Outdoor condensing units (OCUs) have been a mainstay for small refrigeration applications for decades. In an upcoming webinar, we will review recent OCU technology innovations that utilize digital compressors to achieve the many benefits of variable-capacity modulation. This informative webinar will take place on Tuesday, June 9 at 2 p.m. EDT/11 a.m. PDT.
Commonly used by small-format grocers, convenience stores and restaurants, OCUs have traditionally provided refrigeration for walk-in coolers, display cases and food preparation rooms. By equipping this proven refrigeration strategy with digital compressors, OCUs can provide a greatly expanded role in refrigeration applications. We will explore these new possibilities by taking a closer look at Emerson’s Copeland Digital Outdoor Refrigeration Unit, X-Line Series.
Instead of providing one refrigeration load per unit, the digital X-Line allows operators to service multiple refrigeration loads with one unit — potentially eliminating the need for multiple condensing units. In addition, their ability to modulate capacity per refrigerated load requirements enables precise temperature control and load matching for maximum energy efficiencies.
Webinar attendees will learn how the digital X-Line delivers major advancements to outdoor refrigeration:
Fewer units to install and maintain
Tight temperature precision
Simple and quick commissioning
Lightweight and flexible installation options
Reduced costly call-backs via advanced diagnostics
Lowered refrigerant charge and line sets
Unlike traditional OCUs that utilize a fixed-capacity compressor, the digital X-Line enables continuous capacity modulation from 20 to 100 percent to deliver significant reductions in energy consumption and refrigeration improvements. This advanced compression technology — combined with variable-speed fan motor control, large-capacity condenser coils, and smart protection and diagnostics — provides operators with a state-of-the-art OCU solution that’s ideal for meeting today’s challenging refrigeration requirements.
To learn more about the benefits of variable-capacity modulation in OCUs, register now for this free webinar.
Jason Born | Innovation Lead, The Helix Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions
During our E360 Forum last year in Houston, I led a Q&A panel discussion on the trends and market forces impacting the refrigeration landscape in food retail. Sharing their thoughts and insights were industry experts Derek Gosselin, director, technical product support, Hillphoenix; and Brad Thrasher, south central regional sales manager, Zero Zone. Below are some of their views on key trends; view the full E360 Forum presentation.
The Changing Face of Food Retail
Thirsty from wandering the aisles of your local grocery megamart? How about a craft beer break? Or maybe shopping for food just makes you hungry. Grocery shoppers today can virtually eat their way around the world as in-store food bazaars offer freshly prepared ethnic fare: Mexican “street food”, noodle bowls and wood-fired pizza. No time to shop? There’s always curbside pick-up of weekly grocery staples on your way home from work — just click and collect. And today, going small has never been bigger, with millennials and Generation Z flocking to urban areas and higher-density living. It’s no surprise that smaller-footprint grocery and food specialty stores are popping up in mixed-use buildings that were never intended to support things like complex refrigeration or HVAC systems.
Yes, the face of food retail is changing. And with this change comes a host of new opportunities (and challenges) for commercial refrigeration. I’ve summarized some of the key takeaways from this informative question and answer session.
On e-commerce, omnichannel and digital shopping
The first topic of discussion was the impact of the digital shopping trend. Today, more consumers are shopping for groceries online. I asked the panelists how brick-and-mortar retailers were responding.
Thrasher: I’ve seen some reports (FMI-Nielsen) that say that online grocery sales could grab up to 20 percent of the market. That seems pretty aggressive to me. But it’s definitely a rising trend. Traditional food retailers are responding by adding services like curbside pick-up. They are making home deliveries. You have to adapt to whatever direction the market is going.
Gosselin: For the retailers, it’s about what identifies them as different. Amazon is driving sales directly online. What can you offer to differentiate yourself, not only from online shopping, but the competition in your marketplace? Many stores have found success creating destination centers within their produce and other perimeter departments: food preparations, beer and wine tastings, restaurants, meals-to-go programs. That’s where the trends are going to be. And, of particular interest to everyone here: How do make sure you have appropriate refrigeration at these dynamic destination centers so that they can control your food quality and get it efficiently distributed?
On Click & Collect
Building on the idea of curbside service, I asked our panelists about the grocery pick-up lockers that are popping up everywhere and what that might mean for the future.
Gosselin: If you’re going to offer perishables as part of your curbside pick-up, you’re going to need to incorporate refrigeration. And it’s not just with in-store Click & Collect programs. I’ve also seen trends where retailers will place a portable refrigerated unit on your porch, so when they deliver fresh food or frozen items, they have a convenient and appropriately refrigerated location. Most consumers are probably not going to give you the key to their home.
Thrasher: Many stores are looking at self-contained or hybrid systems. Future refrigeration will need to be more flexible so that retailers can expand quickly and easily. If your curbside (pick-up) starts minimally but grows quickly, you’ll want a flexible, easy-to-implement solution so you can move quickly to serve customer demand.
Curbside pick-up is a relatively recent phenomenon. To add it as service, you have to dedicate and adapt more space in your store. But that doesn’t come without cost and questions. As we all know, for everything new you add in-store, something else will probably need to come out.
On the future
Before jumping into an audience Q&A, I asked the panelists how their retailers are dealing with change and some of the main factors driving their refrigeration decisions.
Thrasher: No one knows with certainty where the future will go. Some decisions will continue to be informed by technology and regulatory changes. And, certainly, costs always play a critical role. With refrigerants, for example, as regulations come, they may eliminate possibilities. It’s hard to go “all in” into a refrigerant when it could eventually be obsoleted, driving costs up for replacements. The same concept applies to system architectures.
Gosselin: How do you get in front of change? Do you go micro-distributed? Do you use natural refrigerants? What technologies will be developed in answer to changing rules?
For the end user, the challenge is not only what do they have to do to maintain their current fleet of stores, but what are they going to do for future stores so that they don’t add to the problems? And then how do they do that under a cost-effective and compliant refrigerant management program?
Thrasher: The bottom line is that there’s simply no one solution for everyone. Every retailer has a different set of objectives and challenges, influenced by regulations, technology and costs, but ultimately driven by the evolving needs of the markets they serve.
Ed McKiernan | President, Cold Chain, Electronics & Solutions
Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions
Before the doors open at the AHR Expo on January 15, join us at 8:30 a.m. for our E360 Breakfast. There you’ll get a firsthand regulatory update and gain insights during the contractor panel discussion as your peers share how they’re navigating in today’s ever-changing industry.
Because the regulatory world is dynamic, it can sometimes be challenging to stay current on the latest information. Jennifer Butsch, Emerson’s regulatory affairs manager, will highlight some of the latest regulations to help ensure you’re up to speed.
Then you’ll have the opportunity to gain perspective from the contractor panel discussion, which will be moderated by Talbot Gee, CEO of HARDI. We’ll explore how others are handling today’s challenging issues, evaluate new ideas and emerging technologies, and conclude with a Q&A session where you can pose some of your most pressing questions.
Afterward, you’ll be ready to hit the AHR Expo floor. We hope your first stop is the Emerson booth (#B2219), where you can take a close look at some of our exciting technologies:
Copeland Scroll™ Fractional Horsepower, Low-temperature Compressor — the AHR Innovation Award winner uses new liquid-injection and cooling discharge technologies to reduce compressor stress, meet federal regulatory requirements, and help achieve energy and sustainability goals without sacrificing productivity or efficiency
Emerson’s Supervisory Controls — an AHR Building Automation Award finalist, this total-facility platform helps retailers large and small monitor, optimize and control their refrigeration systems, HVAC, lighting and more
Copeland Outdoor Refrigeration Unit (X-Line) — see how leading retailers are saving space, improving efficiencies and reducing noise, rather than using self-contained or rack refrigeration systems
ProAct™ Software and Services — combine smart mobile alert software with ProAct service experts for continuous monitoring, full-time support and consulting
Copeland Scroll K5 Compressors — learn more about this family of digital and analog compressors that apply liquid and vapor injection for superior efficiency
Connect+ Software — see the unveiling of our newest software suite designed to utilize IoT to provide advanced operational efficiencies across a multi-site retail network
Register now to reserve your seat at this informative, idea-filled E360 Breakfast — a great way to start your day at AHR!
Dean Landeche | Vice President of Marketing , Cold Chain Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions
Join us for our next E360 Webinar, “Pioneering Natural Refrigerants: A Grocery Case Study” on Thursday, April 26 at 2 p.m. EDT / 11 a.m. PDT.
Few food retailers have staked their reputation on environmentally friendly practices more than the natural foods industry leader, Whole Foods Market. At the heart of Whole Foods Market’s sustainability initiatives is their pioneering approach to the use of refrigeration architectures based entirely on ultra-low GWP, natural refrigerants — a strategy that makes them one of the first retailers in the United States to embrace propane (R-290) in their stand-alone display cases.
In our next E360 webinar, we will give you an opportunity to hear firsthand from Tristam Coffin, director of sustainability and facilities for Whole Foods Market’s northern California region, as he discusses the factors driving the retailer’s pioneering strategy of natural refrigerant use.
We will also provide an update on the regulations governing the use of R-290, including the potential changes to charge limits and evolving safety standards. Finally, for an OEM perspective, the webinar will feature a leading manufacturer of R-290 stand-alone commercial refrigeration equipment — one which has recently migrated its entire stand-alone product line to R-290.
Webinar attendees will learn:
The latest global regulations governing R-290 use
Drivers behind Whole Foods’ natural refrigerant strategy and R-290 adoption
An OEM perspective on making R-290 the basis of its stand-alone units
Whether it’s low-charge ammonia, CO2 refrigeration architectures or R-290 in stand-alone units, natural refrigerants are becoming more commonplace in commercial refrigeration. For retailers like Whole Foods, these alternatives are part of their mission to conduct environmentally friendly business practices.
This webinar will provide a unique opportunity to gain a 360-degree perspective on the subject of natural refrigerants, from the component manufacturer to the OEM to the end user. If you would like to hear multiple sides of the natural refrigerant story, please join us for this informative webinar on Thursday, April 26 at 2 p.m. EDT / 11 a.m. PDT.
Getting Comfortable with Designer Air, a new webinar series on how modulation technologies are enabling enhanced comfort and improved efficiency in homes and businesses around the U.S. This webinar series is designed specifically for air conditioning contractors and facility managers to become more informed on the latest information about compressor modulation and the role it plays in enabling ‘Designer Air’.
Commercial & Residential Solutions is a global innovator of energy-efficient heating, air conditioning and refrigeration solutions for residential, industrial and commercial applications. www.climate.emerson.com