Reuters UK Data Centre, London

Reuters UK Data Centre, London

Type of works: Airedale's AsNew on-site refurbishment of close control control air conditioning.

Reuters is a global information company providing information to professionals in the financial services, media and corporate markets. Although best known as the world’s largest international multimedia news agency, more than 90% of Reuters revenues derives from its financial services business. Airedale used its AsNew service to strip and rebuild 74 close control units in Reuters principal UK Data Centre in London. Replacement with complete units was deemed to be too risky as the Data Centre was live at all times and continuous system operation was crucial.

The upgrade of the UK Data Centre required the renewal of seventy-four existing close control units spread over three computer floors. Being live computer rooms, replacement with complete units was ruled out. Extracting the old units in a restricted space and installing complete units would have involved modifications to the floor and replacement of existing pipework involving hot work. Reuters deemed unit refurbishment to be less risky to the operation of the Data Centre, which would be live throughout the duration of the work. An added benefit of this refurbishment would be improved energy-efficiency and the opportunity to upgrade and increase cooling capacity.

Reuters has a reputation for speed, accuracy and freedom from bias. Its information is trusted and drives decision-making across the globe. Reuters news is seen by more than one billion people every day and its products used by 330,000 financial market professionals around the world. In the business critical location of the UK Data Centre, the close control units provide precise cooling to maintain accurate temperature and humidity within the air conditioned space. Continuous system operation requires total reliability at all times, including during the refurbishment.

AsNew is a complete on-site unit refurbishment facility provided by Airedale Service, the service and maintenance division of Airedale International. AsNew completely strips and rebuilds units utilising the very latest energy-efficient components and controls technology, at the same time minimising operational downtime and eliminating the need to move an entire unit.

Airedale Service dedicated a team of engineers to work closely with PME, Reuters inhouse M&E maintenance company, and with Reuters own engineering staff, to develop a refurbishment methodology and programme which would renew the old units by replacing out-of-date components with new, energy-efficient parts. The unit frames were retained and refurbished and new external casing panels were designed and manufactured by Airedale.

Says John Payne, Reuters Project Manager: “Originally this was earmarked as a replacement exercise, but when we looked more closely, it proved more difficult to implement. The units are surrounded by sensitive computer equipment and we decided it would be more expedient to refurbish in situ.”

“Airedale was successful in its bid partly because it could offer Reuters the facilities to witness test, enabling us to gauge improved performance from refurbishment,” continues John. “Airedale carried out refurbishment on one of the units at its Test Centre in Leeds, testing the unit before and after the refurbishment. This facility was a big plus for Airedale.”

Designed and built to exceed stringent international standards, Airedale’s £2m cutting-edge Test Centre is capable of testing a complete range of air conditioning equipment with cooling and heating capacities from 2kW to 120kW and chillers up to 1MW, the climate temperature being fully controllable anywhere from -5°C to +55°C.

Refurbishment of the seventy-four close control units was carried out on a ‘one unit per floor’ basis over a period of thirteen months. All precautionary measures were taken by Airedale Service engineers, working very closely with Reuters staff throughout the period, to ensure continuous operation and to maintain room temperatures. Components were safely carried through the space without disrupting service and the unit frames remained in situ. Existing glycol cooling pipework was retained. Within the restricted space on the Data Floors, major components were fitted and refrigerant pipework was replaced, pressure tested and refrigerant added.

The very latest controls technology was incorporated for increased reliability and tighter management control of the air conditioned space. Tighter control plus upgrading of most components has led to a 10% increase in cooling capacity.

Adds John Payne: “PME and Airedale worked well together with very close liaison. Given the sensitivity of the job and the potential for disruption, the project has gone really well. It can be nerve-wracking when contractors are undertaking work such as disconnecting cooling pipework on computer floors, but we had no problems at all.

“The Airedale Service engineers got into the swing of work over the thirteen months, and fully recognised the sensitivity of the areas in which they were working. They have done really well. Project engineer Paul Mosdell has been very co-operative and happy to fall in with anything we required.”

As consultants, Geoff Constable Associates was responsible for spot-checking when units were ready for commissioning, ensuring the units were completed satisfactorily in time and within specification and that all test certification documentation was in place. Mitchell Price was the quantity surveyors working on behalf of Reuters.

AsNew unit refurbishment service is the preferred solution where replacement with complete units is not feasible particularly in:
> Areas of restricted access
> Business critical locations

AsNew offers a choice of levels that can be easily tailored to suit customers' specific individual requirements and it provides:
> Controls upgrade
> Mechanical upgrade
> CFC replacement
Additional AsNew benefits:
> Flexibility - a refurbishment project can be carried out over a staged period of time, tailored to suit business and budgetary requirements
> Partnership - for those companies responsible for the maintenance of external customer facilities, Airedale Service can work in partnership with that customer to provide an additional, enhanced service
> AsNew is available on other air conditioning manufacturers’ equipment

Airedale Service also offers:
> Service & Maintenance contracts
> Commissioning
> Spares after-sales service

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