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Danfoss opens largest flammables test lab

FRANCE: Danfoss has opened what it claims is the world’s largest flammable refrigerant ATEX test lab at its commercial compressor factory in Trevoux, France.

The €16m investment in the 3,000m² facility is seen as an indication of the rapid transition to lower GWP alternatives and the increasing role that flammable refrigerants will play in the future

Commenting on this substantial investment at the official opening yesterday, Danfoss Cooling president Jürgen Fischer said: “It is an investment that will help us in finding solutions that will keep our industry sustainable, reliable and trustworthy.”

Performing yesterday’s official opening ceremony (l to r): Danfoss Cooling president Jürgen Fischer, commercial compressor vice-president of R&D Fabio Klein, and Alexandre Montchamp, director global laboratory engineering

The transition to alternative refrigerants has gained speed since 2017, generating huge R&D and training costs for the entire industry. The new lab is a significant expansion of the former 450m² ATEX lab opened on the same site in 2011. 

“More and more, the HVACR industry is turning to flammable refrigerants as it seeks to reduce global warming potential levels and the environmental impact of our industry. We’re ready to support that move,” said commercial compressors president Noel Ryan.

The new lab will be used to test new generations of scroll and reciprocating compressors with alternative refrigerants. Offering up to 1500kW of cooling capacity, it enables Danfoss to replicate its full range of tests with refrigerants up to class A3 and help the industry make the transition to A2L/A3 flammable alternatives.

The facility has more than 50 test benches and 16 separate test rooms offering the full range of performance, reliability, acoustic and calorimeter tests. It is capable of testing compressors from 0.5 to 60TR (1.76 to 210.97kW) and parallel compressors from 0.5 to 240TR (1.76 to 843.84kW) per circuit.

With up to 1200kg of flammable refrigerant in the facility at any one time, safety is paramount. In addition to audible and visual alarms it offers emergency venting and automatic system shutdown in the event of a leak. 

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