Epson Telford plant, Shropshire

Epson Telford plant, Shropshire

Client: Epson Telford Ltd
Type of works: supply and installation of Airedale Ultima FreeCool chillers and Airedale Service maintenance service.

Epson Telford Ltd, part of the Seiko Epson Corporation, manufactures and distributes printer supplies and media products throughout Europe from its base in Shropshire. Airedale’s air conditioning products are playing a major role in the precise control of temperature and air quality in critical areas and clean rooms at the Shropshire facility. Epson has developed a positive partnership with Airedale Service to ensure maximum performance and energy efficiency through ongoing system development and maintenance.

The 42,000m2 plant in Shropshire is Epson’s sole European manufacturing site and employs 1,100 staff involved in plastic injection moulding and ink cartridge assembly in clean rooms where continuous system operation requires a 24/7 precise cooling capability that is both efficient and reliable.

Air conditioning plays a major role in the Epson manufacturing facility. Computers and machinery in the clean rooms need to be kept at 22°C to remain in optimum working condition. Keeping them at this precise temperature is difficult to maintain in a room filled with people and machinery. Air quality is also a major priority making it imperative that all the components and equipment are free from dust and debris from the air.

Two standard Airedale chillers have been supplying cooling to all indoor units at Epson, with close control units providing reliable and precisely-controlled air conditioning in Epson’s two clean rooms. Ceiling cassettes have also been installed in other areas for staff comfort. Now, with the cooling load on site increasing and new free-cooling technology available from Airedale, forward-thinking management at Epson has superseded the two existing Airedale chillers with three Ultima FreeCool chillers that will expand system capability at the same time as significantly cutting energy costs.

Airedale provided:
> Three Ultima FreeCool dual system 750kW chillers equipped with sophisticated AireTronix Controls
> Seventeen 125kW units and four 42kW units for close control in the two clean rooms
> Eighteen ceiling cassettes for staff comfort
> Eight air cooled condensing units for close control and comfort

Such critical control of both temperature and air quality, demands a totally reliable system. Airedale has provided a chiller system supplying cooling to close control and comfort units, backed up by high-level technical support which puts a qualified engineer on site within hours, day or night. Now Epson is seeking more than just a first class after-sales service aligned with a regular maintenance programme.

“We are looking at making our kit work through a positive, responsible partnership with Airedale in which we share knowledge,” says Paul Lovegrove, General Affairs Assistant Manager at Epson Telford. “We don’t simply install units and let them run neither does Airedale just service and maintain. It’s a step on from supply only. Airedale help make the equipment work for us."

The free-cooling cycle is designed to give priority to free-cooling whenever the external ambient is below the return water temperature, cutting back the need for mechanical cooling and reducing the energy consumption of the chiller. During the coldest parts of the year, free-cooling can totally satisfy the cooling load. The Ultima FreeCool chiller can also operate on partial free-cooling for up to 50% of the year and only needs to operate completely on mechanical cooling for about 38% of the year, typically saving 35% of the energy consumed by a conventional air-cooled liquid chiller.*

Epson is taking a holistic view of indoor and outdoor temperatures to maximise energy savings. Says Paul Lovegrove, General Affairs Assistant Manager at Epson: “Free-cooling makes sense. Gone are the days when we built a room and the air conditioning cost ‘x’ number of pounds. Now we’re prepared to pay more for the unit in order to recoup energy savings over time. Our target is to reduce building energy costs by 7% annually which we have achieved over the past two years. Airedale’s freecooling chillers are already contributing to 3% of this annual saving.”

* Based on Met. Office figures for London

Airedale Service and Epson are working in partnership to fine-tune three Ultima FreeCool chillers to their environment, for example by increasing supply and return water temperature to utilise free-cooling for a greater part of the year. The free-cooling cycle is designed to give priority to free-cooling whenever the external ambient is below the return water temperature, cutting back the need for mechanical cooling and reducing the energy consumption of the chiller. Monitoring valve positions of indoor units and adjusting water temperatures can enable the system to achieve maximum free-cooling benefits.

“It’s only through Airedale’s continued site involvement that we can fine-tune the system to this extent. We expect it to achieve significant savings. We don’t mind spending capital expenditure to recoup energy savings such as these,” says Paul.

“We have retained the maintenance contract because it’s akin to having the manufacturer on site. It also means that any upgrades Airedale do on the control side, such as improved strategies, we can download them. With the help of Airedale’s intelligent AireWorks BMS and their maintenance team we can also see which units are ‘hot spots’ and deal with them.”

“In working with Airedale, I’m moving with technology to give my customers in manufacturing and the call centre a better product and fewer breakdowns and I trust Airedale to do that. Absolute trust in our service and maintenance team is essential.”

“It’s a complete partnership from design through to service and maintenance, developing the equipment long after installation, fine tuning it to our needs. There is a definite advantage in having the manufacturer handle maintenance. It gives us access to Airedale’s expertise and technical knowledge.”

Ultima FreeCool chillers are equipped with sophisticated AireTronix controls enabling Epson to develop and utilise a strategy that takes full advantage of the UK environment. AireTronix is a versatile control system, fully programmable to maximise product efficiency, energy savings and compatibility, with the ability to customise operational parameters on site and change set points remotely.

Airedale Service engineers provide an immediate response, 24/7 call-out service throughout the year, enabling Epson to contact a qualified engineer outside of normal working hours. Assistance can be given over the telephone but the enhanced service received by Epson means that a duty engineer is on call to attend site usually within 24 hours or within 4 hours if required. If the problem cannot be fixed straight away, the engineer will return in a very short lead time and, as a maintenance customer, Epson has priority.

Epson has a Chillerguard Gold contract including four maintenance inspection visits a year, each of nine days’ duration; all consumables required for maintenance and an extended parts and labour warranty, with genuine ex-stock spares available. Equipment covered under the contract includes twenty chilled water close control units, three Ultima FreeCool chillers and eighteen chilled water cassettes.

“We require a service which delivers technical support whenever we need it and regular maintenance to protect not only our investment, but also our manufacturing facility as a whole.”

Airedale’s Chillerguard Gold contract includes:
> Four maintenance inspection visits
> All travel and mileage expenses related to the maintenance visits
> All consumable required for the maintenance (cleaning fluids, lubricants, etc)
> All parts during the contract period
> All costs related to service call-outs and repairs during the contract period

Airedale Service is able to utilise Airedale’s extensive knowledge and experience as a leading manufacturer, to provide documented, planned maintenance visits and programmes to suit all of Airedale’s own equipment ranges, as well as those of other leading industry manufacturers. Chillerguard Gold is one of four standard maintenance packages offered by Airedale.

Contributing to the energy saving benefits of Ultima FreeCool chillers, individual components are designed to maximise EER’s and in turn minimise power consumption, lower running costs and reduce carbon emissions. Electronic expansion valves (EEV’s) and modulating head pressure control offer even more enhanced EER’s in part load and low ambient conditions. EEV’s can operate at much lower condensing temperatures, reducing the need for unnecessarily high head pressures, and resulting in significant compressor energy savings whenever the ambient temperature and/or cooling requirement are below design conditions.

Epson can also benefit from the inclusion of Ultima FreeCool Chillers on the Energy Technology List due to their proven energy efficient performance. Under the Enhanced Capital Allowance scheme, businesses investing in energy saving products published in the approved list can claim 100% first-year capital allowances on their spending. “We don’t just install the units and let them run. We look at making the equipment work through a responsible partnership with Airedale. It’s a complete and positive partnership, from design through to service and maintenance, sharing knowledge to continually monitor performance in order to recoup energy savings. In effect, we have the manufacturer on site.”

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