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Many Happy Returns at Sysco Charlotte
November 2, 2018


Innovative has happily provided Sysco Charlotte with refrigeration services for more than two decades! Our most recent project is an expansion that builds upon previous Innovative work dating back to 1997.

The original ammonia refrigeration system at Sysco Charlotte was one of the earliest contracts that Innovative Refrigeration Systems undertook — our President, Mike McGinnis, engineered the original project. Current Vice President of Manufacturing Keith McGinnis was the Construction Foreman, and current Foreman Keith Coleman was a welder on the project.  (At Innovative, we love to promote from within!)

In 2000, we worked on our first expansion of Sysco’s Charlotte site. Innovative added an ice cream room and an additional freezer; we also added on to the coolers and expanded the dock.

Most recently, Innovative was awarded another Charlotte expansion in May 2017 with general contractor Whiting Turner Contracting Company and architect EA Design Concepts, Inc. of The Webber/Smith Group. The project entered the construction phase in December 2017. This final build-out of the facility added another 16,000 square feet of new cooler space with five new evaporators; it also called for the replacement of all four condensers and and the rebuilding of all of the screw compressors.

Many upgrades on the project focused on energy efficiency. We upgraded existing VFDs (and added some new ones, too) to ensure motors are operating as efficiently as possible. Our team also upgraded the air purger to an air and water purger so that the system could remove water from the ammonia, further improving Sysco’s system efficiency.

Now, with the newest expansion project complete, Innovative can monitor nearly everything in the facility thanks to our newly installed PLC. We replaced the controls on the compressors, adding heat-trace monitoring and other features to provide greater reliability, serviceability, and oversight. Ultimately, this means less maintenance for Sysco!

Innovative has had 80 employees working on this latest Charlotte project, including 39 field personnel, 20 shop workers, and a number of other engineers and programmers. Great job to everyone involved for another successful project!

Our original ammonia system served Sysco Charlotte well for about 20 years. With the latest expansion, update, and repairs, Charlotte will be in great shape for another 20 years!  We’re also looking forward to the team that worked on this expansion stepping into bigger roles with Innovative over the next 10 years to replace the old-timers. The future is looking bright for Innovative!