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Six Arguments that Make the Case for Case Control

In the U.S., the vast majority of refrigeration cases are controlled via circuit control. Yet, implementing individual case control leads to lower energy costs for retailers. At our 2014 Technology in Action Conference, we brought together three retail end users who are currently using case control in their supermarkets for a panel discussion on this topic. We addressed the benefits and challenges of installing case control, as well as asked the panelists to share their personal experiences with actual deployments.

During this discussion, a consensus emerged among the panel of retailers – each of whom is based in the Northeast region of the U.S., where there is currently a high concentration of case control stores. Each of the panelists shared that their companies are implementing case control in some way – as they remodel stores and build new facilities. As advocates for case control, they all agreed that its benefits and savings outweigh the potential challenges.

John Wallace (second on left) of Emerson Climate Technologies moderates a panel discussion on case control with retail end users (L to R): Steve Mitchell of King Kullen, Frank Vadino of Cold Technology and Kevin St. Phillips of Price Chopper.

John Wallace (second on left) of Emerson Climate Technologies moderates a panel discussion on case control with retail end users (L to R): Steve Mitchell of King Kullen, Frank Vadino of Cold Technology and Kevin St. Phillips of Price Chopper.

Below are six arguments – and some tips for successful implementation – from actual end users that make the case for case control:

  1. Case control installation is cost-effective. Installation with case control will be less expensive than the costs seen with a conventional mechanical valve store. With case control, you are able to drive down the electrical installation costs. Stores with conventional valves may also take longer to set up. Less time is spent on the case installation and set up with case control because a lot of the work can be done ahead of time; this allows the other store teams to work in conjunction with the case installation. You can set shelves, bring in groceries and burn off cooking equipment while the installation happens, rather than waiting until a case is full to the load line and environmental conditions are set.
  2. A kickoff meeting with prospective bidders is a crucial first step for a new project. When bidding a new project, it helps to ensure all parties involved understand the plan and specifications. A kickoff meeting allows you to sit down and explain the design methodology and how it differs from conventional systems. If you expect to see lower electrical installation costs, make sure you state this to the prospective bidders. It’s also important to have quality instruction documentation to support your project expectations.
  3. Training is critical when adopting case controls. Everyone involved needs to know how to use the equipment. Set up training for the mechanics so that they not only understand how the controls work, but also explain why you’ve elected to use case control. Making sure they understand the concept and getting the mechanics on board with case control can go a long way in helping them take ownership of the startup and maintenance of the equipment.
  4. When ordering new cases, have the controls mounted in the cases by the manufacturer. With high labor costs, you’ll see savings with ordering the controls already installed in new cases. You will still need to allocate time after the cases are installed to make sure that all connections are tight and the wiring is set up correctly, but opting for manufacturer installed controls will also allow for quicker installation.
  5. Use case controls to better manage your facility and your maintenance teams. Case controls provide a better level of visibility and control of your facilities. The data collected provides valuable information to help evaluate a problem and diagnose it properly. If something isn’t working correctly, technicians are able to call the supervision team, who has access to the system remotely, to help walk them through the issue. Technicians can also access system information on a smart phone or tablet while in the field. And, you can set restrictions to allow varying levels of access to the system information – or you can override the system, when needed. Electronic expansion valves can also help reduce truck rolls and decrease the inventory needed on technician trucks.
  6. There are different strategies for successful case control conversion. As case control is adopted by more retailers in the U.S., we’re seeing different approaches to case control conversion by various organizations. Some have opted to switch their stores to case control as they remodel, retrofitting the cases in any stores going through a remodel with electronic controls at that time. And for larger remodels, they may order new cases with the controls factory installed. Another method is to go into existing stores with conventional systems for an energy conversion project and retrofit the cases with electronic controls; this may be done with a controlled conversion, switching a few racks in a store at a time, or by converting the whole store. And with new builds, many opt to simplify the electrical construction by installing case control from the start.
John Wallace (far left) of Emerson Climate Technologies with retail customers (L to R): Frank Vadino of Cold Technology, Steve Mitchell of King Kullen and Kevin St. Phillips of Price Chopper.

John Wallace (far left) of Emerson Climate Technologies with retail customers (L to R): Frank Vadino of Cold Technology, Steve Mitchell of King Kullen and Kevin St. Phillips of Price Chopper.

For more information on Emerson Climate Technologies offering of case controls for supermarkets and convenience stores, please visit the XM Series Case Control page on our website.

John Wallace
Director of Innovation, Retail Solutions
Emerson Climate Technologies

Making Sense of Energy-Reduction Technologies — New Webinar Explores Case Controls and Electronic Expansion Valves

I’m excited to announce that I will be presenting the next installment of our Making Sense webinar series on November 19 at 2 p.m. EST. It gives me a chance demonstrate how case controls and electronic expansion (EX) valve technologies can be used to shift control from the rack to the case and, in turn, reduce energy consumption and operating costs.

Today, many retail refrigeration operators deploy systems that are based on traditional system configurations. Despite advances in technology, the status quo is to enable control of refrigeration cases through the electrical panel and/or refrigeration room (or rack house). This centralized method has been adopted in large part as the industry standard, even though it gives operators limited control of their refrigeration system as a whole. What many operators do not realize is that case controls and electronic expansion (EX) valves represent more modern, viable options — allowing operators to exercise more precise system control at the case level, thereby achieving substantial improvements in performance, energy efficiency and system flexibility.

By using case controls and EX valves to enable control at the case level, modern retail refrigeration systems have the flexibility to dictate automated superheat control on a case-by-case basis. And, it’s a fresh alternative that offers many short- and long-term advantages over traditional rack house controls, from simplified installation and faster startup sequences to lower condensing pressures, reduced maintenance costs and long-term, energy-saving opportunities.

I’ll explore all these concepts and more in the webinar, including:

  • Background information on case controls and EX valves
  • The economics of different control methods
  • The many benefits of EX valve controls
  • How to use case controls and EX valves to achieve energy savings and maintenance improvements

So join me on November 19 at 2 p.m. EST for this free webinar and learn more about the case for case controls and EX valves. It’s yet another way we’re helping the refrigeration industry MAKE SENSE of the issues that matter most. Register now by visiting our website at www.emersonclimate.com/makingsensewebinars.

John Wallace
Director of Product Management, Retail Solutions
Emerson Climate Technologies

Technology in Action: The Evolution of Facility Management Technology

This is the fifth in a series of posts on key presentations from Emerson’s 2013 Technology in Action Conference.

Facility management technology has changed dramatically over the past couple decades. In a general session at our 2013 Technology in Action Conference (TAC), John Wallace, director of product management at Retail Solutions, discussed this evolution of technology and provided a glimpse into the future of where controller technology is heading.

130702_TAC Post 5

Speaker Steve Mitchell of King Kullen shares his experience with case controls in a TAC general session

In addition to discussing the history of facility management systems and the various control strategies employed by retailers globally, TAC attendees also heard from a supermarket end user, Steve Mitchell, director of mechanical engineering at King Kullen, on his experience with these technologies over the last 30 years.

Headquartered in New York, King Kullen is known as “America’s first supermarket” and currently operates 46 stores. Steve shared his experience with the progression of case controls over the years, showing attendees the value in changing your control architecture to reduce costs and achieve energy savings.

See John talk about the session in this video and view the full presentation shared by John and Steve on the TAC website.

What technologies does your business use today to manage your facilities?

Reggie O’Donoghue
Director of Marketing, Retail Solutions
Emerson Climate Technologies

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