Frigel Firenze expands manufacturing capacity

Frigel Firenze has quadrupled its manufacturing capacity at its Italian headquarters, pushed by strong demand for what it says is its environmentally friendly cooling technology.

The Scandicci, Italy-based firm is opening a 10,000-square-meter headquarters plant in mid-November, as it is seeing 30 percent sales growth a year, said Duccio Dorin, chief executive officer.

Frigel makes closed-loop water cooling technology that essentially recycles water used in cooling processes by pumping water into heat exchangers and cooling it with ambient air flow.

The Ecodry equipment replaces traditional cooling towers and, according to Frigel, reduces power consumption by up to 30 per cent, conserves energy and reduces noise. Combined with other technology the firm offers, such as its Microgel integrated chiller/temperature control unit, Frigel claims its process can shorten cycle times and increase productivity by 20 per cent.

The company set up sales offices in the United States in 2006 and in China in 2005, where it also has a small manufacturing plant, in Shunde, Guangdong province. About 10 per cent of its production is in China, but Dorin said the company does expect to do more local manufacturing, in both Asia and North America.

“There are a lot of shipping costs involved,” he said. “It makes sense to make them locally.”

Europe accounts for about half of the firm’s sales, while Asia is 23 per cent, North America and South America are 12 per cent to 14 per cent each, and Africa is 2 per cent.

The firm has installed its Ecodry system at more than 5,000 manufacturing plants worldwide, but the products are relatively new to North America. The company has sold that equipment to 47 different companies in the United States, said Steven Petrakis, president of Frigel North America in Lake Zurich, Illinois.

The new Italian headquarters includes several energy saving measures, such as using an intelligent motion detecting lighting system, very high heat insulation, solar panels to heat water and collected rain water for toilet flushing.

It also has a solar power generating system on the roof that can make all the energy the factory needs to operate, letting it supply the leftover power to the local energy grid.

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