Containment, Training Top Concerns At IKK

November 11, 2004
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The site of the IKK Expo in Nuremberg, Germany.
NUREMBERG, Germany - Refrigerant containment, properly trained technicians, and energy efficiency were focal points of the 25th International Trade Fair for Refrigeration, Air Conditioning, Ventilation (IKK) held in Nuremberg - a historic city in the Franconia region of south central Germany.

Along the way, the usual array of new - and sometimes experimental - technologies were shown among a record 880 exhibitors and viewed by more than 20,000 attendees.

Refrigerants, when properly handled and contained, go along with increased energy efficiencies as part of the European HVACR industry's efforts to deal with the volatile issue of global warming.

Training took on such a high profile that a portion of the show floor was turned over to a Euro Skills competition. Seven teams from various European countries competed for the Best European Refrigeration Craftsman Award.

During the three days of competition, each team was tested on different tasks while building and installing an ice rink.

The competition was part of the activities of the Leonardo da Vinci project that emphasizes appropriate qualifications and competence of technicians.

So significant were the containment and energy issues that the German Association of Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors (VDKF) (www.vdkf.org) went so far as to work with a private company to develop the VDKF - LEC, a leakage and energy control software tool.

According to officials, the program can create climate audits, optimize service and maintenance planning, document use of refrigerants, create electronic and print log books, and monitor and control leaks. In addition, according to the VDKF, it "provides anonymous data that is forwarded to VDKF" along with "data protection for the operators and contractors" so "the existing confidential relationship is preserved."

Henry Technologies marked the company’s 25th anniversary of its operation in Glasgow with a bagpiper.

Refrigerants

The refrigerant situation worked itself out this way: R-410A had a strong showing as an air conditioning refrigerant, while R-407C continued to have supporters. All the major refrigerant manufacturers - such as Atofina, DuPont, Honeywell, Ineos, and National - had exhibit space.

Solvay (www.solvay.com) used the expo to provide HFC-507 for refrigeration applications. While R-404A has proved more popular among supermarket refrigeration decision-makers than R-507, Solvay claimed at the expo that "findings show the superiority of 507 and revealed hitherto unknown potential."

Another tier of HFCs were promoted as replacements in existing CFC and HCFC systems. R-413A, which blends R-134a, R-416, and R-600a and is marketed as a replacement for R-12, was featured by at least two companies - Harp International (www.harpintl.com) and Rhodia (www.isceon-refrigerants.com). The same two also promoted R-417A, also an HFC blend, this one for use in existing R-22 systems.

The natural refrigerant ammonia had advocates in the side-by-side booths of the International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration (www.iiar.org) and Eurammon (www.eurammon.com).

The pure hydrocarbons R-290 (propane) and isobutene (R-600a), had their share of supporters including ACC Compressors (www.the-acc-group.com) who said, "They can already be extensively used with minimal changes in freezing systems, provided the application's design offers protection against the risks inherent in flammable refrigerants."

Amidst all the technical talk, Honeywell (www.honeywellrefrigerants.com) and (www.honeywell-cooling.com) noted the most re-cent expo marked its 10th year at the show.

Futuristic Thinking

Both energy savings and environmental issues figured into "a concept for the future" as promoted by the British company Arctic Circle (www.acl-online.com). The company displayed KoolKit, which was billed as a "bolt together refrigeration pack." It was said to use fewer joints because of its use of cast aluminum elements "which combine the functionality of many traditional components into fewer parts."

The concept does away with copper lines, flares, and flexible hoses. Employed is Arctic Circle's Genesisâ„¢ compressor "which can deliver up to 25 percent energy savings when compared to conventional plants."

Parts are apparently reusable once the original life cycle is reached. "The pack can be simply decommissioned, with the elements being cleaned and fitted with new gaskets and rebuilt."

Among specifics described was a suction system with built-in liquid flood back protection in the form of an internal suction accumulator for each compressor, a discharge system made up of a series of link arms that incorporate the discharge check valve and service valve, and an oil separator in which discharge gas is jetted into the separation chamber by a series of directional injection ports with the injectors creating a vortex effect which accelerates the oil and gas mixture to the outer walls and eventually through a central exhaust tube.

Manufacturers from China had a large number of exhibit booths at the IKK Expo in Germany.

On The Show Floor

Large systems were common sights on the show floor.

The exhibit area of the German company Robatherm (www.robatherm.com) included a refrigeration unit running on R-407C with a gas boiler, exhaust system, and instrumentation and controls in a plug-in central air conditioning unit.

Evapco Europe (www.evapco.de) showed the Wet/Dry Ammonia Axial Condenser. It is said to optimize heat (including latent heat) transfer while significantly reducing consumption of energy and water. Use of dry coolers with a tube heat exchanger allows the unit to be suitable for wet and dry operation, the company said.

York (www.yorkref.com) featured the VN rotary screw chiller designed for water or water/glycol cooling. The twin-screw compressor is open drive and close coupled to the motor.

Carrier GmbH & Co. KG (www.carrier.de) showed a new generation of "Aquasnap Puron" liquid chillers and heat pumps aimed at extending the use of R-410A to large commercial and industrial applications. "The heat pumps, with nominal COP ratings of 2.80, are among the most efficient on the market," the company said.

"The new generation of liquid chillers and heat pumps achieves 13 percent higher EER than its

R-407C predecessor."

Multi-split air conditioning systems based on inverter technology with up to eight interior units were shown by Mitsubishi Electric Europe (www.mitsubishi-electric-aircon.de). The company said the technology is "a cost-effective alternative to low capacity VRF systems."

Sanyo Air Conditioners Europe Srl, out of Italy, showcased air conditioners based on R-410A and DC-inverter technology.

Airedale International Air-Conditioning Ltd. (www.airedale.de) launched EasiCool - a range of close control air conditioning systems offering what was said to be high capacity in an ultra-compact footprint. The units feature hydrophilic fin evaporators, tandem scroll compressors, and modular construction.

Continental (www.continentalchillers.com) showed chillers, condensing units, and commercial and industrial refrigeration systems, as well as building management systems.

The booth of Parker also notes the company’s recent acquisition of Sporlan.

Compressors

Embraco (www.embraco.com) used the expo to launch its NT compressor family. According to the company, the compressors are manufactured on a new platform and offer efficiency gains of up to 15 percent, as well as a reduction in noise and vibration levels compared with equivalent compressors.

The company also showed a commercial version of the VCC or Variable Capacity Compressor. It is equipped with a permanent magnet motor and frequency inverter that identifies when a unit needs greater refrigeration capacity and increases its rotation or decreases it when the ideal internal temperature has been reached.

Also shown was the NEK Extended, with an extension of about 20 percent of the capacity band of the current NEK platform; as well as compressors that run on R-290 (propane) and R-600a (isobutene).

An additional announcement concerned Embraco "strengthening its commercial agreement with Bristol" so that Embraco "now offers a complete line of compressors ranging from 1.5 to 4 hp."

Emerson Climate Technologies had a wide range of announcements. On the compressor side, the Copeland section of the display area promoted 30-hp scroll compressors filling out a line that now ranges from 2- to 75-hp in single, tandem, and trio applications.

A new dual scroll compressor allows OEMs to extend use of scrolls in single and tandem applications up to 120-hp per circuit.

On the heating side, the ZH EVI scroll had vapor injection for boiler retrofit.

Picking up the energy efficiency theme of the expo, the ZF EVI was, according to the company, "designed and optimized to take full advantage of subcooling techniques with the injection of vapor."

On the condensing side, Emerson officials noted that engineers from Copeland and Alco (a name which is still used in Europe although Alco is now called Emerson Flow Controls in other parts of the world) has developed a special version of the electronic condensing unit controller and built into some additional hardware and software. This, the company said, enables two or more controllers to communicate with each other by the LON protocol.

Danfoss (www.danfoss.com) reported it was developing a new compressor range GS/GT that will expand the existing compressor range and offer higher cooling capacities. The product program plans compressors with 21 to 34 cm3 displacement designed for R-404A and R-134a.

The line will initially be available with single-phase and eventually three-phase motor.

The company also reported on further developments in its previously announced 50-50 venture with Turbocor. Joe Orosz, president of Danfoss Commercial Compressors Ltd., has been appointed president of the joint venture company.

He noted the venture expands the range of compressors available through the company. The largest Danfoss compressor was 25 tons. The Turbocor models range from 60 to 90 tons and are used in chillers up to 300 tons. The compressor uses magnetic bearings in-stead of roller or sleeve-type bearings and a variable speed centrifugal compression process.

Bristol (www.bristolcompressors.com) drew attention to its Benchmark technology, which includes scrolls that are manufactured by press-fitting components into the shell for quiet operation.

J&E Hall (www.jehall.com) used the expo to launch the HSP 3200 open drive compressor packs that the company said was for small capacity applications. They employ single rotor-twin star compression and variable capacity control from 10 percent to 100 percent.

The company also used the show to launch what it said were low-noise commercial refrigeration units for low- and medium-temp applications "merging the best of European design with the latest in Asian manufacturing technology."

Danfoss announced the company’s plans to expand its compressor range and offer higher cooling capacities.

Controls, Components

The Parker (www.parker.com) rollout included a Kelvin controller for low- and medium-temperature applications. The controller uses PID (Proportional Integral Derivative) valve control logic to eliminate the need for continuous operator attention.

It is available for applications including supermarket refrigeration, walk-in coolers, ice machines, direct expansion air conditioning, indirect expansion (chiller) controllers, and industrial process. It is expandable to meet standard CFC-HCFC-HFC refrigerant types.

It was said to be a true superheat control (pressure/temperature). Two sensors are monitored and their measurements are converted to calculate evaporator superheating in real time. The Kelvin supports several types of electronic expansion valves.

Parker's ESX Stepper Motor Expansion Valve provides flow control for refrigeration, air conditioning, heat pump and self-contained refrigerant systems.

Features of the product include a hermetic design, which means no joints or leaks, a removable stator for ease of service, and rotating capability to fit into required cabinet space.

Danfoss's AK2-CC303A is a multiple evaporator controller that can control up to four evaporators. It features defrost on demand, adaptive superheat control, and flexible I/O configuration.

Dixell (www.dixell.com) featured X-Web 3000, a client server technology based on the Linux operating system; ICooll, a wireless communication system; and X-Web 300, a remote assistance system that uses the Internet to control a single machine or small group of machines in an industrial setting.

Hansen Technologies (www.hantech.com) used the expo to announce a new distribution center for Europe in Buchen near Hamburg, Germany, on the site of the Abel pump factory. Both companies are part of the Roper Group, a manufacturer of pumps, sensors, and valves.

Bitzer (www.bitzer.de) made news with its liquid receivers that it said had more volume, larger connections, and higher pressures.

Ritchie (www.yellowjacket.com) reported a new design for its SuperEvacâ„¢ vacuum pumps.

"Updated housing is balanced and lighter weight for easy carrying with larger fins for cooler running," the company said.

WIKA Alexander Wiegand GmbH (www.wika.de) showed a pressure transmitter for refrigeration applications and said, "Contrary to many pressure transmitters with integrated sealing elements, the OT-1 is excellently suited for all kinds of refrigerants due to the fact that its thin film sensor is hermetically welded to the pressure port, thus guaranteeing long-term leak tightness."

Henry Technologies (www.henrytech.co.uk) had new safety device kits consisting of pressure relief valves, rupture discs, indicating devices, and three-way valves.

The 90-year-old company used the expo to note the 25th anniversary of its operation in Glasgow, Scotland. The celebration included a bagpiper and a toast from President Robert Henry.

Full Gauge Controls (www.fullgauge.com) put the spotlight on its bivolt digital controllers, including the TC-940Ri, and the Roller Bag® temperature sensor.

Publication date: 11/15/2004

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