|Julie Havenar | Director of Integrated Marketing, Cold Chain
Emerson’s Commercial & Residential Solutions Business
Self-contained refrigerated display cases have become essential fixtures in many food retail operations. Whether they’re used as spot merchandisers in larger stores, or as part of a distribution strategy in smaller-format outlets, these stand-alone systems offer merchandising flexibility while helping retailers achieve their sustainability goals. But checking all the boxes on an ever-expanding list of end-user preferences is no small feat for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). In a recent article that appeared in HVAC Insider, I explored how low-profile compressors are helping self-contained OEMs to address equipment design challenges. You can also view our formatted article here.
Over the past decade, shifting retail market trends and environmental regulations have helped to drive the emergence of self-contained display cases. Not only are these multi-purpose fixtures used in a variety of everyday scenarios, but they have also enabled food retailers to comply with refrigerant regulations and support their broader corporate sustainability initiatives.
Meeting all these end-user requirements presents a unique set of design challenges for OEMs, including a mix of sustainability and practical considerations:
- Utilize lower-global warming potential (GWP) A1 and A3 refrigerants
- Achieve high-energy efficiencies and/or ENERGY STAR® certification
- Maximize the available merchandising space
Balancing design considerations
The low charge refrigerant requirements of self-contained systems make them ideal candidates for R-290 —which has a GWP of 3 — as well also lower-GWP A1 refrigerants such as R-448A and R-449A. To Improve energy efficiencies or achieve ENERGY STAR certification, OEMs have deployed a variety of design strategies, including the use of large-capacity condenser coils. But these coils can take up precious merchandising space in the case itself and can leave less room for other key system components, including the compressor.
As a potential workaround, OEMs have adopted other design strategies such as placing the compressor and/or condensing unit on top of the case itself. Unfortunately, this strategy can create additional design drawbacks:
- Increasing the overall size of the case
- Limiting its aesthetic appeal
- Creating higher noise levels throughout a store
Recent advancements in low-profile compression technology offer a potential solution. By reducing the size of compressors used in these self-contained applications, Emerson is helping OEMs to achieve their customers’ regulatory compliance and sustainability goals — without sacrificing performance, merchandising space or the design aesthetic of their display cases.
Keeping a lower profile
Today, Copeland™ leads the industry in the development of low-profile, fractional and smaller horsepower (HP) scroll and hermetic compressors — in fixed and variable speed options. Our low-profile Copeland hermetic compressor models are ideal for many smaller, medium- and low-temperature, reach-in units and display cases.
Fixed speed hermetic models are available in fractional ranges from ⅛ to 1¼ HP. Variable-speed models enable modulation from ⅛ to ⅞ HP and include an integrated variable frequency drive (VFD) with a smart controller to deliver additional energy-efficiency gains. Refrigerant options include R-448/449A and R-290.
Low-profile, horizontal Copeland scroll compressors deliver industry-leading reliability, efficiency and low noise levels. They are available in fixed and variable-speed models:
- Fixed speed in ranges from 1 to 3 HP
- Variable-speed models can modulate from ½ to 4 HP
Our variable speed horizontal scroll compressors are also paired with our advanced Copeland VFDs, EVM/EVH series, which provides a variety of additional performance enhancements:
- Increased equipment reliability through proactive motor failure prevention
- Decreased susceptibility to power issues
- Reduced start/stop events
- Full system integration with Lumity™ E3 supervisory control platforms
Low-profile Copeland scroll compressors are approved for use with A1 and R-290 refrigerants today and will be qualified for use with A2L refrigerants in the future.
Copeland variable speed compressors utilize brushless permanent magnet (BPM) motors, rather than traditional induction motors, to deliver the energy efficiencies needed to achieve ENERGY STAR certification. Variable-capacity modulation also provides advanced temperature precision a multitude of other reliability and performance benefits.
High performance in small packages
By delivering high performance in small sizes and fractional horsepower ranges, the Copeland low-profile compression portfolio helps OEMs to overcome design limitations and achieve their customers’ energy efficiency, sustainability and merchandising goals.
For those seeking a full condensing unit solution, Emerson works closely with OEM customers in the design and development of condensing units that utilize our low-profile Copeland compression technology. Whether you need fractional HP hermetic or larger-capacity, horizontal scroll compressors — in fixed and variable speed options — Copeland’s low-profile compression solutions and condensing units enable you to meet a wide range of design specifications.