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ITALY:  Epta has announced the acquisition of Knudsen Køling, a company specialising in the design, installation and maintenance of turnkey refrigeration and CO2 systems in Denmark. 

Based in Køge, close to Copenhagen - Denmark, Knudsen Kølingand has been providing highly efficient refrigeration cabinets, plug-ins and reliable solutions to retailers for over 50 years, supported by a nationwide sales distribution and service network.

Epta is already present in the Nordic Countries with its own subsidiaries in Finland and Norway, working directly with major retailers, as well as through a premium network of qualified distributors. The Group entered into the agreement with the intent of consolidating its position in Northern Europe, one of the first markets to develop solutions with natural refrigerants. Epta and Knudsen Køling together, have already completed more than 1,000 installations of CO2 based refrigeration systems worldwide. The acquisition will foster important synergies among the existing operations in Germany and UK, with strong benefits for all customers and business partners in the region.

Marco Nocivelli, CEO of Epta remarked “Since the year 2000 Knudsen Køling has been one of the most dynamic players in Denmark in the development of CO2 systems. The acquisition of Knudsen Køling is a perfect match for our expansion plan to strengthen our presence in the refrigeration market worldwide, through partnership with leading brands in their respective countries. This is a great opportunity for both parties to share technological expertise and offer the widest portfolio of HFC free solutions”.

 

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UK:  Customers, suppliers and members of the press gathered together last week to mark the opening of Pipe and Climate Center’s new, purpose-built branch and fabrication facility in Basildon, Essex.

Boasting one of the largest trade counters and footprints in the Wolseley UK estate, the branch streamlines customer service by offering a ‘one-stop-shop’ solution. As well as dedicated Pipe and Climate Center product and technical hubs, the site has a specialist fabrication and modular engineering facility, which includes state-of-the-art lifting, welding and cutting machinery.

The event gave Pipe and Climate’s customers and partners a behind the scenes tour of the multi-million pound, 59,000 sq. ft. facility. Key suppliers were also on hand to support the event and share the latest product technologies and innovations with visitors.

To celebrate the occasion, there were giveaways, refreshments and a prize draw, followed by the official ribbon cutting by Pipe and Climate Center Managing Director, Andy Wighton.

Pipe and Climate Center Managing Director, Andy Wighton

Andy Wighton (inset) commented: “Our goal is to be the distributor of choice for the industry and we are committed to delivering the best possible service to our customers. The new facility in Basildon will be instrumental to us achieving this. Customers can now fulfil all of their product needs from one convenient location, as well as being able to access best practice services in fabrication and modular engineering. It is truly a ‘one-stop-shop’ solution.”

The strategically-located facility is close to key transport links to service to the South East region and a team of 40 branch staff are on hand to offer technical advice and support.

Climate Center is the UK's largest distributor of refrigeration and air conditioning products, supplying an extensive range of equipment, components, spares accessories and tools to professional contractors via a nationwide network of branches. Whilst Pipe Center is one of the UK’s leading suppliers of heating, pipe and related products to the commercial and industrial building services industry. 

For more information, visit www.pipecenter.co.uk and www.climatecenter.co.uk

 

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UK:  Leading consultants and engineers were given an insight into the latest developments in air conditioning technology at a recent event hosted by Toshiba at its Plymouth facility.

It included a tour of the company’s European development support centre, which is equipped with R&D and test facilities for new air conditioning technology and controls.

The event, organised by Wayne Dolley, Toshiba’s South West Regional Sales Manager, was attended by representatives from three leading consultants, AECOM, Hoare Lea and BME, all based in Plymouth, and from building services specialist Totus Engineering.

The programme covered how to speed up project design using Toshiba’s new web-based equipment selection and technical support tools. These include a SEER / SCOP calculation package, a refrigerant charge app, and fault code identification software.

Consultants in Toshiba Air Conditioning's Research and Development test centreThose attending received credits for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for undertaking Toshiba’s CIBSE-approved modules on BREEAM and  EN378 Compliance, and VRF Design and Selection.

Ivor Oatway, Senior Engineer at Building Mechanical Electrical Ltd (BME), said: “Toshiba is doing some pioneering work on the technology front, particularly with its refrigerant management and containment system. They have also identified market requirements - such as over-door heaters for VRF systems - that few manufactures are able to offer. 

“I can see how holding Europe-wide spares in Plymouth is not only great for local contractors, able to collect spares the same day, but nationally with next day delivery also.” 

He added: “Overall, it was excellent day, and provided an opportunity not only to see behind the scenes at a leading manufacturer, but update our own skills and knowledge.  It is always good to keep abreast of current thinking and developments in the pipeline.”

 

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AUSTRALIA:  A Brisbane woman has accused Mitsubishi Electric of misleading customers after her warranty claim was rejected when engineers found that a gecko had short-circuited the power board in the air conditioners outdoor unit.

According to reports by ABC television homeowner Felicity Sawford, was told by the technicians that geckos are classified as vermin and therefore they're not covered by the extended warranty.

Felicity Sawford said "Even when both myself and my husband queried the fact that the wording in the warranty specifically references vermin, they said look, Mitsubishi just doesn't cover it."

Ms Sawford said geckos could not be classified as vermin and described Mitsubishi's warranty as ambiguous and impractical.

"In Queensland you'd be flat out finding a house that didn't have geckos in it," she said.

"It must be a particularly prevalent problem and it should be pointed out to people that small animals, obviously something that's significantly smaller than a mouse can get into these units."

Ms Sawford said Mitsubishi should be making air conditioning units to suit Queensland's conditions if they would not honour warranty claims involving geckos.

"You really would think that a system designed for the outside of the house should be more robust," she said.

"What's the point of having a five-year warranty on an external unit if something as small as a gecko can be the end of it?"

Facing a repair bill of more than $500 Ms Sawford argues if the design of the unit does not protect the system from damage, then the warranty should.

In a statement Mitsubishi Electric said it treats cases like this very seriously and has taken, and will continue to take, considerable lengths to prevent vermin ingress as best as possible. 

Adding, "We handle instances of gecko or vermin ingress on a case-by-case basis, as there are often other contributing factors involved." 

 

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UK:   How to feed the world’s growing population without creating unintended environmental damage will be the focus of an international expert panel event, “Sustainably Meeting the Global Food Crisis”, taking place at the House of Lords this afternoon, 14 July.

It is estimated that by 2030, we will need to produce up to 50% more food in order to feed the growing population.  However, in emerging and developing countries, up to 40% of food is currently lost between harvest and market. If these countries had the same level of cold chain as the developed world, 200 million tonnes of perishable food that is currently lost could be preserved.

Delivering a new and reliable cold chain, featuring cold warehousing and distribution, in emerging and developing countries could have an immediate impact on the availability, quality and price of food.  But cold chains currently rely heavily upon out-dated, fossil fuelled and disproportionately polluting technologies for their power. 

For example, transport refrigeration units that keep refrigerated trucks cold are almost universally diesel powered and can emit up to 29 times as much particulate matter than a modern diesel truck engine.  To meet growing global demand it’s anticipated the number of refrigerated trucks on the road could feasibly more than quadruple to 15 million in 2025. 

This afternoon's debate will consider the role that an enhanced cold chain can play in preventing hunger, but how negative environmental impacts can also be avoided.

Toby Peters, Senior Group Managing Director, Dearman

Global rise in urban population as well as demographic changes in developing countries will lead to increased demand for refrigerated transport on our roads and could have devastating effects on the environment Professor Toby Peters, Visiting Professor in Power and Cold Economy, University of Birmingham, said: “It is estimated that, in order to feed growing populations, we need to produce 50% more food by 2030. Much of the focus is on farming yields, but in many markets cold chains are either non-existent or rudimentary, and a vast quantity of food is lost before it reaches the market. This is not an efficient use of our natural resources. Annually, 250km3 of water is used to produce food that never makes it to market, that’s three times the capacity of Lake Geneva, and is a disgrace.

“But equally, where comprehensive cold chains do exist, the cooling is almost exclusively provided by polluting diesel engines. Air pollution already causes an estimated 600,000 premature deaths in India every year. Meeting increased demand for an integrated cold chain with polluting diesel technology would have a ruinous effect on air quality and health. Affordable, sustainable cold technologies are therefore urgently needed to meet the global need for more food. We must not replace a social crisis with an environmental disaster.”

 

Pawanexh Kohli, Chief Advisor & CEO, National Centre for Cold-chain Development in India, added: "Globally, civilisation has reached a tipping point where our capacity to feed our growing numbers is of serious and increasing concern. Science has enabled us to increase food production, but much of what we produce perishes before it can reach the people we need to feed. It has therefore become imperative that mankind fully grasps and controls clean cold energy, so that our species can continue to thrive and prosper.” 

Chaired by Baroness Northover, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for International Development and Former Minister for International Development, “Sustainably Meeting the Global Food Crisis” will explore and debate how to provide the essential cooling that the world needs to address economic development, high percentages of food loss, nutritional deficits and ill health, without causing potentially more damaging, environmental problems.

Sustainably Meeting the Global Food Crisis: Why we need to ‘green’ cold chains
Tuesday 14th July, 3.15pm to 4.45pm

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Pawanexh Kohli, Chief Adviser, National Centre for Cold-chain Development (Ministry of Agriculture, India)
  • Professor Toby Peters, University of Birmingham and Chief Executive of Dearman
  • David Sanders, Director of Innovation, The Carbon Trust

About Dearman

Dearman is a global technology company delivering clean ‘cold and power’.

Dearman’s cutting-edge technology uniquely harnesses liquid air to deliver zero-emission power and cooling. It is developing a portfolio of proprietary technologies, products and services, which deliver significant reductions in operating cost, fuel usage and emissions, at low capital cost.

The first application of Dearman technology, to provide sustainable and efficient zero-emission transport refrigeration, is currently undergoing trials at UK engineering and test centre, MIRA.

The company is building an international reputation for innovation, rigour, commercial acumen and engineering excellence, all to fulfil its primary objective – to make the world a cleaner, cooler place.

 

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UK:  High efficiency Turbomiser chillers installed at North Somerset Council’s headquarters in Clevedon are saving the organisation more than £1000.00 a week in energy costs.

North Somerset Council’s headquarters in ClevedonCool-Therm  installed two Turbomiser TMA 400kW chillers at the council’s building at Castlewood earlier this year, working closely with Steve Hodges, Principal Mechanical, Electrical and Energy Engineer, North Somerset Council, to ensure the existing chillers were removed safely and the new Turbomiser craned accurately into position.

The high efficiency, oil-less chillers, which run on virtually frictionless magnetic levitation bearings, replaced three aging Hitachi machines which were approaching the end of their operational life.

The existing chillers, rated at 569kW each, were considered to be oversized for the application following major changes to the building’s occupancy and usage, resulting in high maintenance costs, poor control and reliability.

Cool-Therm carried out a turn-key project for the client involving the safe removal of the existing chillers, replacing them with new Turbomiser machines. The changeover was successfully completed while maintaining continuity of cooling to the building, so that it could continue to function as normal.

The project having taken taken two months to complete, involved the staged removal of existing units and installation of new chillers with major work completed out of office hours to minimise disruption on site.

One of the Turbomiser chillers installed at the Council’s headquarters in Clevedon

Due to the proximity of the site and the risk of metal corrosion from onshore wind and salt-laden air, the heat exchange coils on the chillers were treated with a heavy duty Heresite protective coating designed for use in harsh environments.

The chillers, which have an ESEER rating of more than 4.9:1, are equipped with a MODBUS gateway, enabling their performance to be monitored via the internet and any alarms to be interrogated and diagnosed remotely. Following the installation, the council reports that the chillers are saving in excess of £1,000.00 in energy running costs a week.

Steve Hodges said: “The Turbomisers offer a proven high efficiency solution, and the results to date confirm the anticipated savings. We are very pleased with the high quality approach and professionalism of Cool-Therm in delivering the turn-key package, and look forward to the savings that will continue to accrue over the life-time of the plant.”

Watch Cool-Therm's Turbomiser Product Video:

To find out more about Cool-Therm's Turbomiser Chillers visit http://www.cooltherm-chillers.co.uk/turbomiser-chiller

 

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UK:  Greenfield Energy trading as Geoscart™, the company behind the pioneering technology that Sainsbury’s uses to recycle heat from its’ refrigeration systems has gone into administration.

In a statement posted on the company’s website joint administrators Richard Lewis and David Dunckley of Grant Thornton were appointed as Joint Administrators of the Company on 1 July 2015, and goes on to say “The administrators objective is to maximise returns to creditors and they intend to continue to trade the business for a short period of time whilst they explore opportunities to sell the business as a going concern.”

The announcement comes just 12-months after the company announced that Geoscart, formerly Greenfield Energy, had secured £15m from Macquarie Lending to roll out its technology, which integrates geothermal energy generation, heat pumps, and solar thermal panels, at 15 Sainsbury’s store’s, with further financing anticipated over the coming years. 

Related articles:

Geoscart secures £15m funding for Sainsbury's Geothermal rollout

 

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UK:  Turn the clock back ten years and some of you will remember that MacWhirter’s acquired Tommey’s of Brighton, a highly regarded refrigeration company operating in the South East of England with high profile clients.

Now ten years on we’re sad to hear that the 133-year-old, family-run business MacWhirter, has gone into administration.

In a statement, administrators Deloitte announced 52 redundancies and the retention of three staff in order to assist in the wind down of the business and to protect the value of work-in-progress of several contracts.

Richard Hawes, joint administrator and partner in Deloitte’s Restructuring Services practice, said: “The Company has recently experienced losses from several contracts due to poor margins being achieved.  As a result of which, the Company was unable to continue to trade and the Directors took the decision to place the Company into Administration on 3 July 2015.”

The failure of the business follows the sad death of the company’s CEO Tony MacWhirter earlier this year, the grandson of William McWhirter who founded the company in 1882.

In 1883 William McWhirter patented his invention of a combined voltmeter and ammeter for measuring and indicating both ac and dc electrical currents in a circuit, which he registered as a ‘new or improved electric meter’ in July 1883. After various improvements and refinements to the original design, he eventually handed its manufacture over to the General Electric Company, and it became the basis for virtually every electricity meter commonly in use today.

Find out more about the history behind the MacWhirter family business

 

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CANADA:  One person died and two others were sent to hospital following an ammonia leak at Rich Products plant in Fort Erie, Ontario yesterday.

Medical crews, fire response, Haz-Mat and other emergency services responded to the leak that occurred around midday after some people reported feeling the affects of the spill. The response prompted an evacuation of both the facility and surrounding homes.

Following a sweep of the plant by the emergency services, they reported that two people had been injured and tragically one person had died as a result of the spill.

The person, who died, was a contractor who was working near the refrigeration plants pressurized ammonia tank at the time when it ruptured and having been overcome by the fumes died at the scene.

“We’ve suffered a terrible tragedy here today,” said Dwight Gram, Rich’s vice president of corporate communications. “Worker safety is our No. 1 priority, and we’re heartbroken that this tragedy occurred.”

Rich Products Corporation is an international company headquartered in Buffalo that produces frozen food products.

Related Artcles: 

 

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UK:  As we all know, some of the larger Supermarket chains haven’t had the best of times of late. Losing customers to low-budget competition, profits dwindling and just as they thought things couldn't get any worse, last weeks ‘mini’ heat wave hits the UK, resulting in major refrigeration failures and disgruntled customers taking to twitter to air their frustrations over empty fridges and freezers. Not good really.

So you have to beg the question. Why did last week’s heat wave, which everyone new was coming, cause so much disruption, costing ten's if not hundred's of thousands of pounds in lost revenues, not forgetting the inevitable stock losses to boot? 

Sainsbury's refrigeration issuesTesco's refrigerant issues

I cast my mind back to the summer of 2003, the hottest on record. In April we'd just taken on the refrigeration maintenance contract of some 130 stores in-and-around London and the South-East for one of Britain’s largest Supermarket chains and guess what, their were major refrigeration failures. And although back then Twitter didn’t exist I can tell you the proverbial really hit the fan, which I’ve no doubt is happening again right now.

The issues back then were due to poor and in some cases non-existent or badly timed refrigeration maintenance.  And although I’m not in a position to have first hand knowledge of last week’s issues, I’m experienced enough to know that the vast majority of the problems would have been down to the same.

Now I’m not pointing the finger at the maintenance providers as they can only resource the contracts with what they have to work with i.e. only so much money and engineers to go round. Nor am I knocking the engineers, who under extreme pressure have no doubt been working endlessly around the clock to fix the problems. But what I would suggest to the Supermarket’s is that if you add up what last week cost you, at only a fraction of that cost maybe a lot of the issues could have been avoided. By paying your suppliers a bit more to allow them to invest in the skills and manpower needed to adequately provide you the level of service you should come to both expect and demand.

A selection of pictures posted on twitter by disgruntled customers.

 

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