UPDATE: SMTS 2014: New suppliers coming to Japanese market in 2014

By Klara Skačanová, Feb 28, 2014, 16:00 4 minute reading

More than 81,000 visitors came to Tokyo Big Sight last week for the annual leading international trade show targeting buyers from the supermarket sector. R744.com attended Supermarket Trade Show 2014 (SMTS 2014) to report on the latest developments in the commercial refrigeration market in Japan. Besides market leader Panasonic, new suppliers of CO2 technology such as Nihon Netsugen Systems, Fukushima Industries and Okamura showcased their solutions for the very first time.

On 12 – 14 February, the East Hall of Tokyo Big Sight hosted the 48th Supermarket Trade Show 2014 (SMTS 2014), organised by the New Supermarket Association of Japan (NSAJ). The wave of new CO2 technologies for Japanese supermarkets and convenience stores that R744.com first reported on at ATMOsphere Asia 2014 and HVAC&R Japan 2014 continued at SMTS 2014 with additional system and showcase manufacturers displaying running systems.

Panasonic chooses CO2 for commercial refrigeration

“One Stop Solution” theme of Panasonic booth underlined one of the main messages of the SMTS 2014: Panasonic, leader in the Japanese market with 162 installations (end of January 2014), goes CO2.

In one of the largest booths at SMTS 2014, Panasonic presented complete line up of its commercial CO2 outdoor condensing unit (OCU) with nominal output 2-20 Hp as well as its CO2 reach-in showcase freezer running at -23°C.

While demonstrating the R744 technology, Panasonic presented the government subsidy scheme encouraging operators to use natural refrigerants with application period starting already April 2014.

All four OCUs use two-stage rotary CO2 compressors and split cycle technology with split internal heat exchanger and intercooler. Small 2Hp outdoor unit is suitable particularly for convenience stores but can also be used with walk-in coolers and other products. The larger units are suitable for centralised freezing/refrigeration systems at small to large-scale supermarkets.

Nihon Netsugen Systems partnering with Fukushima Industries

A running CO2 transcritical rack system (2.904 RT cooling capacity) provided by Nihon Netsugen Systems (NNS) and featuring GEA Bock reciprocal compressors was on display for the very first time at the Fukushima booth. Fukushima Industries, partnering up with NNS demonstrated a brand new SGC series of CO2 showcases “Send-you”. The CO2 cabinets will be offered in number of variations, on display were open type refrigerated showcases, bottle coolers and reach-in type freezer operating at -24°C.

The displayed prototype CO2 booster system consists of transcritical and subcritical compressors. The advantage of this system is that one unit can cool both medium temperature and low temperature cabinets, whilst creating hot water by way of heat recovery.

According to Katsuhiko Harada, president at NNS, the company began testing such a system in 2013 to verify the COP, cooling speed, operation under hot summer conditions, the heat recovery function and the CO2 safety devices. Nihon has partnered with cabinetmaker Fukushima Industries, and is currently in its third phase of testing at the factory of Fukishima Industries. According to Harada, the CO2 system from NNS will be ready for customers in fall of 2014.

Video interview with Nihon Netsugen Systems (in English)

Video interview Nihon Netsugen Systems (in Japanese)

SMTS 2014:日本熱源システムがCO2ブースターシステムを紹介

Field test of new R744 showcases at display at Okamura booth

Two prototypes of CO2 showcase were at display at Okamura booth. A reach-in type Fontana-Deux showcase connected to remote condensing unit was operating at -22°C while stand alone built-in type CO2 showcase was set to -20°C. The first-ever demonstration of Okamura’s R744 technology is an important step. While bringing the final product to market will require additional R&D efforts, Okamura saw the SMTS 2014 as an opportunity to receive first feedback from customers.

Ultra Eco-Ice System – innovative solution for Japanese supermarkets

Aimed at replacing HFC systems in the Japanese retail industry, Yamato introduced to its booth visitors the Ultra Eco-Ice System (UEI). UEI system uses cold energy accumulated during nighttime for refrigeration/air conditioning inside of a store and display cases. It has shown a 55% reduction in TEWI (Total Equivalent Warming Impact) when compared to a conventional direct expansion system. Among other advantages of UEI system is low pressure at the brine side, which makes it possible to utilize current showcases in combination with new CO2 condensing units.

Changing environment in Japan offers great opportunity for natural refrigerants

While after SMTS 2013 R744.com reported that the market is at a crossroad, after SMTS 2014 and HVAC&R Japan 2014 we can say that the market offers increasingly more CO2 solutions for Japanese supermarkets and convenience stores. Together with rather generous government subsidy scheme for retail store covering 1/3 of total investment cost, new technology solutions and increasing interest from end users there is no doubt that 2014 will be the year of change and faster uptake of CO2 technology in commercial refrigeration in Japan.


By Klara Skačanová

Feb 28, 2014, 16:00

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