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Posts from the ‘Cold Chain’ Category

[Webinar Recap] Preparing for the Future of Refrigeration

AndrePatenaude_Blog_Image Andre Patenaude | Director, Food Retail Marketing & Growth Strategy, Cold Chain

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

Commercial refrigeration architectures are changing. Environmental regulations and corporate sustainability objectives are driving the need for next-generation refrigeration technologies. Today, most commercial refrigeration end users are still operating legacy, centralized direct-expansion (DX) rack systems — which contain refrigerants that either have high global warming potential (GWP) or ozone depletion potential (ODP). In our most recent E360 Webinar, Diego Marafon, refrigeration scroll product manager at Emerson, and I discussed new refrigeration architectures that utilize eco-friendly refrigerants.

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In many countries, regions and U.S. states, the transition from high-GWP refrigerants is underway. While legacy refrigerant options such as hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) R-404A are being phased down, hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) such as R-22 are being phased out. To meet sustainability targets, future refrigeration options will utilize a variety of emerging lower-GWP refrigerants, including A1s, A2Ls and natural options such as CO2 and propane.

End users must evaluate a wide range of operational, maintenance and economic criteria when selecting an alternative refrigerant or future refrigeration architecture. Based on Emerson-sponsored research on commercial refrigeration end users, we’ve classified these criteria into six categories called the Six S’s: simple to operate and maintain; environmentally and economically sustainable; stable, reliable performance; secure in terms of both technology and safety perspectives; serviceable without requiring specialized skills or training; and equipped with smart technologies for internet of things (IoT) communication. The levels of importance that each end user places on these factors will determine their selection criteria and the types of systems that meet their business objectives.

Emerging architectures and technologies

Aside from CO2 systems, which have been in use for more than a decade, many of the emerging technologies take a decentralized or distributed approach to system architectures. Overall, this strategy moves the refrigeration equipment closer to the refrigerated cases, requires much less refrigerant charge (and piping), and offers a higher degree of flexibility over centralized DX systems. Here is a brief description of some of the decentralized or distributed architectures we reviewed in the webinar:

Low-charge small scroll racks — These systems have been in place for more than 20 years due to their equipment placement flexibility. Multiple-rack units can be placed in proximity to refrigerated loads, allowing suction pressures to be optimized and drive energy efficiencies. Refrigerant charges are smaller, so leaks can be contained to each rack’s individual circuit. They are capable of using multiple refrigerants with varying lower-GWP ratings.

Outdoor condensing units (OCUs) — This well-known approach has been proven for decades and is evolving to meet modern refrigeration needs. OCUs have traditionally been used for smaller refrigeration loads — one unit per load — and many retailers use multiple OCUs to cover individual loads throughout a store. Lower-GWP A1 refrigerants such as R-448/9A can be used for low-temperature applications; low- or medium-pressure refrigerants can be used for medium-temperature applications.

Variable-capacity OCUs — Digital compressors which provide variable-capacity modulation are now being used in OCUs to service multiple refrigeration loads per store. This added range of capacity greatly expands upon traditional remodel and rebuild options — in convenience stores, restaurants, small supermarkets, and click-and-collect operations — and offers the ability to replace three separate condensing units with one. Locating these OCUs in proximity to the refrigerated loads helps keep charge low, allowing them to meet even the most stringent environmental regulations. Variable-capacity modulation enables precise temperature control and excellent load matching capabilities for maximum energy efficiencies. See the Copeland™ Digital Outdoor Refrigeration Unit, X-Line Series for more information.

Distributed micro-booster — This hybrid indoor/outdoor architecture utilizes proven booster technology — typically found in CO2 systems, however new innovative concepts permit the use of low GWP, low-pressure A1 refrigerants for both low- and medium-temperature loads while offering a familiar operation and maintenance footprint. The system utilizes outdoor condensing units for medium-temperature coolers and low-temperature compressors which are located directly on or above the frozen cases. Low-temperature compressors discharge into the nearest medium-temperature suction group, thereby eliminating the need to discharge all the way out to a remote condenser. This allows refrigerant charges and pressures to stay very low, while utilizing one low-GWP A1 refrigerant such as R-513A. Emerson has tested these systems in multiple locations and configurations, where they deliver exceptional performance and energy efficiencies.

Indoor distributed architecture — This flexible configuration utilizes self-contained condensing units located on or near refrigerated cases, islands or prep tables — with refrigerant options, including low-GWP A1s and R-290 (subject to allowable charge limits). Stores with multiple cases can be connected via a shared water or glycol loop to extract heat from each unit and divert it to a remote condenser/cooler. The inherent modular nature of this architecture limits leak rates and keeps charges very low while enabling a very simple, reliable and scalable operational footprint. See the award-winning Copeland Indoor Modular Solution for an end-to-end modular capability that provides seamless integration of refrigeration equipment with Emerson facility controls.

For more detailed information on any of these refrigeration architectures or their enabling technologies, view this webinar in its entirety.

New Capabilities Take Supervisory Controls to the Next Level

SamSmith Sam Smith | Product Manager

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

The Emerson Supervisory Controls platform can help to improve operational efficiency, drive greater cost savings and enhance environmental conditions for customers and staff alike. Our latest E360 Product Spotlight highlights how Emerson has re-engineered the industry-leading, total-facility controls platform to streamline performance and simplify management tasks.

New Capabilities Take Supervisory Controls to the Next Level

New Capabilities Take Supervisory Controls to the Next Level

There is no shortage of pressing concerns for operators of small- and large-format grocers, restaurants and convenience stores. Yet in recent years, multiple factors have pushed operational and energy performance to the top of the list.

Tight margins and sustainability goals increasingly call for smarter energy use. A growing shortage of qualified technicians and ever-evolving consumer expectations for convenience further complicate the issue. As a result, the abilities to streamline site performance and simplify facility management are no longer luxuries; they are fundamental to long-term profitability.

In response, Emerson has re-engineered its Supervisory Controls platform to help facility operators achieve a higher level of performance.

Total-facility control made smarter

Supervisory Controls provides building and system management, control, power and simplified operation for refrigeration, HVAC, lighting and other critical equipment and systems. Operations of all sizes rely on the platform for real-time insights into issues that influence operating costs, food safety and customer experiences.

To keep pace with today’s demanding marketplace, we’ve updated our suite of robust, easy-to-use features with capabilities that provide improved visibility and insights into systems and equipment:

Smart Alarms: Alarms are a critical component to maintaining equipment and minimizing system downtime. But a constant stream of unprioritized alerts can degrade productivity. Smart Alarms prioritizes issues using simple language to help operators recognize when immediate action is required. In addition, it generates a list of possible causes and potential resolutions to help operators diagnose the root causes of issues and potentially prevent costly truck rolls.

Site Aggregator: Site Aggregator provides a consolidated view of equipment and systems in facilities that use multiple Supervisory Controllers and/or the E2 Facility Management Controller. Operators can navigate easily and conveniently between controllers from a single location.

Performance Meter: Enterprise-level visibility is essential to fine-tune operations, reduce energy waste and maintenance costs and avoid food safety issues. Performance Meter enables operators to keep a finger on the pulse of their systems by providing access to real-time performance data.

Floor Plans: Floor Plans makes it easy to identify and monitor active alarms in each key facility system by providing 2D and 3D visualizations of the facility’s layout and equipment. The Floor Plans also integrates with Emerson’s Connect+ Enterprise Management software.

These new capabilities build on Supervisory Controls’ existing feature-rich toolset to provide operators with:

  • Powerful control to manage alerts, alarms, energy use, scheduling, maintenance information, advanced reporting and more
  • Rapid response to immediate and potential issues
  • Intuitive navigation that requires no special training for day-to-day operation
  • Simplified setup to accelerate performance management
  • A user-friendly interface that makes scheduling, report viewing and screen organization easier
  • A mobile-optimized solution to provide anywhere/anytime access to data from a mobile device

The food retail and service industry is undergoing a dynamic transformation, and its operators are under tremendous pressure to adjust quickly to changing conditions. Versatility will be key to carving out a competitive space in both the near- and long-term future. That’s why Emerson designed flexibility into the Supervisory Controls platform. It is as equally effective in greenfield applications as selective retrofits and complete remodels. In addition, it can be integrated seamlessly with existing systems to provide operators with the insights they need, where they need them.

Emerson understands the multifaceted challenges that you are up against. Our solutions incorporate emerging technologies with proven expertise to deliver capabilities that support data-driven decision making. Learn more about our latest innovations by reading the full E360 article.

 

Montreal Protocol Members Declare Commitment to Reduce Food Loss and Waste

RajanRajendran2 Rajan Rajendran | V.P., System Innovation Center and Sustainability

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

In November, the 31st Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol convened in Rome to discuss progress in their ongoing efforts to protect the Earth against ozone depletion and global warming. Among the new topics introduced by member nations was the need to implement sustainable and efficient solutions in the refrigeration and air-conditioning sector — not only to meet future cooling demand but also to include cold chain initiatives for food preservation.

Montreal Protocol Members Declare Commitment to Reduce Food Loss and Waste

For more than three decades, the Montreal Protocol has introduced measures to reduce the harmful environmental impacts of cooling technologies — first with a mandate to phase out ozone-depleting substances such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), and most recently with the Kigali Amendment, which targets a phase-down of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). As these efforts have experienced wide adoption by its global member nations, the Montreal Protocol’s stakeholders are now vowing to take a closer look at additional cooling-related climate issues, such as reducing food waste and creating a more sustainable cold chain.

At the November meeting, key stakeholders discussed the Montreal Protocol’s global responsibilities to continue its leadership in climate matters and extend its efforts into reducing global food loss and waste. Participants stressed the urgency for countries to work together to find new solutions to address world hunger — noting that it would be possible to feed the entire world with current food production levels if waste was eliminated.

Participants also discussed other far-reaching benefits of these efforts toward creating more sustainable cold chains, such as: price stabilization; improved food security; enhanced profitability; more secure livelihoods; social and economic development gains; fair and just sustainability transitions; achieving sustainable development goals; continuing research, development and innovation; synergistic action; and restoration of degraded lands.

Introducing the Rome Declaration

At the November Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol, members were invited to support the Rome Declaration on the Contribution of the Montreal Protocol to Food Loss Reduction through Sustainable Cold Chain Management initiative. Currently, the Rome Declaration has been signed by ministers of 76 countries and is open for additional member signatures until the start of the next Meeting of the Parties, to be held next November.

The Rome Declaration calls for both national action and international cooperation to promote sustainable cold chain development, including the use of environmentally friendly refrigeration to reduce food loss. It states that achieving its objectives will require cooperation among governments, the Protocol’s institutions, United Nations (UN) specialized agencies, existing private and public initiatives, and all relevant stakeholders to exchange knowledge and promote innovation.

Among the Rome Declaration’s key objectives is to provide access to energy-efficient, sustainable refrigeration technologies in developing nations — particularly those that follow the Montreal Protocol’s guidance on refrigerants — thereby helping them contribute to the reduction of food loss and waste.

Aligning with Emerson’s cold chain capabilities

We won’t know for some time whether the Rome Declaration will become an internationally agreed upon mandate. But like the previous efforts of the Montreal Protocol to phase down harmful substances used in cooling devices, the Rome Declaration is an opportunity to leverage Emerson’s efforts in providing sustainable and energy-efficient solutions — not only in the refrigeration and air-conditioning sectors, but throughout the global cold chain.

From compressors and refrigeration system technologies to temperature monitoring and tracking devices to connected electronic controllers and facility management systems, we’re committed to helping cold chain stakeholders achieve temperature certainty and maximize energy efficiencies in the most environmentally responsible means possible.

 

Tracking Food Safety Data During the Cold Chain Journey

MattToone_2 Matt Toone | Vice President, Sales & Solutions – Cold Chain

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

Whether you’re a convenience store (c-store) operator, quick-service restaurant (QSR), or a fast casual or fine dining establishment, ensuring food quality and safety is imperative to your success. In this blog, the third of a three-part series based on a recent E360 article, Minimizing Food Safety Risks From Farm to Fork, I explore how advanced technologies can protect food safety at every step in the cold chain.

Tracking Food Safety Data During the Cold Chain Journey

Food safety and quality are the cornerstones to any successful foodservice operation. The ability for operators to deliver on both, however, hinges in large part on an interdependent supply chain of multiple, diverse stakeholders. Yet many operators are unaware of the efforts required to maintain food safety and quality throughout this cold chain.

Until now.

The rise of internet of things (IoT) technologies is providing unprecedented opportunities to monitor, control and track the many factors that influence quality during food’s long journey from farms to customers. For foodservice operators, this means greater control over ensuring that food is safe on receipt. Exercising this power starts with understanding the cold chain and how data is collected.

The cold chain journey

As foodservice operators well know, the pressure to protect food safety is felt most acutely where customers buy or consume food. But every stakeholder in the cold chain is responsible for maintaining food quality and freshness:

  • Harvesting and processing: The cold chain journey begins at the moment of harvest, where everything from the time of day to environmental conditions affect quality. Processors use a variety of strategies, including temperature controls, to slow or halt the decay process. The pipeline of data monitoring also begins at this stage, with pulp temperature probes and temperature loggers and trackers.
  • Transportation: Whether food is shipped by land, sea or air, reputable transport companies will apply a variety of best practices and technologies to protect its quality. Independent temperature monitoring, logging and tracking devices that provide real-time communications are essential at this stage. These systems enable remote monitoring and issue alert notifications when deviations in temperatures, humidity, modified atmosphere settings and vibration occur.
  • Cold storage: Cold storage distribution centers are another vital link in the cold chain. Here, data is collected at several points to ensure that food meets documented food safety standards. Many of these facilities employ different temperature zones and use both industrial and commercial refrigeration technologies. Devices that can work across disparate systems to monitor, record and maintain proper temperatures are critical to providing temperature certainty.
  • Restaurants: From the moment they accept a shipment, operators take ownership of food safety. For this reason, they should meticulously inspect all data accrued during the product’s journey to ensure it was kept at optimal conditions. After receipt, advanced facility and refrigeration controls can help operators maintain proper temperatures and comply with food safety regulations.

Solutions to protect food safety at every step

The cold chain can involve multiple hand-offs as food makes a days- or weeks-long journey to its final destination. That’s why end-to-end solutions for cold chain technologies are so essential to protecting food safety. An unbroken chain of data, paired with the streamlining capabilities of IoT technologies, puts greater oversight of food quality into the hands of operators and their suppliers.

At Emerson, we have both the refrigeration expertise and targeted solutions for nearly every point along the food supply chain. Our growing portfolio of connected, communicating devices and enterprise management software provides the solutions and resources our customers need to achieve cold chain temperature certainty and verification throughout food’s journey.

From compression and refrigeration system technologies, to case controls and facility management devices, to temperature loggers, trackers and probing devices, to software and services — we’re a leading single-source partner dedicated to helping our customers ensure full cold chain integrity.

So if you’re ready to take your operation to the next level with advanced controls and technologies, contact Emerson today.

 

Shedding Light on Food Safety During the Cold Chain Journey

MattToone_2 Matt Toone | Vice President, Sales & Solutions – Cold Chain

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

Whether you’re a convenience store (c-store) operator, quick-service restaurant (QSR), or a fast casual or fine dining establishment, ensuring food quality and safety is imperative to your success. In this blog, the second of a three-part series based on a recent E360 article, Minimizing Food Safety Risks From Farm to Fork, I explore the environmental factors and conditions putting food at risk as well as the food safety regulatory landscape.

Shedding Light on Food Safety During the Cold Chain Journey

About one in six Americans contracts a foodborne illness every year. That’s 48 million people, or roughly the population of the New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas metropolitan areas combined.

For a restaurant or c-store, a single outbreak of foodborne illness can result in thousands (or even millions) of dollars in fines. Add to that the potential for damage to your brand, and it can easily take years to recover from an incident.

The challenge for foodservice operators is that they are stationed at the end of a very long cold chain. That’s why it’s essential for them to understand how and where food safety and quality are most at risk. Armed with this knowledge, they will be better positioned to ensure that food is safe upon receipt.

Multiple factors put food safety at risk

From production and processing to transportation and cold storage, it can take days or even weeks for food to journey from farms to kitchens. At every point in that process, food safety can be compromised.

Harvesting practices can accelerate food spoilage. Improper processing and unsafe handling can introduce bacterial pathogens, such as E. coli and listeria, into the cold chain. Cross-contamination during shipping, storage and handling can amplify the risk of foodborne illness.

Unsurprisingly, temperature also plays a major — and sometimes overlooked — role in food safety. Optimal temperature ranges for produce, meats, dairy and frozen foods must be strictly maintained throughout the cold chain to preserve food quality. Deviations at any point can be an invitation for bacterial growth, not to mention a shorter shelf life.

Of course, operators have no control over how food is handled or stored prior to receipt. But that doesn’t make them any less susceptible to bad headlines should an outbreak occur under their watch. What they can and should do is meticulously review data logs prior to receipt to ensure the shipments were maintained at optimal conditions. And until the food is sold to a customer, operators must continue to ensure they are following safe food storage and handling practices in their own kitchens.

Managing regulatory expectations

With so much at stake, it’s easy to see why foodservice is such a tightly regulated industry. For restaurants and c-stores, though, this means an ever-higher bar on food safety and quality standards. As a result, operators must understand and navigate a new landscape of transparency and traceability. This is especially true as the regulatory focus increasingly shifts from reactive measures to proactive prevention. Going forward, operators at all links in the cold chain can expect greater requirements for monitoring and documenting food safety.

But there’s good news for foodservice operators: technology is on their side. Advances in refrigeration science, increased automation and the rise of internet of things (IoT) technologies are making it easier than ever to manage, maintain and monitor consistent temperature controls within the cold chain. Moreover, with more data available, operators have greater visibility into the conditions their food was subjected to on its long journey. As a result, they will be less “in the dark” about the products they stake their brands on.

We’ll explore this further in my next blog, which will focus on the cold chain journey and the technologies that are putting improved food safety within reach.

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