||Heating and Cooling Technology and Global Solutions
for Food Distribution
Heating and Cooling Technology and Global Solutions for Food Distribution
In the field of food distribution, there has been an increasing demand for vending machines with enhanced energy saving, transportation and storage equipment for delivering food safely and securely, store related equipment, and solutions that combine these machines and equipment with IT. Fuji Electric has been responding to these demands through its research and development efforts in related technologies based on the concepts of “high quality,” “diversification,” “environment” and “globalization” in order to expand into markets with products that meet the exact needs of its customers.
In this issue of FUJI ELECTRIC REVIEW, we will introduce heating and cooling technology, which is indispensable for energy saving, products that utilize this technology, and unique products for the global market, as well as element technologies, such as product vending mechanisms and currency identification.
[Preface] Expectation of Development in Food Distribution Technology
Doctor (Agriculture), Professor, Department of Food and Nutrition, Human Sciences and Design,
Japan Women’s University
Heating and Cooling Technology and Global Solutions for Food Distribution: Current Status and Future Outlook
The food distribution industry has been facing new requirements as a consequence of changes in various market factors. Fuji Electric has been responding to these requirements through its R&D efforts based on the four concepts of “high quality,” “diversification,” “environment” and “globalization.” The concepts of high quality and diversification have inspired the development of products such as an ultra-compact cup-type vending machine and a drink showcase equipped with inverter freezer. In response to environmental needs, we have developed products including a heat pump vending machine equipped with CO2 ejector refrigerating cycle and the zero-heating-power vending machine “Hybrid ZERO.” Furthermore, we have been advancing our global platform through the development of products such as currency identification devices for global markets and a can and bottle dispensing mechanism that utilizes a DC gear motor.
Heat Pump Vending Machine Equipped with CO2 Ejector Refrigerating Cycle
TSURUHA, Takeshi; YAMAGAMI, Yuhei; MATSUBARA, Takeshi
Fuji Electric has been utilizing CO2 refrigerants and hydrofluorocarbon refrigerants in the refrigeration units used in its beverage vending machines. However, compared with hydrofluorocarbon refrigerants, CO2 refrigerants have a higher operating pressure and thus require a larger amount of power to drive the compressor. To solve this issue, We have adopted an ejector to recover the lost energy by using the high operating pressure, developed a refrigeration unit that optimally control the ejector, and fitted it into our vending machines. Coefficient of performance (COP) improvement in the refrigeration unit has enabled the vending machine to reduce power consumption by 25% compared with conventional ones.
ZERO Heating Power Vending Machine “Hybrid ZERO”
Fuji Electric has adopted the concept of achieving extensive energy savings while reducing peak power consumption to decrease environmental burdens, and based on this, it has developed the ZERO Heating Power Vending Machine “Hybrid ZERO” as a unit that does not utilize an electric heater. Conventionally, a portion of the storehouse has been heated using an electric heater, but the Hybrid ZERO heats all heating chambers using a heat pump. We have achieved this functionality by increasing the efficiency of heat exchangers and compressors while newly developing a refrigerant path switching valve. These enhancements have enabled the Hybrid ZERO to achieve a 15% reduction in yearly power consumption based on estimated actual usage in its operation modes, as well as a maximum power consumption reduction of 55% during winter operation mode.
Office-Use Ultra-Compact Cup-Type Vending Machine “FJX10”
KUROYANAGI, Yasuhiko; ITO, Shuichi; NISHIKAWA, Yohei
Fuji Electric has developed an office-use ultra-compact cup-type vending machine “FJX10” in collaboration with Japan Beverage Holdings Inc., a cup beverage operator. The unit has been designed to be installed in offices, being characterized by its compact size and low power consumption, allowing it to dispense delicious coffee within the premises of an office. Moreover, the unit utilizes a cup mixing system that achieves a superior level of sanitation and ease of cleaning by adopting the industry’s first horizontal uniaxial conveyance mechanism. Furthermore, it also achieves an industry top-class low power consumption of 849 kWh/y by means of equipping the unit with a highefficiency energy-saving ice maker, as well as an energy-saving hot water tank that adopts a vacuum heat insulating structure.
Cold Storage Container “Chilled Type D-BOX”
ONZUKA, Shojiro; ISHINO, Yuji; TOGASHI, Hajime
In recent years, there has been increasing awareness concerning the need for food safety and security, and as a result, the food distribution industry has become more strictly required to manage the temperature of food products throughout all of the stages of the supply chain. Fuji Electric has developed the Cold Storage Container “Chilled Type D-BOX” to reduce the cost of distribution processes and completely meet the needs of managing the temperature of food products. The Chilled Type D-BOX is capable of keeping food products in the chilling temperature range for 5 hours without a power supply, even in environments with an ambient temperature of 32 °C. Furthermore, it can freeze the cold storage materials in 4 units simultaneously in 3 hours.
Drink Showcase Equipped with Inverter Freezer
MURABAYASHI, Kenji; KAGEYAMA, Toshiyuki; CHOU, Ikou
In recent years, the impact of earthquakes has increased the demand for replacing products with more energy saving alternatives. Furthermore, convenience stores are also requiring open showcases that increase the product display area. Fuji Electric has developed an 8-shelf showcase that utilizes an inverter freezer and has a display area 1.57 times greater than previous products. The unit makes use of a new scroll compressor, while also adopting a new cooling system that utilizes segmented airflow, thus enabling the unit to achieve optimal inverter control that saves energy and stabilizes temperatures inside the showcase. We have also developed a mechanism that uses the evaporation fan to implement forced evaporation of drain water with the aim of saving energy and reducing the operation. The unit achieves a 67% reduction in power consumption per unit area.
Energy Saving Control System for Freezing-Refrigerating Warehouse
KATO, Hiroshi; SHIRAKI, Takashi
Freezing-refrigerating warehouses, which are designed for storing and sorting products in food distribution processes, are being required to be more energy efficient due to increasing electricity costs. Fuji Electric has developed an energy saving control system for centrally controlled freezing-refrigerating warehouses that optimizes the operation of the freezing-refrigerating equipment (refrigeration unit, unit cooler) inside warehouses while also making it possible to carry out efficient operation control. It has been confirmed that yearly power consumption in warehouses can be reduced by 12.3% through the adoption of enhancements such as optimized control for the unit cooler and pressure control for the low-pressure side of the refrigerator unit utilizing a unique algorithm for responding to load conditions inside the warehouse.
Product Dispensing Mechanism for Vending Machines for Global Market
FUKUDA, Katsuhiko; IWAKO, Tsutomu; NAKAJIMA, Norio
The expansion and popularization of beverage vending machines in markets outside Japan has required stable power supply voltage that is not affected by different power supply voltages and unstable power conditions in some areas. To comply with the law and regulations without being affected by power conditions, Fuji Electric has adopted a low DC voltage power supply for the product-dispensing mechanism. It can supply sufficient drive energy at a low voltage by utilizing the configuration that combines a DC gear motor with a cam-linkage mechanism for the drive source used in the product-dispensing mechanism. Furthermore, we have greatly reduced the number of purchase issues that arise during the vending cycle by developing a sold-out detection structure compatible with various product shapes, as well as a malfunction detection function with detection switches.
IEC Standard Compliant Glass Front Vending Machine “Twistar”
SAKA, Mitsuhiro; MATUSMOTO, Masahiro; WATANABE, Tadao
To meet the needs for China and ASEAN region, where needs of vending machines are increasing in retail business, Fuji Electric should acquire international certifications and deal with diversity of vending products. In light of this, we have developed the IEC standard compliant glass front vending machine “Twistar.” This product utilizes an energy-saving panel housing structure suitable for overseas production and achieves simple control through the integration of the control board and software individually. Furthermore, mounting 4 types of vending module mechanisms can sell all products by one vending machine. We have also developed a soft-handling mechanism for the conveyance elevator to prevent the deformation of products.
Currency Identification Device for Global Markets “FGC Series” and “FGB Series”
OIWA, Takeshi; TANAKA, Nobuyuki; YAMANE, Takuya
Fuji Electric has developed the “FGC Series” and “FGB Series” currency identification devices for global markets such as China and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region. To speed up the commercialization of the devices according to the various kinds of size and design of currencies by modifying a portion of the components and software, we have implemented a common design, in which base components and configuration are standardized. Furthermore, we have met an identification performance to ensure reliability by equipping a coin handling device (coin mechanism) with a coin escrow function and new inspection algorithm that enhances the identification of material, as well as equipping a paper currency identification device (bill validator) with a line sensor and identification algorithm.
Cooling Technology for Global Vending Machine Installed in High-Temperature High-Humidity Environments
We have been working on the development of a global vending machine capable of operating in environments with an ambient temperature of 40 °C and relative humidity of 75% in consideration of the maximum temperatures and humidities of the major cities in China. In addition to achieving our goal of supporting increased ambient temperatures, we have also developed an efficient operating control technology, as well as a heat insulating and cooling technology for efficiently cooling increased heat loads. With regard to the impact of frost that forms on evaporators in high-temperature and high-humidity environments, we have focused on evaporation temperature setting levels based on the result of observing the frost formation process, and by readjusting the setting levels we have been able to control the amount of frost formation. These measures have enabled us to achieve a reduction in the required cooling capability and a shorter initial cooling time even in high-temperature high-humidity environments.