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.”