With all the heat being added to the space during defrosts, I just knew there had to be a better way.

Case Study

Mama Lucia's Pizza

St. Louis, Missouri

What Lucille Tumminello started as a labor of love in her family kitchen in St. Louis’ well-known Italian neighborhood, The Hill, is now a thriving frozen pizza business carefully crafting 10,000 handmade pizzas every day. Mama Lucia’s Pizza now distributes pizza to approximately 300 area supermarkets and convenience stores.

Problems to Solve

System averaged over 1,000 minutes in defrost over five-day periods and shorter defrost cycles.

L-shaped configuration of the room which inhibits airflow.

One condensing unit for 1,875 sqft. of freezer space. Upgrades estimated ~ $18k.

Solution Provided


KE2 Evaporator Efficiency &

Results Obtained

Fewer and shorter defrost cycles. ✓

Existing equipment running more efficiently – no $$ upgrades needed. ✓ 

Reduce space temperature by more than 5°. ✓

For storage of ingredients and finished products, the company maintains a forklift-accessible freezer. The floor plan was a single 50’ x 50’ freezer with two condensing units, and four evaporators providing the refrigeration. Recently, a 25’ x 25’ corner of the room was sectioned off to provide medium temp storage. Now, one condensing unit is tasked with refrigerating the remaining 1,875 square feet of freezer space. A further challenge to cooling this space is the L-shaped configuration of the room which inhibits airflow.

Originally, Mama Lucia’s felt their best option to bring this room down to their desired temperature was to install an additional evaporator and condensing unit – an estimated $18,000 expense. So, when the option was presented to install the KE2 Evaporator Efficiency controller on the system, and potentially handle some of the system load through improved refrigeration system performance, Mama Lucia’s didn’t hesitate.


Mama Lucia’s installed KE2 Evaporator Efficiency controllers on the evaporators, and added sensors to the controller to allow monitoring of the superheat. The controller manages the efficiency of the entire refrigeration cycle, dramatically reducing the amount of time the system spends in defrost mode, thus freeing up compressor run time to provide more cooling. John Altadonna, Lucia’s Production & Quality Assurance Manager always believed there had to be a better way to manage refrigeration systems. “With all the heat being added to the space during defrosts, I just knew there had to be a better way.” Darrell Long, Lucia’s CEO, added,

“We were a bit skeptical initially, simply because we’ve been around refrigeration for so many years. But the results are incredible. This is really impressive technology. We will definitely recommend it to others.”


With the KE2 Evaporator Efficiency controllers managing the system, it requires fewer and shorter defrost cycles. Before installing the KE2 Evap controllers, the system would average over 1,000 minutes in defrost mode over five-day periods. After installing the KE2 Evap controllers, the time in defrost mode averaged less than 300 minutes over the same time frame. That’s more than a 70% reduction.

The maximum coil temperature during defrost mode with the KE2 Evap in control was 74°F. Previous data showed coil temps rising between 150°F and 180°F while using mechanical controls. In addition to running the existing equipment more efficiently, adding the KE2 Evap controllers reduced the overall average space temperature by more than 5°F, thereby reducing the size of additional refrigeration equipment required to accommodate the new floor plan.

Weekly Snapshot

BEFORE: Using standard time clock – 22 defrosts in 5 days – 1006 minutes spent in defrost.

AFTER with KE2 Evaporator Efficiency Controllers installed – 13 defrosts in 5 days – 273 minutes spent in defrost