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Towards redefining the compressors segment

By embracing digitalisation, compressor technology is accelerating to new levels of innovation and driving towards energy-efficiency goals. Benwen Lopez reports…

| | May 24, 2017 | 10:07 am
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With depleting energy resources and the constant challenge of global warming, manufacturers are channelling towards producing compressors that are not only meeting industry standards but also contributing to environmental sustainability.

The driving force behind the compressor segment is the improvement of technology and innovation, leading to energy efficiency. From producing oil-free centrifugal compressors to incorporating smart technology for better monitoring and tracking, manufacturers are transforming this sector of the HVACR industry.

TOWARDS ENERGY EFFICIENCY

Confirming this, Ashutosh Ojha, Regional Sales Driver of Danfoss Commercial Compressors, Turkey, Middle East & Africa, says, “Our strategy is to support system transformation for higher sustainability with minimal redesign cost or reduced costs of ownership.” Highlighting the features of this strategy, Ojha adds: “We are enhancing our product portfolio with high energy-efficient solutions, reduction of refrigerant charge and GWP values, with a focus on reliability, durability and cost competitiveness. We now have a real holistic approach from the system standpoint to reduce the development time and increase system overall lifecycle cost of the original equipment manufacturer.”

Agreeing that compressors can contribute to environmental sustainability, other key industry players reveal that research and development are being carried out to achieve the target. For example, Paolo Molteni, General Manager (Italy and Middle East) of Kriwan Italia, says, “We are working towards energy efficiency goals by studying and developing compressors that consume lower energy.”

Ojha adds that as an organisation, Danfoss has set its internal climate strategy goals to reduce CO2 emissions by 50% before 2030. He elaborates: “The new benchmarks have been set to gradually reduce our own energy usage from 24 MWh per 1m DKK to 12 MWh per 1m DKK before 2030. The CO2 emissions, too, will be reduced from 320kg CO2 per 1 MWH to 160 kh CO2 per 1 MWh.”

ADAPTING TO NEW TECHNOLOGY

Adding to the digital technology spectrum, Molteni says, “To facilitate the exchange of data between the compressor and the user, we developed the INTspector app, which facilitates sharing of data from the compressors to the user.” He also highlights that the INTspector app promotes preventive maintenance, and increases the process reliability of the unit.

BUILDING ON INNOVATION

With the rollercoaster ride of oil prices in the GCC region, innovation is playing a crucial role towards business sustainability. Speaking on such innovations in the compressor segment, Ojha says, “We have had a successful track record with our oil-free centrifugal compressors, specifically designed for the HVACR industry.” Speaking on the benefits of the compressor, he adds: “Operating costs of the entire systems have now been redefined because of this particular compressor, and its capabilities in energy efficiency have been expanded.”

CHALLENGES

Like every sector of the HVACR industry, the compressor sector, too, is faced with a variety of challenges, ranging from energy efficiency to market turbulences, and to technical and technological challenges.

One of the key issues manufacturers encounter is faulty installation, which affects their ratings. An industry expert points out that in the GCC region, it is incredibly easy to become a contractor, unlike in Europe, where contractors are required to have professional qualifications and certifications.

Voicing similar concerns, another source from the industry shares the view that in certain cases, it is observed that big contractors, sub-contract projects to smaller contractors, who, in most cases, are not qualified enough to conduct an installation and can mess up the entire project. While installation is one of the issues, the other issue faced is poor flushing of dirt, sand, dust and oxidation that gets accumulated at the point of welding. Other problems occur because of wrong wiring, thus causing malfunctioning, in which case, manufacturers are called upon to replace equipment.

Responding to the challenges related to installation and wiring, Ojha says, “On a periodical basis, we do organise technical seminars and workshops, where we conduct extensive training for them on installations and introduce them to the new technological developments in the industry.”

Speaking on other market constraints, Ojha points out that increasing population, higher levels of comfort and greater penetration of IT technologies are putting a heavy pressure on the electric grids and driving up the overall energy consumption and utility peak loads. This, in his view, leads to other consequences. “The awareness is now of the building functioning,” he says, “which most of the time is operating at part-load operations, pushing OEM manufacturers to take into consideration the part-load efficiency.”

SUMMING UP

While key industry players are rightly using technology and innovation to achieve sustainability, ultimately, it is the end-user, who has to embrace energy-efficient equipment, not blindly but with an understanding of the bigger picture to know why manufacturers are putting such systems out in the market.


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