Equipment evolution

From total design overhauls to energy-saving equipment upgrades, smart supermarket operators continually invest in their stores.

By Kim Ann Zimmermann

While it may not have been the “Recovery Summer” that had been forecast, supermarkets are seeking strategies for maintaining and gaining market share as the economy slowly turns around.

One of the biggest investments that grocers can make in their futures is in design, equipment and operations. They obviously need to keep the refrigerators, merchandisers and other systems running, but they also need to evaluate equipment and design updates that will keep customers engaged going forward.

While some may sit on the sidelines, waiting for the customers to come before revamping their operations, experts agree that the savvy retailers get out in front.

Following are some of the latest in equipment and design offerings that are enticing supermarkets to invest.

1. Advance Lifts
Advance Lifts, Inc., based in St. Charles, Ill., announces the Instant Dock 6568 as the newest addition to the industries largest and most complete line of dock lifts. Company officials say that Advance Lifts is the industry’s largest manufacturer of dock lifts and uses all tubular legs for maximum rigidity. Advance Lifts also offers stainless steel, galvanized, FDA epoxy and enamel finishes. For more than 35 years, Advance Lifts, Inc. has been manufacturing loading dock equipment, work positioners, lifts tables, recycling equipment and packaging equipment.

2. Alto-Shaam
The CombiTouch control for Alto-Shaam’s Combitherm CombiOven was unveiled at the National Restaurant Association show and was awarded the Kitchen Innovations (KI) Award. According to officials for the Menomonee Falls, Wis.-based company, CombiTouch has been in development for more than one and a half years. While the touch screen control itself is innovative, Combitherm with CombiTouch offers many new functions, including intuitive touch interface with graphic controls; an excellent memory that stores to 250 recipes; six levels of browning for consistent browning levels; and superior baking with the new two-speed reversing fan. Multi-shelf timers tracks cooking times of either seven or 10 (depending on oven size) different food items in the same oven.

3. Americana Companies
Americana Companies, Inc. is a family-owned business that prides itself on manufacturing 100% of its carts in the U.S. According to officials, the Shenandoah, Iowa-based company offers a total cart management program for shopping carts. Americana manufactures new wire and plastic shopping carts, offers on-site national repair and parts replacement for existing carts, and recycles old rusted carts. The company picks up and delivers in the lower 48 states and offers a recycle program for removal of old, worn and rusted out carts when remodeling or upgrading equipment. There is a five-year warranty on all parts and labor, according to company executives.

4. Amtekco
According to officials for Co­lumbus, Ohio-based Amte­kco, they can handle every aspect of a grocer’s foodservice merchandising needs. From engineering, design, manufacturing and distribution, they can seamlessly manage kitchen equipment, merchandisers, food bars, refrigerated and heated display cases, sinks, seating,  interior design and more. Operating out of a 200,000-square-foot manufacturing facility consolidates enables retailers to consolidate their business under one roof, providing one invoice and one point of contact.

St. Louis-based BAERO North America Inc., a manufacturer of quality luminaires specifically designed for supermarkets, offers a full line of fixtures that use the extremely energy efficient BAERO Bright Star lamp. According to company officials, the 70-watt version of this ceramic metal halide lamp delivers 104 lumens per watt. Twice as efficient as the average mark of 50 lumens per watt of the interior LEDs available today, company officials say the BAERO BBS also provides grocery stores the clarity and light quality that sets ceramic metal halides apart.

6. Big Ass Fans
The 12- to 20-foot diameter Element by Big Ass Fans works with HVAC systems to move large volumes of air in retail spaces, reducing energy costs,  improving personal comfort and minimizing waste caused by spoilage. Working with HVAC systems, Element reduces energy costs by evenly distributing cool air, reducing the load on high-energy air handling systems, according to executives for the Lexington, Ky.-based firm. In the winter, it circulates warm air at the ceiling down the occupants, reducing heating costs by 15% to 30%.

7. Con-Tech Lighting
The latest high-performance LED track lighting is available from Northbrook, Ill.-based Con-Tech Lighting. The Optica LED is offered in 18- and 27-watt versions with a 3000K temperature and three beam spreads. The Optica LED is perfect for specialty displays and emits no ultraviolet or infrared light—which company officials say is ideal for perishable products. Further, the Optica offers 50,000 hours of life and a five-year warranty.

8. Crown Equipment Corp.
The Crown SR 5000 Series of moving-mast reach trucks from New Bremen, Ohio-based Crown Equipment Corp. features a cold store cabin that allows operators to remain productive in harsh environments where temperatures can reach as low as minus 20F. According to company officials, the truck is a perfect fit for food and beverage applications where lift heights up to 450 inches are often required. The truck is designed to lessen the impact of cold conditions and ensure optimum reach truck performance, energy savings and minimal maintenance in cold temperature environments.

9. Cummins-Allison
The FastPay dispensing unit from Mt. Prospect, Ill.-based Cummins-Allison speeds sales while satisfying customers and staff, according to company officials. The FastPay cash dispensing feature on Cummins-Allison self-service coin redemption machines provides their customers with immediate cash for shopping, rather than having to wait in line and taking an extra step to get their money. FastPay also frees up time for store personnel to concentrate on other value-added activities. The FastPay dispensing unit is available for all Cummins self-service coin redemption machines.

10. D|Fab
D|FabTransImage, a custom product for applying images to light-transmitting material, was created by D|Fab, a Madison Heights, Mich.-based design firm. TransImage graphics can be a variety of sizes and formed into an endless possibility of shapes. This cost-effective product is an appealing solution for interior décor, retail signage and brand graphics, according to company officials. D|Fab’s services include retail store design, graphics and décor fabrication, installation and rollout fulfillment, and green sustainable solutions for store interiors.; 800-968-9440.

Wash and sanitize containers and utensils from any department with FFR-DSI’s Pot, Pan and Utensil Washer. Officials for the Twinsburg, Ohio-based firm say this compact, easy-to-install workhorse is designed for containers commonly found in the bakery, meat, poultry, candy and food service industries. They also describe the washer as powerfully efficient, quick and economical. Convenient split door accommodates sheet pans, cake pans, meat lugs, candy molds, trays, utensils, buckets, machine parts, and mixing bowls up to 140 quarts.  The machine is 37 1/2” W x 87 3/8” H x 36” D, minimizing floor space needed, yet allowing for generous 10 pan capacity.   A heavy-duty 5 HP pump re-circulates wash water through high velocity and stainless steel “V” jets cut through stubborn soils. The average wash/rinse cycle is just 5 minutes,; 800-422-2547.

12. Globe Food Equipment
Officials of Dayton, Ohio-based Globe Food Equipment Co. recently announced the acquisition of Commercial Pro International’s (CPI) line of countertop cooking equipment. The Commercial Pro line includes: electric fryers and griddles, sandwich, Panini and roller grills, an electric soup kettle, induction range, conveyor toaster, rice cooker, and a food warming lamp. This line of countertop cooking equipment complements Globe’s food preparation products are well-known for quality and performance and the  CPI product line is in stock and available for immediate shipment, according to officials for the company.; 937-299-5493.

13. Heatcraft Refrigeration Products
Retailers can reduce system charge as much as 40% and cut energy costs with HyperCore microchannel technology from Heatcraft Refrigeration Products, based in Stone Mountain, Ga. Heatcraft Refrigeration’s advanced 1/2 to 6HP condensing unit uses HyperCore microchannel coils to allow superior heat transfer capabilities and reduced refrigerant charges compared to standard copper-aluminum round tube plate fin (RTPF) coils. According to company officials, the R-404A-compatible units feature all-aluminum construction for excellent reliability, thanks to unsurpassed protection from corrosion and refrigerant leaks.

14. Hollymatic
Safety and ease of operation are key to Hollymatic’s Hi-Yield 16-5000 Meat Saw.  As explained in the company’s four-color literature, Hollymatic’s “new generation of meat saw” has safety features that separate it from other conventional saws. Bulleted copy on the front details the quick brake function that stops the blade within one second, swing open construction that allows for easy cleaning and blade changing and several other key features of the Hi-Yield Saw. The literature shows a photo of the machine with detailed call-outs that are easy to follow, officials for the Countryside, Ill.-based firm note. There is also information on construction and design of the Hi-Yield Meat Saw.; 708-579-3700.

15. Hussmann Corp.
Hussmann’s XtraLife meat display case reduces bacterial growth by providing lower, more consistent product temperatures, according to officials for the Bridgeton, Mo.-based firm. By keeping meats red and fresh longer, XtraLife attracts shoppers, builds shopper loyalty and reduces costs associated with spoilage. The XtraLife patent-pending air shelf enables the case to run at lower, tighter temperatures without freezing products, reducing bacterial growth on meats. XtraLife cases are up to 18% more energy efficient than the traditional configuration for high-efficiency meat cases when operated at similar product temperatures.  Compared to standard efficiency meat cases, the energy savings can be as high as 37%.

The ISB Ice Bagging System from Erie, Pa.-based KOLD-DRAFT allows supermarkets to make, bag, and merchandise store-branded ice all in one machine, creating a “custom ice plant” as well as a new profit center. The ISB Ice Bagging System consists of a stacked KOLD-DRAFT ice maker, an ISB automatic bagger, and a merchandiser. The new system makes and bags ice on-site, so there are no more delivery costs and no hassles, according to company executives. A video is available at; 800-840-9577.

17. Kysor/Warren
As part of Kysor/Warren’s STRATUS Collection, the DX8UN Multi-Deck Platinum Display Case is designed with a focus on things that matter most to a grocer’s business. Ease of use, high energy efficiency, durability, cost-savings, merchandising flexibility and customization all merge in this multi-deck, medium temperature case. Designed with an ultra-low front to accommodate up to seven levels of shelving, the DX8UN provides the advantage of greater display visibility of merchandise, translating into more products sold, according to officials for the Columbus, Ga-based firm. They say that the front case height is 12 inches from the floor—among the lowest in the industry.

18. Madix Inc.
Display space can often be tight, especially with a product such wine that has so many varieties. The Circular Wire Wine Display from Terrell, Texas-based Madix, Inc. present up to 21 cases of the best-selling vintages in a 360-degree display, letting customers explore the world of wine from every angle. This attractive display leaves a small footprint, company executives notes, as it requires just 42 inches of retail space, enabling retailers to efficiently and effectively maximize the sales floor.

19. Mehmert Store Services
Sussex, Wis.-based Mehmert Store Services provides creative store design, expressive store décor and signage, turnkey project management, construction supervision and equipment management. The company manages every step in the growth process, from the seed of an idea through the completion of the store’s interior and exterior transformation. The company’s complete line of services includes a unique approach to asset management and liquidation that maximizes return and minimizes expenses, according to executives.; 800-273-0755.

20. MEI
MEI’s line of topless, low-profile, open floral merchandisers stands only 48” tall, which officials say enables easy shopping. Yet, the low height makes it ideal for merchandising cut flowers anywhere in a store, they note. Open at the front for easy customer access, the merchandiser is available in a three tier configuration. Black flair vases are included with each model. Among its features is a specially designed refrigeration coil to provide near optimum operating temperature and high relative humidity so massive displays of bouquets and cut flowers live longer with more appeal.; 800-352-7220.

21. Nestaway
The Nestaway division of Leggett & Platt has introduced the Nestaglide shopping cart with SilverShell antimicrobial cart finish. The exclusive finish not only protects the cart from outdoor elements, abrasion, and impact abuse; it insulates itself to reduce noise.  A cleaner, quieter, longer-lasting cart will make the shopping experience more pleasant and help you get more out of the investment. The light-weight cart provides better “drivability” and the seat design has less pinch points for children, according to officials for the company.

22. One Plus
A cost-saving waste compactor management service, Compactor Plus, is offered by manufacturer One Plus Corp., based in Northbrook, Ill. Compactor Plus provides grocery facilities managers with guaranteed reduction in solid waste removal costs and a greener footprint, company executives note. There is no capital outlay required for equipment and the system works with existing compactors and current haulers. The service includes installation of a waste compactor monitor with wireless communication. When the container reaches a designated full level, the monitor automatically contacts the hauler.

23. Pan-Oston
The revolutionary Pan-Oston Utopia Cash Handling Lane provides all the cash handling ability of a human cashier, but with increased security and cash management benefits, according to officials for the Bowling Green, Ky.-based company. The lane, which includes MEI’s Bank Note Recycler (BNR), accepts cash and dispenses change more quickly than a cashier, reducing overall transaction times. The BNR detects counterfeit currency, reduces employee theft, and lowers start-up float by up to 90 percent. The Utopia Cash Handling Lane helps grocers realize labor savings due to eliminated need for routine cash pickups and less time required for till reconciliation.

24. Remis
Remis America offers retrofit refrigeration doors and covers to grocery retailers and OEM case manufacturers that cut energy costs up to 70% while also greatly reducing retailers’ carbon footprint. Officials for the Elkhart, Ind.-based firm says the eco-friendly, energy saving systems are unrivalled in keeping energy consumption low by providing a full range of insulated glass doors and bunker covers, installation and service.

25. Store Design Services
Minneapolis-based Supervalu Store Design Services is a full-service design firm, providing a variety of integrated services including store planning and merchandising, architecture and engineering, store environment, equipment services and project management.  Over the past 40 years, Store Design Services has helped food retailers grow their businesses with award-winning designs and experienced customer support.; 877-374-8258.

26. Trion Industries
Biscuits, cookies and more can cohabit the EWT Shelf Management System from Wilkes-Barre, Pa.-based Trion Industries. The expandable wire trays adjust in width to fit all packaging styles, including rolls, bars, tubes, bags, boxes, pillow packs, vertical packages and even blister packs, according to company officials. The EWT is capable of shelf-, bar-, pegboard- and slatwall-mount.; 800-444.4665.

27. Verisae
The Sustainability Resource Planning (SRP) software platform from Verisae improves operational efficiency, protects brand integrity, and helps ensure regulatory compliance for distributed enterprises across many industries. Verisae helps measure, manage and reduce equipment and energy costs including the related business and environmental impacts of carbon emissions, according to executives for the Minneapolis-based firm. Each of the Business Intelligence, Environmental, Energy, and Asset Management Solutions contain a number of offerings, company officials note.

28. VKF Renzel
Retailers can add sales space with VKF Renzel’s Apilar , which covers ugly columns and makes use of tight areas. According to officials for the Arlington Heights,Ill.-based company, Apilar can also be instead of high priced shelving units and is easily assembled in just minutes. The system includes three standard or jumbo shopping baskets, which are available in black, green, red and translucent. The four casters—two with brakes—allow for easy transportation within store.; 866-736-9351.

29. XLT Ovens
By partnering with customers, XLT Ovens has continuously improved its offerings to bring innovative changes to the marketplace, according to officials for the Wichita, Kan.-based firm. Operators can now purchase a conveyor oven, and a hood designed to work as an intergraded system. The XLT oven hood combination continues to bake fast and offers lower utility costs, reduces noise, captures and contains heat and effluents, along with a fire suppression system. XLT products are also factory delivered and installed. The XLT hood oven combination provides a systems approach for the lowest total life cycle cost.

30. Zero Zone
As the new standard in medium temp product display, the Zero Zone Crystal Merchandiser, with its 74” CoolView Doors, gives shoppers an unobstructed view of up to 35% more product facings and as much as 25% more packout. Officials for the North Prairie, Wisc.-based manufacturer say that the narrow footprint allows for 5 inches to 7 inches more aisle space than most multi-decks. Additionally, replacing open multi-decks with the Crystal Merchandiser can decrease annual energy costs by as much as 84%. To help make products pop while saving big on energy, invest in the Zero Zone Crystal Merchandiser.

Zero Zone’s ColdLoop Secondary Systems  are designed for those transitioning to non-ozone-depleting refrigerants and adopting green technologies. ColdLoop Secondary Systems are currently in use for glycol applications—with CO2 systems under development. Zero Zone provides a full array of refrigeration systems, tailored to meet a retailer’s specific needs. Zero Zone direct expansion systems and condensing unit skids are ideal for traditional applications, company officials say. Innovative Zero Zone Edge Distributed Systems provide the added environmental benefits of zoned refrigeration.

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