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Schwank case studies:

Healthy heating from above – Supermarket Giant listens to spinach

„We achieved more than a good storage of our products. We created a great indoor climate, which enthuses our employees.”

Martin Thesing, executive board ALDI South

The project

It was neither an engineer, nor physical measured figures, that influenced the supermarket giant ALDI in the decision making process for tube heaters; it was spinach. Spinach is very sensitive to store in relation to the environment and the impact of the climate. The ALDI warehouse, located in Bous, Saarland, is the second largest logistic centre in Germany with an area of 49,000 m². It provides 59 ALDI subsidiaries in Saarland and in the neighbouring Rhineland-Palatinate. In addition to the planned photovoltaic systems on the roof, energy efficient tube heaters were proposed to assist in making a sustainable contribution. But their suitability was questioned due to the high sensitivity of stored fruit and vegetables. 

The assignment

At first, the designer and the owner wanted confirmation that the sustainability of the tube heating system is not in contradiction with the heating quality for stored goods. The positive effect of the infrared heat on humans has already been proven. A healthy indoor climate is, amongst other things, achieved by equal distribution within the room. That means that the human body does not need further energy to regulate within regions with different temperatures. The body does not become tired that fast and feels more vital. Additionally, it is possible that the indoor temperature is below the actually felt temperature, which is the healthiest indoor climate. Whether this also applies to fruits and vegetables was to be indicated by an experimental setup on side.

The implementation

Schwank knew about the positive heating characteristics of their products, so they installed an experimental setup in conjunction with an air and radiant temperature controlled system. The main test subject was spinach. Within the industry, spinach is considered as particularly sensitive relating to climate influences. The 6-weeks of tests were extremely positive. The spinach neither wilted prematurely nor changed  consistency, which meant that nothing else should stand in the way of the installation of 25  Schwank tube heaters [725 KW heating performance]. Today, the 2-stage operating application heats a logistic area of 10,500 sqm at an average hall height of 7.5 metres. The controls have been integrated into the building management system, which intelligently organises 9 control zones.

The result

In order to ensure that the quality of the fruit and vegetables is guaranteed from harvesting to point of sale, the storage has to be appropriate. Optimum air conditioning is particularly necessary for the storage of groceries and other sensitive goods. The consumer does not accept quality loss, for instance rotting, mold formation, germination or moisture. Therefore, the requirements of a logistics hall have to be equally fulfilled for employees as well as the stored goods. A balancing act that Schwank tube heaters master thanks to their infrared technology. Furthermore, Schwank’s tube heaters perfectly connect ecology and economy. The case of ALDI shows what is good for humans, is also good for fruit and vegetables.