Modernization to measure

MDR modernises facility cooling units with SCHÄFER IT-Systems

The changing consumer demands placed on cooling meant that new solutions were needed when it came to modernising the supply concepts in the TV, radio and IT utility rooms. For this particular project, MDR’s technical facility management (TFM) was able to develop a suitable concept in consultation with SCHÄFER IT-Systems. The replacement of worn out cooling units and optimisation of technical facility cooling has so far been carried out at the broadcaster’s locations in Dresden, Erfurt and Magdeburg.

The Technical Facility Management (TFM) division at MDR has been responsible for the central German broadcaster’s entire utility facilities and technical equipment since 1992. Due to the need for replacing the old cooling units in the utility rooms, which had been in operation for 15 years, the existing climate control concept was examined and the decision taken to look for a modern, fit-for-purpose and at the same time cost-effective solution.

After the first invitation for tenders in 2012, the old cooling units were replaced in the head office of MDR in Leipzig and cold-aisle enclosures were installed to increase efficiency. For a number of rack rows, OLS and CLS side coolers from SCHÄFER IT-Systems were installed, the latter having since been developed in to iQ data side coolers. From Autumn 2016, the locations in Dresden, Erfurt and Magdeburg underwent the replacement operation beginning with Magdeburg in November. Dresden went into operation in May 2017 and Erfurt followed in early June. However, more efficient cooling solutions were not the only things that were worked on. At the same time, the energy balance was improved and the future sustainability regarding the electro-technical equipment of the racks was also taken into consideration. With SCHÄFER’s intelligent Power Distribution Units (PDUs), for example, cooling performance in the racks and the aisles could be kept in line with the overall cooling performance, to push the system as close as possible towards its performance limits while, at the same time, ensuring there are no availability deficits through overheating.

Benefitting from experience

“The technological approach behind this solution takes the complexity of the operating conditions into consideration. The efficiency and flexibility of the new side coolers, with regard to the air and water temperatures which are possible, have been very convincing wherever we’ve used them so far,” says Jens Dittrich, Head of TFM. Altogether, two different solutions were installed. Besides a classical cold aisle, Dittrich also wants to use the TFM’s preferred closed system climate control. The closed frames and cooling units can be used regardless of the room situation, making it possible to provide a cooling system tailored to the needs of the technical equipment, without influencing the remaining space in the room. “This is an important feature, because conventional solutions, such as cold or warm aisles or zones, as a rule have a negative effect on the equipment around them. This solution has enabled us to set up a room-in room concept, geared to the requirements of modern technology, in terms of both performance and availability,” says Thomas Wermke, Head of SCHÄFER Interior Systems, a position which also puts him in charge of SCHÄFER IT-Systems.

The installation was completed within a few weeks and commissioning was eventually carried out together because, on the one hand, the TFM was also commissioning the cold water and electric power supply and is also responsible for communication and integration in MDR’s central building control system. On the other hand, it presented an opportunity for SCHÄFER IT-Systems to explain the functioning of the system, in simple terms for the users and in more detail the operator. At the same time, this eliminated individual difficulties which had been occurring in practice. For instance, TFM recognised that components operating in their default setting could no longer be manageable for them under certain circumstances. It therefore made sense for them to be able to carry out the required parameterization or programming themselves. Experiences like this were then implemented directly in subsequent commissioning operations.

Looking to the future

All renovation and modernisation projects need to have a sound economical and business basis. “Current data readings from the new systems show that we can expect their energy consumption to be reduced by half in relation to the old systems, based on the increase in overall efficiency,” says Dittrich. Wermke continues: “With regard to reliability and efficiency, the new system represents a significant improvement over the existing system. The reason for this lies mainly in its scalability. At the same time, it also guarantees sustainability for the future, so with this joint project, we’ve installed a long-term solution, which will guarantee availability for a very long time, in terms of both the system as a whole and the installed components.”


Image source: MDR

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