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  1. #1
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    Question hot-swappable "refrigeration units"?



    Doing a bit of research here and am hoping someone might know if such a product (or better: an array of products) like this exists.

    A little background might be useful: We were using USI (U-Select-It) brand of food vending machines, and decided to design our own food vending machine. What we discovered was that USI designed and builds their own "refrigeration unit" - a hot-swappable box that contained the entire guts of a refrigeration system (condensor, compressor, evaporator, controller, fans, internal ducting) used to cool the entire compartment.

    It's very convenient from a kiosk servicing perspective ... if you have a failed unit, just swap out the entire box for a good unit, and troubleshoot the bad unit off-site. Also, if an off-the-shelf product like this is already being used with food, the chances of it passing NSF certification may be better, plus it's always comforting knowing it's already been proven, and lastly ... why reinvent the wheel? In short, there are so many reasons why this product (or array of products) should exist it seems a great strategy for an existing refrigeration company.

    But I've been doing some research and it seems such a product doesn't seem to exist as an off-the-shelf product. At least not from what I can tell, and I spoke with a few in the refrigeration industry who also were unaware of such a thing on the open market.

    Can anyone here help me in my search?

    Thanks in advance!
    Dave



  2. #2
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    Re: hot-swappable "refrigeration units"?

    Rittal does a lot of stuff like that, a quick Google search should give you their contact details in your neck of the woods.



    .

  3. #3
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    Re: hot-swappable "refrigeration units"?

    Company in New Zealand does a unit like this. Call them Cyclone units...not much help for you in Maryland though. Mind you, every business likes to expand/export...

    www.skope.co.nz

  4. #4
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    Re: hot-swappable "refrigeration units"?

    Can't find anything by Rittal ... the skope company does this though. More research shows that Hussmann refrigeration (hussmann.com) does this too, and they're in the states.

    Also Danfoss makes something called "Plug&Cool" specifically for this purpose. At least they did. Seems like Hussmann and Danfoss might be my best bet at this point.

    As I'm discovering, the problem with these units is that they're constrained by size ... smaller condensing and evaporative surfaces means lower COP. The upside is that being swappable for off-site servicing they are then a good candidate for CO2 refrigerant which should buy back some COP.

  5. #5
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    Re: hot-swappable "refrigeration units"?

    As I have discovered of late Nibe use this arrangement on their Ground source heatpump units.
    I have also discovered why they do it.
    Because their units keep breaking down.
    Can't be cost effective or efficient to have to carry these poxy skids around in the back f the van.
    And how do you charge the customer,
    Do you charge for a replacement skid , OR
    Do you charge rental on the replacement and then for the travel and workshop hours with parts and labour on top for the repair and return visit for the swap???
    Not a fan.
    Cheers
    Stu
    Tool's ? check ! Condom's ? check !
    If you can't fix it , f*ck it !!!

  6. #6
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    Re: hot-swappable "refrigeration units"?

    We own our machines. We don't rent or sale them.

    Coke does refrigeration on their vending machines this way for vending machine uptime and because they're quick and easy to service (servicing a refrigeration unit in the field amoung a stack of vending machines can often be very difficult, if not impossible during business hours). Also, by keeping things in a swappable cassette it can be designed to work with CO2 (better efficiency and better for the environment) since the servicing of those units is done offsite where one has the resources to easily service them.

    I'm not saying that's always the case, but there is a time and place for certain designs. What I do know is that the one-size-fits-all doesn't always work ... and that goes for refrigeration methodologies as well. I can't image why one would use them for ground-source heat pumps for example ... low reliability may in fact be the main reason in that case in which case I'd agree with you that it seems bad for that usage scenario.

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