In response to a growing environmental trend towards supermarkets retrofitting glass doors to open chill cabinets, the UK’s leading refrigerated cabinet manufacturer Verco is launching the Dorking: a new hinged glass-door version of its renowned Kingston open-chill cabinet.
Explaining the background to the initiative, Verco development director Mike Nicholls says the drive to reduce energy usage, improve carbon footprint and cut costs is encouraging Britain’s supermarkets to retrofit glass doors to the widely used 1250mm module open-chill cabinets fitted to existing sites. The benefits are significant, with refrigeration engineers quoting 25% energy savings without affecting the greater merchandising space that has been the main reason for retailers specifying open cabinets rather than glass-door cabinets whenever they can.
The other significant factor is customer convenience, which is greatly improved as the two 625mm doors required to retrofit a 1250mm open cabinet are much more space efficient in supermarket aisles than the doors currently fitted to the ‘standard’ 900mm glass-door cabinets adopted by most. Having several 900mm cabinet doors open, especially on both sides of a supermarket aisle, will seriously impeded customer footfall, and too many may even discourage shoppers from entering the aisle at all.
Offering an indication of the likely energy-saving benefits, Mike Nicholls says a typical 2500mm open-chill cabinet requires a 2HP compressor, whereas the same cabinet fitted with doors can provide similar performance with a 1½ HP compressor, which suggests an environmentally-friendly energy saving of around 25% and a similar and equally attractive cost saving.
The Dorking, like the Kingston it is based on, is an integral cabinet with its own refrigeration system. Unlike traditional integral glass-door cabinets the Dorking can therefore be multiplexed to provide long, visually continuous runs similar to those achieved with open-chill cabinets, whilst also being dimensionally similar.
Verco says the Dorking will be available with R404a refrigerant at launch, but will be offered as soon as possible with the new generation of synthetic refrigerants currently being developed, which have zero ODP and therefore, a greatly reduced GWP. The Dorking’s environmental credentials are further enhanced and ‘future-proofed’ with optional EC fans and LED lighting, which is now commercially viable and provides both energy and temperature reductions of approximately one third. As Mike Nicholls points out, this creates a win/win situation as the lower heat of EC fans and LED lighting mean that compressors aren’t working so hard, therefore energy usage is also reduced!
Sainsbury’s is the first supermarket to specify the new cabinets. To date, four stores are equipped with Dorking models and others are scheduled.
The three models in the Dorking range – D250 (2500mm with 4 doors), D195 (1950mm with 3 doors) and D125 (1250mm with 2 doors) – are the same as the Kingston range on which it is based. Verco will also retrofit doors to installed Kingston cabinets on request and, whilst Dorking models will initially be fitted with hinged doors, a range with sliding doors is also being considered.
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