Exporting food is another part of the expanding refrigeration equation discussed at the recent Food Marketing Institute Expo in Chicago.

CHICAGO - The food chain - getting food from the production source to the consumer - is becoming more and more complex as is the way refrigeration factors into the process.

That was one overall impression from the most recent Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Expo here where manufacturers and suppliers of most every product and service you might see in a supermarket were showcasing the latest trends. One common theme was how to deal with the complexity of the process in the most cost-effective and energy-efficient way possible.

Here in alphabetical order is a sampling of those exhibitors who had a refrigeration aspect.

Athen and Athen XL were the newest in freezer and chiller cabinets from AHT Cooling Systems USA (www.ahtusainc.net). The company described what was called "ecological freezing technology" with automatic defrosting. "Regular automatic defrosting means product temperature always remains constant," officials said. The units use an electronically speed-controlled compressor with R-404A refrigerant.

Alto-Shaam(www.alto-shaam.com) showed a range of products in its Quickchillerâ„¢ line of processing freezer/chiller/refrigeration system. One model, the QC-40, has a quick-freeze mode, soft-chill mode for less dense items, hard-chill mode for products with more density, a holding mode for both chilled and frozen items, and an automatic defrost. The self-contained refrigeration system uses R-404A, a dual 1 horsepower (hp) and 1/2 hp compressor system developing a total of 10,500 Btus per hour.

"Grab 'N Go" cases were the focus for Amtekco (www.amtekco.com). They combine refrigeration with dry display areas in a single merchandiser for stocking with such products as beverages, pre-made sandwiches, chips, and others items.

Anthony International (www.anthonydoors.com) showed its latest range of 101 Series cooler and freezer doors. Energy free cooler doors were said to offer high performance insulated glass without the need for glass heat. Freezer doors have three-pane heated glass and an additional 60 percent heat-reflective glass coating to enhance the insulation properties of the door, according to the company.

Options at Barker Co. were humidity kits and gravity coils to protect fresh meat and seafood.

Aqua'In USA(www.aqua-in. fr) showed a glass-door cooler in which bottles can be accessed without opening the door as an energy saving method. When one bottle is removed from a slot below the refrigerated storage area, another drops into its place.

Cooling options for service deli merchandisers were described by Barker Co. (www.barkercompany.com). Choices include humidity kits and gravity coil refrigeration to protect fresh meats and seafood. A pedestal or mock pedestal base can be included for ease of cleaning.

VaporPlus humidity was promoted by Corrigan Corp. (www.corriganmist.com). "Gently rolling fog enhances product display," the company said. "Increased humidity means less shrinkage, higher scale weights and longer shelf life." The system consists of a filtration process to remove sediment and reduce bacteria in the water supply, an ultrasonic nozzle that produces water vapor droplets, and timer control with flexible settings to match humidity levels with product and case display. The compressor unit has a low profile design and can be installed under most service cases.

The critical issue of power was the focus of Eaton Corp. (www.eatonelectrical.com) with its PowerChain Management® concept. Among aspects discussed at the booth were energy, standby, and back-up power connection solutions.

MarineLand Mfg. featured the Bio-Wheel refrigerated live seafood display.

ebm-papst(www.ebm-papst.us) stressed energy savings in fans and blowers. Included in the equation are Acmaxx fans designed to save energy and reduce noise, as well as the EC-Systemsâ„¢ fans and blowers in forward and backward curved impellers.

Easy Swing® was emphasized in the traffic doors of Eliason Corp. (www.eliasoncorp.com) which are self-closing double-action doors that operate without a spring. Included in the product line are gasket doors designed for walk-in coolers and refrigerated processing areas.

Food safety took high priority at the exhibit space of Fluke (www.fluke.com) with its range of temperature measurement products. For frozen and/or refrigerated foods, the company showed ways to ensure that food is stored at or below specific temperatures to maintain freshness and quality. In display areas on the supermarket floor, the emphasis was on checking to see if there might be warm spots or uneven cooling.

Hansen-Rice Construction (www.hansen-rice.com) pointed out that it designs and builds food distribution centers including freezers and coolers.

Howe (www.howecorp.com) noted ice storage and transport systems including upright bins with stainless steel sides, tops, and fronts with polyethylene or interpon liners. Tops include a condensate drip pan and factory-mounted ice level control boxes, the latter of which are integral to the top to ensure proper alignment.

Refrigerated cabinets from AHT Cooling Systems had ‘ecological freezing technologies' with automatic defrosting.

Kysor/Warren(www.kysorwarren.com) showed its DSP Model parallel rack system with Copeland digital scroll compressors and distributed technology. Also at the booth were top-mounted Copeland condensing units with quick connects and Copeland Intelligent Store™ Discus® compressors. The intelligent store concept was created, according to the company, to enable better facility management, improved installation and easier commissioning. The system is supposed to add compressor protection and simplify troubleshooting with remote reset capability.

MarineLand (www.marineland.com) featured the Bio-Wheel refrigerated live seafood display and holding system. A three-stage system is used involving mechanical filtration, chemical filtration, and biological filtration. Polyfiber pads trap debris and waste particles and carbon filter packs attract and remove dissolved pollutants from the water.

‘Go for the Green' was the theme at the exhibit area of RollSeal (www.rollseal.net) with its energy efficient industrial doors. With the Model 600, there is a right angle gear motor, featuring a die cast aluminum frame for corrosion resistance and hypoid helical gearbox for torque and efficiency. Built into the motor is a capability to manually open or close the door in case of power outages without the need for chain drives or pulley systems. The motor is an AC variable-speed drive, which takes single-phase power and converts it into three-phase up to 120 Hz. The drive uses microprocessor technology.

Stark (www.starkproducts.com) is a designer and manufacturer of seafood display cases as well as lobster and fish systems. The emphasis is on maintaining salt-water fish through the case's filtration and water cleaning technology.

Publication date: 09/04/2006