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Refrigeration Insights

| Ivana | Editorial Feature

Innovative tech and progressive design for increased sustainability in 2022 and beyond

Depending on the nature of your retail business, in-store refrigeration can occupy as much as half of your retail space. It is also a significant chunk of your electricity bill every month, which is why innovative technology and a focus on energy-savings is crucial. Eye-catching displays that are aesthetically pleasing and functional are also critical to driving in-store sales.

South African retailers have access to suppliers and manufacturers of refrigeration technology that are at the top of their game. In this feature, we look at the latest tech and designs on offer, as well as efficient, sustainable, and cost-effective refrigeration and cooling systems.

From innovation and smart technology to superior design and extensive testing, these suppliers are using their wealth of knowledge, industry experience, and technical knowledge for efficient, sustainable, and cost-effective refrigeration and cooling systems and related services.

Emerson Commercial and Residential Solutions

Emerson provides a range of automation and commercial technologies and has long been an industry leader in the energy field, constantly refining their energy efficient technology for refrigeration and cold chain, heating and cooling, and controls and monitoring.

Emerson’s Copeland ZX Refrigeration Condensing Unit is their most successful global outdoor condensing unit platform with over 100 000 units installed globally in just over ten years. The units offer up to 20% better energy efficiency, resulting in early investment payback. They use Copeland scroll compressors that have proven success, and their application is well suited for supermarkets, wholesalers, the hospitality industry, cold rooms, fast food restaurants and convenience stores.

The initial range, between 2 and 7.5hp, can be used with new generation HFC refrigerant, and the outdoor condensing unit offers up to 15 dBA quieter operation as well as an enhanced appearance. It is also the first in the industry to use an advanced electronics controller for ease of diagnostics and protection. The unit offers enhanced reliability thanks to the Copeland scroll liquid / vapour injection technology

Emerson’s next generation Tandem Digital ZX condensing units expand on capacity with models up to 20hp. Digital modulation technology improves energy efficiency further with a reduced on/off cycle, while precise temperature and humidity control enhances food product quality and life. This model is particularly useful for multi-evaporator functionality and is equipped with an Emerson CoreSense controller for diagnostics and communication capability. The ZX Digital Multiple Evaporator application means less units are required to ensure efficient refrigeration in every supermarket.

All ZX condensing units from Emerson are equipped with Intelligent Store™ Solutions. This allows the most innovative approach to enterprise facility management through integrating hardware and services and providing a comprehensive understanding of costs, operations, and maintenance needs. An advanced electronics controller leads to improved speed and accuracy of system diagnostics, protection against over-current, overheating, incorrect phase rotation, compressor cycling, high pressure resets and low-pressure cut-outs. The ZX range of condensing units achieves energy efficiency and reliability.

Key features:

  • Reliable
  • Cost-effective
  • Self-diagnostics
  • Reduced downtime
  • Reduced maintenance and repair costs
  • Slim, lightweight, and ergonomic
  • Reduced noise levels
  • Decreased carbon footprint
  • Accurate evaporating temperature



Energy Partners Refrigeration and Energy Partners Intelligence

Energy Utility Asset Manager for Energy Partners (RP) Refrigeration, Coenrad Ehlers, and Head of Business Development for EP Intelligence, Tygue Theron, share how retailers can reduce and actively manage their supermarket refrigeration systems’ operational costs, efficiency, and carbon footprint. EP owns and operates more than 15 refrigeration sites on a Cooling as a Service (CaaS) basis. Their customers only pay for the cooling that they consume, whilst EP takes charge of the capital, the servicing and maintenance, and the energy costs associated with the refrigeration plants.

“Managing plants from a total lifecycle cost (TLCC) perspective shifts the focus from a traditional reactive management strategy to taking the initiative and being proactive. This is only possible through the effective and active use of data for decision-making,” says Ehlers.

EP Refrigeration and EP Intelligence collaboratively provide retail customers with specialised and intelligent retail refrigeration services. They install (new builds and revamps), service, and maintain refrigeration plants in the most efficient way and, by extension, at the lowest TLCC.

EP Refrigeration specialises in developing digital twin models of refrigeration plants to simulate TLCC in order to fully demonstrate the efficiencies and savings that can be achieved by installing a new, more efficient system. However, says Ehlers, monitoring, recording, and understanding system data is crucial. Plant performance not only deteriorates over time due to general wear and tear of components within the system, it is also due to people changing settings or parameters during breakdowns or even normal service activities. As soon as these changes are made, the designed efficiency can become compromised. Each change can contribute to the deterioration but at the time, without system monitoring, there is no, clear view of the overall impact. Correctly managing your system can prevent significant deterioration in efficiency, reduce downtime, and allow for proactive preventative maintenance and servicing.

To actively manage energy consumption, EP Refrigeration uses data to track the refrigeration plant’s system Coefficient of Performance (COP) over time. This information allows active management of a refrigeration plant’s energy consumption. This includes identifying and addressing visible deteriorations in system COP, as well as  pinpointing new opportunities for increased energy efficiency, whilst having the ability to accurately determine the return on investment.

Key features:

  • EP Refrigeration Asset Management Team actively monitors sites to investigate temperature trends or refrigeration plant parameters to determine potential gas leak and their location
  • Identify gradual ice-ups of refrigerated areas/coils and address the root causes before these translate into temperature compliance issues, consequent stock losses, and damage to the refrigeration plant
  • Monitor ambient temperatures and the store’s energy intensity and comparing this to refrigeration energy consumption
  • Measure savings of various implementations such as store refurbishments and where to invest for highest impact
  • Portfolio analytics. With thousands of data points across a consolidated group being measured, store anomalies (outliers) can be identified and rectified
  • Understanding turnover versus energy cost
  • Understanding turnover versus refrigeration footprint (m3).

Refrigeration and intelligence

Understanding the need for efficient, effective, and inclusive intelligence and monitoring of refrigeration and cooling systems may seem simple. You need to know how much energy you are using, how much that energy is costing you, and where you can cut costs. But in reality, that is just the tip of the iceberg. For Tygue Theron, Head of Business Development at Energy Partners Intelligence, leveraging data to reduce energy consumption in supermarkets makes absolute sense. Theron says, “Supermarkets contribute significantly to global energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Anywhere from 50-60% of a supermarket’s total energy consumption and cost lies in the application of refrigeration/cooling. Other consumers of energy lie in air conditioning (approximately 15%), lighting (approximately15%), and other activities (10-20%).

“In recent years, various energy-efficiency measures have been implemented to help curb energy usage, carbon emissions, and, ultimately, of course, costs. After having exhausted all current physical energy efficiency measures, it may seem reasonable to believe that any apparent opportunity has been exhausted. However, there are further efficiencies and opportunities to unlock through the intelligent application of data-led strategies.

“The supermarket industry is incredibly complex in nature. Many supermarket groups have store quantities in the thousands, which differ in size, application, asset arrangement, the technology used, climatic conditions, and energy policy. Each store will have its own opportunities and risks in its found environment (climate, water leaks, behavioural waste, budgets, billing discrepancies, energy intensities, plant performances). When dealing with operations in these kinds of numbers, management of all stores is critical to maximising efficiency and mitigating the risks that tend to be somewhat overwhelming.

“Reporting and disclosure of non-financial (carbon-related) activities are becoming a compulsory requirement for listed companies and are being formally integrated into International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). The potential shareholder/investor will place significant value on the supermarket groups that are actively quantifying risks and converting these risks into opportunity investments to protect the future share price of the stock in question.

“It is virtually impossible to manage or improve something that you do not measure. When dealing with problems of this magnitude and complexity, data will not only allow visibility and informed decision-making for efficiency gains but will also unlock accelerated conversion of risks into opportunities.

“It is paramount to integrate all activities into the greater sustainability strategy, which can be far-reaching, specialised - and incredibly complex to execute. Choosing the correct strategy and having a strong implementation layer is of vital importance.”

Glacier Door Systems

Glacier Door Systems offers a dedicated focus and understanding of the refrigeration industry, while manufacturing specialised glass doors for refrigerated applications. Glacier provides glass processing, insulated doors, shelving, and insulated panels.

Close the case technology has been proven to increase energy efficiency, reduce costs, and improve the hygiene and shelf life of refrigerated products. Airshield Glass Doors are designed as a retrofit solution for existing display cases, offering up to a 40% energy saving, which is significant given the ever-increasing energy costs retailers are facing.

Key features:

  • Reduced energy consumption
  • Extended product shelf life
  • Double glazed Argon-filled void for superior insulation
  • Optimal product temperature
  • Spring-loaded glass doors
  • Solutions for new cabinets or retrofitted onto existing cabinets
  • Less cold air spillage results in warmer aisles
  • Optional Mullion LED lights and door hold-open brackets
  • Heated option on Standard Airshield Doors to suit coastal conditions
  • Integrated full-length handle option

Glacier’s Infinity and Infinity Integrate Glass Doors are designed with edge-to-edge glass and a screen print border. This allows for increased visibility and a modernised look and feel. The Integrated Glass Door also incorporates a full-length profiled handle.

Low Temperature Eco Leaf energy saving doors comprise a heated door and architrave with a thermal break on the inside of the door frame.

Key features:

  • Architraves are fitted with anti-sweat heaters
  • Glass is 4mm safety toughened on the inside and outside
  • Argon gas-filled for efficient, effective insulation
  • Low temperature doors are fitted with a heated front glass and a clear rear glass, both safety toughened.
  • Energy-saving LED 22W, 6000K, LED lights are fitted on the inside of the architrave in a closed polycarbonate light diffuser

Staycold International (Pty) Ltd

Staycold is one of Africa’s leading manufacturers of commercial refrigeration, specialising in self-contained display coolers and freezers. An innovative company, they offer technical excellence, class-leading refrigeration performance, and energy saving design.

Staycold’s new SD1140-FLC Fast Lane Cooler challenges the status quo in the retail space. With best in class pack out volume, flexible shelving on either side of the self-closing doors, and a robust durability, this is a product for retailers to consider. Eco-friendly insulation foam, EC (electronically commutated, combining AC and DC voltages) brushless fan motors, and Pathway to Net Zero compliant R290 refrigerant make this solution an efficient and sustainable option for the future. In addition to this, LED downlighting provides maximum visibility and makes this cooler suitable for high traffic locations such as till points and till aisles.

Key features:

  • Flexible shelving configuration
  • R290 refrigerant
  • Self-closing doors
  • Significantly reduced energy consumption
    Eco-friendly insulation foam
  • EC brushless fans used on both evaporator and condenser

The SD1140 Double Sliding Door Beverage Cooler has provides durability, reliability, performance, and efficiency in the upright beverage cooler market. It offers a robust design, classic lines, self-closing doors, and notable energy efficiency. This unit was built with tough environments in mind and can keep products cold in ambient temperatures above 40°C. Products are clearly displayed due to the Low-E (low thermal emissivity glass), keeping condensation to a minimum and the dual internal LED lights and the back lit header panel visible, which has an effect of making the products ‘pop’.

Key features:

  • Durability, reliability, performance, and efficiency
  • Available in ‘Pathway to Net Zero’ hydrocarbon R290 refrigerant
  • LED lighting including dual internal lights for maximum visual impact and robust, backlit header panel for maximum marketing visibility
  • Operates in the toughest of environments (>42°C ambient temperatures)
  • Digital energy management device and thermostat ensures accurate temperature maintenance and energy efficiency
  • Also available in single door and hinge door variants

Staycold’s HD690F Single Door Display Freezer has been a mainstay in the display freezer market for many years now. Able to operate in high ambient conditions, and incorporating heated doors and frost-free operation, the unit also offers high grade internal LED lighting and an illuminated backlit header panel to ensure maximum product exposure. A digital energy management device and thermostat ensures the temperature remains stable.

Key features:

  • Digital energy management device and thermostat ensures accurate temperature maintenance and energy efficiency
  • Frost-free operation
  • Heated doors ensure no fogging or condensation
  • Also available in double door variant  

By Ann Baker-Keulemans


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