In July, Airedale International released two new R32 chiller ranges (Azure) so in the last R&D blog the company discussed F-gas. However, now Jade Swan-McCay would like to delve into the world of Research & Development at Airedale. Specifically, what actually goes on in the background to produce a brand new product. When a new concept or an update of an existing unit is approved, extensive testing is conducted to qualify the performance.
Everyone knows that an initial idea is not always perfect and there are usually real life factors that can be missed - no one can possibly account for everything. Like when one plans a long drive after rush hour to avoid traffic but there’s an accident on the M6. Airedale International’s R&D department works through a number of steps in a process to ensure they iron any issues with the performance of their models.
air temperature probes
Design engineers create the concept and model a prototype which is then built and tested in their on-site test laboratory. This is a long process with many stages of testing to validate every possible realistic condition at which the unit will perform. Taking into consideration the Leeds climate is vastly different to the weather in Dubai, for example. The main testing, as one would expect, is qualifying the actual cooling performance. The air conditioner or chiller is installed in one of the test chambers in the laboratory.
A large number of air temperature probes and pressure transducers are applied to/around the unit which feed live to a data acquisition. This is basically a panel which allows the sensors to communicate with our PCs. Airedale International use a software called LabVIEW to see live graphs of all the temperature, pressure and power measurements for the unit under test - this data is scanned and saved every 5 seconds. Each test data is then analyzed and then repeat.
extensive number of conditions
Also the pipework vibrations are checked to make sure they won’t crack and leak all of the refrigerant
On top of the extensive number of conditions the company tests the cooling performance at, there are many other additional stages of validation which aren’t so obvious. For example, ensuring on a very humid day, the Artus would not collect condensation on the fascia and start dripping on people in an office. Also the pipework vibrations are checked to make sure they won’t crack and leak all of the refrigerant.
One of the methods the company uses is via a Stroboscope - literally a strobe which helps slow the visual movement. See one in action here and more about how they work here. After extensive testing has been completed, it’s finally time to release the product. This isn’t the end of the process though. The company continues to update and modify their products based on feedback from their quality department as well as from their service engineers in the field.
engineering cooling solutions
The company is committed to innovation. A prototype unit will find itself in the test center between 18 to 24 months. This varies because each unit is different and they use the test chambers for other types of testing. For example, component testing and customer witnessed tests - which they will come onto in a future blog post.
Airedale invests a huge amount of resource into research and development; which really allows the company to work together to produce the high quality products that they are known for. Airedale International works hard to ensure each and every product is designed to challenge the previous generation’s technologies. Innovation is all about pushing the boundaries of industry and they believe this is absolutely vital. For the company, this means engineering the cooling solutions for the future, no matter what is thrown in their direction.