Like all catering equipment producers, combi oven manufacturers are always keen to extol the efficiency virtues of their appliances, but is this the case in reality? Catering Insight has heard various reports from distributors that the electricity and water usage of a number of brands can be variable, so we quizzed the manufacturers on how they are working with their dealer network to inform them and end users about consumption figures.
At market leader, Rational, it reports that consumption depends on the model and cooking mode used. For example, the six grid electric model uses 1.8kWh in combi mode, when loaded, and 1.5litres of water.
The manufacturer ensures dealers can access its average consumption figures from the Rational Portal and the Rational Designer Manual. Plus the figures are in the public domain via the database on the HKI cert commercial catering equipment platform. The Rational SelfCookingCenter has the Energy Star rating for delivering high standards of energy efficiency.
According to Rational UK’s technical sales director, Graham Kille: “Rational is the market leader in combi oven technology, including for innovation in energy efficiency. Therefore we compare our latest models’ consumption rates against previous models and traditional cooking equipment. For example, the latest SelfCookingCenter’s energy consumption is up to 28% less than its predecessors’ rates.”
Detailing consumption figures is part of the company’s training programmes for dealers and service companies. These are often held at its new Luton facilities, which include two fully equipped training and demonstration kitchens, as well as at live cooking demonstrations at dealer premises around the country.
Kille also revealed: “We have developed a software tool that calculates potential savings against traditional equipment, including an energy efficiency calculation. The tool is designed for dealers to use when they are talking to their customers about the SelfCookingCenter.”
While at Welbilt, it is also happy to provide details of energy and water consumption figures. Using the Convotherm 4 easyDial electric spritzer model as an example shows that energy consumption can go from 2.69kWh for a loaded appliance in steam mode to 3.69kWh under load conditions in convection mode, whereas water consumption is nil in convection mode, up to 2.33litres in steam mode.
Steve Hemsil, Welbilt’s sales director – UK and Ireland, commented: “The energy and water consumption rates of our combi steamers are very competitive against other products in the market, which is largely thanks to the Welbilt approach to constant innovation.
“Customer satisfaction is our priority and Welbilt is at the forefront of developing the latest technology designed to minimise excess energy and water consumption. We’re dedicated to this area of innovation and actively demonstrated this presenting to the CEDA Academy at the recent CEDA Conference where we highlighted our quest to reduce the consumption of energy and water within the kitchen.”
Consumption data is also available in equipment user manuals and specification sheets, as well as on the manufacturer’s website and through independent websites such as HKI, Energystar and Fishnick (Foodservice Technology Centre).
Hemsil added: “Welbilt hosts regular Masterclass demonstrations so that our customers and dealers can see first-hand the numerous features that can save on energy and water consumption, thus reducing cost. For some projects we will also put water meters and energy consumption meters onto the equipment so that the actual usage can be monitored.”
German manufacturer MKN believes that numerous technical details ensure optimised energy consumption figures of its FlexiCombi MagicPilot combi steamer. For example, the triple glazed cooking chamber door can save up to 28% of energy compared to previous MKN combis with double glazing, while using a heat exchanger can save approximately 1kWh of energy per operating hour in steaming mode in the FlexiCombi 10.1, compared to previous MKN HansDampf technology without a heat exchanger.
Furthermore, new engine technology is claimed to reduce the engine’s energy consumption by 40% and connected loads by an average of 5% compared to the prior HansDampf technology. Marketing manager, Anja Halbauer, detailed: “We show our consumption figures transparently, both directly on the appliance with our GreenInside consumption display and in the HKI Cert commercial catering equipment database.
“Users can make a direct comparison here between the consumption values of appliances of different manufacturers. MKN also puts the values of the FlexiCombi combi steamer in various sizes online in this database. These are indeed particularly impressive despite the large FlexiRack cooking chamber and the related capacity benefits.”
She emphasised: “We use many different channels to communicate about the benefits of our equipment. For example, on our website, in our social media channels, in magazines, at exhibitions or live cooking seminars. There the MKN chefs show how to use the multifunctional appliances efficiently and cost-effectively.”
Over at Unox, UK MD Gary Nunn reported: “We work closely with our dealers to keep them up to date on how efficient Unox ovens are and to help them get this across to end users.
“Unox offers the unique service of an individual cooking experience, in which one of our active marketing chefs takes a Cheftop Mind.Maps combi oven to the customer to carry out a personalised demo at their premises using their ingredients and their recipes.
“As part of this demonstration, at which we encourage the dealer to be present, we show the end user the Unox data driven stats on the oven control panel. This gives them real-time information on energy, steaming water, washing water and detergent consumption, as well as the time that the door is left open. The end user can even enter their rates for electricity and water and view directly on the control panel the exact cost for each cooking process.”
Nunn highlighted: “This useful and clear information can be seen on the control panel, and if the oven is connected to the internet it can even be viewed online or on the data driven cooking app, helping the end user to identify every opportunity for improvement and to eliminate any waste, thereby increasing their daily profit.”
Elsewhere, Retigo’s non-executive director Radford Chancellor feels: “It is always tricky to quantify consumption figures, as energy and water figures very much depend on a number of variable factors, such as the cooking mode, humidity level, oven temperature, initial food temperature and the amount of food loaded to name a few.
“One of the ways you can measure energy consumption for commercial kitchen appliances is a German standard DIN 18873-1 12012-1, which exactly specifies conditions how energy and water consumption in combi ovens should be measured.”
The Czech manufacturer tested its Retigo Blue Vision 6 x GN1/1 combi oven consumption according to the DIN 18873-1 12012-12 standard, and used SZU (Trojirensky Zkusebni Ustav) independent testing institute figures. This found that energy consumption in hot air mode is 2.68kWh, whether loaded or not, while the water consumption in steam mode under load is 2.76litres.
Chancellor commented: “Based on our own in-house tests and values published by our competitors, we are sure that Retigo Vision combi ovens can be rated amongst the most efficient combi ovens in the market.”
Retigo believes that its combi ovens are efficient due to their triple glazed doors, 50mm thick thermal insulation around the cooking chamber and built-in heat exchanger.
The firm organises regular sales and technical training days for its dealers, during which it emphasises its low water and energy consumption values. Additionally it presents some of the key figures in its promotional materials and explain them during live cooking shows and demonstrations for end users.
For Küppersbusch, Guido Giesselmann, sales director international, was at pains to underline that all combi ovens’ cleaning systems work differently. “There are no common standards on how and where you can build reliable and rating databases: cleaning programmes and levels are impossible to compare. It will also depend of the local hardness of water, water quality in general and water pressure itself.”
Emphasising that for Küppersbusch ConvectAir combis, the water consumption for a cleaning cycle will depend on the cleaning level chosen, which in itself depends on the food, temperature and cooking time, Giesselmann revealed the average cycle cost starts from €2.10 (£1.84) up to €3.20 (£2.80).
He said: “Our water consumption rate is very competitive since we use liquid cleaner and the wash system is highly efficient. As a rule of thumb, liquid cleaner and rinse aid are always better in savings and efficiency compared to the use of powder or tablets. Another major benefit of liquid cleaner is safety first. Compared to the others, users don’t need to touch the cleaner or open the plastic seal cover from tablets by hand.”
Küppersbusch ConvectAir Professional combi steamers have an automatic measuring control system for water use, energy and cleaner consumption, managed by the Android touch panel. Units also offer a water limescale measuring system which checks water hardness and alerts the user when the softener cartridge has to be changed.
Scotland’s Falcon Foodservice Equipment now supplies Lainox combi ovens to the UK market. Product development chef Shaune Hall believes that the brand is amongst the most efficient on the market, but cautioned: “Consumption figures depend on levels of usage and the type of cooking – for example, foods and recipes that cause heavy soiling will lead to greater consumption of water for cleaning.”
The latest software update for Lainox’s Naboo ovens should mean users can now monitor their energy and water consumption, either through the combi’s tablet control panel or remotely, via the Lainox Cloud. They can also check consumption of electricity, water, gas, Combiclean detergent and Calfree descaler via the unit’s inbuilt drop-down menu.
Hall commented: “We work very closely with our dealers to ensure they have knowledge and the sales tools they need to sell our products, including the Lainox combis. Our area sales managers visit regularly and undertake training as required, and dealers regularly visit the Falcon demonstration kitchen in Stirling.
“Working with our dealers, Falcon area managers and development chefs run end user training courses and arrange site visits for customers. We have a number of locations around the country where we can provide cooking demonstrations to highlight the features and performance of our combination ovens.”
He added: “It’s also worth noting that few customers ask about consumption figures. They tend to be more interested in areas such as functionality, ease of use and quality of results.”