Drives for commercial compressors

Compressor control for building ventilation and air conditioning

Variable speed control of a chiller allows you to provide constant pressure regulation while matching the capacity to the actual need based on measurements in the system. Speed control is beneficial when an air compressor is running for long periods at partial load. Reduce operational costs by running applications at a lower speed which saves energy consumption. And reduce installation costs by optimizing the system and the compressor itself.

Danfoss AC drives ensure fewer starts and stops which reduces mechanical wear. And dedicated features, such as the ‘skip resonance’ function, allow you to easily identify for the drive the frequencies to prevent noise and damage.

Products for compressors include soft starters, high-power drives, AHF harmonic filters with a built-in cascade controller option, DC coils and PID controllers.

One of the largest cost factors in the cooling system lifecycle is energy. In many cooling and refrigeration applications, capacity exceeds heat load due to seasonal variations, product loading, occupancy variations, and electrical appliances that cause power loss. Modern, dedicated AC drives, such as Danfoss Drives’ range of VLT® drives, provide the ideal means to continually adjust the equipment capacity to the actual heat load and process needs. The benefits are significantly lower energy consumption and lower operation and maintenance costs. 

Intelligent compressor and condenser/evaporator fan control are essential in any optimized cooling or refrigeration system. You can typically achieve 10–25% savings on energy consumption by applying Danfoss AC drives to optimize the capacity control of refrigeration compressors, condensers and evaporators. By creating stability while balancing the capacity to the actual load, the system-wide coefficient of performance (COP) improves providing significant energy savings.

Cascade control optimizes energy savings and reduces lifecycle costs

Cascade configuration produces the optimal interaction between an application and an AC drive under partial loading. The base load is handled by a single application, such as a compressor, controlled by a drive. When heat load rises, the drive starts up additional compressors one at a time. This ensures the applications work at their optimum efficiency point, and the drive maintains maximum energy efficiency throughout the system.

Well-planned cascade control also ensures minimal wear on the individual applications. By rotating mains-powered compressors, for example, maintenance managers can ensure each ends up with a similar number of operating hours and an equal wear level. This increases the lifetime of the applications and extends service intervals reducing lifecycle costs.

Danfoss Drives’ advanced Multi-zone pack controller ensures effective cascading and control of up to six compressor packs. This minimizes energy consumption, avoids too frequent staging and de-staging, stabilizes pressures and temperatures, and reduces compressor wear and tear. Similarly, the Pump Cascade Controller distributes running hours evenly across all pumps to keep wear and tear on individual pumps to a minimum.

Thermodynamic efficiency in commercial refrigeration

The commercial refrigeration sector includes food retail establishments such as supermarkets, hypermarkets and convenience stores. It also includes precision air conditioning in data centers.

Typical applications include racks and packs, condensers, evaporators and pumps.

Reliability and thermodynamic efficiency are the key factors in any commercial refrigeration system efficiency and effectiveness. A range of functionalities tailored to refrigeration applications ensures versatile compatibility, stable performance, system reliability and optimal energy efficiency.

Chillers

Variable speed control of a chiller allows you to provide optimum process temperature, while matching the capacity to the actual need based on measurements in the system. Speed control is beneficial when a compressor runs for long periods at partial load. Reduce operational costs by running applications at a lower speed which saves energy consumption. And reduce installation costs by optimizing the system and the compressor itself.

Danfoss AC drives ensure fewer starts and stops which reduces mechanical wear. And dedicated features such as oil return management, high pressure / low pressure safeties and skip resonance frequencies ensure safe operation of the chillers.

Products for compressors include soft starters, high-power drives, AHF harmonic filters with a built-in cascade controller option, DC coils and PID controllers.

Start-up and peak load strategies

Start-up is the critical phase of compressor operation. The VLT Refrigeration Drive minimizes the number of starts required by varying the compressor speed to tune capacity during operation. The maximum number of start/stop cycles in a given period is configurable using the control panel.

The VLT Refrigeration Drive delivers 135% of the rated starting torque for a short duration. During normal operation, 110% of the rated torque is available for 60 seconds.

To extend the drive lifetime, a pressure relief valve can be opened to allow the compressor to start up quickly with no load.

135% starting torque

The VLT Refrigeration Drive delivers 135% of the rated starting torque for a 30-second period. During normal operation, 110% of the rated torque is available for 60 seconds.

Unloaded start

To extend the drive lifetime, a pressure relief valve can be opened to allow the compressor to start up quickly with no load.

Smaller compressors with the same peak load

Brief peak loads can be handled by configuring the system with a smaller compressor, which the drive runs at up to 90 Hz. In this way, a larger compressor just to cope with peak loads is not necessarily required.

Neutral zone

The VLT Refrigeration Drive continues to control fixed-speed compressors in situations where the variable-speed compressor fails. For a fail situation, the neutral zone is set by a special parameter "Fixed speed neutral zone", which enables fewer starts by expanding the neutral zone.

Optimization functions
P0 optimization

The VLT Refrigeration Drive supports connection of an ADAP-KOOL® LonWorks controller for P0 optimization.

Day and night control

Vary the compressor setpoint and evaporator fan speed schedules to match day and night loading, and avoid unnecessary energy consumption.

Condensation final temperature monitoring

By monitoring the floating head high pressure level control via temperature sensors, speed is reduced before the high pressure reaches a critical value.

Read more about AC drives in Refrigeration and Air Conditioning and Automotive and Transport/Drives for compressors.

Danfoss and Inertech change the future of data center cooling

Managing data center capacity and reliability is complex. That’s why Inertech developed its innovative, modular data center cooling solution that enables expansion without compromising security or operations. Through innovative solutions, Danfoss and Inertech are changing the future of data center cooling and operations.

Products

  • Enhanced VLT® HVAC Drive FC 102
    VLT® HVAC Drive FC 102

    This tough and savvy FC102 drive enhances pump and fan applications in building management systems, and runs outdoors in most climates.

  • VLT® Refrigeration Drive FC 103
    VLT® Refrigeration Drive FC 103

    FC103 is dedicated to controlling compressors, pumps and fans for significant energy savings in refrigeration plants.

  • VLT® Advanced Active Filter AAF 006
    VLT® Advanced Active Filter AAF 006

    The AAF006 active filter analyzes load-applied harmonics and compensates these by active counter-control.

  • VLT® Soft Start Controller MCD 100
    VLT® Soft Start Controller MCD 100

    An extremely cost-effective and compact soft starter that provides basic soft start and stop functionality and easy DIN rail mounting.

  • VLT® Compact Starter MCD 201 and MCD 202
    VLT® Compact Starter MCD 201 and MCD 202

    Two families of soft starters that provide a total motor starting solution for motors up to 110 kW.

Case studies

  • A cost-effective solution: district cooling in central Copenhagen
    A cost-effective solution: district cooling in central Copenhagen

    Energy efficiency was a major consideration in the design of Copenhagen’s district cooling project, where VLT® drives contribute to reducing CO2 emissions by more than 3000 t annually.

  • Hospital compressor control ensures optimal temperature and clean air flow
    Danfoss compressor control ensures optimal comfort for hospital patients and staff

    In the University Medical Centre (UMC) Ljubljana air conditioning system, Danfoss drives with integrated filters ensure low harmonic distortion, with maximum THDi of 5%. 

  • Danfoss and Inertech change future of data center cooling
    Danfoss and Inertech change future of data center cooling

    New solution enables expansion without compromising security, consumes less energy and water, and costs less than traditional chiller plant.

  • Fast ROI for Bimbo Group
    Fast ROI for Bimbo Group

    By effectively controlling the ammonium screw compressor, the payback time for the VLT® AutomationDrive FC 302 is less than 2 years.

  • Annual energy savings of 800,000 kWh for Aarhus Hospital
    Annual energy savings of 800,000 kWh for Aarhus Hospital

    VLT® Drives control the speed of heat pumps and chillers in the new cooling plant to optimize performance and annually save 800,000 kWh of energy.

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