In statements issued in conjunction with the annual International Trade Fair for Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Ventilation (IKK), an organization of German contractors said the Montreal and Kyoto protocols regarding the phaseout of CFCs and HCFCs, and compliance with those declarations, have provided "protection for the ozone layer." But, the officials noted, "the environmental policy scene in Europe remains in motion," with "the key area being climate protection."
Interestingly, the statement from contractor consortium VDKF did not touch the hot-button topic of a phaseout of HFCs. While some elements in Europe are pushing for that, VDKF instead called for "innovations in emission reduction, energy efficiency, containment, and monitoring."
Such efforts have a bottom-line practicality in a slumping European industry. The report noted efforts "to above all stay in business." The IKK exposition was designed to showcase technology and trends that will both deal with global warming and boost business.
"The air conditioning segment has gained considerably in importance," said Han-Joachim Socher of Axair (www.axair.de). "The trend is towards user-friendly operation, modern housing, low-noise and draught-free operation, and compact design."
Another trend is expanded use of chiller technology, according to Rainer Jakobs of Trane Deutschland (www.trane.com). "The use of chillers has been extended in the past years from classic building air conditioning and applications in industry [such as process cooling] to commerce [commercial].
"Compact chillers are preferred by the companies, as manufacturers ensure a high-quality standard and meet the special requirements for energy consumption and environmental protection."
Added Socher, "Trade visitors could see low-noise chillers with excellent partial-load performance in conjunction with a wide range of fan convectors and indoor units."
What all this means is that IKK has become a two-way street across the Atlantic Ocean. While the European market continues to come up with innovations - especially on the refrigeration side - that could well reach U.S. shores, the expo is also showing trends - especially on the air conditioning side - that are familiar fare to stateside contractors.
So here then is a look at what was on the show floor that may be of interest to North American contractors and technicians primarily regarding refrigeration. (See related article in this issue "R-410A Takes The Lead For European Splits" on A/C aspects of IKK.)
J&E Hall of England, of which McQuay International is parent company, featured an ammonia air-cooled chiller. The new chiller is said to have a high coefficiency of performance under extreme operating conditions. Other aspects include microprocessor-controls and the option of an acoustic hood or low noise motor. There are stainless steel evaporators and air-cooled condensers with aluminum fins along with dual electronic expansion valves.
Multi-function digital controllers for chillers were shown by Dixell of Italy (www.dixell.com). The iChill, according to the company, "answers the real management and control requirements of chiller units and heat pump single circuits with up to two compressors or a single compressor with capacity staging." Configurations can be air-air, air-water, water-water, or motor condensing.
Two themes ran through the myriad of exhibitors showing refrigeration systems: the ability of each manufacturer to customize for individual customers, and quiet operation.
German giant Viessmann Refrigeration (www.vkag.de) offered refrigerator and freezer walk-ins that combine the use of stainless steel with tongue and groove construction and polyester coating. Eye-catching colors and designs also were shown.
Keyfrost of Italy (www.keyfrost.com) promised "to produce all gradations of cold, from the extreme to the moderate," with commercial and industrial applications.
Horizontal and vertical plate freezers were the innovations from Jackstone Froster of England (www.jackstonefroster.com). Among the technologies shown were:
Italian company COS (www.cositalia.com) showed a split-system condensing unit for refrigeration. An optional electronic fan speed control was said to reduce operating noise, especially at night or in cold-climate operations. The company said components include scroll compressors and six-pole fans with low rotation. To aid in quiet operation, the company said the compressor is mounted in a separate compartment.
SilensysÂ® is the low-noise approach of Tecumseh Europe and L-Unite Hermetique (www.tecumseh-europe.com). The concept was designed for high- and low-back-pressure applications. The condensing units are said to be able to mount quickly on floors or walls.
Quiet is achieved by Panel Sistem of Turkey (www.panelsistem.com.tr) with use of hermetic piston compressors and condensers that are air cooled by fans.
Heatcraft Worldwide Refrigeration - European Operations (www.heatcraftrpd.com) displayed new evaporator, condensing unit, condenser, and packaged system products. An operating ice slurry system uses a mixture of water, glycol (or ethanol), and micro particles of ice as a secondary heat transfer medium. The heart of the concept is a patented brush system to build the ice slurry. The purpose is to reduce the refrigerant charge vs. a direct-expansion system, and to build and store cooling capacity in off-peak hours.
The company also showed a line of floor-mounted blast-freezing unit coolers. The products are designed for applications requiring high air velocities and capacities where space is limited. The design allows the product to be installed along a wall as air enters and discharges from the front of the unit. The company also showed a range of side-mount packaged refrigeration systems from 1/3 to 3 hp.
Cool Compressorâ„¢ was the slogan for single-screw compressors from Vilter (www.vilter.com). The technology does away with the oil pump, oil cooler, three-way valve, coalescent element, and separate heat exchanger. On the installation side, the company contends the new design reduces piping, avoids the need for a special receiver, and can be installed in a smaller engine room.
Maintenance savings are realized by cleanable oil filters and a reduced oil charge. The unit offers part-load efficiencies and the latest controller options.
Embraco (www.embraco.com) used the expo to exhibit what it called "greater capacity products in refrigeration" as the result of its partnership with Bristol. The exhibit noted compressor and condensing units with up to 3 hp for low and medium temperatures, and up to 5 hp for medium-temperature refrigeration applications such as under-counter coolers, merchandisers, and low temperatures for ice and ice cream. Also in the commercial sector were compressors for use with hydrocarbon refrigerants.
In its own booth, Bristol (www.bristolcompressors.com) showed reciprocating and scroll compressors under the billing, "best of both." Recips, the company noted, come from its production facility in Virginia; scrolls are being manufactured as a joint venture with Carlyle in Arkansas.
Digital scroll systems were shown by GD Midea of China (www.mideaaircon.com). The compressor operates at full speed during the loading period; only 10 percent of the power is needed to keep the compressor operating during the nonload period.
The customary huge display of products from Bitzer (www.bitzer.de) included attention to compressors for use with the refrigerant CO2. A newly developed OctagonÂ® K Series consists of compressors for cascade applications using CO2. Currently the units are developed for specific installation and operation requirements of individual plants.
Danfoss (www.danfoss.com) also featured a wide range of compressors, right down to the NL/NLE-MF Series for soft drink coolers and small commercial applications. Units are available as all-purpose and energy-optimized versions.
Screw compressors from J&E Hall of England (www.jehall.co.uk) included single-screw, positive-displacement compressors for most refrigerants in industrial refrigeration, air conditioning, and heat pump systems. The technology has only three moving parts - a main rotor that meshes with two diametrically opposed star wheels. "The geometry results in balanced compression with no power loss between the rotor and stators and minimum bearing loads."
A compact screw compressor was also shown by RefComp of Italy (www.refcomp.it), with a hydraulic slide valve capacity control for what the company called "the possibility of â€˜infinity' or four-step configuration."
Hydrocarbon refrigeration R-600a (isobutene) was featured in a number of compressor applications. Turkish company Tee (www.tee.com.tr) showed a model in the 1/20- through 1/4-hp range. Tecumseh do Brasil (www.tecumseh.com.br) demonstrated the use of the refrigerant in a range of its products.
Compressor protection was high on the priority list at the booth of Carlyle (www.carlylecompressor.com) with the Carlyle Sentinelâ„¢, which is designed to warn of deteriorating operating conditions before compressor damage has taken place. The Sentinel can be programmed with warning values for high discharge temperatures and low oil pressures.
Speaking of compressor oils, Petro-Canada (www.petrocanada.ca) featured Reflo, a line of lubricating oils for ammonia compressors. They are blended by the company from special base oils, plus select oxidation and corrosion inhibitors. "Most importantly," said the company, "they cut carryover by up to 80 percent and offer long service lives, reduced maintenance costs, and less bearing wear."
Compressor burnout was dealt with by Acid-Away, an acid neutralizer from RectorSeal (www.rectorseal.com) of Houston.
And for the compressor aftermarket, IKK veteran CMP Corp. of Oklahoma City (www.cmpcorp.com) once again told the international market about its ability to supply replacement parts for most major compressor brands.
Trane noted a project done in collaboration with Danfoss, KSB, and Krohne, in which variable primary volume flow (VPF) is used to achieve potential energy savings.
"Why must every condenser and coil in a cooling system be supplied with a constantly high rate of water volume flow?" asked Trane officials. "Engineers and manufacturers are looking into the possibility of cold-water systems with a variable-volume flow, even for the condensers."
The concept uses a pump and control valves from KSB, a speed controller from Danfoss, and volume flow displays from Krohne. "Such plants are possible thanks to progress made in controls technology that reacts more sensitively and more rapidly to functions in the volume flow."
In the VPF system, the volume flow rate is varied throughout the system and delivered by a single pump per cooling, thus eliminating the cost of a second pump. The concept does require a bypass, said Trane officials, to compensate for fluctuations in the rate of volume flow.
"However, installation is possible at the point of one's choosing, such as upstream or downstream of the cooling registers. A control valve in the bypass ensures that the quantity of water flowing in each direction never falls below the minimum flow rate."
Parker Hannifin's Climate and Industrial Controls Group (www.parker.com) held an at-the-booth press briefing highlighting a range of products from production sites throughout the world.
R Series refrigeration solenoid valves were said to be lightweight, with an easy-to-operate manual stem, as well as high-pressure compatibility and multiposition functions. The manual bypass stem allows for full flow capability, it was noted, and has a positive locking feature that is operated with a single 90- or 180-degree turn stem. A multifunction flare valve was said to be a single device that offers "the functionality of up to five separate components in an air conditioning system."
An expanded line of liquid line filter-driers has 100-percent molecular-sieve driers compatible with all refrigerants, including R-410A. There is increased filtration capacity and water capacity. The company's new B5 thermostatic expansion valve has eight interchangeable orifice cartridges.
The company said an O-ring prevents any pin leakage from spraying on the lower side of the power element. This feature was said to allow more versatility in bulb mounting meaning that it can be mounted upstream or downstream of the external equalizer connection since there will be no flow of refrigerant. The cap tube on the top of the valve is brazed horizontally in order to prevent breakage during installation.
A thermostatic expansion valve that has a balanced port function from Sporlan (www.sporlan.com) was shown at the booth of ACAL, Sporlan's European distributor. The product is an add-on component for systems typically designed for balanced port operation.
Dixell of Italy drew attention to Prime, a range of electronic controllers for heating and refrigeration. The controllers can have up to four relays: one for the compressor, another for defrost, a third for the fans, the fourth for an alarm.
Henry Technologies (www.henrytech.com) showed Optronic, an electronic oil-level regulator designed to control the oil level in the compressor crankcase using optical sensor technology. It is suitable for both low- and high-pressure oil management control systems. The regulator is fitted to the sight glass housing on the compressor.
Sealed Unit Parts Co. (www.supco.com) had a range of products on display including a three-phase motor protector as part of the TPMP Series. It provides protection from phase sequence problems to phase loss and out-of-balance issues. The SK3W is a three-wire hard-start kit for use on any single-phase air conditioning and refrigeration unit.
The exhibit area of Danfoss included Adap-KoolÂ® that connects a variety of functions into a scalable system for refrigeration facilities. It pulls together racks, HVAC, cold rooms, lighting, cases, and other functions. The controls "constantly adapt to actual operating conditions," according to the company.
Johnson Controls (www.johnsoncontrols.com) had an extensive rollout of refrigeration products. Electronic fan speed controls were targeted for head pressure control in air-cooled condensers and "solve those problems you encounter with on/off controls, multiple-speed motor combinations or where head pressure is neglected."
Electronic refrigeration control cabinets from Johnson/Penn house refrigerant management controls, circuit breakers, and switches. The A19 universal re-placement thermostat has a liquid sensing element and a "no ambient temperature" interference. Johnson also showed its MR10 refrigerant management series of electronic controllers for such applications as remote display cabinets, plug-in display cabinets, and cold rooms.
Eye-catching engine innovations came from Stirling of Germany (www.stirling-engine.de) with the 90-degree, V-2 cylinder engine built with a compression and expansion cylinder in which the working gas is moved in a closed thermodynamic cycle. Inside the compression cylinder, the gas is "isothermally" compressed at a low temperature level by cooling the water; then it's moved through a regenerator, where it is heated up to 650 degrees C and moved to the expansion cylinder.
The ice machine sector also saw some new equipment. Showing both the largest and smallest was Scotsman of Italy (www.scotsman-ice.it). An industrial-scale ice machine has a heat exchanger and liquid subcooling system. The unit comes with either a preinstalled expansion valve or regulating valve. An opening allows for the verification of correct reamer functions and water distribution. Water flows over the evaporator surface from a water channel located in the upper edge.
On the small side was Ice-Tower Event. A rotating evaporator simply produces ice flakes that are continuously pushed up a channel and into a tray. But the refrigeration basics and tray are wrapped in a table-like wooden surface. The table has shiny metal and special lighting, "to seduce guests and visitors to enjoy and leave lasting memories on them." And since this was being displayed in Europe, exhibitors pointed out that a prime locale for Ice-Tower Event was in sauna and spa facilities where sweaty health addicts grab handfuls of the ice to cool down.
Another new look to ice making came from Omega Engineering of the Netherlands (www.omegaengineering.nl), with what it called "falling film chillers." The refrigeration cools a thin layer of liquid flowing over both sides of the pillow-shaped plates; the refrigerant is inside the plates.
Buus of Denmark (www.buus.dk) offered a "smaller is better" approach with a reduced version of its SD Series, made with what the company calls "excellent shaft seals" (since leakage was the initial key concern over acceptance of the rotating evaporator technology). The latest unit produces 700 to 1,200 kgs of ice in 24 hours.
Otherwise, the names and products are now familiar fare at IKK. Buco of Germany had its Ice-Bank, which includes an electric battery in the mechanicals to reduce the size and cost of the compressor; Wessamat of Germany noted rotating technology in a wide range of equipment both in sizes and in quality of the products; Higel of Germany (www.higel-kaeltetechnik.de) had units for hospitals, supermarkets, and labs, among other locations; and Maja of Germany (www.maja.de) displayed an ever-increasing range of equipment.
The major refrigerant manufacturers continue to show the full range of HFC refrigerants and note that air conditioning manufacturers in Europe and Asia seem to have embraced R-410A, just as it is catching on in North America.
Atofina of France (www.atofina.com) offered a bit of a twist to R-134a by incorporating a UV dye into its packaging of the refrigerant for the automotive sector. The idea is to allow for leak detection by means of a UV lamp, but without the technician having to inject the dyes at the jobsite, which has been common practice for several years.
Honeywell (www.honeywellrefrigerants.com) had literature on HFC-245fa, which has been introduced in North America into foam installation for walk-in coolers and freezers. The company offered the product as a working fluid for waste heat recovery and transfer, distributed energy and generation systems, cogeneration, and combined heat and power systems.
Solvay (www.solvay.de) had a paper on various refrigerants for commercial refrigeration and looked at such options as direct expansion, indirect systems, decentralized systems, and hybrids, and what refrigerants work best in each application.
Both DuPont (www.dupont.com) and Ineos Fluor Ltd. (Klea and Arcton, www.ineosfluor.com), promoted their abilities to supply a range of now-familiar refrigerants.
An increasing number of smaller companies are stepping up the promotion of several HFC refrigerants that they contend can run on mineral oil. So-called natural refrigerants including propane, isobutene, and CO2 also continue to have advocates.
Harp International of England (www.harpintl.com) promoted R-417A, an HFC that uses mineral oil and is targeted for the type of equipment that typically has worked on R-22 although it has, according to the company, evaporating and condensing pressures slightly lower than those of R-22; "but with excellent energy efficiencies." This was the first of the HFC-mineral oil refrigerants to have reached the United States.
Refrigerant Products Ltd. of England (www.ref-prods.com) advocated RS-45, an HFC refrigerant said to work with mineral oil with a mixture of R-125, 134a, butane, and isobutene that seems to be somewhat similar to R-417A, but with what the promoters say is a higher capacity ("close to R-22"). The manufacturer said it is seeking SNAP and UL approval for the product but is not sure about trying for an ASHRAE classification.
The pure natural refrigerants came from Care of Great Britain (www.care-refrigerants.co.uk) with its Calor gases. The company has been exhibiting at IKK for a number of years and periodically adds to its product offerings. There are five packagings now: Care 10, which is pure isobutene (R-600A); Care 30, which is a blend of isobutene and propane (R-290); Care 40, which is pure propane; Care 45, which is propylene (R-1270), and Care 50, a blend of propane and ethane (R-170).
Eurammon of Germany (www.eurammon.com) was on hand to stress that it is a joint effort of European manufacturers, institutions, and individuals who promote natural refrigerants such as ammonia, CO2, butane, and propane.
Hansen Technologies of Burr Ridge, Ill. (www.hantech.com) had a paper on refrigeration valves for CO2 servicing. (The company also noted it had relocated its European distribution center from the United Kingdom to a facility near Hamburg, Germany.)
Uniqema of the Netherlands (www.uniqema.com) had literature urging contractors and technicians to be very sure the correct and best lubricant was being used for each application. And just to show you that the packaging of refrigerants knows few limits, there was the exhibit of the Rizk Brothers of Egypt, which showed its range of refrigerants all packaged in small aerosol cans, including such HFCs as 404A and 407C.
Newest in recovery units was the EcoBuddy from Aspen Pumps (www.aspenpumps.com), which had been on the market for two months at the time of the expo. The unit covers a range of refrigerants including R-410A. It was also available in 230- and 110-V models for AC or DC applications, an indication that the British company planned to market the product worldwide. It had both liquid and vapor recovery options.
CPS (www.cpsproducts.com) featured recovery units with 1 hp oilless recip compressors. The company said the product is suitable for all refrigerants including R-410A.
The booth of Amprobe Europe GmbH (www.amprobe.de) of Monchengladbach, Germany, was where IKK visitors saw products from TIF, Robinair, Amprobe, and Promax. The Robinair Vacu-Master consisted of two-stage high-vacuum pumps in three models. They used offset rotary vane for fast and complete evacuation with high pumping capacity.
A UV leak detection system from Robinair has a dye for injection into a system and a cordless UV light with LEDs. There is a supply of dyes as well as UV glasses and dye cleaner.
UV was also one of the products shown at the booth of Ritchie Engineering (www.yellowjacket.com). The Yellow JacketÂ® micro LED UV leak detector stresses pinpoint and easy to see leaks. Light-concentrating reflectors surround each of five LEDs, according to the company.
Uniweld (www.uniweld.com) claimed that its leak detector uses an infrared sensor that does not degrade with use "and never needs to be replaced." Further, the company contended, "The internal infrared detector will not be damaged if the probe gets wet."
Inficon (www.inficon.com) with its global headquarters in East Syracuse, N.Y., featured the Ecotech II, a dedicated sniffer leak detector for all gases including refrigerants. It comes programmed with a library of more than 100 commonly used gases and the ability of the user to define 40 additional gases.
Bacharach Europe (www.bacharach-europe.com) featured SmarTecâ„¢, a one-step analyzer that analyzes pure, mixed, high and low pressure refrigerant gases. Menu driven software is built into the unit. Analysis is done in the liquid, rather than vapor state.
Another IKK veteran is Imperial Eastman (www.imperial-tools.com) with its latest product being a heavy-duty tube bender. It has a trigger and two-stage handle that allows it to bend tubing to any angle up to 180 degrees.
Mastercool (www.mastercool.com) featured both a flaring and swaging kit and a hose crimper. The first features a hand-held hydraulic press that flares and swages copper tubing once the die and adapter are secured in the fixture. The second product is also a hydraulic press for crimping barbed and beaded fittings.
In fact, the most recent expo here included more than 40 pages of press articles from one of Emerson's arms in Europe, Copeland Sales & Marketing of Belgium (www.ecopeland.com). The rollout included compressors, condensing units, and controls.
One focus was on scroll compressors, with "new ranges developed to meet special requirements for various applications and complete the existing product ranges."
For heat pump applications, the company noted that its ZH Series compressors have been "optimized for true medium-temperature applications, offering higher seasonal efficiency than conventional reciprocating compressors, especially for applications with evaporating temperatures of -10 degrees C in supermarkets."
On the low-temperature side, ZF KV compressors are said to have "new, enhanced vapor injection directly into scroll spirals to increase capacity by as much as 45 percent and simultaneously improve COP by over 25 percent."
The company had two lines of compressors for air conditioning applications. Its ZP scrolls, for use with R-410A, now are available in up to 60-kW cooling capacities. "Large systems can be developed with R-410A using single and paralleled compressors, in tandem or trio."
The company's ZR compressor line includes several additions shown for the first time at IKK. A 30-hp, large commercial scroll "allows the design of systems of larger capacity based on scroll paralleling instead of using screws." A 40- to 60-hp scroll range for commercial air conditioning "extends scroll applications to 120 hp with tandem paralleling."
The scroll technology was also introduced in a line of outdoor condensing units in medium- and low-temperature models.
This "makes the whole range complete from 2 to 15 hp."
The products include single-compressor condensing units and 8- to 12-hp outdoor scroll condensing units with two compressors, "providing 50 percent modulation."
Housing covers are made of synthetic resin material for corrosion resistance.
In addition, "Since there is a clear trend towards low-sound condensing units, the large units are only available in low-sound versions (sound levels from 42 dBA at 10 meters' distance from the unit)." The company said applications include bakeries and meat, fruit, and vegetable cooling.
Controlling And Monitoring
Electronic products introduced by Alco Controls include:
- Peter Powell
Publication date: 01/26/2004