Teklab, an Italian manufacturer of liquid-level sensors and controllers for CO2 (R744) refrigeration systems, is developing a new “disruptive” product designed to cut energy consumption of supermarket refrigeration systems by at least 10%, according to Riccardo Candrini, the company’s Technical Director.
The patented Teklab Evaporator Management (TEM) unit reduces the super-heating by ensuring that all liquid within the system is evaporated and that none is returned to the compressor. This, in combination with a centralized smart control, makes it possible to work with higher evaporating pressures by dynamically pursuing the most efficient working conditions for the whole system.
“The idea behind the concept is to improve the efficiency of each evaporator in a supermarket, enhancing the cooling capacity and lowering the super heating of each evaporator,” said Candrini at EuroShop 2023, where a prototype of TEM was showcased. “With our control, we also check that there is no liquid returning to the compressors to keep them safe.”
Enhancing the efficiency of a supermarket’s refrigeration systems will not only reduce its impact on the climate, but it will also cut operating costs for end users with a quick return on investment, he said.
“The idea behind the concept is to improve the efficiency of each evaporator in a supermarket, enhancing the cooling capacity and lowering the super heating of each evaporator.”Riccardo Candrini, Teklab
A TEM unit would be installed locally next to the evaporator in each remote cabinet, working alongside the expansion valve, explained Candrini. The unit would then connect to a centralized controller to monitor the performance of all of the store’s cabinets. In turn, this would enable optimum performance across the whole system by making improvements to each local control.
“This is a completely new approach,” he added. “There is nothing like it on the market, and we strongly believe in it.”
According to Teklab, simplicity was a priority during the development of the product. Thanks to its ease of use, TEM can be integrated into existing systems as well as new ones.
The product, which has been developed with funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, is in its final design phase and should be available by the end of this year.
While the TEM unit can be used with any refrigerant, Teklab is focusing predominantly on CO2-based systems due to the potential benefits, he said.
Programable oil level regulator
Also on display at EuroShop was Teklab’s new TK4 oil level regulator, which was launched earlier this year.
Like Teklab’s existing oil level regulators, the TK4 is designed to monitor the amount of oil in each compressor of a refrigeration system, ensuring proper lubrication and thus avoiding malfunction and inefficiencies.
While previous models, like the TK3+, came exclusively with a pre-programed functioning logic, Teklab’s latest model allows for both remote adjustment of a system’s parameters via MODBUS connectivity and local adjustments using a wireless connectivity to Teklab’s free mobile application, explained Daniele Barbieri, part of Teklab’s sales department.
A regulator is fixed on the side of each compressor, and the user is able to easily monitor important parameters such as injection time, oil level, cycle frequency and alarms, he said.
Offering coverage up to 130bar, the TK4 is well suited for CO2 systems, he added.
Compared to other oil level controllers on the market, Teklab’s TK4-Modbus is unique in offering both a wireless and a wired interface to provide convenient connectivity options, with more flexibility at a lower cost, said Candrini.
The company is currently working to get UL certification for its oil level regulators to expand into the U.S. and Canadian markets, he explained.