Already rapidly rolling out in supermarkets across the UK, the innovative, energy-saving Wirth Research (WR) EcoBlade™ shelf-edge technology is now similarly bound for the United States, courtesy of a major agreement between the pioneering British engineering and research firm and leading US refrigeration OEM, Dover Food Retail.
The WR EcoBlade was first introduced publicly by British supermarket chain Waitrose & Partners earlier this year, and its success – significantly reducing energy consumption in open refrigerated display cases – has swiftly brought the ingeniously simple and cost-effective product to the attention of high-profile brands all around the world.
Dover Food Retail has today (6 September) announced the North American launch of EcoBlade, with the device set to be incorporated into Hillphoenix open refrigerated cabinets moving forward and due to yield an unprecedented 33% energy saving.
Traditional open-fronted fridges typically dissipate much of their cold air into the surrounding aisles, costing retailers money through energy loss and causing these aisles to feel cooler than the rest of the store – but Hillphoenix has worked closely with Wirth Research to generate a unique, scientifically-proven solution to these issues in the demanding North American food retail sector.
The EcoBlade works by virtually eliminating cold air displacement, preserving the contents of the fridge for longer – ensuring a consistent temperature to maintain product quality and thereby minimising food waste – and transforming the customer experience without the requirement to add doors to cabinets, a move widely regarded as a deterrent to shoppers.
Employing the same techniques that channel airflow more efficiently around racing cars to enable them to corner at higher speeds – a nod to WR founder Nick Wirth’s former career as a leading light in Formula 1 and motorsport circles – each of the patented EcoBlade shelf-edge strips is composed of twin blades made of recyclable polycarbonate. The product has been specifically tailored to Hillphoenix open display cases, with two unique design options that allow for the EcoBlade to be attached directly to either flat or angled shelves.
Anshuman Bhargava, Director of Product Management for Dover Food Retail, said:
“The Hillphoenix partnership with Wirth Research gives us the opportunity to provide the innovative EcoBlade product to our customers. EcoBlade offers industry-best energy and food temperature performance to retailers for open multi-deck refrigerated cases, especially for merchandising perishable meat products.
“This unique technology has already been rolled out this year by Wirth Research in the United Kingdom with customers who were looking at innovative ways to reduce energy costs, and the new Hillphoenix version is currently being tested by several large United States retailers, with one already making the commitment to specify for use in all new stores.”
Nick Wirth, President and Founder of Wirth Research and a former Formula 1 Team Owner, said:
“We are delighted to be working with Hillphoenix. It is a fantastic endorsement of our technology and services to be partnering with one of the largest refrigeration OEMs in the world. We look forward to accelerated adoption of our technology and helping US grocers and shoppers make their contribution to the planet by saving energy and cutting carbon dioxide emissions.”