A new production facility was recently built for meat processing company, Sutter GmbH.

Established in 1953, Sutter began its transition from a family-owned slaughterhouse to a modern mass production company in 1993, with current owner Hans-Joachim Sutter at the helm.

Sutter supplies the food retail industry in Europe with high-quality meat and sausages, but also has its own network of factory outlets. The company now employs more than 950 people at several production sites.

Cooling plays a key role in production and product storage and the company has future-proofed its refrigeration facility.

When designing the new production facility in Gau-Bickelheim, which processes around 180 tonnes of meat every day, the company opted for natural refrigerants.

The refrigeration facility was provided by the Kälte-Klima-Peters company based in Meerbusch in collaboration with its upstream supplier Robert Schiessl GmbH.

Construction on the Sutter production facility kicked off in mid-2017 and was completed in 2020.

Four ammonia liquid chillers were installed for medium temperature, production and storage refrigeration (t0 = –10°C/tc = +34°C) and generate cooling capacity of 4.3 MW. Three liquid coolant systems featuring a BITZER OSKA95103-K screw compressor each deliver 1,100 kW.

Another liquid coolant system with two BITZER OSKA8591-K screw compressors, each with a capacity of 500 kW and an OAHC oil separator, has been updated to better cover part-load periods, particularly at the weekend when production comes to a standstill. Cooling capacity of approximately 3 MW is required at full capacity in mid-summer, with 1.3 MW available for redundancy.

Each screw compressor has its own Danfoss frequency inverter, with mains operation ranging from 30 Hz to 70 Hz.

All NH3 systems feature an economiser system, and the Alfa Laval plate heat exchangers used in the glycol system operate with an NH3 thermosiphon system.

The WITT company supplied the NH3 separator and oil return system, whilst all the refrigeration systems were planned and produced by Kälte-Klima-Peters GmbH and Robert Schiessl GmbH.

The refrigeration systems supply a distribution system at the factory with liquid coolant (Coracon WT EKO F-14, –8/–4°C).

The cold/hot coolant grid boasts a filling capacity of approximately 85,000 l and connects to the consumers via welded stainless steel pipe works.

An automatic pressure monitoring system with refill ensures additional safety. Industrial pumps supplied by manufacturer KSB were used as primary and secondary pumps.

For regular hydraulic operation, the PumpDrive design was selected for all the pumps in the compound system. A portion of the system waste heat is used to defrost the air coolers as well as heat and dry the floors in production after cleaning.

Waste heat that cannot be used – particularly in summer – is discharged via a heat exchanger.

In addition to the liquid coolant systems, two additional refrigeration systems are used for the low temperature application, both of which also operate with natural refrigerant.

One of these is a CO2 low temperature system for producing flake ice with two refrigerant circuits, each with 80 kW at t0 = –22°C and tc= –3°C. Two BITZER 4CSL-12K compressors form the heart of the system.

The low temperature system is a brine-cooled, subcritical CO2 system which uses liquid coolant from the distribution grid in the first stage.

Another CO2 refrigeration system generates the necessary refrigeration for a low temperature storage room in production. BITZER reciprocating compressors were also used in the compound system – three 2FSL-4K compressors with a combined cooling capacity of 75 kW at t0 = –30°C and tc = –5°C.

Four V-shaped condensers and a heat exchanger with EC fan motors are installed on the roof of the refrigeration facility.

Three condensers, including one with adiabatic design, are equipped with a water spray system to increase capacity. All the air coolers are made from stainless steel and feature a special coat of paint that matches the colour of the production facility.

The air coolers are equipped with a folding double pan and folding fan units, which simplifies maintenance and cleaning.

The air coolers offer a unique operation feature: the two-way volume flow control valves with integrated Delta T control and adaptive, electronic return temperature limit.

The cooling capacity actually consumed and required is supplied via the valve and bus system.

To ensure that the Kälte Klima Peters service staff as well as the Sutter technicians on-site can maintain a comprehensive overview of system data and status at all times, a great deal of effort has been invested in the visualisation of the entire refrigeration system.

Two large displays at the refrigeration facility show all the technical information about refrigeration, distribution and evaporators, as well as wiring diagrams, key figures, parameters and alarm notifications.

This information is also available online to the Peters refrigeration experts in Meerbusch, which is 250 km away. As a result, many problems can also be resolved remotely, eliminating the need for on-site visits.

If a more serious problem does occur which can only be solved at the factory in Gau-Bickelheim, there’s no time pressure, as the refrigeration is designed to be redundant as mentioned before. If a refrigeration system were to fail, production could be maintained for a certain period of time.

The heart and the intelligence of the system were developed in close collaboration with engineering firm ISS-Steuerung GmbH, planning agency Systemkälte Schulte, and Kälte-Klima-Peters GmbH. Special features include the energy management system and the comprehensive architectural reproduction of the 30,000 m2 production facility in the visualisation software.

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