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Adande gets £2m backing to work with Bonds on Aircell concept for refrigerated cases

£4.2 million project promises it will create 97 new jobs, backed by 50% government grant

Refrigeration technology firm and Cooling Awards sponsor Adande has announced it is leading a £4.2 million project, together with refrigerated cabinet specialist Bond Group and plastics designer Plas-Tech. The project, based on Adande’s Aircell airflow management system will create as many as 97 new jobs, it is promised.

The project is backed by a grant of £2.1 million and a loan of £380,000 from the government, awarded in March under its £125 million Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI).

Adande’s Managing Director, Ian Wood, said:

“We have made a significant investment in the design and development of Aircell, with recent in-store trials bringing the technology within the realms of commercial viability. The award of the grant - and the equity investment, which we are currently seeking - will enable us to fine-tune Aircell to meet the specific needs of retailers for sustainable refrigeration, offering tangible energy savings and an improved shopping experience.”

Last week Adande hosted a visit to its Lowestoft factory from Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Philip Hammond, and local MP for Waveney, Peter Aldous.

The Minister was briefed on Adande’s track record for product innovation and green initiatives in foodservice refrigeration, as well as the company’s rapid growth and its growing importance as an employer in the area. The company’s export growth, with sales in Europe, Asia and the Americas, was also discussed.

Mr Hammond said: “Everybody talks about the very big household named companies and of course they are very important to us, but most of the jobs being created in our economy are being created in small businesses - that is where the future is.”

Adande manufactures a unique and patented refrigerated drawer system used in a wide variety of foodservice applications, which has seen it win a Cooling Award for Refrigeration Innovation.

The company’s current turnover, of in excess of £5 million, is expected to grow to between £20 million and £30 million by 2018, with its workforce doubling to over 60 in the same period.

Mr Aldous added: “I was very keen for Philip to come up here and see what I have seen over the last four years; how Adande has grown and is moving forward. They are up for the challenge and pursuing export markets around the world; this is the type of business that we need to be encouraging and helping to facilitate their growth.”

Readers' comments (8)

  • It is great to hear that the Government is committing to funding supply chain products that reduce energy.

    The most effective way of reducing energy consumption of display cases is to fit them with doors. This is not new technology. Fitting doors to cabinets is a tried and tested measure that results in the best energy reduction. Stores already fitted with display cases complete with doors are report a huge reduction in energy. If this could be rolled out across the whole supermarket estate, the benefits would be massive.

    Government support and funding to drive the fitting of doors in all supermarkets would be the best use of finite funds and bring the greatest energy reduction results.

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  • Good point Jason.

    When a gunman opens fire at a school the gun lobby are quick to point out that guns can be used for good and bad. They are not responsible if someone uses their product against society instead of for the good of it. An emotional subject but they have a point

    With all our industry acknowledging that display cases are far more efficient when fitted with doors, and that continuing to using use cabinets without doors is one of the most environmentally damaging practices in terms of energy wastage known in modern society, it says a lot about this RAC industry that we then seek and gain funding from Government to continue to the practise.

    We are putting the gun into the hands the environmental criminals.

    We know the damage it is causing but then excuse our actions as being energy efficient.

    As an industry we should be raising awareness not simple ways that we can reduce environmental impact of our products not seek state support for a practise that should be as socially unacceptable as smoking in a restaurant now is.

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  • Well said Jason.

    A rather emotive argument from Jay. State sponsored environmental polluters.

    It does seem strange that the government are supporting this when we all know that there is already a significantly better alternative out there.

    The problem with this industry is that we reward and promote anything that makes us money. It is after all a commercial business, but what sticks in my throat the most is that I can imagine these people already counting their Cooing Industry Awards.

    If we really want to put the environment first and put clean money in our pockets, give an award to a supplier if display cases with doors on them. Make a clear statement.

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  • This reaction is understandable given the biased information put into the public domain regarding glass doors. One simple fact, not generally recognised, is that glass doors save most energy when they remain closed. As opening frequency increases energy savings drop off to a point where they can actually use more than standard open cabinets. You can check this out for yourselves by looking at the retail Refrigeration Road Map produced by the Carbon Trust in association with the British Refrigeration Association (BRA) and Institute of Refrigeration (IoR) https://www.carbontrust.com/media/147175/j7924_ctg021_refrigeration_road_map_aw.pdf
    On page 14, item 7 of that document it states

    ….The levels of energy saving claimed (by fitting glass doors) vary considerably and must be related to the level of use of the cabinet. Cabinets with doors undergoing higher usage have been shown to save little energy when compared to an open-fronted cabinet, but generally the doors do show some benefits during periods of low store usage.

    It should be apparent from this that glass doors are not a total solution for supermarkets. The greatest energy savings will come from employing a range of solutions most suitable for particular applications. So glass doors definitely have a place but their use should be evaluated alongside alternative energy saving solutions – that is the best outcome for the planet.

    Rest assured the government does not hand out funding without doing thorough due diligence and overall environmental impact assessments.

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  • Good to read a reasonable and considered response to a genuine concern.

    A question for Nigel, or anyone else that may know:
    What period of time (or percentage of time period) is a cabinet under going periods of high usage? As I understand it, an airflow system would also suffer during a period of high usage as the air flow pattern is disturb and takes a period of time to reestablish itself. Is that correct or are the manufacturers of air-flow products claiming that high usage has no effect on performance?

    I agree with you that there is perhaps no 'one size fits all' solution to this and so maybe air-flow and glass door solutions do have a place side by side. My concern is that the retailers will jump of this and discontinue to consider doors as they at not particularly in favour of them anyway.

    I have a second question regarding due-diligence and government funding:
    Does anyone have any information as to how this was carried out, and by whom?

    Finally I must thank Jason for kicking this off, and Nigel for responding. This is an important topic

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  • The report that Nigel refers to doesn't say that the performance drops off until glass door cases are worse than open cases, at least not what I read. To me it says that in some cases at certain times the performance is no better ,during those excessively busy periods.

    Surely a drop in performance for any measure will be reduced during busy periods. Is Nigel claiming that the performance of the aircell kit doesn't also reduce during busy usage periods?

    The retailers are looking for any excuse not to accept responsibility for their huge energy wasting practices. The funding will now give them the excuse to delay fitting doors to cabinets. All done RAC Industry, we are helping the supermarkets once again dodge their responsibilities to reduce their environmental impact

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  • This funding is not really aimed at energy reduction, it is aimed at job creation. The UK government pay lip service to a commitment to funding energy reducing research and technology. But what this funding is really for is to create more jobs.

    The funding will enable to the UK to sell more energy efficient display cases around the world. The problem for the government is that doors on display cases is not new so steering retailers and manufacturers down this route whilst saving energy doesn't create any new jobs in the sector

    Shop keepers always have the perception that doors on cases are a barrier which will put shoppers off buying. Research proves that this assumption is incorrect, but shop keepers have fixed ideas on some things. And we certainly can't tell them how to sell stuff. But I do feel that we have let ourselves down as an industry by not pushing the doors on cases more, and unfortunately , this new product plays straight into the shop keepers hands. We are giving them what they want not what we all think they should have.

    Is the customer always right, even when he is polluting the planet?

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  • On the issue of the impact of "shopping" on the efficiency of airflow management systems I think the point raised by Martin is very relevant. As for doors - with appropriate opening frequnecies, the testing protocols should address this point.
    I cannot speak for other airflow management systems in use or being developed, however the Aircell technology we are introducing is not impacted by "shopping".
    This can provide real energy saving without introducing a barrier.

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