An Increase in Manufacturing Efficiency Reduces Production Lead Time

Year after year our manufacturing production has been challenged with the demand to keep up with the increase in sales. Last year was particularly “challenging” with no true slow-down in the demand for custom walk-in coolers and freezers.

U.S. Cooler has a continuous goal of improving efficiency and reducing waste; making us as lean as we can possibly be. Several positive impacts in the past year have taken place in our facilities to make U.S. Cooler even more efficient. Our manufacturing facility has recently added over 16% more production capability. By automating more processes, adding new equipment and adding managers to focus on efficiency, U.S. Cooler has been able to decrease our production lead time on custom orders to approximately three to four weeks. Naturally, our lead time can fluctuate depending on the market but we are hopeful that U.S. Cooler will be able to sustain this lead time on custom orders.

New Vert-Ergo™ Handle a Success

Have you ever wondered, why residential refrigerator handles are vertical and walk-in cooler/freezer handles are horizontal? Maybe you haven’t, but we have. We have witnessed the struggle of restaurant employees opening their walk-in cooler door several times with an awkward, uncomfortable reach with their hand gripping down. So we thought, why can’t walk-ins be designed with a more comfortable handle? This lead to the design of the Vert-Ergo™ walk-in cooler/freezer handle.

In April, U.S. Cooler launched the release of the Vert-Ergo handle for walk-in coolers and freezers. The Vert-Ergo handle is the industry’s first vertically positioned walk-in cooler or freezer handle. The vertical handle design places your hand further from the hinges on the door, which in turn, makes a substantial decrease in the effort required to open the door. When users grip the Vert-Ergo handle, they use a more natural, vertical grip allowing the use of powerful muscles in the forearm and upper arm. The round handle allows for a full grip making it more comfortable to use.

With over 200 Vert-Ergo handles in the field, we have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the usage of the vertical handle. The simplistic yet strong design looks a bit different than the horizontal handle, but users enjoy the ergonomic benefits.

U.S. Cooler’s new Vert-Ergo handle is built to exact standards with a quality you can see and feel. It is available with an externally mounted lock or as a standalone handle. A padlock can be added as an additional locking mechanism. The handle is mounted with a glow-in-the-dark safety release located inside the walk-in. The Vert-Ergo handle can be mounted on either a right hand or left hand opening door.

U.S. Cooler Products Exceed DOE Testing Requirements

Yet again, the walk-in cooler and freezer industry has another DOE requirement deadline. Even though the R-value requirements have not changed since the original rule-making, the panel testing procedure has been clarified. Previously, the thermal resistance could be measured as a fresh R-value. With the new testing methodology, the insulation must be tested in “final chemical form”.

“For foam produced inside of a panel (“foam-in-place”), “final chemical form” means the foam is cured as intended and ready for use as a finished panel. For foam produced as board stock (typically polystyrene), “final chemical form” means after extrusion and ready for assembly into a panel or after assembly into a panel.” DOE 431.304

This means that sample pieces are taken from the center of a panel and measured for thermal resistance in final panel form rather than immediately after the insulation was blown or extruded.  The specified ASTM C518 testing method has created an even playing field for all panel manufacturers by having to test the foam in the same time frame and in the final chemical form.

All U.S. Cooler products have been tested according to the ASTM C518 testing procedure and exceed the specifications with our 4” panels. Both Extruded and Foamed-In-Place panels have been tested and meet the DOE requirements.

More information on the test procedures and DOE’s Federal Regulations can be found here: https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=dfdf7e682b2b726c81d85d76170027ce&mc=true&node=sp10.3.431.r&rgn=div6

A list of certified manufacturers with the DOE can be found here:  https://www.regulations.doe.gov/certification-data/CCMS-4-Walk-In_Coolers_and_Freezers_-_Panels.html#q=Product_Group_s%3A%22Walk-In%20Coolers%20and%20Freezers%20-%20Panels%22

The Importance of Refrigeration Gaskets

Refrigeration gaskets are a very important part of your walk-in cooler or freezer’s performance. Under-performing gaskets could cost your business hundreds or thousands of dollars in energy bills. Gaskets are responsible for sealing your walk-in door and panels to stop any air infiltration. When your walk-in door is closed, the gasket keeps the cold air from escaping and more importantly warm air from entering your walk-in. When gaskets are not working properly, your refrigeration unit will have to work harder to keep its cold temperature – which in-turn generates higher energy bills and wear and tear on your equipment.

 
There are two different gaskets on your walk-in door that are both vital to your walk-in’s performance.
– The magnetic gasket is the thicker gasket attached to the door and helps to seal and keep the door closed.
– The wiper gasket is the thin single-dart gasket that helps seal the door to stop any outside air infiltration. Wiper gasket is located on the door and on the frame.

Magnetic Gasket and Wiper Gasket on U.S. Cooler door.

Periodically check door gaskets and door sweeps for wear and tear. Keep your gaskets performing longer by cleaning and removing any food, dirt, or debris build-up. It is suggested to include wiping down your gaskets during your daily cleaning routine.

 
Signs that your gaskets may need to be replaced:
– Step inside your walk-in and check for any light coming from around your door. If light comes through you know there is an opening in the gasket.
– Physically check to see if gaskets are ripped or torn.
– If your walk-in cooler gasket isn’t working properly, you may see sweating between the door and door jam. On a walk-in freezer, there may be ice or ice build-up.

 
When replacing your gasket, make sure to purchase the correct gasket for your brand of walk-in. Walk-in brands use different styles of gasket.

Introducing the New U.S. Cooler Walk-in Door.

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”3097″ img_size=”298 x 500″ alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]Here at U.S. Cooler®, we work hard to bring you a quality product at a reasonable price with exceptional attention to the needs of the customer.  So, with that in mind, starting today, all walk-in coolers and freezers will come standard with our break-through Vert-Ergo™ handle, new adjustable hinges, efficient LED lighting, and a dual-temperature display with touch switch.  Below, we have more information about each of the new products, but what does this mean for you?  In short, our new Vert-Ergo™ handle provides a more ergonomic hand position while increasing your leverage to make opening your walk-in cooler or freezer easier.  The new adjustable hinges allow easy adjustment of door alignment with standard spring-action door closing.  The efficient LED lighting offers a reduction in electrical usage, plus a decrease in heat generation for further savings.  Lastly, the thermometer with built-in light switch offers dual-temperature display with an easy-touch switch, as well as multiple other add-on features for further energy control.  We work hard to ensure that every detail of your walk-in cooler and freezer is built to our superior quality standard and is manufactured with your needs in mind.[/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_custom_heading text=”Vert-Ergo™ handle” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:center” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fwww.uscooler.com%2Fvert-ergo%2F||target:%20_blank|”][vc_single_image image=”3079″ img_size=”200 x 355″ alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]

  • Vertical handle design for easier opening.
  • Ergonomic positioning for a comfortable feel.
  • Reversible for mounting on either a right hand or left hand door.

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  • Designed to reduce electrical usage by 85%.
  • Minimal heat generation will lower utility cost.
  • Exceeds Federal Energy Act Requirements.
  • Rated for 50,000+ hours of life.

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  • Strap adjusts horizontally, providing door lift and rotation to compensate for unlevel or uneven floors.
  • Built-in spring action is standard.
  • Left and right hand hinges use the same component parts for faster mounting and replacement.

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  • Dual-temperature display changes between freezer and cooler temperature probes.
  • Designed for (wet & dry) in-door and/or outdoor locations
  • Light relay with touch technology
  • Quick Installation, No connectors required

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U.S. Cooler Celebrating 30 Years!

U.S. Cooler Celebrating 30 Years!

30 years ago, U.S. Cooler®, started as a small family owned business manufacturing insulated panels for cold storage solutions. By strongly committing to the basic philosophy to provide a quality product, U.S. Cooler has resulted in successive years of double digit sales growth and a financially strong company.  We provide a quality product at a reasonable price with exceptional attention to the needs of the customer.

U.S. Cooler, would like to thank our employees, customers, and vendors for their loyalty and support throughout our 30 years in the business.  We appreciate the continued opportunity to serve all your walk-in cooler, freezer and cold storage needs and look forward to our continued relationships in the future.

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