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Peach of a job

A quarter of a century ago, Roger and Claire Peach developed a painting technique that transformed the refurbishment of refrigerated cases – and saved cost and carbon in the process. RAC reports

As we have reported before, one of the key areas of environmental responsibility that the refrigeration customer base has yet to fully exploit is the whole issue of reducing waste towards the end of equipment life.

In February, we wrote about the report from a cross-party group of MPs urging UK customers in general to embrace the concept of remanufacturing and value-added refurbishment. That report highlighted refrigerated cases as an area ripe for further potential.

One of the companies that is set to play a key part in reducing cost, waste and carbon for the supermarkets is Bagshot-based Peach Coatings.

Peach Coatings’ directors Roger and Claire Peach, who for 30 years have been promoting a pioneering refrigeration re-coating service, are firm believers in this triple win.

They believe that the Peach Coatings service can substantially reduce carbon emissions and waste, while achieving monetary savings – including reduced labour and transportation.

Back in 1989, there were only two options available to customers seeking to refurbish their refrigerated display cases – either change the complete case panels in situ or take them out of use and off site for a fuller overhaul. 

That all changed with Roger and Claire Peach’s development of a unique method of re-coating the refrigeration cases in position on the sales floor of supermarkets.

At a stroke, this would offer supermarkets a speedy and more financially viable third option.

It had taken the firm two years of research and development with chemical scientists to help develop safe paints that would achieve the goal of being very fast-drying, as well as sourcing spraying machines that would achieve the necessary speed and capacity. 

It quickly became apparent that checkouts could also be recoated in situ, since they were previously also removed from site for renovation, and the offering expanded.

Today, Peach Coatings reports it has 14 skilled mobile teams all trained to high industry standards, to cover the entire UK mainland, Northern Ireland and Ireland.

The technology has meant that complete stores have been re-coated within a single week – either as part of store refresh programmes or when acquisitions have re-branding is required. 

“Many times the supermarket’s customers have given store managers positive feedback, often being unable to distinguish the re-coated refrigeration cases from new, particularly when there has been a marked change in colour,” says Claire Peach.

“Store managers and their colleagues are subjected to as little disruption and inconvenience as possible and do not need to de-merchandise cases except when internal panels are to be re-coated. “

She points out that as with car panels, many dents and scratches can be simply removed and restored, reducing upheaval: “Seldom would a panel need to be replaced,” she says.

In order to establish that its processes and products are safe, and in addition to employing independent assessors annually, Peach Coatings volunteered to be monitored and assessed by the Health & Safety Executive in 2013.

The HSE concluded: “The air monitoring and biological monitoring exposures are well below the relevant limits, which indicates that there is good exposure control.”

Social responsibility

Over the years the emphasis on protecting the environment has become far more prominent and the focus of corporate and social responsibility targets.  Peach Coatings firmly believes its service is the most cost-efficient and environmentally friendly refurbishment option available. 

In order to quantify the estimates of reduced carbon, the firm commissioned global verification company SGS. 

SGS compared Peach Coatings’ onsite re-coating service against the purchase of a new 8 ft case.

The SGS report, finalised in May 2013, concluded that “onsite re-coating is the option that provides the lower carbon emissions compared to replacement… with a 97 per cent carbon emissions reduction…” 

Secondly SGS was asked to verify the carbon savings achieved for offsite re-coating of a refrigeration case against the same operation onsite.

Its report concluded that “onsite re-coating is the option that provides the lower carbon emission compared to off-site re-coating with a 92 per cent saving in emissions”.

Mrs Peach adds that the cost savings are as compelling as the carbon reductions:  “Offsite remanufacturing requires the cases having to be dismantled and transported with heavy goods vehicles, thus adding to the cost and carbon footprint. Changing steel panels produces an unnecessary and avoidable waste of both operational and embodied carbon.”

Mr Peach is forthright about the responsibilities incumbent on customers. “If a display case meets all the EU safety specifications and it is structurally sound, it is irresponsible to simply throw it away,” he says.

“Through our industry contacts we can replace bump rails, fans, controllers and other elements without replacing existing working parts at an unnecessary cost, plus re-coat and repair panels exactly where cases stand on the supermarket sales floor giving the end-user the option to do as little or as much as required.” 

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