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Osaka Municipal Central Wholesale Market (Honjo Market)

Avoiding disturbances to the market’s daily operations with careful preparation and planning for construction

Azbil’s building automation system for small and medium sized facilities installed in an air-conditioning control panel.

Azbil’s building automation system for small and medium sized facilities installed in an air-conditioning control panel.

Subsequently, a business subsidy project to reduce energy use was adopted in August 2017, and construction began in September. The main elements of the project were the replacement of aging cooling towers for the freezers and refrigerators and replacement of the HVAC system’s hot and chilled water generators with high-efficiency aircooled heat-pump chillers. In addition to installing variable speed drive units for the air supply/exhaust fans, Azbil provided LED lighting to replace the inefficient mercury and fluorescent lamps.

Azbil also introduced its building automation system for small- and medium-sized facilities. This system is connected to Azbil’s Dataware Center via the Internet so that Azbil can appropriately manage energy consumption trends at the market.

In the construction phase, Azbil followed a construction plan that did not disturb the wholesalers or other operations at the market. “For example,” explains Mr. Nakajima, “the most important pieces of equipment at the market are the freezers and refrigerators that keep the food fresh—and at Honjo Market, we have some 500 freezers and refrigerators. They range in size from large units that are shared to small ones installed in individual stores. The key issue for the project was how to upgrade the cooling towers, which are indispensable for the operation of these freezers and refrigerators, without affecting daily operations.”

All the freezers and refrigerators in the market are connected to the cooling towers by piping. Azbil devised a method whereby bypass piping installed between the two cooling towers and the freezers/refrigerators was utilized so that each cooling tower could substitute for the other one. This method was adopted during construction, allowing the equipment to be replaced without stopping the operation of the freezers and refrigerators. While one of the cooling towers was stopped for upgrade work, the other one continued operating, and when upgrade of the first one was completed, the bypass valve was switched and the other cooling tower was upgraded. This allowed the replacement to be completed without interrupting the freezers and refrigerators or otherwise disturbing market operations.

“Before the actual upgrade,” continues Mr. Nakajima, “we carried out a large-scale operation verification test in which we switched the bypass valve. We also took steps such as checking the volume of water and measuring how the cooling water temperature changed before starting construction. As a result, we were fully prepared for the cooling tower upgrade, and we completed the actual work without any problems. We were able to effectively take advantage of Azbil’s expertise in air-conditioning and HVAC control.”

“We anticipated that it would be difficult to install the LED lights in the market since we needed to install 6,000 units using aerial work platforms,” adds Mr. Fujii. “Again, in cooperation with Azbil, we worked closely with market stakeholders in advance and followed a detailed construction plan. As a result, we were able to convert all the lights within the project scope to LEDs in just three months. I think Azbil did a great job in achieving this in such a short period of time.”

Cooling towers for freezers and refrigerators on the roof of the market.

Cooling towers for freezers and refrigerators on the roof of the market.

Air-cooled heat pump chillers for the HVAC system. With a unified and redundant design, backup operation is possible in the event of a failure, providing security as well as energy savings.

Air-cooled heat pump chillers for the HVAC system. With a unified and redundant design, backup operation is possible in the event of a failure, providing security as well as energy savings.

An early-morning auction. Approximately 6,000 mercury and fluorescent lamps used in the market were converted to LEDs.

An early-morning auction. Approximately 6,000 mercury and fluorescent lamps used in the market were converted to LEDs.

These case studies were published in the 2020 No.3 issue of the azbil Group's corporate magazine, azbil.