By Jonathan Tan, VP Energy Services
The AMS Group
Food stores are complex. What it takes to merchandise effectively, on one hand, and operate efficiently, on the other, can be at odds with each other. Heated cooler and freezer doors are a perfect example. Preventing condensation, or sweating, on low-temperature case doors is a must for merchandising and a good customer experience. Using heat to do it, however, has a significant downside for efficient operations.
The problem with heated doors
Put simply, heated doors are expensive to operate. In addition to the energy it takes to prevent condensation, refrigeration loads also increase in order to compensate for the added heat and maintain safe case temperatures. With these two factors alone, energy costs are in the ballpark of $200 per door per year. Utilities estimate wasted energy from leaky gaskets increases that figure by as much as $60 per door.
Gaskets are subject to a great deal of wear and tear due to case restocking and doors being constantly opened and closed. This results in air leakage that not only drives up energy use, it can also lead to ice formation in freezers, making products unappealing to shoppers and compromising temperature stability and food integrity. To prevent wasted energy and ensure a good customer experience, PVC gaskets need to be replaced every 3 to 5 years, which in turn drives up maintenance and operation expenses.
No-heat, no-sweat doors are part of a winning retrofit combination.
New materials and technologies used in retrofit solutions from Hillphoenix’s AMS Group change the game for grocers. The energy-free Eliminaator Renu™ door uses advanced door rail design, insulating materials, and heat-reflective glass that prevent door sweating without using heat – saving more than 1800 kWh of electricity per door per year.
However, eliminating door heat doesn’t solve the problem of gasket deterioration. For that, there are two more AMS solutions: improved gasket material and advanced door closing technology.
Our recently developed LifePlus Gasket™ uses materials (thermoplastic elastomers, or PTE) that form and maintain an air-tight seal at low temperatures and stand up to repeated door use far better than conventional PVC gaskets. The impact of closing doors is further reduced by Cloze Control™, advanced hold-open technology that lessens the force from 100 pounds to 20 pounds. It also improves the customer experience by eliminating the clumsy, annoying bang seen with some doors. In field and lab tests, using these two solutions together doubled the effective life of gaskets.
Payback in 2 years and superior performance for 10
Compared with a heated freezer door, Eliminaator Renu, with LifePlus Gaskets and Cloze Control, can save more than $2,300 per door in electricity and gasket replacement over its guaranteed life of 10 years. In a store with a 100-door lineup, that equates to saving $230,000 while making merchandising and the customer experience a top priority