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issue: February 2006 APPLIANCE Magazine

Commercial Foodservice Equipment
Handling Safety

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by Jill Russell, Senior Associate Editor

To help increase the food safety of its mobile refrigerated cabinets, Cres Cor, a maker of mobile foodservice equipment, turned to antimicrobial coating supplier Horizon Business Group.

The fully insulated mobile ChillTemp(r) refrigerated cabinet from Cres Cor features a full-length extruded door handle with a customized antimicrobial coating from Horizon Business Group. Cres Cor says the coating was matched to its existing product line and will be included on its entire product line. The ChillTemp also features a stainless-steel construction and self-closing insulated doors to help prevent temperature loss.

After seeing a need to decrease germ transfer in commercial kitchens, Cres Cor decided it was going to do so by adding an antimicrobial coating first to its latches, and decided later to add it to the full-length extruded handles on all of it's equipment.

Introduced at the North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers (NAFEM) show in October 2005 on the company's ChillTemp(r) refrigerated cabinet, the handles feature a textured, black antimicrobial coating from Horizon Business Group (HBG) that is said to inhibit the growth of certain bacteria, molds, mildews, and fungi.

HBG teamed up with research firm Thomson Research Associates to offer an estimated 21 different compounds for its SureShield with Ultra-Fresh(tm) coating. According to Michael Jacobs, president of HBG, only one or two compounds are used in each coating, as each coating is customized to particular applications and needs and the compounds used are dependent on the type of coating used.

Jacobs relates the Ultra-Fresh compounds in the SureShield coating to that of chlorine in a swimming pool. "If you have a swimming pool without chlorine, microorganisms would proliferate throughout the water. Whereas when you add chlorine, it prevents the microbes from continuing to grow," he explains. "Our coatings work in a similar way. The compounds protect the coating from germination and outgrowth of microorganisms."

Cres Cor started the process by telling HBG what they wanted the coating to do and how they wanted it to look. Cres Cor wanted the look of the new coating to match that of its current coating-a textured, glossy, black-and wanted the new coating to be powder coated to match its current manufacturing process. HBG, which offers coatings in pre- and post-application liquid and powder form, worked directly with Cres Cor's outsourced coating company to ensure a positive result. HBG provided samples of the coating to the powder coater and answered questions regarding spray and bake temperatures to make sure the transition to the antimicrobial coating was a smooth one. Jacobs says HBG aims to integrate new coatings in a customer's current manufacturing process in the least disruptive manner possible. According to Cres Cor, the transition met the goals.

Horizon Business Group provides customized solutions with its SureShield(tm) with Ultra-Fresh line antimicrobial metal coatings that are said to suppress the growth of stain- and odor-causing bacterial, molds, mildews, and fungi while providing finger-print and corrosion resistance.

"We found that it only took a couple attempts to get the formation of the black powder to match that of our existing line. Once we were able to get the recipe down, it actually worked fine the first time," Dave Vuicich, director of engineering for Cres Cor, tells APPLIANCE. Even though the actual implementation of the powder coating seemed almost effortless, matching the new coating to the old coating was a little trickier-although not by much. HBG says the formulation of the coating went smoothly because Cres Cor provided such specific requirements. "We already had the coating in our library of coatings," Jacobs says. "We just adjusted it for the color and the texture. We matched the particular texture and shade of black they wanted and provided them with various options if they wanted to adjust it."

Although Cres Cor's request was specific, HBG says it provides solutions for non-specific customers using what the supplier dubs the "four-step process for product enhancement." The process includes HBG working with the customer to identify project parameters, identify physical properties and the product's aesthetic perspective, identify the overall cost, and assist with marketing directives.

In addition to providing several samples, once Cres Cor selected the color, HBG sent samples of flat materials to Thomson Research to verify the material was properly treated and could be claimed antimicrobial via the Environmental Protection Agency.

Vuicich says HBG's commitment to providing evidence to back up its product claims, was a key factor in choosing the company to provide the coating for its product. "We get contacted by a lot of vendors that tell us all the wonderful things they can do," he tells APPLIANCE. "As soon as I asked the question about the effectiveness of their product, HBG sent me a test they had had done by independent laboratories. At that point, I realized they were a very legitimate vendor."

Cres Cor plans to apply the antimicrobial coating to all of its future products and says it is already receiving positive feedback regarding the upgrade. "We are getting confirmation from our customer base that we are going in the right direction on this. [This is something] people aren't going to pay for, so we are just putting it in and absorbing it [the cost] at this point because we feel that it is the right thing to do."

A Continuous Cool
Handling Safety
Dishing Up Efficiency

Suppliers mentioned in this article:
Sureshield Coatings Co.

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