Innovative Signaling Technology Delivers Benefits for Building Access Control and Beyond

Building access control solutions have emerged as some of the key measures for making public spaces safer during the COVID-19 pandemic. With combinations of cameras and signaling devices, these building access control solutions can detect and alert users to high temperatures, overcrowding, and more.

These solutions might regulate the number of people inside a public building, confirm proper face covering usage, or check temperatures to exclude people with fevers from public spaces. Solutions such as these could easily be prohibitively costly, though, or too complicated for easy implementation.

Pfannenberg, a global leader in signaling technology, has been helping customers to put its PYRA L-S LED visual signaling device to work in such building access control systems to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus for most of the last year. The PYRA L-S can be paired with any camera with closed contact output capacity. For example, a temperature sensing camera may have a software that allows it to be programmed to create an output signal voltage if the scanned temperature is higher than, say, 101ºF. (Read here the article about our partnership with G2K for combined use of Signaling Devices and Thermal Imaging cameras)

PYRA LED: Most flexible and ultra bright LED technology

Pyra L-S-RGB

PYRA L-S LED visual signaling devices are low current consumption, plug-and-play, easy to use device that can adapt for use in a wide range of critical conditions. Pfannenberg’s history of working with industrial process control solutions has prepared us to pivot quickly to meet this emerging need; after all, the technology is much the same, just being put to a new use.

Other aspects of the device’s installation and use prove to bring important benefits in the emerging space of building access control for COVID-19 and beyond. The PYRA L-S can be installed easily, either mounted on surfaces or built in to buildings or devices.

That fast and easy installation means that companies and organizations don’t need to wait to put new building access control technology to use. With fewer components thanks to its direct control by camera systems, and plug-and-play design, it’s more cost-effective than complicated signaling technology, and yet still has enough flexibility to convey a number of signals of varying criticality.

Pfannenberg’s Custom Chillers Deliver Liquid Cooling for Chemical Synthesis Reactor

Pfannenberg fits chiller into confined space within a packaged Ferrator® targeted for water and wastewater treatment in third world countries.

In their quest to develop an affordable Ferrate synthesis system, Ferrate Treatment Technologies, LLC of Orlando turned to Pfannenberg for help with developing a liquid cooling solution for a small, cabinet based system. While already using Pfannenberg chillers for larger, trailer-based Ferrate synthesis systems, standard packaged chillers were capable of integrating seamlessly within the concept of the self-contained cabinet-based Ferrator system.

The “Packaged Ferrator®”  overcomes the obstacles and high cost of using Ferrate, a highly potent oxidizing disinfectant for water and wastewater treatment. The portable Ferrate sythesis system is a game changer for delivering effective treatment for remote locations in underdeveloped nations.

The Treatment or “Cleansing” of Water Takes on Two Primary Requirements:

  • Eliminating contamination within acquired water prior to using or drinking (potable water)
  • Eliminating contamination within used water prior to its release back to the environment (waste water).

For both requirements, an element of cleansing involves disinfection which can be accomplished by several methods intended to kill, remove, or oxidize the contamination. Techniques include mechanical separation such as filtering and reverse osmosis; exposure to ultraviolet light and radiation; and the addition of chemicals such as chlorine or ozone, and now Ferrate. Each technique has its own advantages, disadvantages, effective cost ratio, and ability to scale up in order to treat the affected volume of water.

Oxidation is a process which causes chemical decomposition as well as breakdown of both organic and non-organic substances and is vital for the removal of contamination from water. As a chemical additive, Ferrate possesses extraordinary oxidation capabilities, however, it has historically been quite expensive to manufacture, which has limited its use primarily to laboratory research applications.

Luke Daly, CEO of Ferrate Treatment Technologies, LLC with the packaged Ferrator system

Attempts to produce economical and commercially viable quantities of Ferrate had seen limited success until Ferrate Treatment Technologies, LLC of Orlando (FTT) changed the game by creating a streamlined synthesis process and point-of-use production device. By eliminating storage, handling, and transportation costs associated with a pre-packaged product, FTT has cut Ferrate deployment costs by more than 85%.

The breakthrough device is called a Ferrator, initially available as a trailer or skid mounted system with various capacities targeted for water treatment applications in rural areas. The Ferrator is suitable for a variety of applications including municipal wastewater, industrial wastewater, drinking water, ship ballast water, and environmental water restoration.

Ferrate is highly effective for oxidation, disinfection, coagulation, de-watering, and deodorizing. Ferrate treatment removes phosphates and heavy metals; kills spores, bacteria, viruses and protozoa; removes colors and odors; and its by products are nontoxic.

Composition of the Ferrator

The Ferrator synthesizes Ferrate on-site from three raw ingredients: iron, bleach, and caustic, which are pumped to a homogenizer and reaction chamber. The final product is a liquid which is stored in a tank. Both the reaction and storage areas require cooling, which is provided by Pfannenberg chillers.

When FTT encountered problems with units from another manufacturer they contacted Pfannenberg to provide EB 150 chillers for skid-based systems.

Due to their successful experience with Pfannenberg chillers for system based electrical enclosure cooling, FTT turned to Pfannenberg once again for assistance with a project that required a chiller to fit in a smaller scale Ferrator system into an enclosure. Initially, a CC 6301 packaged chiller was used successfully; however, new design criteria required further miniaturization and this standard packaged chiller would no longer fit. The Pfannenberg engineering team went to work on designing, building, and delivering and open frame unit based on the CC 6301 that could fit within the confines of the small Ferrator enclosure.

” Without Pfannenberg’s cooperation, full support and timely expertise, FTT could never have achieved this historic build for a major philanthropic foundation that is committed to improving the lives of impoverished people in developing countries.” -Luke Daly, CEO (Ferrate Treatment Technologies, LLC)

The small scale Ferrator is targeted for use in third world areas for the treatment of human wastewater and drinking water. Here, the efficiency of the self-contained system will permit water purification in remote areas in which there are no sewer systems, water distribution systems, or central water treatment facilities. The small size of the Ferrator permits it to be readily transported to such remote areas and even be used as a portable device for use at multiple locations. The goal is not only to reduce the adverse effects of discharging untreated wastewater to the environment, but also improve human health by reducing contamination in water available for drinking.

Click here to download the Case study in PDF

The Advantages of Air To Water Heat Exchangers for Thermal Management in Harsh Environments

Money-saving approach yields longer service life while conserving energy.

Control Panel Cooling Technique Helps Mitigate Hydrogen Sulfide Corrosion Problems with Wastewater Pumping Systems

Air To Water Heat Exchangers provide an energy efficient and reduced manintenance method for cooling electrical control panels.

Enclosure Cooling Units offer a straightforward active-cooling technique for pump control panels, however, they are not necessarily the best choice for all installation locations. Dirt, dust, and other airborne contaminants can clog condenser coils; while corrosive gasses in the environment can lead to premature failures.On the other hand, Air To Water Heat Exchangers can satisfy the same requirements without circulating ambient air within the housing, thereby eliminating the clogging and corrosion problems associated with airborne contamination.

A common threat to organic wastewater handling and treatment systems is the presence of hydrogen sulfide gas. Not only is this gas toxic to humans, but it also contributes heavily to corrosion problems in pipes, structures, instrumentation, and electrical systems. Lift stations and pumping systems are particularly vulnerable as H2S sour gas readily attacks copper used in wires, electrical contacts, and cooling units used on motor control centers (MCC’s).

Electronics cooling is vital for MCC’s containing the variable frequency drives (VFD’s) that are used to maintain efficient operation by conserving energy through regulating the speed at which pumps operate. Since VFD’s generate a considerable amount of heat, it is necessary to employ an active enclosure cooling technique in order to keep VFD’s operating within acceptable temperature limits. The absence of effective cooling will quickly allow VFD’s to overheat, shut down, or even catastrophically fail. In addition to being an economic loss, such outages disrupt production and affect the efficiency of plant operations.

Effective electrical enclosure cooling for environments where H2S gas is present must utilize a closed loop technique to ensure that sour gas is not introduced into the enclosure where it could harm wiring, electrical connections, switches, and other components. In fact, for many installations it is advantageous to deploy an air or nitrogen purge system which creates a positive pressure within the enclosure in order to keep undesirable ambient elements, including sour gas, outside of it. As opposed to an open loop system that uses fans to draw ambient air into and push heat out of the enclosure, a closed loop system maintains isolation of the ambient air and permits the NEMA rating of the electrical enclosure to be maintained. Examples of closed loop cooling equipment for electrical enclosures include cooling units (also known as enclosure air conditioners or enclosure AC) and Air To Water Heat Exchangers.

Cooling units offer the advantage of a being a plug and play solution – they simply hang onto the outside of the enclosure and are connected to power already available inside the enclosure. However, these compressor-based refrigeration systems consume a fair amount of energy and require periodic maintenance. Additionally, to endure the sour gas environment, exposed copper pipes and condenser coils must be treated with a conformal coating – which is not necessarily standard. Over time, the need to clean condenser coils – which may require partial disassembly of the cabinet – can lead to scratched paint, compromised coatings, and eventual corrosion.

Air-to-water Heat Exchangers offer several advantages making them the preferred method for closed-loop, electrical enclosure cooling. Acquisition and operating expenses are significantly lower than those of a compressor-based cooling unit.

Additionally, this product is virtually maintenance free and since there is no ambient air circulation within the unit, there is no risk of H2S sour gas corrosion to internal components.

There are, however, two challenges with acquiring and implementing these units:

  • The units must be specified as the solution of choice with the MCC or pump system integrator.
  • The units must be connected to a viable source of clean water or coolant to circulate through the heat exchanger coil.

Another viable implementation is to consider retrofitting cooling units with air-to-water heat exchangers. This modification can be readily accomplished without difficulty since some units share the same enclosure cut-out. For dissimilar cutouts, an adaptor plate may be required to reduce the size of the opening.

Click here to download the Case study in PDF

Need more information on Pfannenberg’s PWS Air to Water Heat Exchangers? Click here and discover all the advantages of this product!

Topics: Air Water Heat ExchangersEnclosure CoolingThermal ManagementWater CoolingWater TreatmentWastewater Treatment

Pfannenberg’s enclosure cooling units installed in the Gotthard Tunnel

Under construction for 15 years, the 35 mile long Gotthard tunnel located in Switzerland opened in 2016.

The Gotthard Base Tunnel impresses with many outstanding features:

  • It is the longest railway tunnel in the world at 57 km and its tunnel run, with all the transverse and connection tunnels, stretches over 154 km.
  • From 2016, passenger trains should have a top speed of 250 km/h, reducing the travelling time e.g. between Milan and Zurich to under 3 hours and should almost double the haulage capacity on the Swiss North-South Axis to 40 m tons of goods.

Operating a tunnel poses a huge challenge for engineers and operators. All products and solutions have to meet the highest requirements and have to work perfectly even under harsh ambient conditions. In particular, this applies to electrical enclosures and their thermal management, which are subject to extreme alternating pressure loads, temperature differences and are also exposed to dust and moisture.

In close collaboration, Swibox and Pfannenberg have developed a special climate control concept for tunnel applications. Robust Swibox electrical enclosures with a pressure body which was developed especially to protect the cooling circuit and the side mounted cooling units with integrated controller and heater from Pfannenberg guarantee a high system uptime which are situated, in the 176 cross passages amongst other places.

These electrical enclosure cooling units ensure that the thermal pressure of the electronic components integrated inside the electrical enclosures does not become too high and that they work safely and reliably throughout their whole service lives.


Electrical enclosures withstand every alternating pressure

The largest technical challenges were the high requirements to the system of protection of the electrical enclosure, IP65, and also the high alternating pressure load which is caused by the trains passing through. When entering the tunnel, the train pushes the air ahead of it, causing overpressure until the train passes by the cross passage where the electrical enclosures are standing. As soon as the train has passed, the overpressure transforms suddenly to a corresponding under-pressure.

All the electrical enclosures and the installed cooling units are exposed to the load of this alternating pressure of up to +/- 5 kPa. It had to be ensured that all devices can withstand this alternating pressure mechanically, simultaneously implementing the high system of protection.

It was possible to meet these requirements, thanks to the mechanical unit custom construction developed especially in cooperation with the company Swibox. This construction ensures a leak-proof separation of the surrounding (outer wall of the unit) and the inside of the electrical enclosure (unit inside), also under pressure load. A special feature here is the developed pressure body inside which the components of the inner cooling circuit are housed. Therefore, it was not enough to use reinforced sheet metal: the selection of a suitable material and the increased material thickness in combination with specially installed stiffening plates led to the desired compressive strength.

Climate control concept of electrical enclosures does not only mean cooling

Another challenge in tunnels is the ambient air. Large temperature differences ranging from -20 °C to +40 °C, maximum humidity of 100%, and ferrous abrasion of brakes, rails and contact lines in the ambient air increase the risk of corrosion and show how different a tunnel application is compared to standard applications.

Therefore, a special enclosure climate control concept had to be established for specifically this application. In addition to the cooling units, which are predominantly used inside the mountains (ambient temperatures up to +40 °C), Pfannenberg heaters also had to be installed in the portal sector (ambient temperatures to -20 °C). These heaters ensure that the temperature inside electrical enclosures does not fall below the so-called dew-point (the temperature that moist air has to drop to – by unchanged pressure – so that the amount of water dissolved in the air is precipitated as condensate). At the dew-point, the relative humidity is 100%; that means that the air is saturated with water vapour.

Pfannenberg’s new generation of controllers, designed especially for this project, were also installed. This is especially important to prevent unplanned failures and downtime and, by planning maintenance works in advance, to guarantee a high level of system uptime. The controllers are not only used directly inside the cooling units. The climate controller was also integrated into 500 other electrical enclosures without a cooling unit. This makes a temperature monitoring system possible, which, like the climate control units, can communicate with the tunnel control system and, if necessary, can be replaced with such, without having to reinstall the data transfer.

In 2010 the first cooling units were delivered to the company Swibox. In the meantime, all units have been delivered and will be installed one by one, together with the electrical enclosures, in the 176 cross passages of the Gotthard Base Tunnel. They have already been able to prove their reliability every day during the various test phases until the start of the scheduled railway operation on 2016.

Click here to read the full Case study!