Refrigeration specialist, Adande, has announced that the company and its consortium partners will invest over £4 million in the further development of Aircell technology, which has been designed to improve the energy efficiency and operational performance of open front, refrigerated multi deck retail display cabinets.
The investment will be funded by equity finance and a £2.1 million AMSCI grant.
It will allow the company and its consortium partners, including refrigerated cabinet manufacturer, The Bond Group, to take the technology to new levels and meet retailers’ specific merchandising requirements in the UK and abroad.
Included in the investment will be the development of leading edge facilities for the research, development and testing of refrigeration systems at the Adande factory in Lowestoft.
Adande is committing over £500,000 to the construction of three state-of-the-art test rooms.
The chambers will provide facilities for testing to BS EN ISO 23953, which is the industry standard specifying the requirements for the construction, characteristics and performance of refrigerated display cabinets used in the sale and display of foodstuffs. The facilities will also provide the resources to meet and exceed the terms of new test standards, scheduled for introduction in 2017
The new test facilities will incorporate the latest design features, including a single control system to regulate humidity, temperature and fan speed within the chambers. The test rooms will have accurate temperature control, through an extended range of 15oC to 43oC, regulated via a user friendly touch screen controller.
The test rooms will be energy efficient and have a minimal carbon footprint achieved through a range of features, including active bypass dehumidification, Eurovent energy efficient class ‘A’ air handlers, air source heat pump EC fans and LED lighting.
In addition to the establishment of the research, development and test chambers, Adande will be creating a dedicated facility, housing CAD resources and a sophisticated computational fluid dynamics’ suite, for the numerical analysis of complex issues, relating to fluid flows and simulation scenarios such as turbulent flows.
The ongoing Aircell development programme will also have positive recruitment implications.
It is projected that the establishment of technical and engineering teams, as well as associated management, sales and administrative roles, will lead to 12 new jobs at Adande within the next 12 months, with nearly 100 jobs created by 2024.
The programme will also create employment opportunities at Aircell consortium partners, other cabinet manufacturers and sub-contractors, leading to 144 additional jobs in the next nine years.
Ian Wood, managing director, Adande, believes that the company has achieved a breakthrough in delivering game changing retail technology.
“Aircell has been successfully tested under independent laboratory conditions and a pre-production model has undergone live trials within a Tesco store in Lincoln. The technology will be commercially available from the Bond Group in the near future.
“Our investment plans and the AMSCI grant will enable us to accelerate the development of the technology to meet the requirements of retailers and original equipment manufacturers, at home and abroad.”
Nigel Bell, chairman, Adande, added:“We are no strangers to the commercialisation of new refrigeration products. We have successfully designed, developed and taken to market our patented insulated drawer system, with ‘hold the cold technology’, for operators in the foodservice and food retailing sectors.
“In addition to our investment in Aircell, we are also committing equity funds to develop further global growth for our drawer products.”