Sector is renewing and growing through various transformations.
Changes in consumer behavior and legislation coupled with the need to contain costs and seek a more advanced stance from the point of view of sustainability bring new challenges and opportunities.
One of the most important segments in commercial refrigeration is supermarkets. They have large areas dedicated to perishable products that require refrigeration: from frozen to cold, including dairy products, meats, beverages, fruit juices, among others.
It is a very dynamic sector that is constantly evolving, following what happens in society and adapting to economic transformations and the requirements of the legislation. At present, three major axes of change affect these establishments, with direct impact on how refrigeration is used in them. Understand them, to find out how you too can adapt.
The first of these changes is related to new store formats, different from the conventional super and hypermarkets to which we are accustomed. In this line, we see both the growth of neighborhood stores (within the express concept) and the “atacarejos” (cash & carry, or pay and go concept).
“With regard to the express concept, this is a trend already consolidated in the big cities due to several factors, starting with the search for greater comfort by the consumer and also involving the economy of time, something increasingly important in modern society,” explains Fernando Fischer , Embraco’s New Business Development Manager.
Major supermarket chains have invested heavily in this mode in recent years, opening hundreds of stores with brands such as Minuto Pão-de-Açúcar, Dia%, Carrefour Express, Todo Dia, Minimercado Extra, Compre Bem and others.
You may be wondering: what does this have to do with refrigeration?
The answer is simple: restricting space in smaller supermarkets leads to the need for more compact options in terms of cooling systems that also generate less noise. In this scenario, solutions with compressors incorporated into refrigeration equipment gain space at the expense of systems with engine rooms or remote cooling.
Atacarejos and super/hypermarkets have also pointed in this direction, but the need for large thermal loads and the availability of a larger space means that stores in these formats use other solutions already consolidated in the market. “For these stores, the concept of embedded equipment is also valid. However, due to the existence of large refrigeration chambers and refrigerated storage areas, the tendency is for a greater division between remote refrigeration, with engine rooms, and built-in refrigeration,” says Fischer.
In addition to the change in the format of the stores, another trend is the use of natural refrigerants instead of synthetic refrigerants. Due to new regulations and increased environmental awareness in society, the use of soft drinks such as propane (R290) and CO2 has become more frequent.
While propane is especially suited for smaller systems and embedded equipment, CO2 is a major trend for engine room and remote cooling.
“When it comes to engine rooms and semi-hermetic compressors, CO2 is a preferred choice for manufacturers and supermarket chains as it is a natural, high-efficiency fluid solution. Each year the cost of such a solution is becoming more attractive,” says Fischer.
The third trend in the supermarket segment is the search for the maximum reduction in the consumption of electricity.
Mainly because of the increase in energy prices in recent years, all networks, from large to small, have given special attention to the issue.
The great change that resulted from this concern was the introduction of doors in the displays, counters and islands. Keeping cold better in systems has been shown to be the best way to reduce energy consumption. The idea that doors in equipment could reduce sales at the facility has already been overcome.
For cooling, this impacts on a lower need for thermal load and the built-in systems have gained space because of this new reality.
Another change linked to the reduction in energy consumption is the increasing use of solutions that modulate the capacity of refrigeration systems. This is the case of frequency inverters and capacity controls, the latter being widely used in semi-hermetic compressors.
Despite the higher initial cost of purchasing equipment with these technologies, energy savings outweigh the amount invested.
Embraco with more strength in supermarkets
Embraco has been following the evolution in the supermarket sector and developing solutions that meet the needs created by these three major changes:
• The brand new Fullmotion FMFT413U variable speed compressor, which uses propane and is ideal for built-in freezers;
• The Plug n’ Cool sealed unit using conventional compressor or Fullmotion, with propane, suitable for vertical displays with doors;
• The Dorin line of semi-hermetic compressors, already consolidated in Europe and in an upward curve in Brazil, being present in local supermarket chains, with several options of refrigerants including CO2 Subcritical and Transcritical CO2.
“The main objective of Embraco is to be a complete provider of refrigeration solutions for this segment, meeting the most diverse store formats and preferences of end customers, either by the concept of incorporated refrigeration or by the concept of remote refrigeration and engine room,” Fischer concludes.
For technicians, here are two tips. The first is to be able to deal with systems with new refrigerant fluids such as propane and CO2. And the second is to stay tuned about changes in system concepts to be prepared for all situations.
Embraco solutions for supermarkets
Fullmotion FMFT413U Compressor
• Latest generation of variable speed compressors.
• Ideal for use in built-in freezers.
• High energy efficiency.
• Uses natural refrigerant (propane).
• Bi-volt frequency inverter.
• Low noise level.
• Produced by the traditional Italian manufacturer Dorin and distributed in Brazil through the partnership between Embraco and this company.
• Available for R404A, R134a, Subcritical CO2, Transcritical CO2, Propane.
• Interchangeable with the best selling models on the market.
• Embraco guarantees stock, spare parts and technical assistance in Brazil.
Plug n’ Cool sealed unit
• Full plug-in unit.
• Ideal for use in closed vertical displays.
• Plug-and-play concept for easy installation and maintenance.
• Uses natural refrigerant (propane).
• Choice of condensation with air or water.
• Compressor of very high efficiency and low noise level.