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Foster makes waves with aerofoil condenser

Foster Refrigerator has seized on the aerodynamic advantages of aerofoils, with a condenser unit that claims to dramatically improve reliability by reducing blockages.

The Stayclear condensing unit, now being fitted to new G2 refrigerators on the production line by Foster, features aerofoils attached to the heat exchange pipework which both increase the heat exchange surface area and improve air flow, compared to conventional condenser arrangements.

The counter-angled strips create turbulent flow in the condenser, increasing efficiency, while reducing the incidence of blockages, the most common form of condenser failure.

Foster market and development director Chris Playford said that thanks to this arrangement, the condenser could go up to three times as long between cleans as the conventional condenser.

Mr Playford said: “In commercial kitchens, equipment is getting worked harder, while the working space gets smaller. The customers don’t want to have service technicians in their space if they don’t need to.

“Condenser blockages are a common problem. The majority of end-users, however, treat their refrigerators like a home applicance and they run it until it breaks down. Some customers do periodically have their condensers cleaned, but it is quite an expensive activity to call in the technician. We wanted to find them a solution.”

The StayClear condenser boasts 70 per cent fewer brazed joints than the conventional version, and tubes further apart, which means fewer places for dust and grease to gather, so not only does it stay clean longer, the surfaces are easier to access when the time does come for cleaning, Mr Playford said: “The same amount of grease and dust goes into the condenser as before, it is simply far easier to clean it.”

The company considered a range of solutions before lighting on the aerofoil, then set about finding the optimum configuration of angles, using CFD modelling.

Mr Playford said: “Traditionally the heat exchange depends on utilising a combination of the primary surface and the secondary surface, but with this design we have optimised the primary surface.”

He added: “Everyone has been focused on designing new equipment to meet the EcoDesign criteria, but we wanted to give customers something that would benefit them in the real world. Test standards don’t always bear much relation to the real world – that is the problem that got VW into trouble.”

Foster is the second refrigeration firm to harness the aerodynamic benefits of aerofoils. In the retail display sector, Aerofoil Energy has been getting good energy reduction from applying aerofoil shelf strips to the shelf ends. The strips are being trialled in Sainsbury’s and other supermarkets.

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