Studies on the life cycle cost analysis of refrigerated display cabinet and plug-in – with a special focus on the Beverage market – show positive trends in reference to energy consumption.
And there’s more: the improvements provided by technological innovation are increasing the average life of the machines, with a subsequent reduction in maintenance costs.
The hidden costs of refrigerated display cabinet
First, we must take a moment to focus on the so-called hidden costs of refrigerated display cabinet and plug-ins. These are maintenance costs, which are often not taken into consideration when first making a purchase. The so-called TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) includes both the initial purchase cost and the life cost (which includes maintenance and energy consumption).
In the case of refrigerated plug-ins, the TCO, on top of the initial cost, also includes maintenance and repair costs.
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An overview of consumption of refrigerating machines available on the market today
When homing in on the aspect of energy consumption, based on close analyses of the market, various interesting assessments emerge:
1) Traditional commercial refrigerators/freezers use between 2 and 3 times as much energy as models featuring the best energy efficiency available on the market today.
2) The research and development of innovative solutions have, so far, focused on household appliances that, to date, use between 5 and 10 times less energy compared with models used in the commercial sector.
Fortunately, even in the context of commercial appliances, there is a shift towards efficiency and savings.
Energy savings indices for the best technologies available on the market are between 54% and 67%.
The elements that help extend the life cycle of a refrigerated display cabinetThe design of new plug-ins, especially for the beverage sector, has so far focused mostly on reducing production costs rather than improvements in terms of costs sustained during a product’s life cycle.
But this trend is changing, and it is interesting to analyse a series of measures that enable optimizing the maintenance costs of machines in addition to consumption. Equipment suppliers, in order to manufacture products in line with these goals, have to work on technological innovations such as:
- More efficient compressors that enable better energy savings and lower sensitivity to power fluctuations. A COP level (Coefficient Of Performance) of 1.83 is the average value of a compressor installed on a modern household refrigerator. Previously, this figure was markedly greater than the typical values for compressors of commercial refrigerators. Based on customers’ requirements, the manufacturers of the best performing plug-ins have developed more efficient machines, approaching the efficiency of household refrigerator compressors. Furthermore, variable-speed compressors, recently introduced to the market, offer longer life in terms of usage.
- More efficient ventilation fans have been introduced with new-generation motors that can reduce fan consumption by a factor of 3.
- Thicker insulating walls and insulated glass doors for closed displays, even though market trends are clearly shifting towards open plug-ins due to their natural tendency to promote impulse purchases.
- Increased performance of heat exchangers tending towards lower maintenance costs .
- New condensers modelled on being maintenance-free, to reduce/eliminate maintenance interventions.
- Old lighting systems are increasingly replaced with low-consumption LED systems. There is a multiplier effect here as well, as the energy consumed for lighting is transformed into heat inside the machine, without forgetting that LED systems are much longer lasting.
- Energy management system controllers that ensure that the temperatures of the compartment are higher during periods in stand-by mode.
In view of the data and, more generally, market analyses, the big players in the field of refrigerated display production are turning towards new equipment developed based on the most efficient technological innovations.In addition to energy savings, the most consistent advantages concern the marked extension of the products’ life cycle.
Leading sector companies, such as EPTA with their IARP brand products, who are offering machines with a high added value in terms of robustness of interior accessories, reduce maintenance costs and the replacement of operating parts, as much as possible.
Overall, technological innovation, if correlated to the overall price of these machines, contributes to improving the “value for money” element for those companies purchasing latest-generation products.