Having spent several years committed to the installation of high-tech equipment to increase production and constantly improve efficiency, CastAlum Ltd undertook a complete air management review which highlighted the need to update its air conditioning and heating systems.
In response, the business selected Cosaf, to manage the upgrade project. Cosaf is the UK expert in the application, design, installation and commissioning of leading edge evaporative cooling, heating, ventilation, smoke/fire ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC). Its system solution has both improved working conditions on the shop floor and will save thousands of pounds on the CastAlum’s annual electricity expenditure.
Based in picturesque Welshpool in mid Wales, the world-class automotive diecasting facility has never shied away from updating equipment. With a mindset that embraces ongoing development in its people and its processes, CastAlum has a reputation for driving innovation and this latest investment is part of an important progressive change, says chairman Peter Radcliffe, who is part of the team that completed an MBO in 2009.
The company was a greenfield development in 2001, just 16 years ago. However, the team at CastAlum has not taken its position for granted and has continued to upgrade the facility to ensure it remains at the forefront of technology. Speaking to Foundry Trade Journal, Radcliffe said: “We can’t be complacent,”. We purchased this business eight years ago when no financial organisations wanted to support automotive. We have since significantly expanded our turnover and the facility and built a team that finds and manages solutions.”
Operating a six-day, 24hr week, the company was first alerted to focus attention on its clean air system when its one-day-a-week closedown made it difficult to maintain the existing installation of fans. The now preferred process of bringing air in low and expelling at height, led the company to investigate the available options to see if this would make any significant difference. The former system consisted of three large input fans and three large extractor fans per bay, mounted high on each end of the factory. They were turned on and off manually and were using around 800kwh per annum. In addition, at approx. £20,000 a year maintenance cost, they were expensive to service. Further, as the system was a bespoke facility it was unlikely that they could be replaced in the case of a terminal breakdown.
Following an in-depth air management review by Cosaf over several weeks, the accuracy of projections was checked using a low-level air input system. As a result, the need to change was widely accepted by the client. After just twelve weeks of installation time and one month set-up, the difference was clear to see. The new system now comprises five air handling units mounted low down, four hurricane roof vents, eight louvered roof vents and six end wall vents. Air input can be cold or heated and activates automatically between 10°C and lower (heats) and 20°C (cools). The system automatically opens and closes depending on wind, rain and temperature. Met data from RAF Shrewsbury was used to determine annual conditions and the likely energy spend.
“Apart from the obvious cost savings, employees are delighted at the increase in light, temperature and the noticeable improvement in the environment in which they are working,” Radcliffe said. “Currently the new system is installed in one side of the shop floor and our intention is to upgrade the other side, now that we have seen the difference it makes.”
The cost of the installation was £176,000 and supported by a Carbon Trust loan. The prediction is for around a three-year payback period – and that’s a conservative estimation. Overall, the savings from the new system assist in mitigating the, ongoing annual statutory levies that are a significant cost of every incoming electricity bill.
The installation has also been recognised by the TS standard auditor who has commented on the “big difference” the investment has made. The shafts of light beaming through the large vents are akin to the famous Getty Image of Grand Central Station in New York and give the feel of divine inspiration. Such is the company’s confidence in the new system that Radcliffe says they are even thinking of repainting the ceilings because they are so sure they will stay clean!
Karl Sullivan, Managing Director, Cosaf Environments, said: “Cosaf is proud to partner with CastAlum to provide real energy savings through our practical design expertise and innovative technologies. It demonstrates that it is possible for manufacturers to move on from old legacy systems quickly.
"CastAlum’s progressive ideology helped us to collaborate to deliver a best in class upgrade solution. Its environmental capabilities provided an effective commercial challenge while strengthening our combined belief in sustainable solutions to everyday HVAC problems.”
Cosaf is an expert in the application, design, installation and commissioning of leading edge evaporative cooling, heating, ventilation, smoke/fire ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.
With over 30 years of heritage, Cosaf remains driven to provide low energy/low carbon building environment solutions, with expertise in evaporative cooling, natural ventilation and air conditioning.
Cosaf is an exclusive Air2O evaporative cooling partner in the UK and consults, designs, installs and maintains highly specialist HVAC solutions to the world’s largest businesses in the retail, pharmaceutical and grocery sectors. This includes Mclaren, JCB, McVities, Warburtons, DHL and Coca-Cola.