ThermOzone moves to chiller market with bespoke offering
ThermOzone has marked its 20th-anniversary year with the opening of a new factory as the base for its Nu-Chill operation. Nu-Chill builds on the company’s established Re-Chill refurbishment and upgrading service for chillers and delivers bespoke plant for customers wanting to replace existing plant with a new chiller. This factory, ThermOzone’s third, is in Nottinghamshire and called Celsius House.
Nu-Chill provides a chiller that is tailored to the footprint constraints of the required installation and can be partially or totally assembled in situ.
Trevor Dann, technical and sales director, explains, ‘Nu-Chill offers a superior-quality standard for a chiller suited to restricted site access, sometimes requiring partial assembly in situ. The design uses high-quality components throughout. It’s ideal for when you want new, but the regular off-the-shelf just doesn’t fit.’
The Re-Chill operation was launched in 2006 following the company’s success in carrying out major work on chillers such as replacing coils, controls and compressors.
Managing director Tom Brumwell, who with Trevor Dann set up ThermOzone in 1994, explains that the service has found ready acceptance for refurbishing and upgrading chillers that are difficult to remove and replace with a new unit. In such a situation, Re-Chill can be 40 to 50% cheaper than a new chiller. Where access is straightforward, Re-Chill may not compete but does offer tailored solutions
Changing from R22 as the refrigerant is a major market for Re-Chill. One project involved four chillers with a total cooling capacity of 4MW; it is ThermOzone’s largest project to date.
Tom Brumwell says, ‘Our aim is to take any plant and bring it up to modern standards — and beyond. Many existing frameworks are good solid constructions that are bolted, not riveted. Pretty well all major components can be replaced, with the exception of the evaporator, which would require a crane.’
The most common replacement refrigerant used by ThermOzone is R407C, which is cheaper than other refrigerants and has similar characteristics to R22.
Updating an R22 chiller to R134a with a inverter-driven screw compressor is another active development. With inverter control the lost capacity is re-achieved by running the compressor at a higher speed.
Where more capacity is needed, that can be achieved by replacing a reciprocating compressor with a screw compressor.
And the final touch to Re-Chill is an extended warranty if ThermOzone is awarded the service contract.
Having been set up as a service and maintenance operation for air-conditioning and refrigeration systems, the company fairly quickly found itself involved in the heavier engineering of remanufacturing compressors.
Tom Brumwell explains that adding that expertise to the company’s capabilities in replacing components such as coils controls and compressors on chillers led naturally to the Re-Chill concept. ‘The biggest milestone was understanding that we could do much more than we thought we were capable of,’ he says.
How much more the company is capable of is surely just a question of time.