Gel-clear Gets Industry Recognition for Innovative Drainage Product

Darwen-based refrigeration maintenance specialist Gel-clear has picked up a top industry accolade for a nifty piece of equipment for the retail sector.

The family firm won Maintenance Product of the Year at the ACR News Awards last Thursday for its bio-beta Pipe Chair – a simple piece of kit, developed with the assistance of the University of Central Lancashire that can play a big part in stopping blockages in refrigeration cabinets.

Blocked condensate drains are an all-too-common hazard that is estimated to account for up to 40 per cent of refrigeration maintenance call-outs from supermarkets. The pipework running away from refrigerated cabinets can easily get blocked when particles of food waste cause build-up of so-called ‘biofilm’ – a jelly-like substance that blocks the pipes, which in turn often causes water to spill onto the shopfloor. The puddles of water are not only a clean-up problem but also a trip hazard. The Association of British Insurers reported last year that retailers paid out £3.6 million for slips and trips claims – a figure that was double the losses incurred through shoplifting.

The bio-beta Pipe Chair is an adjustable, retrofit pipe support that holds the drainage pipes at an angle. This ensures that gravity keeps the wastewater flowing at sufficient velocity that it doesn’t get blocked. The product can be fitted to any size or shape of cabinet, without disrupting the store’s trading, creating an immediate benefit. Its simple adjustable design means that a contractor can quickly and easily create slope on flat pipework.

“Complete elimination of maintenance callouts”

On a six-month trial in a supermarket, use of the pipe chair resulted in complete elimination of maintenance callouts for drainage blockages and associated water leaks. Gel-clear has made a particular specialism of drainage in refrigerated cabinets and its range of Gel-clear tablets have seen it win a number of awards.

Managing director Paurick Gaughan said: “I am pleased that this award gives due recognition to the importance of improving refrigeration drainage. It may not be a glamorous area, but it is a costly area for retailers.”