HVAC Refrigerant System Problem Solved by LTTS’ Cost-effective Solution

By Sharada Prahladrao

Project Success Story

HVAC RefrigerantClient and Background: The client is one of the world’s largest commercial refrigeration and HVAC Refrigerant system manufacturer.  Recent changes in emission regulations forced the client to change the type of refrigerant used across its HVAC products.  LTTS (L&T Technology Services Limited) has been the client’s partner of choice for over a decade, successfully supporting and executing several projects including refrigerant selection and safety.  Hence, LTTS was the obvious choice for this project. 

Challenges: Due to changes in emission regulations, LTTS’ client faced these problems:

  • The regulation cited the use of refrigerant with the lowest Global Warming Potential (GWP)
  • Refrigerant choice was propane-based and highly flammable
  • Existing off-the shelf leak detectors were not able to efficiently detect the leak of this refrigerant

Solution Deployed: LTTS developed an effective and comprehensive solution to combat these challenges:

New sensor: Existing off-the-shelf sensors were not equipped to sense the new composition of the refrigerant leakage, and the few that could were too expensive for commercial use.  LTTS’ engineers designed a new sensor to detect the leak.

Cavity design: The existing sensor and its control system housing needed to be redesigned around the new sensor, and the PCB and control system were redesigned to work with the new sensor.  LTTS also designed and developed a cavity that can house the components in a compact size while being water-resistant without obstructing the air-flow.

Computing algorithms:  Several control algorithms were designed and developed that can read and compute the inputs from the new sensor.

Testing: The sensor mechanism would be mounted along with the cooling unit that would go into thousands of the customer’s products.  This sensor mechanism would have to endure sub-zero temperatures (without freezing and being waterproof) and allow the air to travel freely around it for optimal working.  LTTS leveraged its network of dedicated labs to rigorously test the setup for temperature, humidity, vibration, EMI/EMC and many more parameters.

Safety: Several safety protocols were incorporated into this system to identify the intensity of leaks and take the necessary steps, like warning/shutting down/opening the isolation wall of the cooler itself.

Accrued Benefits: Benefits to the client include:

  • Cost reduction: The newly designed sensor setup brought down the system cost by up to 96 percent per sensor
  • The new safety system can now seamlessly detect the leak of the new refrigerant, making it safe for usage across the client’s product line

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