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Mobile food warming thanks to battery-powered induction

The Innosuisse project "High-voltage battery system for mobile inductive food delivery carts and warming devices" has been completed successfully. The IEFE has developed a powerful battery-system for Gastros Switzerland AG which, in combination with their induction systems, keeps food optimally warm.

The evening in the elegant hotel room had begun with a relaxed mood, until the room service attendant stumbled over the power cables of the buffet heating station and burned themselves on the hot steam of the Bain-Marie. Glasses shattered, followed by hectic sweeping, and repeated apologies. The food was also a source of frustration: the food was partly overcooked, and partly already cold. A disappointment for all the guests of such an elegant hotel. Anything like this can happen when hotels use traditional methods to keep food warm. Gastros Switzerland AG has discovered this potential for frustration to be a gap in the market and has developed the InductWarm® system, with which food can constantly be kept warm optimally using the latest induction technology. With this idea, Gastros is not only playing a pioneering role worldwide, but has also already received several awards for its patented innovation.

Mobile solution for room service, airlines and Hospitals

So far, the company has focused primarily on stationary, invisible buffet counters and bars which are connected to the power outlets. But for their mobile buffet solutions and dining carts, such as the "InductWarm® Room Service Table", powerful long-life batteries are required. For the development of this solution, Gastros launched an Innosuisse project in cooperation with the Electrical Storage Division of the ZHAW (Zürcher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften) Institute for Energy Systems and Fluid Engineering (IEFE) under the direction of Prof. Dr Andreas Heinzelmann MD. The aim of the project was to develop a safe and powerful battery system that keeps food warm for up to four hours independent of electricity - and also at a constant temperature. The project was successfully completed this spring.

High-voltage batteries as big as a computer Keyboard

The developed InductWarm® battery module will be presented as a base solution at the HOST Milano exhibition in October 2019. An event which attracts almost 190,000 visitors annually and which is an important meeting place and marketplace for both, the national and international hotel and hospitality industry. The batteries developed by IEFE supplies the induction electronics with DC voltage, without requiring additional power electronics. As a result, the overall system has a very high level of efficiency and allows a completely new method of keeping food warm during transportation or stationaly without power connection. The system voltage is in a safe range for humans and the battery reaches a maximum output of over 800 watts per unit. The cell voltage remains constant across a wide range of battery capacity. This is relevant to the extent that no special power control of the induction electronics is necessary. As a safeguard against faults such as excess/under voltage or excess current, the battery system is automatically disconnected from the rest of the system by a newly developed battery management system (BMS). The battery is charged directly by the charger integrated in the module.

Simpler, safer and more efficient - a technology with many Benefits

The InductWarm® system with built-in high-performance battery can now offer new applications for the mobile food distribution market and, with its multitude of advantages, it replaces outdated warming systems. Due to the induction technology, the device is very efficient. The heat is generated where it is needed - in the induction-compatible vessel, directly and without any energy loss. In addition, there are four pre-programmed power levels, which can be controlled in a user-friendly manner via remote interface panel or infrared remote control. In contrast to heat retaining solutions with steam, the InductWarm® system keeps food free of steam and gently heated. Colour, texture and nutritional values are therefore preserved as well as possible over longer periods of time. And last but not least, the design options are very flexible, as the induction modules can be installed, virtually invisibly, under surfaces made of artificial stone, glass or even wood.