The design of chilled food halls represents one of the greatest challenges presented to engineers designing heating, ventilation and refrigeration systems in the present day. For their successful operation a three way balancing act must be performed between the comfort of shoppers, the presentation of produce in an unobstructed and attractive manner and an energy efficient installation. These three factors are in continual conflict, there being no physical boundary between the occupied zone and the chilled cabinets, the shoppers and the produce with very different environmental requirements. The problems this causes are manifold and include frequent defrosting of the chilled display cabinets, loss of product, cabinet re-commissioning time and lost selling opportunity. In terms of customer comfort, there can be very low average air temperatures and significant vertical temperature differentials in the occupied zone adjacent to the chilled cabinets. This leads to high cabinet running costs and occasionally conflict with store HVAC systems.

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