CSIRO Gets New Chiller in Record Time

When constant temperature is vital and a fast turnaround between old and new equipment is of the essence, AE Smith won’t disappoint

3 Dec 2014


Starting at 5 pm, Friday afternoon we only had a 60 hour window to get the job done and go from decommission to having two new chillers commissioned and fully operational

AE Smith won a tender to replace two chillers and all accompanying electrical, switching and control components at the CSIRO’s Queensland Centre for Advanced Technologies (QCAT).

A world-class research and development collaboration between government, industry and researchers in the mining, energy and manufacturing sectors, QCAT requires conditions to be maintained in laboratory and research areas.

Time Critical Replacement

AE Smith Project Sales Manager, Frank Booysen said the team was acutely aware how critical turnaround time was to get two chillers and the mechanical services switchboard (MSSB) replaced and running perfectly.

“The physical location of the MSSB and both chillers complicated matters. Being a fully enclosed single entry plant room, all equipment had to be decommissioned and removed via the same plant room door. None of the equipment could be craned and dropped into position,” Frank said.

“All services had to be decommissioned and removed before new equipment could be installed as one chiller was behind the other and the MSSB was blocking access into the plant room.”

The tender recommended custom-built Daikin magnetic-bearing oil-free chillers, which have impressive energy-efficiency as well as low noise. After a lead-time of about four months, the chillers were ready and the Queensland weather had cooled off, allowing AE Smith to complete the job in more ambient temperatures.

The MSSB – which had 12 week lead time – was ordered so its arrival would coincide with that of the chillers.

60 Hour Turnaround

With only a 60 hour window available, there was no room for error.

“Starting at 5 pm, Friday afternoon we only had a 60 hour window to get the job done and go from decommission to having two new chillers commissioned and fully operational,” Frank said.

“This included getting the MSSB board and chillers decommissioned, changed over and reinstalled, alterations to pipe work, upgrades to power, controls, chilled water pipes and by-passes and full commissioning by Daikin.”

All Systems Go

Frank explains what happened next and how what began as a threatening deadline, soon just became another tick on a job well done.

“The client, appreciating the magnitude of the job, gave my team an early start and blew the starting whistle at 3 pm.

“We switched all controls to chiller two to maintain conditions in the building and got to work on chiller one. Everybody on site could feel the hype in the air and everybody knew exactly what was expected from them. The race was on!

“We rotated on split shifts and effectively had at least eight people on site at all times. Different trades working together, coordinating movement through the limited access to get equipment in and out of the plant room safely, all with one common goal – start up!”