Novum, a Dublin, Ireland-based retail refrigerated display case manufacturer, is helping retailers adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic with new equipment features as well as its thawless propane (R290) “LEAP” cases to meet customer expectations of safety and sustainability.

The current difficulties facing retailers was outlined at Novum’s “Grow Your Business with the Store of the Future Webinar” on May 25, 2020.

The webinar mentioned two features Novum is designing in light of the COVID-19 pandemic that can reduce disease transmission.

To make shared surfaces safer, Novum is developing “anti-microbial coatings” for the lid handles of refrigeration units, as well as for chest frame points “where people make contact,” according to Eoin Lennon, Novum’s Chief Technology Officer.

In addition, Novum is developing automated refrigerator lids for retailers. These will be sensor- operated, and thus shoppers will not need to touch a shared surface, Lennon said.

The webinar featured a presentation by Piotr Kraśnicki, Head of Sales at Modern-Expo, a Lutsk, Ukraine-based equipment maker, who described how refrigerated parcel terminals can be an effective tool against COVID-19.

Due to reduced footfall, retailers have necessarily adopted “click and collect” models for retailing, and Modern-Expo’s Parcel locker solutions can be part of this trend, said Kraśnicki.

The units can be adapted to feature refrigerated compartments for groceries that open via a command from a phone App, and include hand-sanitizing stations, according to Kraśnicki.

Advantages of LEAP

Novum also discussed what its Grand Cayman and Panama Green LEAP cabinets could offer retailers to reduce energy consumption, improve defrost cycles, and work within the limits imposed by COVID-19.

With new refrigeration technology, it is possible to cater to “the customer of the future, who is motivated by both safety, and sustainability,” said Ruaidhri Horan, Novum’s Digital Marketing Manager.

Both LEAP units use R290 refrigerants, which reduces retailer costs by lowering energy consumption and making defrost cycles easier. This typically gives an immediate 20% reduction in energy consumption, according to Lennon.

As well as this, Novum’s LEAP refrigeration units do not have thaw cycles, and thus maintain a stable freezer case temperature, reducing food loss. “It keeps your packaging dry, and there is no moisture in the cabinets” said Lennon.

The Grand Cayman units feature hermetically self-contained cassettes with 65g (2.5oz) of refrigerant. This reduces the risk of leaks in store, and also allows easy maintenance without costly downtime, according to Lennon.

The full webinar can be found here, and a summary version can be found here.

Want to find out more, or have something to say about this story? Join the ATMO Connect network to meet and engage with like-minded stakeholders in the clean cooling and natural refrigerant arena.