Automotive components manufacturer improves working conditions switching to Evaporative cooling
Nifco UK Limited is a manufacturer of is a functional plastic components which are designed, developed and manufactured for a vast network of Automotive manufacturers. The company, established in 1967, is part of the wider Nifco Group which is headquartered in Tokyo and operates from more than 35 sites worldwide.
Staff and employees at Nifco UK Limited, were uncomfortable in the high temperatures reached during the Summer months and quite rightly reported this discomfort.
Part of the ethos of the company is the ‘Nifco Spirit’, a combination of values which define the operation of the business and its members. The Nifco Spirit highlights the importance of ensuring the well-being of its employees, in relation to being a successful business. Considering this, Nifco UK Limited sought to rectify the issue of employees’ discomfort by investigating appropriate solutions.
The production plant had an extraction system installed with no fresh air supply: the system was specified for warehouses but not really suitable for injection moulding process. Production management then researched traditional forms of cooling, initially considering the installation of four mechanical air handling units and heat pumps. However, this system required heavily intrusive ductwork within the roof space and significant floor space.
For this reason the management contacted Ambient HVAC and seriously considered evaporative cooling as a possible solution.
The project posed real challenges as the power supply of the factory was limited, power upgrades were expected at a cost of £500k. A number of solutions were proposed by various specialists from standard DX cooling to supply air displacement with energy recovery and chilled water based cooling with free cooling capability. Ambient HVAC analysed the building’s heat load and suggested installation of Breezair TBSI 580 units and extraction fans on the factory roof. A competitive tender process was undertaken and the pros and cons were reviewed against Ambient evaporate cooling based ventilation design. The following comparisons were made.
Initial installation cost:
Conventional HVAC: £ 1100k to 1575k
Breezair evaporative cooling: £285k
Traditional centralised Air Conditioning (employing energy efficiency technology –chilled water with free cooling) anticipated annual running cost £216,000 (150KW capacity, cop 2.5, 1800 hours per annum @10P/KW hour)
Evaporative cooling (employing energy efficiency technology –inverter drives, modulating zone control) anticipated annual running cost £43,200 (300KW capacity, cop 12.5, 1800 hours per annum @10P/KW hour)
Conventional HVAC: 150kW
Breezair evaporative cooling: 300kw
Ambient designed a system to negate the heat load whilst increasing the air quality / volume by up to 7 times. A number of localised systems were strategically positioned to provide maximum effectiveness without impacting on the working areas/production of the plant. 28 Breezair TBSI 580 + 10 extractions fans were installed (to remove heat and stale air); high level, high velocity supply ducts, diffuse fresh cool air to the occupancy level for comfort and air quality. Displacement effect ensures reliable and efficient air management that can be zoned to suite the varying loads within the production areas. Bespoke controls and Inverter drive technology ensure energy input is minimised and monitored throughout.
Uncomfortable summer temperatures that could reach 35°C in the factory, turned to a more comfortable 24°C, improving thermal comfort and employees’ well being. A criteria for selection of the Breezair system is that it can be easily added to if required compared with traditional mechanical air handling systems.