6 Ways to Optimize Your Refrigeration Efficiency and Lower Energy Costs

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Machine room

Did you know that up to 60 percent of a manufacturing facility’s total operating expenses comes from industrial refrigeration? It’s no surprise that refrigeration efficiency is a priority.

However, engineers often look to optimize individual components rather than taking a holistic approach, leading to wasted energy and operational inefficiencies. To avoid this fragmented approach, here are six steps to optimize the entire system and achieve the greatest energy efficiency:

 

Distributed Refrigeration: The Benefits of Ammonia Refrigeration Without the Risk

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Distributed Refrigeration: The Benefits of Ammonia Refrigeration Without the Risk

The majority of industrial refrigeration systems in the U.S. are central-station ammonia systems—the backbone of the food and beverage industry. For over 100 years, these ammonia systems have dominated the industry because they not only have superior thermos-physical properties, but also because they’re environmentally friendly. Ammonia has a global warming potential (GWP) and ozone depletion potential (ODP) of zero.

 

How Production Loads in Your Food Processing Plant Affect Refrigeration Efficiency and Stability

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How production loads in your food processing plant affect refrigeration efficiency and stability

When cooling loads change gradually, your refrigeration equipment and controls undergo gradual changes and your system remains stable and efficient. However, if rapid load fluctuations occur as a result of production or sanitation activities, many systems experience pressure or temperature fluctuations, which can cause sanitation and quality issues as well as increased energy usage. There are several strategies food manufacturers can employ to deal with these challenges.

 

Six Factors That Can Improve Condenser Performance

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As the second highest energy consuming component of your refrigeration system, condensers are also one of the most critical elements. Knowing how to optimize your condenser can increase operational performance while reducing energy usage and maintenance costs.

 

A Conversation With Powerit Solutions® About Energy Management Technology

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Bahamas Food ServicesI recently sat down with Jack Perkins, Director of Channel Development for Powerit Solutions®, to discuss ways the food and beverage industry can benefit from energy management technology. Stellar often partners with energy experts such as Powerit Solutions to provide clients with a full range of tools to increase energy efficiency.

 

What Can Refrigeration Remote Monitoring Do for You?

Refrigeration Control Series

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Rockwell Automation’s PowerMonitor 5000 takes energy monitoring to the next level and provides the capability to monitor four voltage and four current channels for every electrical cycle. Used with Permission of Rockwell Automation, Inc.

The ability to remotely monitor your refrigeration system can have a significant impact on your bottom line, reducing energy, maintenance and overall operating costs. If you’ve recently upgraded your refrigeration controls system or are in the process of upgrading, it’s important to ensure your new system offers remote access. This will allow for speedy diagnostics, offsite troubleshooting capabilities, and constant monitoring, all with a “big picture” view of the entire system.

There are three key benefits of remote monitoring:

1. Diagnostics

Remote access allows your team or an outsourced consultant to monitor the system 24/7 for alerts such as refrigerant leak detection, high liquid levels, high product temperatures, high system pressure, and more. Outsourced consultants who offer a higher level of specialized expertise than your in-house team can view your entire system in real time and offer advanced insight and support.

 

Is it Time to Upgrade or Replace Your Refrigeration Controls?

Refrigeration Control Series

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As a Rockwell Automation Recognized System Integrator, Stellar utilizes Rockwell’s ControlLogix® systems PLC programmable logic controller, which provides integration between the programming software, controller, and I/O modules. Used with Permission of Rockwell Automation, Inc.

While new refrigeration control systems are significant capital investments, their value far exceeds their cost. In large food processing or cold storage facilities, refrigeration typically accounts for more than half of the facility’s total electric energy use. And with unplanned downtime costing many facilities tens of thousands of dollars per day, an aging refrigeration control system can put your business at significant risk.

If you answer yes to any of the following questions, it may be time to upgrade or replace your existing system:

  • Is your current control system more than 10-15 years old?
  • Have you experienced unplanned facility downtime due to refrigeration failures?
  • Are the individual components of your refrigeration controls system operating as islands, meaning they work independently and don’t “talk” to each other?
  • Are you still operating on a serial network that’s linear, making it difficult to expand your capabilities?
  • Do you have unstable suction and head pressures? Are you unable to trim fans and pumps via VFD control?