Another building services engineering challenge, another professional and practical solution. General contracting for the air conditioning of a large-scale automotive production line, from design to full implementation.
Our client wanted to air-condition a multi-line production line in an area of around 1000 sqm to improve the working environment for their employees. The client had several objectives for the change: firstly, to comply with current regulations, thereby reducing the number of breaks to be taken; secondly, to keep costs down and minimise the outflow of skilled labour due to a less than ideal working environment.
The air-conditioning task was made more difficult by the fact that the building, which was almost 20 years old, could no longer be loaded with an overcrowded roof. The work could be carried out on weekends or with live queues. There were also challenges on the energy side, because cooling and heating were needed, but there was no hot water or steam energy source nearby, nor a connection to the gas mains.
Our client wanted to outsource the work – including design, construction and all the disciplines involved – because, in addition to production, they had neither the time nor the specialists to coordinate it in-house. An important aspect was to keep the responsibility in one hand, from design to construction, final commissioning and measurements.
It was an obvious project for DAAL GROUP, because one of our specialities is to carry out a project as a general contractor in one hand. Our offer included the complete design (thermal calculation – V=30.000 m3/h. Cooling capacity: 290kW, heating capacity: 169kW – machine selection, air network, structural design, power and building supervision with integration into existing building supervision) and construction.
As a building services solution, the site’s options, in line with the client’s requirements, were as follows: as the hall was in a highly depressed state (more exhaust air from the technology than blown air), the air handling system had to ensure 100% fresh air operation, but also a re-blending mode was required to save energy. As the cooling was solved with several Daikin DX (direct evaporative heat pump chillers, like the outdoor unit of the home air conditioner, only bigger and industrial) – to allow heating in addition to cooling with this unit due to the lack of hot energy – a recirculation mode was also needed to ensure ideal and continuous operation in winter. After careful positioning, the steel support structure for the statically dimensioned air handling and refrigeration units was placed in a less congested area, so that the legs would load the supporting columns of the edge of the building rather than the beams.
During our work, the air handling unit had to be brought up to the roof in pieces because it was not possible to fix it due to the distance. To reduce the weight, the air handling system’s backbone was constructed from pre-insulated panels and the penetrating tentacles between the machine lines (zone cooling) were solved with EXANDAIR textile air ducting. Our system was controlled by the existing building control system, which allowed us to set the operating conditions as required.
In commissioning our company and our system, our client was particularly pleased that we handle mechanical and automation design in-house, and that we have our own engineering and design resources and software (AutoCAD, REVIT 3D). In our offer, we undertook not only to design the statics of the steel structure, but also to provide a static expert opinion on whether or not the equipment can be installed with its own supports – taking this responsibility and extra administration off the client’s shoulders.
Our ventilation system solution was a particular delight for the client for several reasons:
- on the one hand, the pre-insulated duct has a tenth of the mass of a conventional duct,
- there is no need to insulate afterwards, so we did not disturb production during installation with the time spent insulating and the extra rubbish that falls off,
- EXANDAIR textile ducted air conditioners can provide a draught-free and unobstructed environment with much faster installation and at a tenth of the weight of a conventional metal system.
Our competitive technical solution, our professional background, our references and our flexible approach to installation in line with live production won our client’s approval and he ordered the work from us with complete project management and job safety coordination included in the price.