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Technological innovations abound as manufacturers make their latest case.

First major retail equipment show since creation of Single European Market draws exhibitors from USA as well as Continent to Dusseldorf.

It's shopfitting time, and European retail buyers were out in force this summer at EuroShop 93 in Dusseldorf to check out, among other things, the latest in refrigerated display cabinets and related equipment.

With a single European market of 345 million consumers served by more than three million retailers of all kinds, equipment makers were eager to show off their wares and customers were ready to deal, now that they don't have to worry about tariffs and other trade barriers. Recession or not, they have to modernize their fittings to keep up with the competition.

The refrigeration industry was well-represented at EuroShop 93, and had at least one built-in advantage: because of the Montreal protocol, retailers have to replace their refrigerated display cabinets with CFC-free models, even if their existing units aren't otherwise worn out or obsolete. But new refrigerants weren't the only pitch among the exhibitors, which included:

Ardco, Inc., Chicago, Illinois, USA, introduced the PowerLens lighting system for reach-in and walk-in display doors. The accessory is said to put 200% more illumination on products at the center of the shelf than a bare bulb, and yet reduce glare at the edge of the shelf by 70%. The unit incorporates a model T-8 fluorescent bulb that provides more lumens per watt and more accurate color rendering than larger-diameter bulbs. A plastic sleeve keeps cold air from reducing light emission.

Austria Hausetechnik Gesellschaft (AHT), Rottenmann, Austria, introduced a line of coffin-style cabinets with a number of advantages, including a "cold reserve" to ensure that goods remain frozen as long as 24 hours after a power failure. AHT units are said to cost only a third as much as conventional models, to use only half as much energy, and to eliminate both installation and maintenance costs. They are CFC-free, of course, and are also said to operate with hardly any noise and very little heat emission (each unit has only two 100-watt bulbs). A wide selection of accessories is also available.

Arctic Star, Dallas, Texas, USA, showed off its new in-store demonstration oven for frozen food. The Demo Cart 1 allows store employees to heat and serve samples right on the store floor. It comes complete with counter, cutting board, storage area and oven, all contained within a compact 41 by 44 inches, and is equipped with a four-plug electrical outlet, three-inch rubber caster wheels and a heavy-duty bumper guard.

Bonnet Neve (Societe Europeenne Industrielle de Froid), Chatou, France, boasted that its new line of CFC-free refrigerated display cabinets was designed in conjunction with the National Center for Scientific Research. All models in the line are ruggedly built, the company says, to combine space with economy. All use R-22 refrigerant, and polyurethane insulation with a 141B rating. The company is represented abroad by York International in Germany, FriJado in the Netherlands, Schatten in Belgium and Selfrio in Portugal.

Bangor Refrigeration Co., South Bend, Michigan, USA, introduced a new line of glass-door merchandisers with a new electronic lighting system and larger doors to provide maximum product visibility. The lighting system has been designed to provide a higher light output which increases illumination, eliminates glare and provides true product color representation. But it also lowers operating temperatures in the case, and thus reduces operating costs as well. In addition, a new coil design helps minimize defrost time and enhances overall performance. All Bangor glass door merchandisers feature narrow body designs (overall depth is only 34 inches), so that they take up less space while displaying the same amount of product. They also offer cantilevered shelving, and 100% CFC-free foam insulation and energy-efficient honeycomb air curtains that keep the temperature in the case constant. Two, three, four and five-door models are available.

Carter Refrigeration Display Ltd., Birmingham, England, came loaded for bear, figuratively speaking, with not only a line of display cabinets but a comprehensive refrigeration contracting service, modular cold-stores for inventory in back rooms, and an exclusive electronic control system called the Powerminder. The Powerminder is designed to cope with situations where refrigeration requirements fluctuate widely, assuring maximum energy savings combined with optimal environmental control and heat reclamation. Panels for the modular cold stores, made with CFC-free materials, are 400 to 1,200 mm in width, with insulation 80, 100 or 125mm thick.

Costan S.p.A., Limana, Italy, introduced a number of items, including the Forest 2000 line of cabinets designed for really big frozen food departments. The idea behind the line is for the units, large as they are, to show off the goods instead of themselves: design features include unobtrusive canopies, cut-back plinths, rounded features and silk-screen decoration on glazed ends. An added element of merchandising flexibility is provided by shelving slots with a 25mm pitch, and integrated lighting circuits. Costan also showed its Green Forest line of open and glass-door vertical cabinets for medium to large QFF departments, and its Concert line of self-contained cabinets with integral condensing units.

Danfoss, Nordborg, Denmark, emphasized its ADAP-KOOL electronic regulation and monitoring system for in-store refrigeration plants. Options include the AK 10, AK 20 and AK 30 units for small, medium and large compressor systems. The latest wrinkle is the Master 2000 computer system for use with ADAP-KOOL. With the click of a mouse or a keyboard, operators can call up detailed pictures of cabinets and compressor plants, plus such crucial information as air temperatures at inlet and outlet (not to mention the calculated product temperature), refrigerant temperature both before and after the evaporator, and the opening degree of the expansion valve. Danfoss also stressed that its cabinets are designed to meet the more stringent standards being imposed by the European Community (already in effect in the UK) as regards maximum temperatures.

Electrolux CR AB, Arvika, Sweden, promoted its secondary coolant system, which keeps CFCs and their interim replacements, HCFCs, away from the retail cabinets themselves by using them only at a distance to cool a mixture of water and an antifreeze such as alcohol or glycol that is circulated through the cabinets. Because the units are designed to accommodate only the secondary refrigerants, they won't have to be replaced if future regulations require replacement of HCFCs or HFCs as primary refrigerants. Not only that, but the Electrolux system needs only 20% as much primary refrigerant as a conventional system. It also has the advantage of operating with small, quiet compressors. Not that Electrolux didn't also have a whole lot of new cabinet designs to show off. These included UH single and UI back-to-back gondolas with semi-height glass sides, two huge wall cabinets with dual air screens for hypermarkets and really large supermarkets, and several impulse display fixtures, including the Crystal COI 17 and the COI/COG 34, both of which feature glass sidewalls for maximum product exposure.

Hussman Manufacturing, Glasgow, Scotland, offered the EuroVision line of twin-zone multi-deck meat and dairy cases. Developed with input from customer research, the line was designed at Hussman's state-of-the-art research and development center to provide better merchandising display with lower running costs. It includes a wide range of chilled and frozen models, including wide island, double island, roll-in dairy, single-deck wall, multi-deck wall, pizza case, etc.

Linde AG, Cologne, Germany, introduced its AIBV 75/85M gondola-type cabinet with 370mm glazing and built-in dividers to create attractive merchandising displays 1.5 meters wide. Six displays on a side can be accommodated by the unit, which also features an automatic lid that can be closed overnight to save energy when a store is closed. The AIBV 75/85M is also designed for easy stocking by store personnel as well as maximizing product visibility, and cannot be imitated by other manufacturers, Linde says.

Novum Refrigeration Technology, Dublin, Ireland, had two unique products to show off: a curved glass-lid frozen food cabinet, and a similar unit for ice cream. The frozen food version is available in both sliding door and lift-up versions; both feature condensation-free glass lids, tamper-proof thermostats, 60mm high-density polyurethane insulation and high-efficiency compressors. Options include casters or rollers, protective bumpers, internal dividers and price marker strips. Basics and options are much the same for the ice cream freezer.

York International, Mannheim, Germany, offered a wide range of retail cabinets, including both open and glass-door models. But it also makes available a wide range of related products and services, including modular-design refrigerators, cold storage and deep-freeze cells, pre-assembled compact units, networked installations and heat recovery systems. Such equipment and services can be tailored to retailers' individual needs, and York is right up there with CFC-free and energy-saving technology; it even offers retailers round-the-clock protection with its Teleguard remote monitoring system.

Zero Zone Refrigerator Manufacturing Co., Waukesha, Wisconsin, USA, rolled out a new line of Freez-R-Mart upright display cabinets that offer optimum display and efficiency through such features as 1,500-amp vertical lighting with "Color Burst" non-glare bulbs to improve the appearance of the food, stainless steel fronts for years of quality appearance and custom-painted exteriors to match any store decor, white-baked enamel interior finish that is easy to clean, rustproof and highly reflective to enhance display appearance, greater capacity to accommodate more product while at the same time reducing the amount of time spent filling the case, and foamed-in-place urethane insulation that is the thickest in the industry to maximize energy efficiency.

Master-Bilt Products, New Albany, Mississippi, USA, debuted its Endless (Models EM/EL) line of medium and low-temperature cabinets for supermarkets, convenience stores and other outlets requiring a linear refrigerated merchandising system. Endless cabinets are available in two, three, four, five and six-door models, which can be inter-linked to create a custom system of almost any length. Half-hexagon shaped units are available for end caps. The doors, 24 or 30 inches wide, are of triple pane fog-resistant glass, and the hinges offer adjustable torsion control to minimize the loss of cold air when shoppers open the doors. A durable white polyester interior finish eases clean-up, and vertical lighting shows off products to their best advantage.

UK, Sweden the European Champions In Home Freezers, Microwave Ovens

People are more likely to own a home freezer in Britain than in any other European country. But Sweden has the edge when it comes to microwave oven ownership.

According to statistics compiled by European frozen food associations, 96% of all British households have a freezer, compared to 90% each in Sweden and Denmark. But 58% of all Swedish households have microwaves, vs. 56% in Britain. Virtually everyone in Europe, of course, at least has a refrigerator compartment -- 98.5% in the Netherlands, for example, vs. 47.5% for freezers per se.

Some countries reported 1992 sales of home freezers, refrigerators and microwaves. In the Netherlands, for example, home freezer sales were 150,000, refrigerator-freezer sales 510,000 and microwave sales 350,000. Tiny Finland sold 101,690 microwave ovens and 111,952 home freezers, vs. only 13,767 refrigerator freezers. Norway reported microwave oven sales of 80,000, but didn't have the figures for refrigerators or freezers.

Switzerland distinguished not only between vertical (82,133) and horizontal (20,118) home freezers, but between "pure" (52,257) and combined (17,337) microwave ovens. But it lumped all refrigerator sales (259,226) together, regardless of freezer compartment status. Italy estimated that 55% of its microwave oven sales were "pure," as opposed to 45% combined, but didn't give any figures -- and left home freezer and refrigerator lines blank on survey forms.

The Danish Scene

Denmark, which talks more about its frozen food industry than any other country in Europe, reported on year-to-year trends. Horizontal freezer sales were up eight percent, from 69,391 to 75,090 units. Vertical freezers fell slightly, from 26,954 to 26,920, and refrigerator freezer sales were up one percent from 109,870 to 111,330. Microwave oven sales, however, dropped sharply from 125,000 to 83,000, apparently due to the troubled economy. Sweden didn't give trends, but reported sales of 280,000 microwave ovens and 195,000 freezers (130,000 vertical, 65,000 horizontal).

Scottish Salmon Processor Opens Office in Germany

Aberdeen, Scotland-based Allan and Dey Ltd. has opened an office in Dortmund, Germany, to better address the European market. Mark Sawdon heads up the operation, which was established in collaboration with the Eurogateway Project, a partnership of European development agencies set up by the EC.

Allan and Dey produces over 2,000 tons of salmon at eight fish farms in Scotland. In addition to frozen and fresh salmon, its product line includes whitefish and other species available whole as well as in IQF, battered/breaded steak or fillet form. The company presently exports some 70% of output--mainly to France, Switzerland, Holland, Italy and Belgium.

"We chose Dortmund because of its location at the heart of the 'Golden Triangle' in the middle of one of the most heavily populated areas of Europe," said John Masson, managing director. "This is a readily available market that has not yet been properly examined by exporters from the United Kingdom."
COPYRIGHT 1993 E.W. Williams Publications, Inc.
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Title Annotation:Trends in Merchandising Cabinets; refrigerated display cabinets and related products
Publication:Quick Frozen Foods International
Date:Oct 1, 1993
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