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Choosing open protocol solutions for retrofits offers flexibility, scalability and reduced installation time, leading to cost savings and minimised disruption on the shop floor.


Retrofits Key to Achieving Net-Zero Targets

Recent studies have estimated, that refrigeration cabinets consume up to 50% of a supermarket’s energy use. In light of this statistic, it’s no surprise that a lot of effort over the years has focused on reducing the industry’s environmental impact.

Lately, discussions in the news have again centred on replacing open refrigeration cabinets with doored cabinets. Studies have found that they provide potential energy savings of up to 30%. These findings were published a few years ago, and have received renewed attention during the COP26 climate summit. During the summit, one UK retailer has pledged to install cabinets with doors in all new UK supermarkets. Another retailer will trial doors in 2022 and others have said to invest in technology that will make open cabinets more efficient.

Even though these measures will save energy and reduce costs in the future, implementing them will generate higher costs at first. With climate change pressures mounting, it is only to be expected that more measures will be needed in the future to help our warming planet and achieve governments’ net-zero targets. It’s likely that HVAC and refrigeration systems in all existing stores will need to be upgraded or reprogrammed to be more energy efficient.

One way to reduce the costs of retrofits, is to choose HVAC and refrigeration control solutions based on open protocols. Open protocol solutions can integrate with existing third-party, proprietary control systems, allowing users to replace parts of their infrastructure only as needed.

Proprietary protocols are known to lock users in. Dependent on one supplier, users will have to purchase all of their control solutions from a single source and rely on manufacturers to make their new controls backwards compatible. Where that is not the case, it can lead to costly, unnecessary retrofits, giving customers no choice but to replace the entire system if one part breaks.

With supermarkets looking to introduce new technology, open protocols provide a good option to use for trials on existing sites as they can easily be integrated into an existing control system. Installing open protocol control solutions on new sites ensures they are future-proof as they enable easy retrofits when needed down the line.

Installing a Control System Front-End Based on Open Protocols

To switch over from a proprietary protocol system to an open protocol system, the easiest first step is to change the control system front-end. If a control system front-end based on open protocols is selected, it’s important to choose one that can be configured to communicate with the existing controllers on-site. If that is the case, any new control systems that are installed do not need to be part of the old proprietary system. They can be selected based on function, cost and other specific requirements.

DMTouch, Resource Data Management’s (RDM’s) control and monitoring system front-end, is designed utilizing open protocols. Options include Ethernet IP, BACnet, Modbus, LonWorks, XML and HTTPS which allow for easy integration into existing and proprietary HVAC & refrigeration infrastructure. In addition, it can provide consumption statistics and trends from metered consumables, supporting energy-saving strategies, and lighting control integration.

Open protocol controllers, such as RDM’s Intuitive range, can communicate with a range of existing third-party devices on-site. The Intuitive range can control and monitor other devices via Modbus while communicating with the control system front-end via BACnet, XML and Web Services.

Find out more about the individual benefits of each of the open protocol options.

Refrigeration BMS | Posted on 25 Nov 2021


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