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World Refrigeration Day: An Interview with Howden’s Refrigeration Expert

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World Refrigeration Day: An Interview with Howden’s Refrigeration Expert


World Refrigeration Day – An interview with Howden’s Refrigeration Expert
With over 40,000 installations of screw compressors globally, Howden has one of the largest installed bases of refrigeration and process screw compressors in the world, serving a wide range of industries including oil and gas, refrigeration, hydrogen, biogas, and mining.
When buying an industrial refrigeration package for their plant, customers typically have several important questions they would want answered about the technology they opt for.
To celebrate World Refrigeration Day, Howden Refrigeration expert Charlie Dickson, was interviewed on why this technology still stands as the first choice for industrial refrigeration plants globally. With over three decades of experience, Charlie has established himself as a leading authority in the ever-evolving world of refrigeration technology. From supporting customers globally, Charlie’s extensive knowledge and expertise have contributed significantly to directing and advancements in the Howden technology.

  1. Q: What is the importance of screw compressors in an industrial refrigeration package?
A: Screw compressors play a crucial role as prime movers for industrial refrigeration packages and offer several important benefits. Howden manufactured the world’s first operational screw compressor and further developed the technology in the 1960s with the introduction of the oil injected twin screw compressor. This has revolutionised designs of refrigeration and gas handling plants worldwide.

One of their main benefits is their adaptability to different refrigerants and fluctuating operating conditions- screw compressors are compatible with various refrigerants, including traditional hydrofluorocarbons and emerging environmentally friendly options. Screw compressors are available in a wide range of capacities, making them suitable for various industrial refrigeration applications be it standard industrial applications for the food industry or tailor made process refrigeration applications for chemical, pharmaceutical or oil & gas applications. Whether it is a small-scale facility or a large industrial plant, screw compressors can provide the required cooling capacity.
  1. Q: What is the energy efficiency ratings of screw compressors and their effect on the refrigeration  package?

A: Screw compressors are known for their high-energy efficiency. They can achieve high compression ratios with minimal energy consumption, making them cost-effective and environmentally friendly. Their efficient operation helps reduce energy costs and lowers the carbon footprint of the refrigeration system. Howden is globally recognised for long-term reliability reducing lifetime Capex and minimising major invasive over-haul’s which are detrimental to the production operation.
  1. Q: Do screw compressors offer any flexible control options?

A: Howden screw compressors offer flexible control and capacity modulation options. These options allow allowing for stepless capacity modulation. This enables the system to match the cooling demand accurately, resulting in optimal energy usage and targeted temperature control. It also allows for better management of load variations and improves the overall efficiency of the refrigeration package.

The next generation of Howden screw compressors; the W Platform, offers an improved system compatibility by tuning VI, which means increased efficiency and optimised performance. The W Range of compressor’s direct drive operation is also well suited for both 50 and 60Hz countries.
  1. What refrigerant does the package use, and is it environmentally friendly?
Screw compressors are compatible with various refrigerants, including traditional hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and emerging environmentally friendly options, such as hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs), natural refrigerants like ammonia (NH3) or CO2 and Hydrocarbons Propane, Propylene or Butane. This adaptability allows customers to choose refrigerants that align with their environmental, regulatory and site preference.
  1. Q: What are the maintenance requirements for the refrigeration package?

A: Screw compressors are generally designed for easy maintenance and serviceability andextended timespan between major and minor overhauls to that of other compressor technologies. They often have fewer moving parts compared to other compressor types, simplifying maintenance procedures and reducing the potential for failures. Regular maintenance ensures optimal performance and extends the lifespan of the refrigeration package. HCO compressors are able to facilitate in their compressors instrumentation aiding remote monitoring of the compressor via x-y accelerometers, axial proximity probes or bearing temperature monitoring. All providing real time measurement and an ability to detect any fluctuation in recorded parameters from design.
  1. Q: Can the screw compressor be customized to meet specific package and plant requirements?

A: Howden screw compressors can be can be tailored to meet the most demanding of our clients requirements. Be this casing material (Cast Steel, Spheriodal Graphite (Nodular) or Grey Iron) or rotor materials (Standard or Forging), extent of non-destructive testing on main components, traceability of supplied components, zero emission seal arrangements, instrumentation and preferred client witnessed factory testing.
  1. Q: What is the expected lifespan of the refrigeration compressor mounted on the package?

A: Screw compressors are designed for continuous operation in demanding industrial environments. They are known for their durability and can handle high load conditions and varying cooling demands effectively. This reliability ensures consistent performance and minimizes downtime in industrial operations. All Howden compressors prior to despatch are subject to rotor balancing to ISO 1940 Grade 1.0,Air under water leakage test, Hydrostatic testing and performance test(With the facility of client remote monitoring of the test being carried out).All these tests provide assurance to the purchaser of the proven integrity and performance at time of despatch from Howden’s factory.
  1. Q: Are there any safety features integrated into the screw compressor?

A: Howden provide access to our Howden Select, a web based product configurator selection software, to all key packagers. The software has the limits of operation in the background and shall prompt the user suggesting changes of design data or frame size if an error is detected in their compressor selection. In addition, the enclosed Data Book provides guidance in all facets of package design to incorporate the Howden compressor.
  1. Q: Can the screw compressor be integrated with existing plant infrastructure or control systems?

A: Certainly, Howden’s comprehensive range of compressors and flexibility of offering standard or bespoke product makes retrofit within and existing plant-room quite straight forward.
Overall, Howden screw compressors provide high efficiency, reliability, flexibility, and ease of maintenance, making them a vital component of industrial refrigeration packages. Their performance and capabilities contribute to effective cooling, energy savings, and smooth operation in industrial settings.

Are you seeking reliable and efficient refrigeration solutions? Look no further than Howden as your trusted original equipment manufacturer (OEM). Howden screw compressors are at the pinnacle of cutting-edge technology designed to meet your specific needs. With a profound understanding of your industry's challenges and requirements, Howden brings you a range of compressors that offer unparalleled performance, exceptional energy efficiency, and utmost reliability.

Article Date

Thursday, 29 June 2023



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