Refrigeration Control Systems Come of Age

Many cold storage and distribution facilities still operate with disparate, proprietary, and closed refrigeration control systems more than 10 years old, often with standard electro-mechanical controls (e.g., pressure switches). While new...


Increased data availability — With a single, integrated platform, you’ll have increased access to energy, production, and utility cost information, leading to better decision-making at the management level.

Non-proprietary, open platforms — Newer systems are built on non-proprietary, open platforms, eliminating the need to support multiple protocols and providing you more options when purchasing automation equipment.

Ease of maintenance and availability of replacement parts — As proprietary control systems age, so do the personnel who hold the proprietary knowledge needed to maintain them. As these personnel retire, expensive third-party support is needed to maintain legacy systems. However, due to their non-proprietary platforms, newer control systems are much easier to maintain, troubleshoot and upgrade, without expensive third-party support. Non-proprietary, commonly available parts are less costly and more easily serviced by on-site personnel.

ROI — Replacing your outdated control system can have a significant impact on your bottom line. Newer systems manage the control and sequencing of all equipment to maximize energy efficiency. Newer systems will respond to the demands of the system, sequence the entire process and ensure that the system is running at optimal efficiency. For example, the system will ensure that compressors, VFDs, and slide valves are running at the appropriate capacity; manage wet bulb condenser temperature requirements; manage refrigerant discharge pressure; and schedule the air unit defrost process. All of these systems running appropriately will have great impact on energy efficiency and your bottom-line operations.

 

Jim Martini and Kevin Frantz are with Stellar, a provider of state of the art automation services.

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