Real innovation results from an effective combination of performance and sustainability. This has been the guiding principle of the Frigel Group since the 1960s, when Frigel Firenze was established just outside Florence, Italy, as the first vendor of fluid cooler heat-exchangers using only ambient air.
Since the beginning of the new millennium, the company has grown into an international group, diversifying also into different markets, beyond its original plastics business. A key growth market has been Food & Beverage, as Leonardo Losappio, purchasing manager of the Florence-based company, explains. The mission was to develop the production and sale of big plants aimed at high-end customers, who would make repeat orders and replicate installations in many regions around the world, supporting the most popular beverage brands.
Focus on environment and energy saving
Filippo Malvolti, R&D manager at Frigel, explains that cooling systems for the beverage industry are centralized plants engineered to the specific load requirements of each application. The key components are 3FR modular air-cooled chillers with screw compressors, which allow adjustment of the cooling capacity to cover all heat variation and flow rate requirements. Frigel’s plants basically replace traditional ammonia chillers with modular chillers that minimize safety risks by using very small quantities of eco-friendly refrigerant (R134a; R513a) for each module, instead of a fluid like ammonia.
Solid partnership with ABB
Frigel’s mission builds on resource, water and energy savings and the company’s expansion into the Food & Beverage sector has been boosted by the increasing use of variable speed drives (VSDs; frequency converters) to control pumps and compressors. Using frequency converters ensures perfectly accurate control of the speed of motors that drive screw compressors and pumping units in the cooling process.
In this area, Frigel has chosen to rely on ABB technology through Marini Pandolfi, the partner of the Swiss-Nordic corporation in the Tuscany region. To achieve very accurate control of compressors and pumps, and consequently accurate adjustment of the cooling capacity, Frigel has adopted ABB’s ACS580 drive, combined with ACS310 auxiliary units mounted on the pumping groups to circulate the coolant fluid between chiller and users. Each drive is controlled by a PLC programmed with proprietary logic. Frigel’s engineers wanted the drive to offer the best combination of sturdiness, easy programming and service. All these requirements were met using ABB technology supported by Marini Pandolfi.
A recent order received by Frigel is the supply of 39 ModularChiller 3FR cooling modules for a manufacturing site in the Far East, operated by the world’s most popular beverage brand. The different modules are connected hydraulically by pumping units that can be made up of two to four pumps, each controlled by an ABB drive. So, Marini Pandolfi delivers several hundred ABB frequency converters every year for Frigel installations all around the world.