Latest technologies being used by polymer manufacturers to create innovative profiles for commercial refrigeration

Mr. Suvimal Saha, Vice President – Industrial Solution, REHAU South Asia.

Refrigeration is arguably one of the most advanced innovations of the century, reshaping communities around the world by improving quality and longevity of stored products and overall quality of life. Unlike any other sector in history, the commercial refrigeration industry is going through a time of unprecedented innovation.

Presently and regardless of the type of industry (food, medical, construction and mining, among many others) product manufacturing needs a refrigerating process. Every refrigerating process has simple sections that work in an infinite cycle. So as to carry out each and every part of the refrigeration cycle, different components and accessories, working jointly, are used. Gaskets are one such crucial component that plays a pivotal role in refrigeration process which takes care of the locking, sealing and humidification.

Considering the dynamic consumer preferences, polymer manufacturers are continually innovating profiles for commercial refrigeration where seal acts as one of the crucial component. And this is where gaskets come into play. It is increasingly important to take energy-saving requirements into account when developing gaskets apart from seamless operation and ease of installation. The gasket plays a key role in achieving energy efficiency as it forms the interface between the door and the body of an appliance. These are characterized particularly by high durability and flexibility even under extreme conditions.

Importance of Gaskets in Commercial Refrigeration

A cold chain is a low temperature-controlled supply chain network that allows products to stay in its best condition till it reaches the final destination. However, a cold chain system will just be an empty vessel without proper locking, sealing system which is being fulfilled through profiles like gaskets. Manufacturers providing polymer based gaskets always focuses on conserving resources and being energy efficient in the process of developing innovative profiles. Gaskets are the main component that helps in sealing and locking and a properly sealed refrigerator maintains the internal temperature at a continuous pace. Therefore, reducing energy consumption and preventing condensation and ice build-up in the refrigerator while enhancing the longevity of the product.

The world is witnessing a drastic weather change and to keep food and other perishable products in best conditions, high quality refrigeration is required at all levels. Polymer based gaskets are best suited to withstand high temperature situations or high amounts of physical stress. Gaskets, a simple but important component in refrigeration helps in maintaining the temperature while keeping the products inside the refrigerator safe and fresh.

All polymer based solutions are prepared based on formulations that have been developed and processed after undergoing extensive testing in research laboratories. And, a continual research and development work have paved the way for efficient and environmentally friendly products like gaskets.

Innovative Profiles and Logistics

In commercial refrigeration polymer based profiles are being used by manufacturers these days that help in ‘thermal separation’ and in reducing the energy consumption by 50%. Polymer-based solutions always possess better insulating properties than aluminum considering its low thermal conductivity feature. Thus, the gaskets used in commercial refrigeration assure 100% sealing, minimum ice build-up and condensation yet being user friendly at all levels.

Amounting to the feature of locking and sealing, gaskets play a crucial role in keeping foods and other perishable items intact while transporting the products from one place to another. Therefore, a gasket makes sure to reduce food wastage while making the product reachable to the remotest areas in India. There are also certain types of medicinal drugs and injections which require temperature controlled environment.

A commercial refrigerator having a proper sealing and locking system helps in transporting those medicines and equipment without damaging the quality of the product to places that takes multiple days to reach, thus, amplifying the preservation capacity of a product. To say, gaskets are a boon to the logistics and supply chain department who were previously struggling with wastage of products due to lack of storage capacity.

The expansion of the cold chain infrastructure, particularly for perishable foods, has been the main factor supporting the expansion of the FMCG sector in super markets. Since, perishable food, such as processed food, fish, meat, vegetables, and fruits, is typically stored in cold rooms. Food is now available all year round, unlike the past when it was only available at specific seasons. Nowadays, we may get a variety of fresh food items from around the world in the refrigerators at supermarkets. We credit this to the state-of-the-art techniques used in the building of cold chains, where the rigid profiles frame help to preserve the strong humidification and sealing while allowing high-quality insulation.

Additionally, for both functionality and aesthetics, these designs support the big sliding and door glasses used in commercial refrigeration. These profiles are used in the passive glass doors as well as Sliding Lid systems on the freezers in supermarkets, and they are extremely robust, durable, and maintenance-free.

For example, the glass doors used in commercial refrigerator must be attractively designed so that they do not form a “barrier” between buyer and product. Manufacturers have developed techniques that allow profiles to be created with a special glass optic, giving the appliances an extremely innovative and stylish appearance. To talk about functionality, a fully sealed sliding-door system ensures high energy efficiency and minimum condensation.

In addition, convenient opening and closing of the doors is ensured by using textured seals, self-closing devices and optimized track roller sets. The use of coextruded sliding material ABS 144 ensures optimum sliding of the lids on the framework. As a result, the opening and closing forces can be reduced to 65%.

Cold chain and Indian economy

An effective cold chain system makes sure that the army personnel fighting at borders gets their food, medicines and other perishable items in fresh conditions. The schools in the Himalayas are able to provide fresh food to the students due to a proper cold chain system in India. Thus, there is no limit to its positive effects. Apart from this, cold chain plays a vital role when it comes to export as well. It’s only due to cold chain system that Indian fruits and vegetables are getting exported in their best condition which is eventually boosting the country’s trade and economy.

The objective of the Scheme of “Integrated Cold Chain and Value Addition Infrastructure” is to provide integrated cold chain and preservation infrastructure facilities, without any break, from the farm gate to the consumer. It covers creation of infrastructure facility along the entire supply chain and subsidies ranging from 35%-50% shows that the Government of India is also investing rigorously to make proper food and medicines available to the remotest of areas through this technological advancements.

Despite India’s complex challenges, commercial refrigeration companies are constantly working on innovations and offering the best solutions to the industries across varied fields. Today, there are companies who are bringing German technology in India to provide innovative solutions and to boost the cold-chain industry in the country.

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