inverter 380v. 40hp. LAS VEGAS — Compressors are the hearts of HVACR systems and, as such, are in the middle of many of the changes, challenges, opportunities, and solutions that characterize the HVACR industry — from refrigerant changes to energy efficiency to impressive technological advances. Although the function of compressors hasn’t changed tremendously over the years, the way they go about getting the job done has become increasingly refined and polished.
Brian Bogdan, director of engineering, air conditioning systems, LG Electronics USA Air Conditioning Systems, said the major trend in the compressor industry is increased demand for variable-refrigerant flow (VRF), which he said offers energy efficiency, cost effectiveness, and design flexibility.
“This demand is largely driven by building owners’ desires to reduce operating costs with minimal interruption to operations or modifications to the building structure,” Bogdan said. “For these reasons, we are seeing VRF chosen more and more as a basis of design.”
Bogdan added that in addition to seeing overall market demand for VRF increase, end users of VRF systems are continually requesting advancements to augment their capabilities even further. That ties in with the launch of the next generation of LG’s VRF technology: the Multi V 5 at the 2017 AHR Expo. According to Bogdan, the Multi V 5 boasts an expanded frequency range to operate energy efficiently in more diverse environments through its advanced inverter technology.
Joe Sanchez, engineering manager, Bitzer US Inc., said three major trends are occurring in the HVAC arena: a desire for low-GWP (global warming potential) solutions, a call for higher energy efficiency, and a desire for ease of use. Compressors are a part of all three.
“Low-GWP refrigerants are an industry-wide trend now, driven by worldwide legislation. Highly efficient performance is driven not only by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), but also by building owners looking for a better return on investment,” Sanchez said. “To obtain higher efficiency, variable-frequency drives [VFDs] are now routinely employed, which adds an additional level of complexity for the OEMs and contractors. In addition to this challenge, the industry is entering an age of ‘big data’ and needs to effortlessly connect, collect, and transfer information.”
To meet these demands, Bitzer launched a number of new products under the IQ platform. According to Sanchez, these intelligent compressors include integrated VFDs.
The compressors in the IQ line are designed for ease of use and service. The inverter in the new CSV compact screw compressor is refrigerant-cooled and requires no fans. And, by using Bitzer’s BEST software, a compressor can be setup with just a handful of parameters instead of hundreds, Sanchez said. In addition, the compressors are designed with built-in communication capabilities designed to make them simple for building owners to retrieve data related to the compressor and system.
“Finally, the CSV compact screw compressor, like nearly the entire Bitzer product line, is already approved for low-GWP refrigerants, such as hydrofluoroolefins [HFOs] and HFO blends,” Sanchez added.
CAPACITY MODULATION IS GROWING
At Emerson, Eric Strausbaugh, residential marketing manager, said the company continues to see the growth of capacity modulation technologies for both residential and commercial applications, such as two-stage, continuous-digital, variable-speed, and multiple-manifolded compressors.
“Our industry’s ability to apply the right modulation technologies to certain higher efficiency and comfort application needs will garner much focus,” he said.
In addition to efficiency, Emerson is in the process of evaluating many new refrigerants as part of Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI’s) Low-GWP Alternative Refrigerants Evaluation Program (AREP) program.