The SFC of Albert Heijn
The new Shared Fresh Centre (SFC) of Albert Heijn in Nieuwegein
As a specialist in the field of cooling installations and air treatment systems, we at Voets & Donkers come across many different projects. We encounter both the farmer who needs a single cold store and the multinational with a large distribution centre. But some projects justifiably fall into the category of ‘huge’. So too did the ‘Shared Fresh Centre’ of Albert Heijn in Nieuwegein. It’s new, it’s innovative, but most of all, that new Shared Fresh Centre is big. With a floor area of almost 42,000 m2, it is not only one of the largest fresh food distribution centres in the Netherlands, but it was also a hell of a job for Voets & Donkers. Well… hell in the proverbial sense. Because of course, we gladly accepted the challenge.
As early as January 2014, on behalf of contractor Pleijsier Bouw, we looked at a solution to keep the air in the Shared Fresh Centre between 0 and 2 °C at all times for the first time. With the gigantic logistical operation that takes place in the distribution centre every day, it is not so easy. Working people, moving forklift trucks and docking trucks are just a few of the many factors that constantly threaten to disrupt air conditions. Moreover, the space in the ceiling proved to be very limited. The standard coolers could therefore not be placed. For this reason, our engineers decided to give a completely different twist to the realisation of this project: they came up with a design in which we placed a larger number of coolers with a low installation height. This innovative design was commissioned in December 2014. Although: it wasn’t just our good idea that played a part. The fact that our company vision and philosophy fitted in well with those of client Pleijsier Bouw also contributed to their choice for us. We then took care of the technical realisation in four months.
”We've seen that everyone in the company is prepared to commit 100% in order to realise such a project.Marc VoetsDirector
Everything in 3D
In the preparation of the project, communication and cooperation with the other parties played a major role. This was important, because there were many different parties active in the roof area. From drains to lighting and sprinklers: it all had to fit. That’s why we took the lead to draw everything in 3D. By working out the design together with our partners Pleijsier Bouw, Van Dalen Installatietechniek, Kemkens Brandbeveiliging and ND Logistics down to the last detail, the actual installation of the various installations went without a hitch. “What would otherwise have been a drama has now gone well,” says director Marc Voets. “The cooperation with the other parties was very pleasant.”
Sustainable, sustainable and more sustainable
In addition to being effective, the cooling installation also had to be efficient and (therefore) energy efficient. We were able to achieve this by using speed-controllable EC fans: fans that make fewer revolutions in spring, autumn and winter than at tropical temperatures, which means that considerable energy savings can be achieved. We placed more than 1,000 in total. In addition, the installation only uses natural refrigerants. We have chosen the energy-efficient, natural refrigerant ammonia, in combination with Temper (a salt solution) as the secondary refrigerant. The size of the project, the close cooperation with other parties and the sustainable solution we have provided are not the only reasons why we are secretly very proud of this project. In order to bring this project to a successful conclusion, we had to mobilise pretty much the entire company at some point. “That was a good experience”, says Marc Voets. “We’ve seen that everyone in the company is prepared to commit 100% in order to realise such a project.”
- Floor area: 40,000 m3
- Temperature: 0-2 0C
- Refrigerant: Ammonia 2*500 kg
- Secondary refrigerant: Temper -20
- Cooling capacity: 2.8 MW
- Drive power: 4 * 250 KW Frequency controlled
- Pump power: 3 * 75 kW Frequency controlled / 50 % redundancy
- Number of coolers: 201
- Fans: 1042 Direct current motors(EC) speed controlled
Different wishes and requirements apply to each distribution centre or warehouse in terms of temperature and (ultra-clean) air conditions. With our knowledge and experience in industrial refrigeration technology and air treatment installations, we can optimise the quality and shelf life of the stored products.
As a producer or processor of food, you know that hygiene is essential. The air quality must be optimal so that no contamination enters the packaging or the product during processing or packing. At Voets & Donkers, we specialise in creating an ultra-clean air quality for the production, processing and storage of food products.
Sustainability is very important in our society today. We ‘have to’ get rid of the gas, and we also try to limit our use of electricity as much as possible. At Voets & Donkers, our installations contribute to sustainability in three ways: we use natural refrigerants, we develop energy-efficient installations and we make heat recovery possible.