Increased production in pharmaceuticals means additional need for technological cooling, but plant shutdown to accommodate equipment installation is costly. Production must cease while temperatures are above critical levels.

Working to minimize disruption, ITT Industries' Lowara in Vincenza, Italy, installed cooling system upgrades for Jenapharm GmbH & Co. KG in Jena, Germany, but kept downtime to just hours. The equipment increased the effectiveness of Jenapharm's cooling plant to support higher production levels with a more powerful, more flexible and better-balanced system, including better backup equipment. The system costs less to run than the original installation, according to Ulrich Schmidt, managing director of Lowara Deutschland GmbH.

“The processes at Jenapharm rely absolutely on the correct temperature controls,” Schmidt says. “It is one hundred percent critical. If the temperature rises above the set limit, the entire production is wasted. Pressure is important too. It is necessary to make sure that the pressure for individual users remains constant.”

A number of small 3 to 4 W pumps from a different supplier drove the existing cooling system, but the added production meant an increase in demand and some new and different uses. The new system would have to provide greater capacity with total reliability at a constant pressure. At the same time, production interruption had to be minimal.

Lowara installed two 11 kW LMR inline Vogel pumps with 100 percent redundancy, so that at any given time, only one pump is running. However, if the pump fails or must be stopped for maintenance, the flow can be rerouted, with a second identical pump taking over. The control system, which fully integrates with HydroVar, an automatic flow control system supplied by a sister ITT company, continuously matches demand with supply to ensure equal and constant pressure. The coolant, an equal mix of water and glycol, circulates at an even temperature of 5°F (-15°C).

“We were able to install this with very few changes to the system,” Schmidt says. “In fact, it was more like a routine maintenance break.” The system was out of service for a few hours while it was drained down, the new pumps fitted into the existing system, and the system filled up again.

According to Schmidt, HydroVar was “our special card,” because it was available for frequency regulation and specifically designed to work on pumps such as the Vogel units. In addition, despite the higher pump performances, energy consumption drops even as the operating reliability improves.