blow moulding

Free Cooling Upgrade Saves £70K Annually

The Client –

Plastics Blow Moulder

The Challenge –

Energy Efficient Upgrade

The Solution –

Complete Cooling System Design

For a client with a legacy cooling system, a full system upgrade gave them the opportunity to benefit from the latest in energy efficient cooling technology.

Our client, an end user, specialises in plastics blow moulding and initially asked Aqua to carry out an energy evaluation on their existing factory set up. Our engineering team then designed an upgraded system with estimated annual costs savings from reducing overall energy consumption. When it comes to energy calculations, we are completely transparent and pride ourselves on living up to our predicted savings.
The suggested upgrade centred around utilising highly efficient free cooling technology, alongside inverter driven pumps. New chiller units were added to two production lines – on the injection moulding side and the blow moulding. Based on our client’s annual production schedule, energy cost savings were forecast at over £70,000. The free cooling also reduces the run hours on the chiller units, increasing their overall life expectancy.

An additional advantage for our client from moving to the new system was the warranty, giving them peace of mind for the years ahead.
The full solution included:

  • Energy efficient design review with energy calculations
  • Free cooling chillers
  • Inverter driven pumps
  • Mechanical installation & final commissioning
  • Warranty
  • Aftersales support

“Our client had become exasperated with their old system, experiencing long lead-times from the manufacturer when they needed to source replacement parts and then discovering some spares had become obsolete. That said, I think the prospect of a full system upgrade initially made them nervous because of the anticipated costs involved. However, our energy review quickly established that upgrading their equipment would bring them so many advantages. As well as a very quick payback – less than 2 years – they will make significant energy and cost savings every year” explains Aqua Sales Manager, Shaun Lancaster.


Aqua Seals The Deal With Retro-Fit Free Cooling

The Client –

London Based Seal Manufacturer

The Challenge –

Increase Energy Efficiency Of Existing System

The Solution –

Free Cooling Upgrade

For a client running air cooled chiller units to feed their injection moulding hall, the simple addition of a bolt-on Free Cooler to their existing cooling system is forecast to save them over £34,000 in energy costs every year.

Our London based client specialises in producing seals and sealing solutions which are used in the fluid power industry worldwide. Their production facility runs 24/7, so it’s essential that any system downtime is kept to an absolute minimum.

The benefit of adding Free Cooling into a system is that overall power, or energy use, is greatly reduced. Because the lower ambient air temperature is used to cool the process return water wherever possible, the need for mechanical cooling is much less. In addition, by reducing the running time of the equipment you automatically extend its lifetime and lower lifetime maintenance costs. You also gain built in redundancy – if your chiller fails the Free Cooling side can still operate.

The technology within the Free Cooling unit senses both the return fluid temperature and the ambient air temperature. When the ambient is lower than the return water temperature, the fluid is passed through a coil that exchanges the heat in the fluid to the ambient air, using just the mechanical effect required to drive the fans to pull the air through. This means the load is either partially or totally (in the winter months in the UK) reduced – giving partial or full Free Cooling.

Our client already had two chillers on site, to which we added a 280kW Free Cooler. Whilst their system operated on plain, we added a heat exchanger between the system and the Free Cooler, so the latter could run on glycol to prevent freezing during extreme temperatures.

Full system included:

  • 280kW free cooler
  • 280kW heat exchanger
  • Single pump & tank

As the site operated 24/7 the client allocated our installation engineers just a 3-hour window one Monday morning to break into the existing system. Using isolation values, our engineers could then continue with the Free Cooler install whilst production restarted.

Installed in the Autumn, whilst being monitored for the first 3 weeks of running the system operated solely on Free Cooling. Due to the energy savings our client is on target to receive complete system payback in just over one year.

Aqua Sales Manager, Shaun Lancaster, explains; “This is a fantastic example of how retro fitting free cooling can really make an impact when it comes to putting money back on the bottom line. By lowering the plant’s running costs we’ve helped our client increase gross profit without even involving their sales team!”

free cooling


Free Cooling Helps Family Engineering Business Expansion Strategy

The Client –

North Of England Plastics Extruder

The Challenge –

New Plant Machinery Requiring Additional Cooling Capacity

The Solution –

Energy Saving Free Cooling

When a family run engineering company needed to add extra cooling capacity to their plastic extrusion process, it seemed the ideal time to incorporate the energy saving benefits of Free Cooling into their new system.

Our client, based in the North of England, specialises in extruding plastic to produce brush filaments. Due to an increase in product demand they embarked on a project to increase the capacity and speed of their production facility. Key to this strategy was the introduction of an additional extruding line which subsequently changed their cooling requirements.

Historically our client had achieved all the cooling they needed for their production by natural cooling. Put simply, water from a pond outside of their factory was sprayed up into the air. This fountain effect removed the heat from the water which provide sufficient cooling for their existing set up.

However, their upgraded process needed much more accurate temperature control. Whilst giving increased speed and accuracy, the new extrusion machine required a guaranteed 15°C water supply. The existing natural cooling wouldn’t achieve this level of cooling, meaning mechanical cooling needed to come into play.

The Aqua solution included:

  • 136kW air cooled water chiller
  • 136kW free cooler
  • Supply only basis with full technical support
  • Commissioning

As an engineering specialist, our client had all the skills needed to install the equipment in-house, so Aqua offered a supply only basis.

Sales Manager, Shaun Lancaster, explains; “We supplied the equipment and a technical drawing, and the client did the rest themselves. Our engineers visited site for final commissioning and my client knew we were on hand during the install process to help if needed. For me this is a great example of how versatile Aqua Cooling are as a supply partner. We offer full installations with mechanical and electric works but are equally happy to work on a supply only basis.”



Free Cooling Boosts Energy Savings For Flooring Manufacturer

The Client –

North East England Based Flooring Manufacturer

The Challenge –

Failing Chiller System, Process Water Contamination

The Solution –

Energy Efficient Free Cooling System

For one of our established manufacturing clients, Free Cooling has enabled them to dramatically reduce their operating costs whilst working towards their corporate goal of reducing their environmental footprint.

The client, a leading commercial flooring manufacturer, have invested heavily in both product development and production facilities and they supply their commercial floor coverings to a variety of customers, including hospitals and educational facilities.

Some years ago, Aqua installed a 660kW glycol Free Cooling system to look after the cooling on a second production line which had been installed at their factory. Because their existing production had historically had some issues with contaminated process water, our design team included stainless steel gasketed plate heat exchangers on the second line to overcome this problem. The heat exchangers meant the process and chilled water sources could be kept separate, plus the exchangers were fully cleanable. This had the added advantage of also protecting the integrity of the cooling equipment and reduces maintenance costs longer term.

In 2017 when the original system began to fail, our client was keen to replace their legacy equipment with a second Free Cooling set up.

Aqua supplied an additional 660kW chiller and a 300kW Free Cooler. With both production lines having the same cooling equipment, both new and existing benefited from increased efficiency straight away as power utilisation was less. Their manufacturing now also benefited from built in redundancy – if one circuit should ever fail production would be unaffected. Also, because of the Free Cooler, in low ambient conditions an entire chiller could be stood down with no adverse effect – apart from 75% reduced energy consumption and associated cost savings! Spares were now also common to both lines.
Free Cooling is a relatively simple, but extremely effective concept. Basically, power usage is reduced because lower ambient temperatures are used to cool the return water – rather than the chiller unit. As well as reducing running costs, free cooling helps lengthen the lifetime of equipment as it’s not being utilised as much.

The solution included:

  • Energy efficient chiller & free cooler
  • Bespoke design service
  • EC fans
  • Pumps
  • Plate exchanger
  • Full mechanical & electrical installation

Once the system was installed, the energy savings were quickly evident. The addition of the second chiller to the refrigeration system, gave gains on condenser and evaporator efficiency – on both the new and existing production lines. Aqua Director, Simon Davis, commented: “This is a great example of the benefits of Free Cooling. Our client will save over £12,000 each and every year, meaning the total system will pay for itself in a little over 6 years. Although this is based on the current throughput of the new line, with increased capacity this will drop to under 3 years.”

free cooling


Anglian Windows Carbon Home Improvements

The Client –

Windows And Doors Company

The Challenge –

Improve Energy Efficiency And Costs At Production Sites

The Solution –

Resize Chillers And Add Free Cooling

Anglian may already be well known for producing energy efficient windows and doors, but over the last year they have been taking a detailed look at the energy efficiency and related costs at their own production sites. Anglian employed specialist energy consultants Energy 2000 to establish an energy management programme for the company.

Detailed scoping studies were undertaken at six main sites to establish the current energy usage habits, with every significant item of manufacturing equipment being monitored and logged. Reports were then produced identifying all potential energy saving measures, from no cost/low cost recommendations through to high capital expenditure projects.

It was identified that the water chilling plant for the plastic extrusion process was consuming a large proportion of the Norwich site’s total usage and further investigations confirmed the inefficiency of the current plant. A recommendation was put forward to replace the chilling plant with the introduction of a “free cooling” process to meet current demand. In addition, new chillers were sized to give an extra 50% capacity as provision for future expansion.

Aqua Cooling Solutions were recommended by Energy 2000 and were chosen to provide the equipment and to install and commission the 1.6 MW system. The integral free cooling facility uses the ambient air to cool the process water as soon as the ambient air temperature falls below water temperature returning from the extrusion machines.

The system has been closely monitored since start-up in August and it is calculated that Anglian will save over 850 tonnes of carbon per annum, equating to a financial saving of approximately £175,000 per year. The entire cost of the new cooling system will be recovered by energy savings made within just the first two years of operation.

Chris Dixon is Engineering Director at Anglian Windows. “With energy costs beginning to spiral upwards, and with our commitment to reducing our Carbon Footprint, we needed to implement a comprehensive Energy Management Programme. We accepted that this required specialist skills and, therefore, made the decision to outsource. Energy 2000 were selected as our partner because of their positive approach, cost effectiveness and their commitment to work with, and not just for, Anglian. We have enjoyed a very successful first year with Energy 2000. Savings have been identified and prioritised and, with their pro-active approach and Aqua’s equipment, we will continue to drive down our energy costs and reduce our carbon emissions.”

Aqua’s Director, Kevin Lancaster, comments: “We were delighted to be recommended by Energy 2000 for the Anglian Windows project. Aqua are committed to coming up with innovative, energy efficient solutions for clients and the Anglian system is an excellent example of how the free cooling concept can have a considerable impact, both from an environmental and financial point of view, in a relatively short space of time.”



Cooling Technology Brings Benefits To Plastics Recycling In The North East

Aqua’s cooling engineers went above and beyond their brief to help a new corporate client save thousands of pounds a year at its recycling plant in the north east of England.

Aqua supplied and installed one of its hi-tech chiller systems for a prestigious new client at its Redcar waste management facility near Middlesbrough.

The system, which incorporates reserve free cooling capacity, not only features this capability as a failsafe but also has the potential to save the group, one of the UK’s leading integrated waste management companies, up to £40,000 a year in running and maintenance costs at its mixed plastics recycling plant in Wilton, Teesside.

The company turned to Aqua after a series of chiller breakdowns caused by plastic debris in the cooling system condenser disrupted operations once too often. Aqua’s original brief was to supply a new system with similar specifications as a replacement but, when Aqua engineers arrived on site to assess the project, they realised their client could save thousands of pounds a year if they substituted a free cooling chiller system.

Joe Konarski, Aqua sales and project manager, takes up the story. “It was incredibly interesting to go behind the scenes at a waste management recycling plant,” he said.

“The original chiller had broken down and would have cost a lot of money to repair — initially, we were asked simply to relocate and replace the old system like-for-like but, when we looked more closely at the existing set-up, we thought: actually, we can go further here and not only make the operation run more smoothly and efficiently but also significantly reduce running costs for this client.”

“Our new system has now been working well for a year, and the client has just placed an order for a second free cooling chiller, so we hope to continue to work closely with this company in the future,” said Joe.

The recycling facility, which offers an integrated washing and sorting service for recycled mixed plastics, relies on Aqua’s chiller to cool plastic waste, enabling it to be compacted as part of the recycling process.

In normal operation, the system passes heated water through a radiator that is cooled by ambient air — on hotter days when the ambient temperature is too warm to be an effective cooling agent, the free cooling chiller kicks into action to boost the system.

Aqua’s free cooling chiller system is highly efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly; it is expected to save the waste management group up to £40,000 a year. By incorporating free cooling technology into the system, Aqua offers a failsafe capability to ensure its system can remain in operation even if the chiller develops a fault, allowing isolated maintenance to be carried out without requiring a complete system shut-down.

energy saving

Energy Saving Tech Takes To The Floor

Specialist engineers at Hampshire-based Aqua Group have transformed the floor panel manufacturing process for a leading flooring company after routine maintenance sparked the bespoke design of an innovative, energy-saving cooling solution.

Leading manufacturer of commercial floor coverings Polyflor, part of the James Halstead group, has installed Aqua’s new air-blast pre-cooler in its Stockton-on-Tees plant.

According to Aqua’s engineer Joe Konarski, Aqua’s new ground-breaking chiller system is likely to save Polyflor a minimum of £11,000 a year in reduced operating costs and energy savings and will bring added environmental benefits, not least by making the most of the free cooling capacities inherent in the new system.

Joe Konarski said:“Polyflor’s previous cooling process was under-performing because of damage caused by contaminated water particles in the old system’s evaporator so, when considering this problem, we realised we could devise an entirely new tailor-made cooling system for Polyflor that would be altogether more efficient and reliable.”

“Rather than simply being satisfied with a quick-fix or a temporary solution, we wanted to create a new solution altogether, one that would both benefit the client financially and provide an energy-efficient and environmentally-friendlier alternative.”

“The new system we designed for Polyflor currently cools the manufacturing process for one of the company’s flooring ranges — now we are adapting the new Aqua technology for use across Polyflor’s product range, effectively future-proofing our system for the benefit of this client and, potentially, other manufacturers employing similar process techniques,” added Joe.

Aqua’s design features an automatic ambient air pre-cooling system which massively reduces the refrigerated chiller compressor load in low ambient air temperatures. Over a year this reduces chiller electrical usage by approximately 65 per cent. When ambient temperatures are less than 8°C, the chiller compressors are de-activated, allowing Polyflor to benefit from complete free cooling.

The system design not only saves compressor energy but also reduces the mechanical load on the chillers, reducing on-going maintenance costs and enhancing the life-span of the equipment.

In addition, high-efficiency plate heat exchangers were also installed to allow the chillers and air-blast system to work on an independent ‘clean’ circuit. This is instrumental in avoiding a recurrence of the original operational problems affecting Polyflor’s Stockton-on-Tees cooling process where damage was caused by contaminated water particles in the system’s evaporators.

carbon trust

Aqua Backs Eco Friendly Free Cooling Initiative

For companies thinking of replacing or upgrading an existing process chiller system, Aqua have just the answer – a Carbon Trust loan.

Part of a £10 million Government backed scheme, Energy-Efficiency Loans are designed to save companies money when they replace their equipment with a more energy efficient version. Whilst terms and conditions apply, most companies defined as Small or Medium-sized Enterprises (SME’s) can apply for between £5,000 to £100,000, unsecured for up to four years at 0% interest and with no arrangement fees involved.

To qualify the overall project cost must be less than, or equal to, five times the estimated annual energy savings. The term of the loan is determined by the energy payback of the project. For example a £6,000 loan which is anticipated to make an energy cost saving of £2,000 per year would be repaid over 3 years, with the monthly repayments calculated accordingly. Companies that have already taken advantage of the Energy-Efficiency Loans initiative have often found that a modest investment reduces their power bills by 20%.

Aqua Cooling Solutions offer an extensive project range, with all units available with free cooling. The option is factory fitted and all components are integrally mounted within the chillers. In addition, Aqua provide a ‘bolt on’ free cooler option which can be fitted retrospectively to an existing chilled water system to upgrade it to free cooling.

The free cooling circuit comprises of a finned copper tube, aluminium matrix with a 3 way valve fitted to the water circuit. This is controlled by the main electronic controller which also senses the outside ambient temperature. If the ambient temperature falls below the return water temperature, the valve bypasses the fluid through the free cooling coil to give partial or total free cooling.

In addition to conserving energy and reducing running costs, the free cooling reduces compressor-running time, maintenance costs and extends the longevity of the system.

“The Carbon Trust’s initiative is really a win, win situation for everyone involved” explains Aqua’s Director, Simon Davis. “Not only do smaller businesses get the opportunity to carry out projects that previously may not have been economically viable, but they then get to make regular energy savings whilst safeguarding the future of the environment” explains Aqua’s Director Simon Davis. “Several of our clients see payback for a free cooling system in as little as 12 months. Once these savings exceed the capital amount of the loan they go straight back onto the bottom line.”