Computer Control Systems
Most modern mechanical systems built today are computer controlled. A high-end refrigeration system with its variable component selection requirements naturally lends itself to the flexibility and infinite configuration available through a sophisticated computer control system. Tremendous temperature control, energy efficiency and reliability can be obtained with modern computer systems. The computer system can wring out every last bit of energy efficiency from a refrigeration system. In comparison to the same refrigeration system without a computer control system, we experience energy savings greater than 20%.
Computer Control Systems Offer Many Advantages
- Energy efficiency
- Reduced maintenance costs and extended equipment life
- Operator convenience
- Equipment redundancies
- Ice quality
- Reduced downtime
- Reduced liability
Through proper programming, the computer can determine which size of fan motor, brine pump and compressor will be the most efficient for the present weather conditions and facility usage. Various programs and pre-programmed schedules can be run for hockey, figure skating and public skating in which the ice temperature will automatically adjust. The lights above the ice can also be controlled to match the current on-ice program.
With this style of computer control system you are able to calculate the deviation from the ice temperature set point and select just enough compressor capacity to recover without bringing on excess compressor capacity, keeping your electrical demand charges to a minimum.
Energy consumption can be further reduced with off-hour programming, which will allow the ice temperatures to rise during nighttime hours, or inversely pre-chilling the ice prior to peak demand hours.
In a typical recreation facility it can sometimes take years to master your ice due to each facility having its own unique operating characteristics. With the aid of computer trend logging, you will be able to compile a tremendous amount of useful operating data that will enable you to anticipate and program the best operating strategy for short-range weather conditions and programming changes.
From a maintenance standpoint, trend logging is invaluable. As an example, if you are presently carrying out manual logbook entries and your discharge pressure is slowly increasing by 1 psi per month, it would be very difficult to detect it, especially with varying weather conditions. However, with computer trend logging it becomes blatantly evident when you graph it over one year. This trend would be an early indication that it is time to service your condenser and you would save yourself thousands of dollars in operating costs. Trend logging and graphing also makes it very easy to trouble shoot randomly occurring problems.
*Infra-Ice™ temperature control can be used to precisely monitor the ice surface temperature in order to catch any heat loads at their source. This style of sensor will provide you with the fastest response to changing surface conditions, which can be very important, especially in professional facilities where 15,000 people walk through the door and TV level lighting is turned on.
With computer control you will have the ability to monitor and control the system remotely from any PC. The system can also be programmed to dial out to a pager, cell phone or any landline in the event of a failure, reducing down time. Accent Refrigeration Systems was a pioneer in many modern ice rink advancements, including computer control strategies that are now used around the world. Our Rink-Pro XP-4000 computer control system has had the longest history and is the most reliable in the industry.
*Infra-Ice™ is a product designed by Accent Refrigeration Systems.
The following is a list of what we find are the most common reasons for field complaints from owners of computer control systems.
- By precisely integrating all of the high-efficiency components in the refrigeration system, the computer maximizes the benefits of these components in a manner that could never be paralleled by old-fashioned mechanical controls.
- Programs can be run to reduce energy consumption during periods of peak electrical costs.
- The temperatures can be set higher or lower to take advantage of periods when electrical costs are lowest or highest.
Reduced Maintenance Costs and Extended Equipment Life
- Through operating efficiency, the accumulated run time will be reduced on all pumps and motors.
- Trend logging enables the operators to detect slowly developing problems such as fouled tubes on condensers or chillers.
- Minor adjustments and problem solving can be done via the modem, reducing the need for outside help
- The operating conditions can be monitored from home or anywhere in the world via a modem and PC.
- Ice temperatures can be pre-programmed to accommodate all user groups.
- Logs will be kept on all operating conditions and run times recorded on all motors to prompt the operators to carry out preventive maintenance.
- The computer has complete control over the entire system. In the unlikely event of a computer failure, a second set of traditional mechanical controls will automatically take over the safe operation of the system.
- The computer provides the highest level of ice control available. Sensors can be installed in the brine supply, brine return, cement slab or in the ice itself. To anticipate rapidly changing loads that are common in professional facilities, an infrared sensor can be mounted to detect any change in the ice surface itself. Temperature control within plus or minus a half-degree are easily achievable though computer control.
- The computer has the added advantage of being able to dial out to any telephone number in the event of an unscheduled shutdown or unusual operating condition.
- Keeping accurate records of all your operating conditions can be advantageous when it comes to proving the status of your ice in court.