Going Natural In Japan

Crisscrossed by rivers and canals and facing out onto a sweeping bay, the city of Osaka has long been known as the water capital of Japan. This is good news for tourists, who can cruise its waterways and see its many attractions. But the news is not quite as good for operators of outdoor machinery. The local area has a humid subtropical climate with frequent rain, and salt water can be carried on the wind from the neighboring Pacific Ocean. That means corrosion is a constant threat. This was on the mind of Tomohiro Satake, Sales Manager at Güntner in Japan, when he was contemplating a new project in the city. Benirei Logistics had decided to retrofit its cold storage warehouse in Osaka South Seaport, where the logistics company stored various chilled and frozen foods, and its coolers were sitting on the roof, exposed to the elements, with little between them and the nearby bay.

But corrosion wasn’t the only issue – for Benirei, there was also the environment to consider. Like many refrigeration systems in the Japanese market, the warehouse’s 40-year-old system used potentially harmful R22 refrigerant. Benirei decided to adopt a solution using a cleaner, more environmentally friendly natural gas refrigerant, opting for Panasonic’s 80 HP transcritical CO₂ compressor rack. And when choosing a gas cooler for the rack, Panasonic settled on Güntner’s V-Shape COMPACT Gas Cooler equipped with hydroBLU™ and EC fans.

“WE CHOSE GÜNTNER BECAUSE OF THEIR QUALITY PRODUCTS, TRUSTWORTHY SERVICE, AND EXTENSIVE TRACK RECORD OF DELIVERING CO₂ COOLERS GLOBALLY.”
PROJECT MANAGER AT PANASONIC
Case study cold storage warehouse japan content

“We chose Güntner because of their quality products, trustworthy service, and extensive track record of delivering CO₂ coolers globally,” says the Project Manager at Panasonic. Güntner provided 14 coolers; the V-Shape COMPACT Gas Cooler´s outstanding performance in saving energy and shrinking installation footprint had already been demonstrated in other markets, and those benefits are considerable, according to Patrik Raich, Technical Manager at Güntner. “We’re confident that our gas coolers will add more value to the whole Panasonic CO₂ system, especially in terms of energy efficiency,” he says. “Our hydroBLU™ adiabatic cooling system pre-cools the inlet air and thus saves more energy by lowering the condensing temperature. This can have immense energy saving potential, especially during hot seasons. And when installation space is at a premium, this solution is the best choice as it requires a smaller footprint.”

This brings us back to the roof of Benirei’s Osaka warehouse. Given the local climate conditions of extreme hot and humidity, Raich realized that the gas coolers would need outstanding anti-corrosion performance. Panasonic explained the importance of high corrosion resistance to Güntner. To meet the high specifications, Güntner’s expert team suggested KTL-coated heat exchangers as a solution. The KTL process (electrophoretic dip coating) is widely used in the car industry and is significantly more environmentally friendly than many other anti-corrosion technologies. “We can say ‘Güntner is always a solution ahead,’” notes Satake.

PANASONIC SENIOR EXECUTIVE HIROYUKI TOMINAGA HAILED THE OSAKA PROJECT AS AN IMPORTANT LANDMARK IN JAPAN, STATING, “BY USING ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY NATURAL REFRIGERANTS IN THE FOOD SUPPLY CHAIN, WE WILL STRIVE TO ACHIEVE OUR MISSION OF CREATING A BETTER AND MORE ENJOYABLE LIFE FOR PEOPLE.”