Danfoss R-290 components enable Delfield to meet customer and regulator demands

Monday, July 23, 2018

Delfield, part of Welbilt, Inc., has been manufacturing restaurant equipment since 1949. With products ranging from preparation tables to refrigerated cabinets to food displays, they have established themselves as an innovator in food service equipment. However, even innovators face challenges, especially in the ever-changing field of refrigeration regulation. In addition to government regulations that are requiring lower carbon emissions—both from the refrigerants themselves and the energy demands of the refrigeration systems—more and more customers are demanding new systems save them money by being more energy efficient without any reduction in performance.

Delfield logo

This was the challenge that Delfield engineers and designers were facing when planning their update of the Mark7 custom fabrication line, which led them to use a refrigerant from the early days of refrigeration development: propane, now referred to as R-290. The main drawback of using propane as a refrigerant in the past is that it is flammable. To prevent accidents, modern systems using R-290 as a refrigerant need to be smaller, limiting the refrigerant charge. And despite being one of the first refrigerants used in modern refrigeration, not many companies currently offer components that are compatible with R-290. So even as Delfield chose R-290 to meet the demands of both regulators and customers, that solution posed new challenges. It was under these circumstances when Delfield approached longtime collaborator Danfoss.

kitchen prep

According to Marcy Mathews, Director of Project Management at Delfield, their decision to go with Danfoss was easy. “Delfield and Danfoss have had a strong previous partnership, which made them the first choice as a go to partner. Danfoss supplied components we needed to meet the requirements of the Delfield products. The filter drier, TXV, and [electronic temperature controller] helped Delfield achieve the project goal to launch updated products.”

The specific Danfoss components that Delfield used were the DCL filter drier, the TUB thermostatic expansion valve (TXV) for R-290, and the ERC electronic temperature controller. Each played a part in helping Delfield meet their goals.

Delfield’s customers demand the best, and in turn, Delfield demands the best from their products. In order to get the most out of their new R-290 systems, Delfield needed a filter drier that was small enough for the reduced refrigerant capacity an R-290 system required while still offering the best protection against moisture. The solution was the DCL 1.5 cubic inch filter drier, the smallest solid core filter drier available, which features Danfoss’ ELIMINATOR® core with state-of-the-art molecular sieve technology. With the DCL filter drier, Delfield knew they had the best protection available, even for such a small system.

DCL filter drier 1.5 cu in

Research has shown that metered devices like TXVs are vastly more energy efficient than fixed orifice devices like capillary tubes, so in order to meet the US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) 20174 standards, Delfield needed a TXV. Similar to the challenge faced when choosing a filter drier, Delfield discovered that very few TXVs were small enough to work with systems charged with R-290. Fortunately, the Danfoss TUB was the perfect fit. The TUB was one of the first TXVs to be optimized for use with R-290 and, according to Mathews, “helped us use R-290 to the full extent with the small charge limitations. The TUB is the smallest valve on the market, which worked best for our systems.”

TUB thermostatic expansion valve

Even with the energy savings made possible by the TUB, Delfield’s Mark7 custom fabrication line would not quite be efficient enough to meet the DOE’s 20174 standards. To get the rest of the way there, Delfield needed an electronic temperature control robust enough to further reduce the energy demands of the system, while ideally still being easy to use. The ERC temperature controller, with its universal fit and customizable programming, was the solution Delfield was looking for.

With the DOE 20174 standards met and an average reduction in energy consumption of 20%, Delfield is ready to relaunch their Mark7 custom fabrication line. “The result,” Mathews says, “is more energy efficient and reliable products for our customers. Our refrigeration products are now more environmentally responsible.” That increased environmental conscientiousness has prompted Delfield to relaunch the Mark7 line with the GreenGenius™ logo, which is used to promote their most energy efficient products.

green genius logo

Regarding the partnership between Danfoss and Delfield, Mathews said it best: “Danfoss’ innovative products and solutions provided Delfield with the tools to achieve our product goals. The partnership between Danfoss and Delfield provides great value to our product strategy.”

Welbilt, Inc. provides the world’s top chefs, premier chain operators, and growing independents with industry-leading equipment and solutions. Welbilt’s innovative products and solutions are powered by their deep knowledge, operator insights, and culinary expertise. Their portfolio of award-winning product brands includes Cleveland™, Convotherm®, Crem™, Delfield®, Frymaster®, Garland®, Kolpak®, Lincoln™, Manitowoc® Ice, Merco®, Merrychef®, and Multiplex®. These product brands are supported by two service brands: FitKitchen®, Welbilt’s fully-integrated kitchen systems brand, and KitchenCare®, their aftermarket parts and service brand. Headquartered in the Tampa Bay region of Florida and operating seventeen manufacturing facilities throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia, Welbilt sells through a global network of over 3,500 distributors and dealers in over 100 countries. Welbilt has approximately 5,800 employees and generated sales of $1.45 billion in 2017. For more information, visit www.welbilt.com.