Star Refrigeration's swift response to an overnight ammonia leak ensured a supermarket distribution centre was up and running in a matter of hours.
ASDA’s distribution centre in Rochdale works with its local Star Refrigeration branch in Manchester to maintain its refrigeration plant. Star Refrigeration has a national maintenance contract with ASDA, working in partnership with the customer to provide a preventative maintenance plan and ensure any faults are dealt with promptly and safely. At this particular site, palletised goods are broken down and delivered to individual stores, and the temperature needs to be controlled and maintained throughout the operation.
Where should the ACR industry aim its efforts to get the greatest ‘bang for its buck’ in terms of energy efficiency? The answer is the UK’s biggest manufacturing sector – food and drink – which is larger than automotive and aerospace combined. John Grenville, Managing Director of ECEX, explains.
All the statistics concerning food and drink manufacture point to a compelling case for boosting the sector’s energy efficiency and, therefore, a potentially enormous market for ACR installers and manufacturers.
Food and drink is a £95.4 billion turnover industry making it the single largest manufacturing sector in the UK with a Gross Value Added (the measure of the value of goods and services produced) of £21.9bn.
A shaky economic climate has led many people to adopt a 'make-do-and-mend' approach to HVAC plant rather than investing in new equipment. In fact, says John Grenville, Managing Director of ECEX, there is a useful halfway house – retrofitting – which offers an ideal opportunity to improve a building’s efficiency relatively inexpensively.
1 Don’t forget inhibitors
Glycol is an essential element of any heat transfer fluid used as part of a chilled water system, as it allows the fluid to be sufficiently chilled without freezing. However, an uninhibited glycol system can pose even more of a risk than plain water due to the highly corrosive nature of most glycols, so inhibitors must be used at all times.
For those operating in areas where there is a risk of incidental human contact, such as the food processing industry, the wrong inhibitors in an MPG solution creates a serious contamination risk, but an NSF-accredited glycol overcomes that.
2 Take regular water samples from various parts of the system
Corrosion and degradation can happen anywhere within a system and it’s not enough to take water samples from just one location. Samples need to be taken from available access points around the system and especially from high risk areas such as heat exchangers, cooling jackets and any other sensitive product-fluid interfaces.
3 Test fluid pH levels
Not taking pH level readings as part of routine water sampling can have a major negative impact on a system’s performance. While chiller pH tolerances will vary slightly depending on the materials used, I would recommend limits of 8.0 – 8.5. Incorrect pH levels may indicate that either not enough inhibitors have been used, or the glycol levels are too concentrated. Both scenarios can very quickly cause high levels of corrosion throughout a system if left unchecked, leading to costly maintenance bills and unplanned downtime.
4 Check the clarity of the sample
Not all tests are as in-depth as pH level, and one of the most obvious signs that a chiller system is degrading or corroding internally is when there’s visible debris in the water sample. A water sample from a chiller operating correctly should be clear and if it’s not, then there’s already some internal system damage. This needs to be addressed immediately as the debris can soon lead to blockages in key areas of operation such as the heat exchanger, which will rapidly decrease the chiller’s efficiency.
5 Chemically flush your system and chiller immediately after installation
As soon as a new chiller is installed, the whole system should be flushed immediately to ensure the fluid is completely free from contaminants and at the highest quality possible, with no legacy debris or surface contamination present to cause damage to the fluid, the pipework and the new equipment. This golden rule should be followed whether it’s a permanent or temporary installation for planned or reactive maintenance.
6 When in doubt, consult the experts
Given the intricacies of taking a thorough and correct chilled water system sample, sometimes it pays to call in an expert. Regular water sampling and off-site laboratory analysis is available as part of some chiller manufacturer’s aftersales and servicing packages – including Planned Preventative Maintenance Packages (PPM) from ICS Cool Energy.
Leading research bodies agree that refurbishment of buildings has a lower environmental impact than new build. Even so, it is still all too common for consultants and contractors to propose a comparatively straight-forward new build project over a complex refurbishment and still parade their ‘green’ credentials.
So, when a major retailer needed more capacity for its frozen products, it was presented with the usual two choices: build a new warehouse from scratch, or repurpose an existing building. Like all businesses facing these choices, the decision requires careful consideration and understanding of a number of factors.
Hotels that fail to provide good air conditioning for their guests can have a poor impact on their online reputation, a survey by Synecore recently found.
Poor air conditioning might also show that hotels are not implementing their legal obligations to maintain their systems, according the Kent-based air conditioning business.
Air conditioning is standard in many hotels rooms around the world today. It is not only hotels in hot countries that have air conditioning fitted in guest rooms. Hotel rooms in cooler countries like Britain also use cooling systems.
Supermarkets are intensive consumers of electricity – yet few are taking advantage of modern techniques for achieving dramatic savings. Barry Lea, Chairman of Advanced Engineering, explains all.
(Edited: 6 June 2016)
Electricity consumption by supermarkets in the US and France is estimated to account for 4% of the country’s total annual electricity use.
On a national scale that’s a staggering amount of electricity, with supermarket managers under constant pressure to reduce their store’s energy demands and operational costs.
One key to achieving this has emerged via a landmark study conducted by US experts ASHRAE (the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers).
In Part Two of this step-by-step guide on how to perform the perfect service of an outdoor air conditioning unit, AC&R service and maintenance experts Advanced Engineering look at servicing and cleaning methods, corrosion protection, external leak checks, security considerations and important final checks, visual inspections and documentation procedures. (Read Part One)
In Part One of Advanced Engineering’s guide to the perfect service of an external air conditioning unit, we looked at initial visual inspections, general housekeeping and internal maintenance and leak checks. Now the focus switches to the heat exchanger and external leak checks.
In the third “How To…” article by AC&R service and maintenance experts Advanced Engineering, we provide a two-part step-by-step guide on how to perform the perfect service of an outdoor air conditioning unit.
PART ONE: INSPECTIONS & LEAK CHECKS
Most experienced AC&R service engineers will know what’s required to inspect and service an exterior air conditioning unit, but there are a couple of tips and tricks that might make the work quicker and the benefits last longer.
For example, a significant minority of engineers are still reliant on purely mechanical cleaning, despite the advances in chemical cleaning and preventative treatments.
This article is written as an overview: pulling together all the best advice, guidance and techniques relevant to engineers at all levels, whether they’re new to the job or experienced practitioners.
Schrader valves are commonly used on refrigeration & air conditioning because they are a simple, cost effective method of providing access to a system.
But they commonly leak. One cause of leakage is over or under tightening of the core. Most Schrader valve cores should be tightened to a torque of between 0.23 and 0.8 Nm.
Eliminating the guesswork which results in over or under tightening will reduce refrigerant leakage.