New cooling solution for laser sheet metal cutters to be launched at EuroBLECH 2022
At this year’s EuroBLECH trade show, set to take place in Hanover from 25-28 October, laser manufacturer Trumpf will be showcasing its new sustainable Eco Cooler series production solution for laser-cutting machines.
Conventional cooling systems use fluorinated gases – also known as F-gases – as a coolant. This has several disadvantages: the cooling process consumes a lot of energy, and disposal of these F-gases is uneconomical.
By contrast, the Eco Cooler, developed in partnership with Efficient Energy, uses pure water as a coolant, meaning it uses up to 80 per cent less energy for refrigeration and dispenses entirely with harmful substances.
To date, according to Trumpf, the solution is unique in the sheet-metal industry.
'Sustainability increasingly offers a key competitive advantage – especially given the rise in energy costs,' says Stephan Mayer, chief executive officer for machine tools at Trumpf.
‘To ensure their operations remain viable, sheet-metal processors should be shifting to climate- and eco-friendly technologies. The Eco Cooler will help our customers save energy and reduce the use of harmful substances in production. We see an opportunity here to improve the environmental footprint of the industry as a whole and to drive down costs at the same time.'
Following EuroBLECH, this new solution will be available for Trumpf laser-cutting machines from the 1000 to 5000 series.
The Eco Cooler works as follows: water flows to heat-generating components such as laser diodes, optics, drives and control cabinets. Having cooled these components, the water flows back to the Eco Cooler, where it is chilled by a heat exchanger in an innovative process involving evaporation, compression and condensation.
'The Eco Cooler works in the same way as a heat pump,' explains Andreas Hultsch, project leader at Trumpf. 'It enables users to control the temperature of components that generate heat during laser processing and also regulate volume-flow rates.'
The Eco Cooler should enable companies to reduce their costs as well as their carbon footprint. On average, use of the new solution reduces carbon emissions by 15 metric tonnes per year – equal to savings of around 10,000 euros. Dispensing with F-gases eliminates refrigerant costs and cuts a further 12 metric tonnes of carbon. The solution is ideal for all sheet-metal processors wishing to make their operations more sustainable and also cheaper – all the way from industry newcomers to smart-factory operators.
Use of the solution will help sheet metal processing firms align with the 2016 Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which mandates a gradual reduction in the use of environmentally harmful refrigerants over the period to 2048. Participating governments have pledged to progressively cut the volume of F-gases marketed by refrigerant manufacturers. The reduction in the supply of F-gases has led to an increase in the price of refrigerants. Companies are therefore under pressure to find environmentally friendly alternatives to cool their machinery.
In many countries around the world, state funding is available for companies looking to make this transition. Depending on machine-capacity utilisation and the level of government support, Trumpf says the Eco Cooler could pay for itself within three years.