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Variable-speed drives from Control Techniques have helped slash energy bills by more than $2,000 (£1,248) a month, reduce downtime and extend equipment life at Key Mechanical, a US food distribution centre.

The facility stores massive quantities of foodstuffs in freezer and cooler boxes ready for regional distribution. The customer was having an issue with the defrost performance of the evaporators on the freezers: all of the evaporators needed to be defrosted at the same time, but the freezer condensing units had individual mechanical defrost clocks that would not remain synchronised once set.

Control Techniques and Key Mechanical proposed new control systems for the circuits on the freezer and cooler boxes, which involved the installation of 21 Commander HSK variable-frequency drives from Control Techniques and two Einstein E2 RX400 refrigeration controllers from Emerson Retail Solutions, which controlled existing Copeland semi-hermetic compressors from Emerson Climate Technologies.

The RX400 controllers are programmed to control temperature, defrost cycles and frequency drive output for floating-head pressure, floating suction pressure and evaporator-fan motor speed during the normal refrigeration cycle. Of the 21 HSK drives, seven control the Copeland compressors, seven control the condensers and seven control the evaporators.

Key benefits of product applications

  • When the new system was installed, the result was a reduction in electricity consumption of 250,676kWhr per year, providing a saving of more than $2,000 (£1,248) a month on the customer’s energy bill.
  • Energy savings were possible due to reduced fan motor energy consumption as a result of improved fan management, and a reduction in compressor energy consumption due to reduced compression ratios. 
  • Overall equipment life has been extended due to better temperature control and defrost management as well as reduced compressor cycling.
  • According to Ron Kvinge, branch manager for Key Mechanical Portland, the system resulted in better control of the freezer/cooler systems, major energy savings and less wear and tear on equipment.
  • The company found that controlling the HSK drives through the two Einstein RX400 controllers to be much simpler than having to programme and monitor all 21 of them individually.

Control Techniques

Control Techniques, an Emerson Industrial Automation company, is a world leader in the design, production and marketing of electronic variable speed drives for the control of electric motors. Our strategy is to concentrate on delivering drives and servo products that enhance the productivity of our customers’ machines and processes.

We operate through a global network of drive and application centres that both distribute product and add value by building our drive products into custom designed systems and by offering the highest levels of customer service.

Our Control Techniques drive centres also provide us with invaluable feedback and market intelligence so that we can further improve our products and service. This customer focused strategy will enable us to continue to grow profitably.

Our competitive edge is based on our unique focus on drives, our strength in research and development, our investment low-cost manufacturing and an effective worldwide marketing strategy.

Emerson Industrial Automation, a business of Emerson, is a global technology provider that enables productivity, efficiency and quality gains for customers across a spectrum of industries. Our products include alternators, electric motors and drives, electrical distribution devices and mechanical power transmission, fluid automation and ultrasonic joining solutions. Visit our website for more details.

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