EndoCube® technology aims to enhance the performance of compressors and marketed in the U.S.by UMP Americas (www.umpamerica.com). The device fits over the thermostat probe in a refrigerated case or freezer; inside the device is a scallop-like material determined by NSF International, the auditing agency, to mimic the properties of food and beverages.
The EndoCube® unit is designed to instruct the back-room refrigeration compressors on how hard to work based on the temperature of food in the case, rather than air temperature. Because food temperature is more stable than air temperature – as well as a better indicator of how much cooling is required – the compressor runs fewer and longer cycles.
According to UMP Americas, the EndoCube® allows compressors to run 80% less often (about four starts per hour, rather than 12 to 20), each time running about 10 minutes (rather than three minutes) and expending 10% to 30% less energy; this in turn generates less noise and limits the wear on the compressor. In addition, “natural” defrost can occur without the introduction of heat, the company said.
The EndoCube® works in concert with a separate thermometer, the ColdStik™, which provides the temperature of the food (rather than the air) in the case.
Widely used by stores in the United Kingdom, the EndoCube®/ColdStik™ devices are starting to be tested by U.S. grocers. For example, a Compare Foods outlet in Queens Village, N.Y., has been using them in all of its cases for the past two months. Jose Espinal, owner of the store, confirmed that his compressors now come on less often and work longer while keeping food in better condition. The upshot, he added, is that “we spend $1,000 less per month in electricity.” He also reported requiring less defrost for cases and less maintenance overall.
Brentwood IGA, Brentwood, N.Y., recently installed 15 pairs of EndoCube®/ColdStik™ devices in five stand-alone cases in its store, including stand-alone beer, Carvel, deli and meat cases, said William Lukeman, owner of the store plus two other IGAs. He expects to install 72 pairs.
In their initial two weeks of operation, Lukeman noticed the devices working effectively. At the stand-alone, five-by-eight-foot, open beer case, the compressors had turned on as many as 19 times per day, but now do so about one-third as often, yet the product remains just as cold, he said. So far the ColdStik™ device is also functioning well, reading the temperature “inside the food package not the case,” he said, adding, “I’m interested in the food temperature.”
Lukeman is now assessing whether to install the devices in the majority of the store’s cases that are linked to back-room compressors, by doing a before-and-after test of their impact on electricity consumption. “It is new technology, so I was afraid to do the whole thing in one shot without knowing this,” he said. But he expects the technology to help reduce his electrical costs — which he called “astronomical” — by at least one-third. “For our open dairy and meat cases, I won’t be air-conditioning the store, only keeping product at the optimal temperature specified by the Department of Agriculture.” He also expects to see less attrition in the compressors and case fans and to eliminate one defrost cycle.

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