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Daikin remote leak detection prevents downtime

ITALY: As well as benefitting the environment, the timely detection of a chiller refrigerant leak has saved costs and potential production downtime for a leading aluminium die-casting foundry.

Based in Bosisio Parini, Lecco, NPF Nuova Presso Fondal is a leading company in aluminium die-casting for various types of items, lighting, electric motors and household appliances.

Since 2020, NPF has been using three Daikin chillers. These are critical to the die-casting process, guaranteeing and maintaining the correct temperature of the mould cooling water. 

NPF covered the chillers with a comprehensive maintenance contract including remote monitoring service, to supervise the operations of the units. Daikin’s remote monitoring solution for chillers, Daikin on Site, offers advanced features such as leak detection, trend analysis, and optimisation for optimal performance of the machines.

The Leak detection feature in Daikin on site was able to detect a refrigeration leak even when the chiller was still running smoothly. With this information, Daikin and its service partner were able to resolve the situation in a short time without affecting the client’s business activities.

The NPF site includes two 300kW air-cooled EWAD300TZ Daikin chillers and a 700kW machine, along with a third party dry-cooler. The thee Daikin chillers cool a 5,000-litre water storage tank, which feeds two different circuits in the foundry. One closed circuit feeds plate exchangers cooling the hydraulic and hybrid presses, while the other circuit cools the moulds by means of two large plate exchangers installed in the plant room in open circuit.

The dry-cooler is used in the winter period by exploiting the ambient temperature up to a maximum of 20°C in combination with chiller 3, which brings the temperature back to the operating value in the foundry between 17°C and 18°C when needed.

Each component of the cooling plant is managed and supervised by a PLC and a control panel, remotely controlled as required by Industry 4.0.

Alarm

After receiving an alarm on the Daikin on Site screen, Daikin engineers immediately checked with an authorised service centre to define the root cause of the refrigerant leak, troubleshooted the problem and refilled the refrigerant on the EWAD770TZ chiller within four days. 

The leak resulted in a loss of 15kg, or 14%, of refrigerant on a total charge of 104kg. Daikin insists that without this leak detection feature, it would have taken months to detect this leak, at much greater cost for the environment and financially for replacing the refrigerant.

“During the first three years of operation, Daikin’s smart leak detection features and automatic alerts have made all the difference to prevent any operational downtimes at our factory,” said NPF’s maintenance manager Alessandro Giambrone. 

Daikin’s leak detection algorithm takes into account data related to the last four months of the unit’s operation. Within one minute of a refrigerant leak being detected, Daikin on Site promptly notifies the pre-specified end-user, installer and service engineer by an alarm on the Daikin on Site screen and email alert.

The refrigerant leak detection facility is currently available for EWAD-TZD, EWAT-B-C chillers and will be implemented in new Daikin chillers.

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