Category: Integrated Primary/Secondary

Optimizing Merck’s Treasure Hunt

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Merck was desperate to improve the energy efficiency of their crucial S-6 chiller plant. The central plant was riddled with energy problems due to a wide range in the size and manufacturer of the chillers, convoluted piping and multiple control system with poor communication. Vast amounts of kilowatt hours and operator hours were wasted as plant operators manually adjusted equipment to meet water temperature setpoints without any trending to track demand or indicate problem areas. This was not a simple fix easily resolved by a treasure hunt. Merck knew where the inefficiencies were hidden; they just needed a partner that could simultaneously deal with mechanical and hydronic issues, and implement a truly optimized control system. They called tekWorx.

tekWorx converted Merck’s system to their patented Integrated Primary/Secondary® (IPS) system from a traditional Primary/Secondary design to remove its inherent inefficiencies. Additionally, they implemented a PLC-based adaptive control system to provide control sequences for energy optimization to collect data that would enhance maintenance capabilities and performance monitoring. After the installation, plant operators were no longer burdened with manual tweaks as they took advantage of remote energy monitoring with real time data which enhanced HVAC troubleshooting. While an energy analysis similar to a treasure hunt helped to identify the underlying issues within the plant, a more in-depth investigation was required for this effective energy optimization.

To find out how tekWorx has improved similar central plant conditions, check out our Results page.

Chiller Optimization vs. “Make it Work”

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Technological innovations have drastically changed the business environment over the past decade from the introduction of email and cell phones to tablet computers and drones. This trend has also made its way to chilled water plants with greater focus on increasing plant efficiency. Yet, chiller plant design has remained relatively unchanged since the mid-1970s. The primary/secondary system remains a “go-to” configuration since the strategy manages to sufficiently meet the demand of a building, but has no regard for efficiency. So, if it ain’t broke, why fix it? Energy savings- a lot of them. Chilled water not used by the load will always flow through the bypass valve and blend with warm water returning from the load. This blending raises return temperatures and makes the equipment work harder than necessary to maintain the setpoint. The inefficiencies caused by these central plant designs leave a lot of money on the table that can be captured with more innovative designs that reduce the electrical energy needed to produce chilled water.

Since these primary/secondary systems are still being designed and built today despite more efficient alternatives, tekWorx has developed an “Integrated Primary/Secondary” retrofit design (IPS®) to revitalize central plant efficiency with minimal capital expenditure. The IPS® approach eliminates bypass flow and therefore blending to control energy expenditures. Automation and controls work together, continuously monitoring demand, to ensure the best combination of system components are used to optimize plant kW/ ton. tekWorx focuses on controlling these central plants with minimally invasive procedures that deliver maximum energy savings.

To find out how tekWorx can optimize your chiller plant, fill out our Chiller Plant Evaluation Form.