Packaged plant rooms deliver big benefits in small spaces

Architects and designers build many beautiful buildings, but plant room space is often not high on their list of key features. This presents unique challenges for plant room providers as they try to integrate essential equipment from the chosen suppliers. Seeing this opportunity, British manufacturer Ellison AC produces customised packaged plant rooms for delivery direct to the client’s site. Their modules are suitable for installation on roofs, on concrete pads or even underground.

Growing popularity of packaged plant rooms

Packaged plant rooms are growing in popularity with customers from defence to data centres, to business and shopping centres. Ellison AC’s success comes from their reputation and track record of delivering high quality solutions and their attention to detail.

Ellison AC has designed and purpose-built their manufacturing facility in Morecombe, Lancs. to streamline the production of their packaged plants. The packaged approach means the design and specification integrates all the key elements in the chiller or pump room facility. This includes valves, pumps, pipework and control systems for assembly by their skilled staff working in their controlled factory environment.

Each module is ready for delivery to site like a plug-and-play solution with minimal commissioning work required. They even time lapse the build so their customers can check the progress. As Dodgson explains, “we test our modular plant rooms at the factory ready for final installation on-site. Because we develop, design and build a custom solution offsite, we’re generally off the critical path of the main build.  This means regardless of the building size, as soon as the site is ready, we can deliver our equipment and install it within the space from an hour or up to a weekend.”

Benefits of HVAC specific VSDs

Controlling the build means they are selective about their choice of equipment and seek to add value for their clients. For example, not simply recognising the advantage of controlling the pumps with VSD’s to provide energy efficiency but going further.

In HVAC applications, using a VSD on pumps and fans reduces energy consumption compared to throttle/damper control. With pumps and fans, a 20 percent reduction in motor speed reduces the power consumed by up to 50 percent. There are many different VSDs on the market but the benefits of ABB’s HVAC drives benefit both installers and end-users. Ellison AC selected ABB’s ACH550, to control heating, chilled water and condensed water pumping applications in the packaged plant rooms.

According to Dodgson, “a key advantage is that the ACH550 drive comes with all the specialised HVAC functions built-in. Customers also appreciate its ease of use, and the straightforward interface with their building control systems.” The design of the ACH550 even helps reduce build time and costs since it doesn’t need back-plate mounting.

Importance of relationships

Ellison AC has been so impressed with the ACH550 they even tweeted about it, as part of their marketing activity. As Dodgson says, he’s noticed a change. “From a relationship with customer’s point of view, we have to adapt and control the way we communicate with our clients. The modern method of day-to-day correspondence with customers is tweeting and your blogging.”

But the real plus side to using ABB’s drives is the benefit they deliver our end-customers, Neil Dodgson explains. “We’ve got to look for a product that is of excellent quality, and offers ease of installation both for the mechanical and electrical side of things. But must also bring benefits to our end-users who are working day-to-day on the contracts. The ABB product benefits us as the builder, the commissioning engineer and end users even to the point of cyber security.”