Airedale International Air Conditioning Ltd

Airedale Air Conditioning is a world leader in the design and manufacture of innovative, high efficiency cooling solutions. We manufacture in three continents and export to customers in over sixty countries, across commercial, industrial and public sectors.

For over 40 years, our core business has been precision air conditioning. Today our customers also benefit from our extensive experience in chillers, IT cooling, condensers, condensing units, comfort cooling and controls software design and optimisation. We have the expertise to provide the whole cooling solution, tailored to our customer needs and integrated by latest controls technology. Applications include data centres, clean rooms, retail, leisure and process cooling.

Through our air conditioning service division, we are able to offer individually tailored service and maintenance contracts maximising resilience, uptime and system efficiency with 24/7 365 day support by qualified, highly skilled engineers.

We also create a range of air conditioning controls to create smarter, greener buildings. Powerful and intuitive, Airedale Controls Integrated Systems (ACIS) lets you manage smart cooling and other building services from any manufacturer, across multiple sites and communication protocols, in a single, integrated system; reducing operating costs and CO2 footprint via remote 24/7 monitoring, better data and improved system operation.

At our UK-based headquarters, our new 23,000m² production facility includes an industry-leading, purpose-built test centre, regarded as a worldwide centre of excellence for air conditioning. Our dedicated highly skilled teams deliver efficient products and solutions with a reputation for quality and reliability.

  1. The Challenges and Opportunities in Data Centre Cooling
    2 December 2019

    Airedale International recently exhibited at Data Centres Ireland, during which our Data Centre expert Matt Evans took part in a panel discussion on the future of data centre cooling. Here he shares his thoughts on the continued industry confusion / resistance around ASHRAE server inlet air temperature guidelines.


    Maybe it was the stimulating discussion. Maybe it was the Guinness. Regardless, I’ve had an epiphany (on a plane back from Ireland) and I need to share it.

    The biggest challenge and the biggest opportunity in the Data Centre industry are in fact – wait for it - the same thing. The ASHRAE TC9.9 Thermal Guidelines.

    Shock. Horror. I know that’s somewhat controversial, but hear me out.
     

     

    Rewind. Let me set the scene:

     

    A few days ago I was lucky enough to participate in a panel discussion at Data Centres Ireland where conversation was primarily focused on the challenges and opportunities in cooling data centres. As anyone who knows me will likely guess correctly, I threw a few curveballs out there and made some strong statements, however it wasn’t until sitting on the flight home that I had this almighty epiphany.
     

     

    Unpacking said epiphany

     

    Ok, now it’s out in the open and I’ve explained why I was on a plane back from Ireland let’s delve a little deeper. We all know that cooling is one of the biggest aspects of data centre design, and the choices made at this stage impact the other big aspect – power. Primary power requirements, backup power requirements, power distribution (and almost everything else), revolve almost entirely around the cooling infrastructure you specify – heck, sometimes even the choice of battery technology you select depends on it.

    So, if cooling design drives power design, what’s driving cooling design? Well, that’d be supply air temperature.

    The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) publishes guidelines for temperature and humidity operating ranges of IT equipment. The ASHRAE TC9.9 guidelines cover server inlet air temperatures, not air conditioning temperatures. The “allowable” range provides IT equipment manufacturers and data centre designers with a simple way to define product specification limits.

    TC9.9 has done an incredible job in providing standardised and structured information within our industry so that we are all harmoniously singing from the same proverbial hymn sheet. But, and it’s a big but, in opening up this information to the masses, ASHRAE has also opened up a window of interpretation, and interpretation in such a context is really just a posh word for misunderstanding.
    Here’s an example. When looking at typical co-lo supply air temperatures what SLAs do we typically see? 24°C? It’s always around that level – it’s near criminal. Why? Because that temperature band sits within the “recommended” TC9.9 zone.
    Recommended is an objective word and it couldn’t be truer in this instance – it’s a recommendation made by a group of people, ultimately driven by consensus. The ‘Allowable’ ratings on the other hand are factual and based on manufacturers information, and perhaps surprisingly they are far higher.
     

     

    Answer me this, if you will:

     

    The ASHRAE A ratings cover different types of IT equipment, classified as A1-A4.  Most current data centre equipment incorporates all of these classes (with some time-bound limitations around incursions to A3/4), though a growing number of server manufacturers are introducing equipment suited for continued operation in class A3 or A4 operation. The problem is we are still designing data centres around A1 guidelines.  Studies have shown properly designed servers do not experience statistically higher failure rates when operating at higher temperatures, so reliability is not impaired; running at dynamic set-points that float with ambient temperature typically improves this server “X” factor!  If we were to realign the industry and drive SLAs up to A2 levels which, no exaggerating here, would be perfectly fine for every single piece of hardware manufactured post Alan Sugar trying to sell video phones, would we still be reading articles such as this one regarding a proposed Google data centre in Luxembourg? 

    The resource consumption (both energy and water) of data centres is more under the microscope than ever before and the colossal energy and water use of this particular project could potentially be avoided through more a more intelligent approach to temperature management which is surprising because Google are known to run hot?!  Adiabatic cooling in particular could certainly be avoided, negating the need for such large amounts of water.
     

     

    My final thoughts on the matter (for now!)

     

    We’ve delivered PUE levels of 1.1x in large co-lo for a while now, and despite becoming the new standard, it’s becoming harder and harder to drive improvements. The biggest opportunity however, is staring us all in the face. We’re hung up on recommendations based on opinions based on outdated notions. We need to break free of the shackles of “recommended” and start listening to what the manufacturers are telling us.

    The limiting factor is the same as it’s always been and it’s not technology – it’s us. I genuinely feel for the co-lo operators who are being forced to comply with irrelevant standards pushed upon them by operators who should be more concerned about the sustainability of not only their business, but the industry as a whole. If this changed overnight, we could reduce the DC industry’s global carbon emissions by over 20% overnight without breaking a sweat…….now where is Greta’s number?

     

    The Challenges and Opportunities in Data Centre Cooling
  2. Prototype Lifetime
    2 December 2019

    The second instalment of our quarterly R&D blog from Jade Scwan-McCay, Laboratory Engineer at Airedale:

    In July we released two new R32 chiller ranges (Azure) so in the last R&D blog we discussed F-gas. However, now I would like to delve into the world of Research & Development here at Airedale. Specifically, what actually goes on in the background to produce a brand new product.

    When a new concept or an update of an existing unit is approved, extensive testing is conducted to qualify the performance. We all know that an initial idea is not always perfect and there are usually real life factors that can be missed – no one can possibly account for everything. Like when you plan a long drive after rush hour to avoid traffic but there’s an accident on the M6.

    Our R&D department works through a number of steps in a process to ensure we iron any issues with the performance of our models:

     



    A concept is designed and a prototype is born

    Design engineers create the concept and model a prototype which is then built and tested in our on-site test laboratory. This is a long process with many stages of testing to validate every possible realistic condition at which the unit will perform. Taking into consideration the Leeds climate is vastly different to the weather in Dubai, for example!

    What’s first?

    The main testing, as you’d expect, is qualifying the actual cooling performance. The air conditioner or chiller is installed in one of the test chambers in the laboratory. A large number of air temperature probes and pressure transducers are applied to/around the unit which feed live to a data acquisition. This is basically a panel which allows the sensors to communicate with our PCs.

    We use a software called LabVIEW to see live graphs of all the temperature, pressure and power measurements for the unit under test - this data is scanned and saved every 5 seconds! Each test data is then analysed…. And then repeat.

    On top of the extensive number of conditions we test the cooling performance at, there are many other additional stages of validation which aren’t so obvious. For example, ensuring on a very humid day, the Artus would not collect condensation on the fascia and start dripping on people in an office.  Also the pipework vibrations are checked to make sure they won’t crack and leak all of the refrigerant.  One of the methods we use is via a Stroboscope – literally a strobe which helps slow the visual movement. See one in action here and more about how they work here.

    After extensive testing has been completed… it’s finally time to release the product. This isn’t the end of the process though! We continue to update and modify our products based on feedback from our quality department as well as from our service engineers in the field. We are committed to innovation.

    A prototype unit will find itself in the test centre between 18 to 24 months. This varies because each unit is different and we use the test chambers for other types of testing. For example, component testing and customer witnessed tests – which we will come onto in a future blog post.

    Airedale invests a huge amount of resource into research and development; which really allows us to work together to produce the high quality products that we’re known for.  We work hard to ensure each and every product is designed to challenge the previous generation’s technologies.

    Innovation is all about pushing the boundaries of industry and we believe this is absolutely vital! For us, this means engineering the cooling solutions for the future, no matter what is thrown our direction.

    Prototype Lifetime
  3. Data Centre Cooling Summit 2019
    2 December 2019

    On 17th October, we took a team of experts to Dubai to share our industry knowledge with stakeholders from across the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Egypt, Bahrain, Lebanon and Qatar.

    Product Development Director Adam Yarrington, Export Sales Manager Asim Ansari and Marketing Manager Darren Farrar, worked with local business partner Al Mazroui Advance Technology and the Airedale UAE team to deliver the event at the Intercontinental Hotel, Festival City.

     Asim Ansari, Export Sales Manager

    It was a great evening for learning and networking, with a number of talks covering topics such as the latest technology trends in data centre cooling, and the booming industry in the Middle East where demand is expected to create a fourfold spending increase in cloud services in the region by 2022.

     Adam Yarrington, Product Development Director

     

    Darren Farrar, Marketing Manager said: “We have a growing number of customers across the Middle East and are aware that the unique challenges in the region mean cooling systems are really put to the test.  Techniques used in Northern Europe are not suitable here in many cases so a bespoke approach is required.   

    “We presented ideas around higher operating temperatures which can keep data centre servers in their operational envelope but save significant amounts of money in energy bills.  As cooling contributes up to 50% of data centre energy bills, bringing air supply temperatures up by just a few degrees can have a huge impact on operational expenses.”


    Airedale International, along with our partners Al Mazroui Advanced Technology, were delighted to once again be holding our annual Gulf Conference in Dubai. It was a fantastic opportunity for people to discover the latest Airedale innovations, learn about thermal management best practice and network with peers across the industry.

    Data Centre Cooling Summit 2019
  4. What does ‘Made in Britain’ mean to people today?
    2 December 2019

    Over summer, we asked our work experience student Ben to research what 'Made in Britain' means to people across the world. Find out what he discovered:

    The term ‘Made in Britain’ is not just a slogan to identify how a product has been crafted and developed in Britain, it is much more than that. This marque represents a standard of quality, prestige and unity for the British manufacturing sector within the
    UK, both domestically and around the globe.

    Britain has a substantial reputation in the manufacturing industry, and as a country we must live up to the standards that we are known for.

    Airedale has been manufacturing high-efficiency cooling systems since 1974 and we are hugely proud of our British engineered products which naturally fit with the vision of ‘Made in Britain’ campaign. This marque empowers our customer decisions with verification which immediately identifies the country of origin’s expertise, ethics, quality standards and authenticity.

    We reached out to find out what ‘Made in Britain’ means to our overseas trade partners all over the world, and though the replies were quite varied, there was one main theme present throughout: Each partner believed that the term ‘Made in Britain’ is associated with a higher quality product than those without the seal.


    Most responses that we received say that “Made in Britain” in today’s global economy indicates a very well-engineered product designed to high European standards, and though the costs are occasionally (but not always) higher, they are very much in line with the high quality of the products. It is clear that the ‘Made in Britain’ mark has long been associated with high quality goods and services which are on a par with the very best manufacturers in the world. But has this opinion changed?

    Many contacts said that their opinion about the term ‘Made in Britain’ has not changed despite challenges presented by Britain’s recent domestic and foreign affairs. When asked if he thought the meaning of the term had altered, Chris Farmer from New Zealand’s Eurotec Ltd stated:
    “No, although there may be the risk of increased costs associated with Brexit and the impact on the British Pound.”


    That is always a worry with the situation surrounding Brexit, but for now ‘Made In Britain’ evidently maintains its exceptional reputation in the manufacturing industry.


    With innovation, performance and efficiency at the heart of everything we do, we are proud of our British heritage which is channelled into every cooling system we make.


    “Made in Britain is a fast-growing community of like-minded manufacturers from all around the UK. By applying the Made in Britain collective mark to your product, packaging or website, your business is making it really clear to buyers and consumers that you're making right here to the very highest standards.” -Made in Britain
     

    - Ben Hitchcox, work experience student 2019

    What does ‘Made in Britain’ mean to people today?
  5. Airedale hits the marque with Made in Britain
    19 April 2017

    Yorkshire–based air conditioning manufacturer Airedale International Air Conditioning is pleased to announce that it has joined Made in Britain. Airedale has been manufacturing high-efficiency cooling systems just outside Leeds since 1974 and is hugely proud of its British engineered products, fitting naturally with the vision of Made in Britain.

    Made in Britain was founded in 2011 with the aim of helping everyone identify British-made products. The not-for-profit organisation now includes thousands of products from over 800 members, ranging from large manufacturers to small companies and start-ups, with Airedale joining Stoves, Synergy Health, Acorn Stairlifts, Dwelle, and King of Shaves among others.

    Joining the Made in Britain campaign and applying the marque on all UK manufactured products, serves as a means for customers to recognise goods that are manufactured in Great Britain, and empowers customer decisions with verification, and a marque, immediately identifying the country of origin’s expertise, ethics, quality standards, differentiation and authenticity.

    “We were delighted when Airedale applied to join the fast-growing Made in Britain community. Manufacturing and innovation in the thermal technology sector is well represented in our membership but Airedale’s work across commercial, industrial and the public sector means the Made in Britain marque will have an extended reach. The more buyers, specifiers and consumers that see the marque, the louder the voice to promote British made goods and the great companies that make them”
    John Pearce, Chief Executive of Made in Britain

    For Airedale, Made in Britain will highlight the provenance of Airedale’s multi-award winning, UK-manufactured cooling systems, such as the TurboChill™ (CIBSE Building Performance Awards Energy Saving Product of the Year 2015), and the SmartCool™ (Data Centre Solutions Datacentre Energy Efficiency Product of the Year).

    Airedale exports to customers in over 60 different countries, including the Far-East, Middle-East, Africa, and countries even as far as New Zealand.

    “Our systems are engineered to perform. Conceptualised, designed, developed and manufactured in the UK, and applied Worldwide. With innovation, performance and efficiency at their heart, we are proud of our British heritage.

    It is the values of quality British manufacturing which provides us with a platform to compete on a domestic and global scale, with world-class, industry leading cooling solutions.

    By joining Made in Britain, unlike the vast proportion of our competitors, we are able to adopt a mark of distinction to our customer base. It is an assurance of quality, support and performance that is the DNA of our brand, and is demonstrated in the customer orientated systems we deliver.”
    Tony Cole, Managing Director of Airedale International Air Conditioning

    Closer to home, the impact manufacturing has had on the community has been tremendous. Airedale has 438 employees based at the Rawdon manufacturing HQ, and employs a further 107 staff members, of which over 50 are technical, controls and service and maintenance engineers who provide aftersales support to some of the UK’s largest data centres, maintaining uptime, and most importantly, energy efficiency.
    UK manufacturing provides strong growth not just for the UK economy as a whole, but also for enriching local communities with opportunities, otherwise outsourced to countries where production and labour costs are lower.

    “The Made in Britain marque is all about growing. We are a manufacturer who has innovation at our heart. Ambitions to grow, plans to increase sales, invest in people and deliver for the economy. UK manufacturing provides a strong foundation for growth in the UK. By embracing ‘Made in Britain’ as a celebration of ‘Best of British’, we can represent the pride of our employee base, deliver next generation systems to support our customer’s growth and develop a market for now and the future.” Mr Cole said.

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    Airedale hits the marque with Made in Britain

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