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At PlastPol2022, we represent efficient refrigeration

  • CO2 chillers
  • Adiabatic cooling towers
  • Artificial intelligence in control systems

These features – values ​​are what we represent at Plastpol2022, which is currently taking place in Kielce.

The plastics processing industry deserves significant technological development in the field of cold. The development that has already taken place in trade and food production. We estimate the savings to be achieved on cooling at between 25% and even 40%, regardless of the use of Free-Cooling. Energy is costs and CO2 emissions to the environment.

We talk about it during the fair, we write about it in the PlastEcho magazine.

SZE is now a small company with ambitions to revolutionize energy efficiency in the industry. Every day we work to ensure that our clients save kilowatts of electricity and heat. With us there are device manufacturers, installation teams, project managers, specialist press and many people supporting us. We do our job and it works.

Taking the opportunity – if you are a refrigeration / energy engineer and want to be part of the energy transformation – be sure to reply to the job advertisement.

Artificial intelligence in Digitel controllers

Artificial Intelligence, i.e. learning protocols, have an obvious and large potential for use in the optimization of various types of systems.

The control manufacturer DIGITEL was one of the first – and probably the first to introduce artificial intelligence to find and precisely determine points of excessive energy consumption in refrigeration systems.

The functionality is called AI ENERGY.

This feature is particularly useful in facilities with extensive refrigeration systems, such as supermarkets and food processing.

This technology is further developed in cooperation with CESM – a Swiss organization dealing with the development of new technologies.

Distributor:

SZE sp.z o.o.

Warehouse address: ul. Dobra 4/12, 00-388 Warsaw

tel: 512 674 111

The era of CO2 refrigeration is coming – interview for Plast Echo

The newest issue of the Plast Echo magazine has already been released from printing presses, including an interview with Maurycy Szwajkajzer on energy-efficient cooling.

Full text below.

In the processing industry, cold is not the most important thing, but without it most plastic products will not be created. That is why we decided to talk about energy-saving refrigeration with Maurycy Szwajkajzer – an engineer and owner of a company dealing with modern CO2 refrigeration.

Mr. Maurycy, let’s start with the details. How many percent of energy can be saved on cooling from chillers?

From 25 to over 45 …

Hmm… I think we should talk about it in more detail, because the values ​​you are talking about are significant and readers will need more information to understand where they come from. Maybe let’s start with the basics. Why are you looking for savings in refrigeration?

Refrigeration is present in most of the products around us, ie in the food, pharmaceutical and agricultural industries … And, of course, also in the processing of plastics. I clearly remember the end of my second year of studies at the Warsaw University of Technology, when I was choosing my specialization. I felt… or in fact I knew then that cold in the form of air conditioning or process cold is one of the basic media that create contemporary prosperity. There is also some magic in the fact that it is possible to take heat from a lower temperature and return it to a higher temperature. After graduation, I worked in some very interesting companies building refrigeration installations, until the moment came when I decided that I had to go on my own. I was a somewhat recalcitrant worker, and I like to keep my hands on everything. This way I am where I am. I run a company dealing in energy-efficient refrigeration. Sometimes this means hybrid adiabatic towers and sometimes a super effective CO2 chiller.

Hybrid adiabatic tower, chiller. How are these technologies different?

The cold source must be matched to the required temperature. A temperature of approximately 25 ° C is used to cool the oil. Of course, it can be achieved with a chiller, but it will be much cheaper to use popular free cooling. When the air temperature exceeds 20oC, the air flow alone is not enough to maintain the set parameter. Then we use adiabatic cooling – with the use of water. A properly selected device will allow you to maintain the assumed 25oC without using energy for the operation of the chiller, will minimize water consumption and will not require treatment. On the other hand, a temperature between 7 ° C and 15 ° C is usually used to cool the molds. This parameter cannot be maintained all year round by cooling only with external air – free cooling. It is therefore necessary to use a chiller with a cooling circuit.

How are CO2 chillers different from those used today? I am not sure if the processing industry will want to experiment with them.

CO2 refrigeration technology is widely used in trade, food processing and logistics. It can be said that in cooling capacities from 20 kW to about 2,000 kW, CO2 is the first choice – it is a proven and appreciated technology. The energy savings achieved are confirmed by specific measurements. I have designed and made dozens of such systems. When I’m in the role of a project engineer, part of my job is to confirm the parameters that are being achieved. CO2 devices work partially, in a similar refrigeration cycle as F-gas chillers, but they have a supercritical mode, and the best ones will have flooded evaporators.

You have already written about technical issues in our magazine.

Even twice! On this occasion, thank you for giving me the floor. I gave specific information especially in the article on the cost of cooling a plastic brush. My children were bringing items made of “plastic” and I weighed them on a household scale. I was doing calculations, and in the end, it came out in zlotys or pennies.

Back to the topic. You say this is a technology that is present in other industries. So why in our – plastics processing – we do not meet these devices yet? Do you think they’ll catch on?

Editor, I know that they will catch on … Let me tell you about the beginnings of CO2 refrigeration in the commercial industry – in supermarkets. Back then, regulations that would phase out F-gases were just on the horizon. Nobody believed that they would finally come into force. Electricity was not expensive. The word ecology was considered ugly, and someone wrote about me on the Internet that I was sponsored by unknown foreign funds! Time has passed, regulations have become a fact, electricity has become more expensive, technology has started to pay off very much, and ecology is a nice addition. Now let’s look at the current condition of the plastics processing industry. Electricity is expensive, but we know it will be even more expensive. There is talk of the F-Gas II Act in the EU Parliament. Ecology is welcome but no one is going to put their business at stake for her. There are… there are known and popular F-gas chillers. CO2 cooling, also that produced by modern adiabatic towers, is cheaper and that’s it. Initially, it will be decided by innovators and brave entrepreneurs. Thanks to this, they will have a competitive advantage over the rest of the industry. In this way, step by step, energy-efficient refrigeration will also win over this market sector.

What are the disadvantages of this technology?

At the moment, it is primarily an investment cost. The CO2 chiller itself is more expensive than a similar F-gas device. When we conduct this conversation, i.e. in the first half of 2022, this difference is about 1.6 times. So my job is to justify a larger OPEX with a smaller CAPEX. Simply put, I am convincing the industry to invest more now for future savings – in electricity costs. It is not an easy task, but as I have proven many times in my articles, including in the pages of “Plast Echo”, the calculations are very precise, and the experiences of other industries confirm that they are also reliable. I do not use a simple COP which gives the amount of cold produced with 1 kWh of electricity at one point. I calculate energy consumption for 8760 points a year – for each hour for a specific location.

Okay, but the cold in plastics processing isn’t just a chiller, right?

Of course not. A typical system will include a cooling source, a primary pump unit, a buffer tank which is also a clutch, a secondary pump unit, piping, and eventually exit points to the machines. This entire plant will be the same, whether the chiller is F-gas or CO2. All these items cost money. And it’s salty! The effect is that and yes, the CO2 chiller itself is much more expensive than the existing technology, but as it becomes part of the overall installation, the difference becomes slight. (repeat)

I see. And how do you assess the situation regarding these non-chillers? All those pumping units, tanks, pipelines?

This is an interesting point. In my practice, I have performed many hundreds of refrigeration audits in industrial facilities and over a dozen in plastic processing plants. When studying such an object, I can see its beautiful story, which often begins with the proverbial “garage” and a man with a vision. The factory grows as the mushrooms bud. New rooms are built, new machines and devices are added, and the cooling system is modified and modified. As a result, what was a very good solution in the past, today, after too many modifications, becomes an energy “monster”. The task of water or glycol systems is to transport cold, and in fact heat. This should be done with the lowest possible loss of temperature, electricity in pumps, etc. Contrary to appearances, a lot of energy is often wasted in incorrectly controlled pumps, too small pipeline diameters, unnecessary exchangers and various types of supplies.

Transport of cold, and in fact heat? It sounds intriguing! Can you explain that?

Cooling is the removal of heat from the product or oil. This heat, through water or glycol pipelines, reaches the chiller, where the temperature parameter is raised to a level that allows it to be transferred to a warmer environment than water in the mold or to oil cooling. There is another potential in raising the temperature – heat recovery. CO2 chillers have a unique feature. Equipped with heat recovery, they can heat water up to over 90oC without increasing electricity consumption! 1kWh of heat from gas is about PLN 0.21. That is, to the savings on the cooling production side, we can easily add savings on the heat side. Heat used to heat a building or domestic hot water.

Reducing the consumption of electricity and gas – this is where you see the aforementioned ecology?

Also, but also in the very factor that is applied. I will explain it through an anecdote. Suppose we want to circle the Earth at the equator with a typical small family car. 40,000 km x 0.2 kgCO2 / km = 8,000 kg CO2 emitted to the atmosphere. The same emission of CO2 into the atmosphere can be obtained by releasing 3.8 kilograms of the popular f-gas r410A. 3.8 kilograms! These chemicals are really harmful! A customer who uses CO2 refrigeration with GWP 1 – versus 2088 for r410, can only drive the largest cars with old V8 engines in the company, all employees can drive such cars… and will still be greener than a neighbor with standard cold production. Currently, it is the greenest technology available on the market.

All right. If, as you say, this technology pays off, is ready for implementation and is still environmentally friendly – it should probably take root soon enough. What are the biggest difficulties with its implementation?

Many years ago I wrote about the phenomenon of “Late Adopters”. It consists in the fact that at a time when the economy is in good shape, companies get richer. There are spare funds, investment funds, etc. on the account. There is a natural tendency to use this good. A company that, at the time of having funds, will not invest in reducing operating costs for the future, will lose accumulated stock over time, because the “innovative” competition will save more, reducing production costs, product costs, etc. As a result, when the implementation of energy-saving technologies is necessary due to the risk of being “on the line”, there may not be money for its implementation. It is a phenomenon that repeats itself cyclically, just as cyclically the economy goes up and down.

I am convinced that most of the issues raised in our conversation will be worth developing in the future. As an absolute layman in the field of refrigeration, I hope that in our magazine we will host your texts explaining the intricacies of cooling technology.

This is how I actually like to talk. After all, these are interesting topics!

Maurycy Szwajkajzer

for Plast Echo may 2022


Quality refrigeration – what is it?

You sell fruit by truck, produce millions of plastic buckets or vaccines. You are an expert in your field. You are expanding the company. You erect a new building, equip it with all installations, set production paths, organize the incorporation of a new production, commercial or logistics facility into the living tissue of an operating enterprise.

It is a beautiful and complex task. A task that, in terms of the required expert knowledge, exceeds the competences of one person, and there will certainly be areas in which nobody in your company is an expert. There are many methods from the Project Management handbook that allow you to deal with issues in which you are not an expert. There are tables, plans, ranges, external consultants. There is, however, a field that in my experience is often overlooked. Too often!

I am talking about QUALITY. The most difficult feature to define.
So what is quality in the implementation of refrigeration installations?

according to Wikipedia:

Quality (Greek poiotes, Latin qualitas) – a philosophical concept defined by Plato as “a certain degree of perfection” [1].

“Level of perfection”, i.e. not only whether a given functionality exists, but also how it is implemented:

By the term “quality” I understand what and how was actually realized vs what was promised. Regardless of the contracts, preliminary arrangements and whether the client controls it or not. To achieve it at the right level, there must be time, money and positive commitment from all parties.

Further on to Wikipedia;

In this context, the most frequently mentioned features of technological quality are:

Whether a given function is:

  1. Possible to obtain (e.g. set temperature, under different conditions)
  2. Practical, easy to implement by the customer (can it open the door, is the control system understandable)
  3. Reliability (failure-free)
  4. Durability (will the functional features be maintained over time, also after the end of the warranty)
  5. Safe to use (does not pose a threat to employees, the performance of a given function may not void the warranty)
  6. In the further part of this study, I will try to explain what I think is a high-quality refrigeration system.

Auction
The multitude of choice is often associated with the possibility of choosing the best quality for the best price. In reality, however, the customer should look for the best quality / price ratio he or she is looking for. Preparation of an offer for large projects contains thousands of elements, is time-consuming and requires the involvement of people from companies other than the potential contractor (equipment suppliers, etc.). Contrary to appearances, the refrigeration industry is small and the competition will know about itself. If the competition is too high, the suppliers, seeing a low chance of winning, will not add to the offer. They will count it as a factor and “fast”. As a result, all submitted bids will be imprecisely counted, usually too expensive and technically ill-considered. The optimal number of bidders should not exceed four companies, even for the largest projects.

Part of the tender should also be a contract that defines the various possible situations that may arise on the site. An agreement that is too restrictive will result in too high a price or too much risk being taken by one of the parties. On an appropriate scale – and there are hundreds of thousands of cooling installations in Poland, millions – big problems will happen for sure!

Design
The project consists of a number of documents resulting from the engineer’s work. The most important of these is the cooling balance. In order for it to be correct, all heat gains given by the customer, those resulting from experience, the required safety buffer and possibly a reserve (1.1 to 1.5), should be taken into account. A properly prepared balance is always a balancing act between too low power and so high that the implementation cost will be unacceptable.

The cooling balance is then translated into specific devices that are to provide cooling. The most important of them is the refrigeration unit. The boundary parameters (evaporation temperature, outside temperature, etc.) should be selected so that the appropriate cooling capacity and temperature in the rooms are ensured under all conditions that may occur in a given location.

Most of the “quality loss” occurs already at the stage of the balance sheet and the selection of basic devices. The engineer has a number of devices at his disposal, which, with a slight change in the selection parameter, will significantly differ from each other – and thus will have a different price for the customer. Other criteria are the selection of specific manufacturers of components and series of types of devices better or worse suited to the given requirements. At this stage, the quality and price discrepancy can sometimes be as high as 100%. This means that the same installation can cost X or 2X while still theoretically meeting the customer’s requirements.

Further design items affecting the quality are routes, diameters and material of pipelines, gas-coolers / condensers, automation, control system, etc. All very susceptible to selection parameters and all indistinguishable in poor tender specifications, which are not rarely encountered.

Construction preparation, construction location
Recent years have shown that the availability of materials and their prices vary a lot over time – even for a short time, in the order of a few days. In order to maintain sufficiently high quality, the contractor must be able to purchase materials in the right quantity, price and time. To achieve this, it must have financial resources (e.g. advances, own stocks) and human resources. The material collected from suppliers will vary on a case-by-case basis and the quality may be random from time to time. I mean, for example, Inox pipes, which are actually galvanized, or control without some (not described in the specification) features.

Another element susceptible to quality differences is the construction location. We answer the question of whether the contractor will have a storage container, will it work under controlled conditions, or “squatting” on the lawn. Inadequate working conditions will obviously tend to produce poorer quality, leaking welds, loose bolts. The location of the construction site costs about 2% of the works carried out. If the customer does not agree to bear this cost – he automatically accepts the risk of losing quality in this field.

Prepare for the unforeseen. Most of the construction sites are complicated activities consisting of hundreds of commuting employees, transports, the use of many specialized tools, work in difficult construction conditions, etc. The contractor must have a financial reserve that, in the event of “breaking the screwdriver” or having to go around the pole with the other side, will allow him to carry out this work with financial and technical success. Too tightly calculated cost estimates are prone to major problems (technical, financial, timely) in the event of unforeseen circumstances. So a Contractor who agrees to “too much” de-facto exposes the Client to the above-described problems.

Implementation of works
This stage is clearly very prone to loss of quality. Starting with the careless placement of cooling units, ending with the lack of tidying up after the work is finished. A contractor under too much financial pressure will carry out the work quickly, with carelessly selected staff. It will also save on the construction manager and the personal commitment of the management / owner of the company. The implementation will be full of deficiencies such as “too short tube for pressure sensor”, carelessly glued, too thin insulation, rubbing sling elements, too thin cables, etc. These are all indefinite items in the tender specifications. To avoid this, the client must be sure that the work will be carried out by dedicated, adequately paid personnel. No matter what auditors, project managers and lawyers you have. If you haven’t taken care of it earlier, high quality is very difficult to enforce at this stage.

As-built documentation and acceptance
There is nothing wrong with the fact that the work carried out differs slightly from the initial assumptions. After all, it is for this reason that there is such a concept as “as-built documentation”! It is too often a stage of work that is neglected. Meanwhile, properly prepared as-built documentation is the basis for careful servicing, future reconstructions and acceptance of UDT, SANEPiD, etc. Omitting the “as-built documentation” item in the cost estimation will result in the Customer receiving reprinted, sometimes even accidentally, documentation of manufacturers of parts of components, carelessly folded into one binder or what is even worse, handing over only the documents required by the Office of Technical Inspection.

Servicing
In this case, I like to refer to the analogy. A new car under warranty must undergo paid inspections. Must have oil and brake pads changed. There is no such thing as free service during the warranty period. If the client does not pay for it, he has paid for it in the construction costs, accepts the fact that the contractor takes the risk of overpriced defects or something in between.

As can be seen above, “quality” is a difficult term to define, especially in very bureaucratic proceedings. Most corporate tenders do not have a position such as “quality of execution” at all or blindly assume that all bidders have it at the same level. Unfortunately, the reality is that contracting companies approach it on the basis of their previous experience and competences, and the shortcomings in it will “sort out” during the implementation. Unfortunately, there is currently a very bad tendency to accept good quality as fulfilling only what is written in the documents.

In my opinion, as a consultant, auditor and executive company, nothing can replace the individual commitment of decision-makers in the company and fair, partner relations. There is no substitute for fair payment of technical, personal and financial risks as well as wise Contractors and Clients. Ultimately, all parties work to ensure well-being and a good night’s sleep.