and produces 350 pounds of ice in 24 hours. There is front air discharge and the mechanicals roll out for ease of service. Booth officials said the unit could fit under a bar and in similar applications.

Manitowoc ( announced that it has begun production of the S1200 ice machine, which is 30 inches wide and produces up to 1,230 pounds of ice daily. "The S1200 is exciting because it fills a product gap and [works well] in a restaurant where floor space is at a premium," said Mike Rimrodt, Manitowoc ice product manager.

One focus of attention at the booth of Scotsman ( was its nugget ice-making equipment. The company claims its nugget ice machines can be mounted to a standard storage bin or to a fountain beverage dispenser. Newly designed fountain beverage dispensers allow nugget ice to be dispensed using adapter kits.

The cold buffet system of Satellite Cooling has a small mechanical refrigeration system under the table to keep the display table cool and avoids the use of ice.

Coolers And Freezers

Commercial glass-top merchandisers and commercial chest freezers are now available at up to 20 cubic feet, as shown in the booth of Arctic Air (

"Refrigeration Solutions" was the promotion of ATC Group (, which had countertop, open air, and back bar coolers, plus double-door and single-door upright coolers.

Carrier's Beverage-Air ( introduced Prestige Plus, a line of commercial refrigeration units with XStream® valve technology. The product is said to have faster temperature pull down, lower energy consumption, improved humidity control, and reduced defrost cycles.

A new design at Cold Tech ( for half-door reach-ins comes in 10 different configurations. The idea was for a single vertical unit to have top and bottom doors accessing separate cold storage areas. Up to three verticals can be connected, meaning six different cold storage places; each of those could be either a refrigerator or freezer.

Electro-Freeze ( expanded its line with batch freezers that can make products such as Italian ice, premium ice cream, frozen custard, sorbet, and sherbet. The refrigeration system has an on-off compressor switch with torque control for cycling off the refrigerant.

Harford ( showed custom-built walk-in coolers and freezers. Panel insides are constructed of 4-inch-thick, poured-foam urethane. A variety of metal skin options are available for exterior walls.

Hoshizaki America introduced a reach-in freezer prototype featuring a stainless steel interior and exterior with 21 cubic feet of storage space. The company said the product features lower energy consumption; field-reversible, self-closing doors with a stay-open feature; dual doorframe heaters; removable refrigeration system; removable/cleanable air filter; and electronic controls.

The push at Polar King ( was for coolers, freezers, and combinations that can be installed beyond existing store space. One option is a through-the-wall unit placed flush against an existing store wall with space taken out of that store wall to allow for direct access to the cooler and/or freezer.

A compact, lift-up glass lid chest freezer was shown by Summit Appliance ( It was designed for tight spaces or specific products that require segregation from other frozen products.

U.S. Cooler ( introduced a line of what it calls Discount Dealer walk-ins, billed as "quality walk-ins at unbelievable prices."

Ice-O-Matic noted that the ICEU 300 undercounter unit has mechanicals that roll out for ease of service.

Condensing Units

Emerson Climate Technologies ( used the show to introduce condensing units that contain Copeland Scrollâ„¢ compressors for commercial refrigeration applications. Designed for medium- and low-temperature applications, they use R-404A and include Emerson EK filter-driers and hermetic moisture indicators.

Master-Bilt ( showed a modular, multicompressor refrigeration system (MRS). According to officials, "By remoting all refrigeration systems in an establishment, including those in reach-ins, walk-ins, and ice machines to a single MRS system, owners can remove heat produced by multiple systems and reduce their air conditioning load."

Turbo-Air ( showed its entry into condenser technology with units in the 3/4- to 3-hp range for use in walk-in coolers and freezers, as well as remote applications. The unit is made in Korea and private-labeled for the company.

Commercial glass top merchandisers and commercial chest freezers were on display in the booth of Arctic Air.

Cooling Concepts

Fill 'N Chillâ„¢ is a party table from Chillin' Products ( Users load a recessed area along the top of the table with up to 100 pounds of ice; the insulation is designed to allow products atop the ice to stay cold longer without the table sweating, the company said. The unit comes with a dual-stage drain and a shut-off valve.

IMI Cornelius ( showed beverage dispensers that allow up to 16 brands in a 30-inch footprint. Dedicated flavor nozzles allow up to eight extra flavors.

Manitowoc Beverage Systems ( noted it had joined with Kyees Aluminum to distribute Chill-Pakâ„¢ (, a draft system specifically designed to chill beer in the delivery lines and at the point of delivery. Developers said the system provides a consistent chilled beer as low as 30 degrees F regardless of room temperature or temperature inside a walk-in cooler. The system uses a remote glycol chiller and cold plate technology to remove excess heat.

Master-Bilt entered the gelato arena with its GEL Series cases, available in three sizes. The evaporator coil is concealed beneath the bottom pans, which are de-signed to avoid spillage, which could possibly cause premature refrigeration system failure.

Portable evaporative cooling was the focus of Port-A-Cool ( In many instances, units are available for hazard locations and emergency services.

Also featuring a cold buffet system was Satellite Cooling (, which has a small mechanical refrigeration system under the table to keep the display table cool and avoid the use of ice.

Servend, part of the Manitowoc Foodservice Group, introduced the "Flavor Magic System," fountain dispensers that can add flavors to drinks. It is said to be compatible with all Servend Ice/Beverage dispensers equipped with the Rocking Chute ice-dispenser mechanism.


Cooper-Atkins Corp. ( announced the release of Intelli-PDA, a pocket PC that "offers paperless management of inspection, training, receiving, and temperature monitoring," according to the manufacturer. Data gathering is wirelessly transmitted to the back office.

Fluke ( displayed its FoodPro and FoodPro Plus for temperature monitoring in a range of restaurant areas including the receiving platform, dining area, and wine cellar. Units have timer/alarms as well as calibration capabilities.

Workers at the Manitowoc booth prepare for a busy day at the National Restaurant Association show.

Internationally Speaking

There was an uptick in the number of companies from outside the United States with products they wanted to bring to the stateside market.

Refrigerated cabinets and worktables were shown by Desmon (, an Italian company. Units are stainless steel with single-unit foamed-body structure.

Long, sweeping refrigerated cases such as those used in buffet restaurants were shown by Sifa of Italy, represented at the expo by Custom Cool USA (

Inducol ( from Columbia, has a refrigeration division that produces horizontal and vertical freezers, horizontal coolers, vertical glass door coolers, horizontal display cases, and specially designed refrigerators for retail stores and supermarkets.

From Canada came a product line called Grab 'N Go from QBD Cooling Systems Inc. (, consisting of refrigerated open racks with airflow through a perforated interior back wall. The company said mechanicals are intentionally oversized "to ensure even temperature throughout and provide maximum efficiency." There is also an electronic control system with a defrost timer.

China was represented at the expo with at least a half dozen manufacturers. Donper ( showed an automatic icemaker with microprocessor controls, a household ice cream machine running on R-134a, and a draft beer dispenser.

Publication date: 07/04/2005