aerofoils

What is the aerofoil™?

Our aerofoil is an aerodynamically-profiled blade fabricated in the UK from extruded aluminium, teamed with a bespoke, robust bracket system that can be adapted for a range of shelf types and angles. The aerofoil has its own profiled, waterproof ticket strip, which will accommodate a client's existing price label dimensions.

Our aerofoil kit is a high-performance system, tolerant to the full range of ambient conditions occurring in practice. It is suitable both for retro-fitting to existing cabinets in-situ, and for incorporation into new-build units.

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How do aerofoils™ work?

Aerofoil technology for use in refrigeration was conceived using the principles of aerodynamics in aircraft. Aerofoils have very powerful effects on moving air-streams. They reduce turbulence and straighten falling air curtains back into shape.

All multi-deck fridges employ a curtain of refrigerated air blown down across the open front of the shelves to help maintain the contents at a consistent target temperature. However, much of this cold ‘air curtain’ spills out of the front of the cabinet and into the store aisles. Not only is this wasteful from an energy perspective, but it also causes ‘cold-aisle syndrome’ with consequent negative impact on the shopper.

Deployment of aerofoils on the edge of each shelf in the cabinet draws the cold-air curtain back into the fridge, thereby reducing spill, reducing energy consumption and improving aisle temperatures.

What are the benefits of aerofoils™?

Fitting aerofoils to open-fronted multi-deck cabinets is proven to reduce energy consumption by up to 40%, as verified by lab testing in ISO conditions. As well as the consequent cost savings to retailers, this also represents a major reduction to their carbon footprint.

Other benefits include reduced product shrinkage due to the stabilising effect that aerofoils have on product temperatures within the cabinet. An indirect benefit is to create warmer shopping aisles due to the reduced cold-air spill, thereby improving shopper comfort and extending browsing time.

In comparison with glass doors, aerofoils are a barrier-free solution to the problem of cold-air spill, and a much less expensive, more robust alternative requiring minimal maintenance.

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How easy is it to install aerofoils™?

In a word: 'very'.

We have engineered a bracket kit that provides an extremely rigid yet simple and unobtrusive attachment between the shelf edge and the aerofoil. No drilling is required and hence there is no requirement to de-merchandise the cabinet. The system is also designed to accommodate a mini- or full-sized riser to facilitate product alignment. All but the largest stores can be retro-fitted with aerofoils in a single night.

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vortex

The Vortex brief

Driven by the success of the aerofoil system, we put together a team to take us one step - in fact several steps - beyond. The 'Vortex' team comprises highly-skilled practitioners with over 150 years of combined industry expertise. Moreover, they have joined forces with our technical partner, Williams Advanced Engineering, to deploy some of the world’s most advanced R&D technologies, including high-fidelity computational fluid dynamic modelling and independent EN23953 laboratory testing.

Together, they have been working quietly behind the scenes for the last three years, identifying and addressing some of the key energy performance losses in multi-deck cabinets, and developing horizontal innovations besides. In fact we've already introduced some of this new technology to the market, but we've not made a song-and-dance about it; our technical experts are not the extrovert type.

We gave our Vortex team the following brief...

40% is not enough...

The simple fact is that fitting aerofoils to your cabinets will deliver up to a 40% improvement in energy performance in laboratory and 25% in store conditions. A straightforward, quick-to-implement solution.

However, we knew we could improve upon the savings achievable from aerofoils alone. So in conjunction with Williams' senior aerodynamicists, we have climbed inside a multi-deck cabinet (virtually, that is) to model every aspect of its aerodynamic and thermodynamic behaviour. We are now developing solutions to common problems including product temperature hot-spots and warm air ingress, as well as overcoming the energy losses associated with sloped shelving.

Get closer...

Our aerofoils already do an unparalleled job of straightening the cold air curtain and retaining it within the cabinet. Some multi-deck cabinets, however, have wide air discharges or discharges that are set forward from the shelf edges. Hence, we turned our attention to the function of the air-discharge mechanism in the cabinet canopy to see if we could increase the uniformity of the air curtain at the point of origin. In turn, this would enable us to fit aerofoils as close to the shelf edge as possible, in fact no more than our target maximum of 70mm away.

To achieve this, we have developed and launched two new technologies that further assist in both straightening and narrowing the air curtain. Our 'aerosteer' product reduces the width of the air curtain, and our 'aerorev' device modifies the vertical plane of the air curtain to bring it closer to the shelf-edge. Without these devices, any form of air-guiding technology would have to be positioned an uncompromising distance from the shelf-edge for it to work properly.

Both of these products deliver energy savings in their own right by reducing cold air spill. We're now deploying them in combination with aerofoils to maximise energy performance whilst minimising the shelf-to-aerofoil gap.

Small is beautiful...

When we ask customers and store staff what they think of our aerofoil installations, their lack of reply and slightly puzzled look is just the response we want. The aerofoils go completely unnoticed. Perfect!

Nonetheless, we are constantly preoccupied with the aesthetic qualities of our aerofoil and so we set out to make it even more inconspicuous. The result is our micro-aerofoil, a low-profile aerofoil that performs just as well as our standard aerofoil, and is more suited to clients with smaller ticket labels or narrower shelf-edge profiles.

What else can we squeeze into an aerofoil?

We're not just about energy performance, and our in-house retail experts have recognised how aerofoils can serve as a springboard for other consumer-friendly technology.

The intellectual property embracing our original aerofoil patent therefore made provision to integrate electronic shelf labeling (ESL) within the aerofoil blade. Given the gradual adoption of ESL in the retail industry, we have embarked on a development project in conjunction with a leading ESL provider. This exciting initiative will combine the latest thin-film, energy-harvesting and battery technology to incorporate electronic pricing seemlessly within the customer-facing aerofoil.

That's the front of the aerofoil, but what about the rear? We knew from the start that aerofoils would sit an ideal distance from the shelf to serve as a mounting for product illumination, and our patent portfolio therefore includes incorporation of lighting in the aerofoil blade. Our Vortex team have added this to their product pipeline, again exploiting the very latest in LED lighting and battery technology.

And it doesn't stop there...

Our Vortex team has been so successful in fulfilling their original brief that we've given them free rein to take the project forward with some real blue-sky thinking. Furthermore, we want to do this in close collaboration with our retail and OEM partners.

patents

Having secured the intellectual property for its original aerofoil shelf-edge technology, Aerofoil Energy has continued to develop new and innovative solutions for improved energy performance.  Below is a list of our current granted and pending patents, along with details of design registrations owned by our company.

our granted patents...

  •    British Patent No. 2519463
  •    British Patent No. 2522571
  •    European Patent Application 14717816.4
  •    Australian Patent Application 2014252898
  •    Chinese Patent Application. 201480020703.9
  •    South African Patent Application 2015/08291
  •    US Design Patent No. US D777,225 S
  •    EU Community Design No. 002465898
  •    Australian Design Registration No. 201415736
  •    GB Patent Application No. 1613334.0 - Notice of Intention to Grant

our patents pending...

  •   British Patent Pending: GB1520795.4
  •   British Patent Pending: GB1613067.6
  •   British Patent Pending: GB1608586.2
  •   British Patent Pending: GB1703813.4
  •   British Patent Pending: GB1704959.4
  •   British Patent Pending: GB1705605.2
  •   British Patent Pending: GB1715593.8
  •   British Patent Pending: GB1717180.2
  •   US Patent Application. US 2016/0302591 A1
  •   Canadian Patent Application 2908918
  •   Indian Patent Application 2786/MUMNP/2015
  •   Hong Kong Patent Application 16107074.6
awards

Our aerofoil technology has been internationally acclaimed, and Aerofoil Energy in conjunction with Williams Advanced Engineering has received the following awards.

Aerofoil technology in finals for UK's top engineering award

Aerofoil Energy and Williams Advanced Engineering were finalists for the 2018 MacRobert award.

13-Jun-18

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IET Innovation Awards - 2016 Winner

In collaboration with Williams Advanced Engineering, Aerofoil Energy proved its energy saving credentials yet again by winning the Horizontial Innovation category award at the prestigious IET Innovation Awards.

27-Jan-17

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Top industry awards celebrate the ingenuity of Aerofoil Energy

The global potential of Aerofoil Energy's environmentally friendly technology earns recognition at award ceremonies.

27-Jan-17

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downloads

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Aerofoil technology brochure

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