Components giant Bitzer says testing is almost complete on the rollout of its digital network, which will see a major expansion of its monitoring and optimisation capability. This, along with real-time monitoring, using data from the manufacturer's 'intelligent' compressors, is expected to see a major leap forward for customers in optimising their systems.
At a press conference at the start of the Chillventa eSpecial virtual exhibition, Chief Technology Officer Rainer Große-Kracht said that the company was close to offering full proactive maintenance and optimisation for its compressors, with final testing in sites around the world close to completion.
He said the rollout of real time monitoring was designed to make life easier for operators: "We are pretty sure we know best how to operate the compressor, so digitisation will make it easier to install them and will enable monitoring over the whole lifetime..."
He added that among industrial refrigeration customers particularly there was acceptance of the benefits of using component data to help optimise systems and significantly to save energy and money. As Bitzer rolls out the digital network, it will enable retail and commercial refrigeration customers to take similar advantage of remote optimisation. The manufacturer said it is looking to target more smaller commercial applications too, with the introduction of a range of Ecolite 2.0 condensing units this autumn.
Mr Große-Kracht emphasised that the aim with its digital and data services was still to translate the optimisation to site - not a full remote control of components. He said: "Full optimisation depends on the system, which is a level of control on top of our IQ components - so our VaCom controls subsidiary is doing a lot of work around this - and every system is different so it is important that the optimisation takes place on site.
The manufacturer reported a 1.5 per cent year on year drop in turnover to September 2020, which it said was 'a very good result' given the impact of Covid-19. The full-year results are expected to be 2 per cent down on its 2019 turnover of €808 million. Bitzer's European and North and South American factories have kept in production throughout the lockdown periods, although at a reduced rate.
Mr Große-Kracht said that as a manufacturer, the differing rates of regulations around the world would continue to prove a challenge - while F-Gas drives Europe away from HFCs, China is still phasing out R22.
He also warned that the next step in reducing F-Gas quota in 2021 would pose a major challenge, bringing a steep drop in refrigerants [down from 63 per cent of baseline in 202 to 45 per cent in 2021]. This he said would bring an inevitable rise in prices for higher-GWP refrigerants.
Chillventa e-Special continues from 13-15 October. To connect with exhibitors, visit the virtual show site here.