RAC cooling awards winner

Biotechnology - Coldroom and Freezer Room

The Background

Our client is an American provisioner of scientific instrumentation, reagents, consumables, and software. They provide services to healthcare, life science, and other laboratories in government, and industry. 

In December 2020, BRS won in the ‘Small Company Achievement’ category at the RAC cooling awards for this amazing project

The Challenge

The design brief was for a full turnkey design, installation and handover of a close temperature controlled chilled store and freezer room for pharmaceutical products. The design considered the following key user requirements: –

  • Duty/standby operation (main chilled store only)
  • Lowest CO2e emissions
  • Lowest energy efficiency
  • Reliability
  • Remote monitoring capability for service, historic trends and alarm annunciation via e-mail
  • Latest innovative technology
  • Lowest cost of ownership over a 10 year/15-year period
  • Fully automated systems
  • To be operational 24/7 365 days of the year
  • To be able to work with other contractors and to a tight programme
  • SAT testing
  • Detailed documentation

The Solution

At the tendering stage, we arranged meetings with all the main stakeholders to understand everyone’s views of what their new cooling facility should be like. We presented various design proposals, going through each in detail. This highlighted not only how we met the original design brief but also suggested additional design improvements that would offer complete confidence and resilience in the final system.

Our design for the +4℃ main chilled store was based on having a glycol ring main that would serve various ceiling mounted coolers, 2 air cooled VSD York Amichi chiller units, a 4m3 Weir tank and duplex secondary pump set with VSD’s. Each cooler was fitted with EC fans and fan discharge directional boxes, to ensure even air distribution. The control of the room temperature was carried out by a bespoke BRS main control panel utilising an RDM plc and HMI, also to ensure compliance and system integrity, duty/standby air and coil defrost sensors were implemented for each cooler. With a lead sensor fault, the system would flag this  sensor fault for action but automatically switch over to the standby sensor to maintain operation.

Each cooler had its own 3 port mixing valve that was controlled relative to air inlet (room temperature) by a P&ID loop. The EC fans on each cooler were used to further reduce energy and noise within the large main chill store by running the speed of the fans down to their minimum allowed speed as air temperature dropped to set-point.

Defrost control was staggered between coolers to ensure room temperature was not affected. An adaptive defrost control loop was engineered into the PLC programme. This would look at how long the last defrost of any of the coolers ran for, either increasing or reducing the next defrost duration.

chiller units
The BRS team installing chiller

The combination of a 3 port mixing valve and a speed controlled EC fan allowed the accuracy of the room temperature to be +/- 0.5 (*Note specification requirement was +/- 1℃)

The room was fitted with the very latest LED surface mounted lamps with zone movement sensors and UPS. Due to the product being stored, a fire sprinkler system had to be installed at a high level.

The freezer room (-20℃) had been designed to use the very latest DX system, with R448A refrigerant, VSD compressors, suction pressure control, EC condenser fans and EEV valves, all part of the system design. The system control logic was optimised to save the most energy under different product loads, compressor lifts, speed, and local ambient temperatures.

Once the final design was drafted and our quotation was submitted and the contract was awarded, the JCT T’s and C’s were agreed including key milestone % payments and payment terms. The mobilisation was carried out on site. The main cold and freezer store white walling had to be built first, followed by the insulated and heated concrete floor for the freezer room.

It was agreed at the design and sales stage that we install a permanent roof edge protection system to both chilled and freezer room roofs. This would not only be a requirement for future access but also negated the need to fully scaffold the roof edges during further installation works.

All the design, installation, project management, control philosophy and programming of system PLC’s as well as commissioning and SAT attendance were performed in house, ensuring that BRS had full control and ownership of the project from start to finish.

As a company, we recognise the need for apprenticeships and giving our workforce the chance to learn on the job. On this specific project, we had one of our young process engineers take on different challenges to great success, which has given him pride and confidence to push himself evermore!

Upon completion of commissioning, third party SAT testing was performed, this involved 150 wireless temperature sensors at defined areas in the main chilled room and 30 wireless sensors in the freezer room. This was carried out to a  defined customer quality procedure without product, opening and closing the main curtain doors, blackout of power etc.

Process engineering

The Result

Although it was recognised that there would have to be some tweaks to air direction to obtain correct temperatures in certain locations it was a great achievement to be able to pass all tests the first time around. The overall deviation was 50% better than user specification.

The project was completed on time and well within budget. We did not just meet the customer’s expectations – we exceeded them!

Time-lapse cameras were installed in the main building so that the factories in the US and Europe could see the progress being made.

Site visits from the CEO and directors from other European facilities generated outstanding feedback. They were highly impressed with the quality and rate of project progression. The CEO approached us about overseas operations as we have the potential to role out similar installations across Europe.

All in all, a successful delivery, which in turn has secured a 3-year full PPM contract to allow continual customer relationship.

If you have a project requiring temperature control, speak to us about a consultation. If you simply require a chiller you can simply order one on this website on our York chiller quotation page.

Daikin chillers

Customer Testimonial

“Having worked with BRS before at a large bakery site where they did a fantastic job of installing cream yeast tanks and a Glycol cooling system for chilled water critical for dough handling, we had no hesitation in contacting BRS to come and help with the initial design of an 8-metre x 8-metre x 3-metre-high freezer and a 22-metre x 11-metre x 7-metre-high Chiller. They took time to understand our user requirements. Jon Hall their project manager for the design, clearly listened to what we needed and his expert knowledge to find the best solution was very valuable. This led us to ask BRS to tender for the project and we were very comfortable in awarding it to them. 

Jon Hall provided an installation programme that had to work around other install contractors working at the site and this led to the chiller freezer project being delivered on time and at the cost quoted. It was one of the best installs I have ever been involved with.

Upon handover of the chiller/freezer we received in-depth training which was carried out in small groups of staff over two days and this resulted in very positive feedback from the people that received the training. The BRS team were always on time, helpful and very professional in the way they worked following all safety rules. I would have no problem in calling BRS for any similar projects or indeed even for projects that might be new to them as this is one of the best contract firms I have ever dealt with.”

Senior Project Manager

Process Engineering


Air Conditioning