Compressor Innovations Look To HFCs, CO2

February 24, 2005
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Ronee Swafford, spokeperson, talks about the Benchmark recip compressor H21J Series and the H71J Series compressor.
ORLANDO, Fla. - There was no shortage of innovative compressor technology at the 2005 International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo). But the consistent message to contractors was that the industry has those wide range of products geared for HFC refrigerants - and, in one case, CO2.

A compressor designed for use with CO2 as the refrigerant was on display at the Tecumseh (www.tecumseh.com) booth. The EPACO2OL is designed for use in a number of applications, such as commercial refrigeration, air conditioning, heat pumps, and hot water. Officials described it as a prototype and said they were gauging OEM interest in the concept.

Other technology from Tecumseh included the Silensys®, an outdoor condensing unit for commercial applications from 1/2 to 3 hp, and the Navajo evaporative condensing unit, which consists of dual compressors and fans for optimal efficiency in low, medium, and high cabinet operations. The latter concept, said the company, allows for mixing and matching compressor displacement for each cabinet in the 1/2- to 2/3-hp range.

Outdoor condensing units were also shown in the 1/2- to 6-hp range using recip compressors. The company also announced it was working on a new family of products that can work with scroll or semi-hermetic compressors.

Emerson Climate Technologies (www.gotoemerson.com) had several compressor-related announcements. One concerned the optimization for 13 SEER.

"This is a major development for manufacturers, contractors, and homeowners," said Tom Bettcher, Emerson executive vice president and Emerson Climate Technologies business leader.

"With the new 13 SEER regulations less than one year away,

the next generation of Copeland Scrolls are ideal for helping the industry achieve the higher efficiency standards." The platform encompasses 1-1/2- to 5-hp compressors for R-410A and R-22.

A second announcement concerned the introduction of a 30-hp compressor for larger commercial applications such as 30- to 300-ton air conditioning systems and chillers found in shopping centers, office buildings, and hospitals.

According to Scott Barbour, president of Copeland's air conditioning division, the latest product is available as a single compressor unit and in a 60-hp tandem configuration. It is available for R-22 and R-407C. The company also announced plans to launch a R-410A version in 2006.

Emerson also used the show to announce several upgrades in its line of commercial-grade thermal expansion valves, the TFE Series.

Applications include commercial air conditioning and chillers. According to Al Maier, vice president of application engineering, "The valves have been improved for applications ranging in capacity from 8 to 40 tons. They are also ideal for use with high-pressure refrigerants such as R-410A."

Bitzer International (www.bitzer.de) showed an expanded range of EuroScroll compressors. The latest additions are for air conditioning systems and heat pumps. The program now consists of models with a rated motor power from 5.5 to 10 kW for R-407C, -404A, -507, and -22.

Aftermarket Specialties Inc. (www.aftermkt.com) noted its largest model inverter compressor for R-410A capable of 110,000 Btu.

New at the expo from Hanbell Precise Machinery (www.hanbell.com) was a screw compressor with a three-step volume control system, a specially designed high-efficiency refrigeration compressor motor, and discharge and motor temperature protection. The product is said to be suitable for R-22 and two low-temperature HFC refrigerants, R-404A and -507A.

Embraco (www.embraco.com) used the expo to promote its recent commercial agreement with Bristol to market Bristol compressors in the U.S. and Latin American wholesale aftermarket. Also displayed were a line of condensing units and compressors for light commercial cooling applications.

"The partnership with Bristol means Embraco is now able to offer the commercial cooling segment in North America and Latin America a complete range of compressors from 1/4 to 25 hp, including models for air conditioning as well as refrigeration applications," said John Lange, Embraco executive vice president.

Bristol (www.benchmarkcompressors.com) introduced the H21J, billed as the next generation of its Benchmark line of compressors. One innovation was that a hard start is not needed, said Scott Hix, vice president of product engineering. "Anytime you take away the need for extra parts, you save money for the manufacturer and you reduce the number of parts that might break down in the field."

He added, "With improved compressor efficiencies, Benchmark can add an entire half point to system SEER ratings."

Remanufactured compressors were the focus of attention at the Carlyle (www.carlylecompressor.com) booth. The company noted a 300-person workforce at a facility in Stone Mountain, Ga., does the remanufacturing.

Publication date: 02/28/2005

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