Patrick Lavoy 2016-11-16 11:12:02
At a recent ceremony recognizing excellence in electrical energy savings, the Montreal-based Hydro-Québec Utility Company awarded three citations of excellence to a system designer who used Daikin water-cooled screw compressor chillers in industrial applications. The awards were impressive. But beyond accolades, the 30% annual energy cost savings achieved by one of those systems—the installation at Camoplast—earned the most recognition for its practical efficiency. Camoplast is an 80,000-square foot automotive component injection molding facility in Richmond, Québec. The Camoplast system was designed and installed by Claude Menard, president of Formatrix 67 General Contracting in Sherbrooke, Québec. The key component of the Camoplast system is a 160-ton Daikin WGS water-cooled screw compressor Model WGS chiller. Winning Combination: Formatrix 67 and Daikin Menard knew the benefits of Daikin chiller technology after having worked with the company’s equipment for more than 20 years. A few years ago, Menard became familiar with Daikin’s water-cooled screw compressor chillers and began applying the Daikin WGS chiller in systems. Francois Filion, process development manager at Camoplast, says the system upgrade project sold itself based on the system payback and the ease of installation. “It wasn’t a big issue to install the chiller. The plant was down for only 72 hours and the entire project took about two months, start to finish,” says Filion. Previously, a new chiller was added at the plant each time additional capacity was required. As a result, eight small chillers were located throughout the plant, totaling 175 tons of capacity. “We selected a Daikin screw chiller that provides 205 tons of capacity. Using just half of that capacity at about 110 tons produces enough chilled water for the manufacturing needs of the whole plant,” says Menard. The Daikin screw chiller replaced the eight small chillers during the upgrade project. It is used exclusively to cool water for industrial processes. The new chiller, located in the mezzanine area overlooking the shop floor at the Camoplast plant, produces process water at a setpoint temperature of 55°F that is used in two injection molding processes that are critical to the company’s operations. “The chiller is used for the hydraulic section of the industrial process in the summer. During the winter, the cooling tower is doing free cooling,” explains Menard. For maximum efficiency, the temperature of the water is modulated from 75°F to 85°F at the exit of the plant’s 400-ton cooling tower, which was installed concurrently with the new chiller. Menard says the design of the Daikin WGS chiller with its dual-refrigerant circuits results in excellent part-load efficiency and reliability. “With the WGS, it’s like having two chillers side-by-side on the same frame. The entire unit is split. The refrigerant side is split with two separate condensers and one evaporator that is separated into two sections. If there is any problem with one of the compressors, you use the other one,” says Menard. HFC Refrigerant, A “Must Have” According to the Daikin sales representative at Enviroair Industries, Inc. in Montreal, Quebec, features of the WGS chiller, such as the extremely quiet operation of the chiller with its soft-start solid state starter and compact design, make it one of the best chillers in its class. “The HFC-134a refrigerant in the Daikin screw chiller was a must,” he adds. “The owner wanted a refrigerant that didn’t have a phase-out schedule so they wouldn’t have to worry about retrofitting it in the near future when HCFC refrigerants are being phased out.” Quiet Operation With the chiller located in the mezzanine overlooking the shop floor in the production area of the plant, potential sound levels were a concern of the workers. Yet they were pleasantly surprised when they heard the quiet operation of the unit. Designed with a single main rotor compressor, which is inherently quieter than twin-screw compressor designs, Daikin WGS chillers are ultra-quiet, providing sound pressure levels from 73 to 77 dBA per ARI Standard 575. Soft-starts Critical for Control System Another critical factor was the softstart at low capacity of each compressor of the chiller. The softstart capability keeps voltage fluctuations to a minimum and is key to the reliable, uninterrupted operation of more than 30 surge-sensitive programmable logic controllers in the plant control system. Camoplast uses Omron controls, and with the assistance of Menard, developed its own proprietary software to run the chiller and ancillary equipment, resulting in a completely automated plant. Utility Rebate Increases Savings By specifying energy-saving systems such as that used by Camoplast, Menard has secured a number of significant grants for customers from Montreal’s Hydro-Québec utility company. Hydro-Québec’s Empower Program for Industrial Systems incentivizes businesses to implement electricity-saving measures applicable to industrial equipment, systems, or processes. In addition to the funding awarded to companies that adopt energy saving equipment, the Empower Program for Industrial Systems also bestows “energy-wise citations of excellence” for exceptional projects. Formatrix 67 received five out of 13 total citations awarded to contractors during the period under the Empower Program. Out of the five citations for excellence, three of these awards involved Menard’s placement of Daikin equipment at Quebec industrial businesses. Impressive Return On Investment Project costs for the Camoplast system upgrade totaled $270,000 Canadian Dollars (CAD) including the WGS chiller, cooling tower, valves, and piping. Taking into account the $171,000 CAD grant received from the utility company’s Empower Program, the total cost of the project was $99,000 CAD. Prior to the project, Filion says the plant had approximately $98,000 CAD in annual electricity costs, which has been reduced to about $28,000 CAD annually. Menard noted the following breakdowns for specific savings: 30%, Daikin chiller; 50% from free cooling (during off-season, etc.); and 20% from pumps, piping, and controls. Maintenance Cost Savings, a Bonus In addition to the dramatic savings in utility costs, Filion notes the company’s annual maintenance costs for the chiller and related equipment was reduced significantly from approximately $30,000 CAD annually to about $5,000 CAD annually. The Camoplast plant application is a great example of how businesses are saving money with innovative solutions and non-conventional uses of conventional technology like the Daikin WGS screw chiller. Not only do they help win awards, they also help businesses win the battle against high-energy costs. DE Patrick Lavoy is the Canadian Regional General Manager for Daikin Applied HVAC products.
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