Restaurant gets first taste of VRF air curtain


26 February 2018
The Madison restaurant in St Paul's, London
A London restaurant is the first venue in the UK to install a new heat pump-based air curtain powered by Toshiba VRF.

Installed above the main front door at the Madison restaurant in St Paul’s, the air curtain provides a continuous down-draft of air, creating an invisible barrier that maintains internal comfort conditions for customers and staff.
The air curtain being installed
It is connected to the restaurant’s Toshiba Super Modular Multi System (SMMS-e) VRF air conditioning system, enabling it to benefit from its high performance, low energy heating and cooling. Following a site survey by Toshiba’s technical staff, the system was installed by Chapman’s Refrigeration.

The air curtain was developed by Fred Shaw & Co and engineers from Toshiba Air Conditioning UK specifically to meet UK requirements. It was subjected to live tests by BSRIA in to evaluate its thermal efficiency, acoustic and air-flow performance under internationally-recognised test conditions.
The results prove the technology meets the performance requirements of the UK government-backed Energy Technology List (ETL) for air curtains, and it has been accepted onto the scheme. This gives end users an enhanced capital allowance on the purchase of ETL-listed equipment.

Low noise
The air curtain can be connected to either a Digital Inverter split type outdoor unit or a VRF outdoor unit with a simple dip switch setting, and is available in two chassis lengths, 2200mm and 1500mm, both suitable for surface or recessed installation. Surface mounted units have an optional mounting flange accessory for use with ceiling tiles. There is an optional electric back-up heater, which automatically switches on during heat pump defrosts to ensure year-round operation.     
The manufacturers say ease of installation and servicing by a single engineer is a key design principle. The unit has a hinged front panel that gives engineers full access to the coil, drain tray, filter and electrics, and can be opened by one person for servicing. Other air curtains require the whole front panel to be removed, requiring two people for safe working.

The air curtain uses EC motors with full 0-10V speed control, enabling air speed to be matched to the unit’s mounting height. Precise control of motor speed also gives low operational noise.

Gavin Chapman, of Chapman’s Refrigeration, said: “The installation was straightforward, with connection to the restaurant’s VRF system via a standard pulse modulating valve unit. The air curtain gives easy access to electrics and filters through the hinged underside panel, which makes servicing really quick and easy.”
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