Creative Plastics & Design Inc., Randolph, N.J. (cpdesign-inc.com), converted a heavy, high-maintenance deck pan used in refrigerated and frozen food cases from stainless steel to plastic. Doing so let CPD cut manufacturing costs by 67%, eliminate secondary operations, and drop deck pan weight by nearly a third. The conversion also accelerated production time from 3 hr to less than 2 min for molding the plastic pan.
Designed and developed by Hill Phoenix, Colonial Heights., Va. (hillphoenix.com), the high-density polyethylene pan provides an insulated barrier that separates and protects perishable foods from freezer and refrigerator coils and piping. The durable, blow-molded pan is selfsupporting, thanks to an intricate pattern of supporting ridges and channels. The design gives added rigidity so the pan can meet static, side, axial, torsional load, and impact strength requirements. The pans deflected only a little at test temperatures of 55°F when a 30-lb case of beer was dropped five times from 3 ft.
In addition, CPD developed a method for trapping air inside the raised support ridges during molding. This provides a natural R-3 insulation factor, rare for an all-plastic part and high enough to work without foam backing or covering. The insulation lets the pan prevent cold foods and drinks from melting and refreezing during automatic self-defrost cycles that heat the compartment holding the coils and tubing to 110°F.