Adande has taken the unprecedented step of appointing an independent testing firm to assess the performance of its flagship refrigerated drawer against a similar product from Precision Refrigeration after growing concerned that its rival’s product could potentially be perceived as a substitute or lower cost option to its own.
Adande decided to take action after Precision launched the VSS121 SS self-contained refrigerated drawer last July with the assertion that it offered totally accurate temperature control and consumed 26% less power than its nearest competitor.
It also uses similar dimensions to Adande’s unit and claims the same modularity, leading Adande to accuse Precision of “creating confusion” in the market place.
Adande says its customers have been asking it if the Precision drawers are the same as its own, or whether they use Adande technology, suggesting that the market’s understanding of the relative similarities and differences between the two products is muddied.
To test Precision’s claims, Adande purchased a Precision drawer and sent it to Refrigeration Developments and Testing Ltd (RD&T), an independent refrigeration research house, to test it alongside a standard Adande VCS drawer.
Nigel Bell, chairman of Adande, said it was responding in a “measured technical way” to dealers, end-users and consultants who have been posing the question ‘are these the same?, when considering whether to purchase or recommend Adande or Precision drawers.
“As you know, the Adande product holds an international patent for its insulated container technology that we happily state on our marketing materials as ‘like no other refrigeration,” said Bell.
“Our intention is to alert specifiers/consultants and buyers to the fact that choosing or recommending a third party option may result in unsatisfied or disappointed customers should they be expecting the same performance and energy-saving results as an Adande drawer. The key message is that Adande technology is unique. So, if the products do not include Adande technology they will not perform like an Adande would.”
The testing carried out by RD&T, which followed BS EN441, the test standard used to assess temperature and energy performance of professional cabinets for ECA accreditation, took place between 31 December 2013 and 2 January 2014, but the report was only published this week.
Adande said the results served to highlight the differences between the performance of the two products.
The report concluded that when both drawers were set as freezers, test packs in the Adande drawer maintained temperature within a range of 4.8ºC (between -17.1ºC and -21.9ºC) while the same packs in the Precision drawer varied by over 15.6 ºC (from -21.5ºC to -5.9ºC).
When set as fridges, test packs in the Adande drawer maintained temperature within a range of 2.0ºC (between +3.0ºC and +5.0ºC), while the same packs in a Precision drawer varied by 11.2ºC (between -1.4ºC and +9.8ºC)
Adande also said that Precision’s drawer failed to comply with the Fridge (M1) and Freezer (L1) temperature classifications within EN441, according to the test.
From an energy perspective, Precision’s drawer consumes 86% more energy than an Adande drawer when used as a fridge. As a freezer, Precision’s drawer consumes 120% more energy than an Adande drawer.
“Our customers know that Adande’s patented insulated drawer system offers temperature stability and energy savings that are not available elsewhere,” said Bell. “No other fridge or freezer on the UK market uses that technology. Other suppliers might offer something that looks like an Adande unit, but unless it contains our patented insulated drawers, it isn’t an Adande.”
Precision Refrigeration agrees there is confusion in the market place with regard to testing standards. In fact RD&T — the testing house employed by Adande — state this themselves on their website homepage, the company’s managing director Nick Williams said today.
“Like many other manufacturers, while we wait for the Energy Related Products Directive test standard to be finalised, Precision is currently testing and comparing products using the BSEN153 standard. Adande’s test was to a different standard, so results will, of course, be different,” said Williams.
“We look forward to the implementation of the new EU Directive. Once the test standard is finalised, manufacturers will at last be on a level playing field, providing customers with clarity of comparative figures on energy performance between different refrigeration products.
“Refrigerated drawers and freezer drawers are a growing market, not just as stand-alone units but also, for example, in products like counters, undercounters, under broilers and space savers.
“However, we don’t usually come across Adande as a competitor, because it operates in a specialist field and has a very tightly defined product focus,” concluded Williams. "Precision offers a large variety of refrigeration products alongside its drawers. These include uprights, counters, undercounters, prep stations, blast chiller/freezers and bar refrigeration."