Two new cooling systems will deliver massive carbon savings for one of the UK’s busiest airports, while reducing the risk of outages of critical IT systems
Manchester Airport is one of the busiest in the UK, initially opening in 1938 as Ringway Airport. It is the global gateway for the north of the UK and the largest regional airport, with more than 210 destinations served by 70 airlines. Ambitious development plans are now in place to expand and advance the airport’s services extensively to cater for the growing market.
Current plans aim to double the size of some areas of the airport, with a 10-year scheme currently under way. With the increasing expansion and development of the airport, Sudlows was commissioned to deliver a number of technical upgrades to the airport’s existing data centre.
The mechanical team at Sudlows installed a series of upgrades to the airport’s infrastructure, installing two new cooling systems that will deliver carbon savings in excess of 31,000kg of CO2 every year compared with the previous legacy equipment.
The installations were undertaken in two of the airport’s existing computer rooms, which both had ageing cooling systems. These were reaching the end of their operational life and would soon be out of use due to new technologies coming into play. Sudlows proposed installing Airedale Smartcool dual circuit R410a downflow CRAC units to replace the redundant units.
Before the project could begin, careful planning was undertaken to ensure the best possible systems were being installed. Sudlows went through an intensive planning and design stage to ensure every angle was covered. It was critical that the new units were resilient and reliable as the computer rooms were controlling critical systems such as the lighting for the runway. Therefore, it was vital that the systems would not affect the operation of these critical operations.
There were some challenges for the project as it was in a critical and high security environment, which is why the planning phase was so important to ensure, in terms of security, that everything ran smoothly. Additionally, as Sudlows was removing the redundant units, cooling to the comms rooms would be lost during this time, so temporary cooling procedures were put in place to ensure staff and passenger safety.
The new technology installed is not only resilient and reliable, but also offers a much higher cooling capacity. In addition, the units are much quieter and provide more air delivery, which means the hot spots in the room have been eradicated, making it a much safer option for this critical environment.
The works were carried out to a strict six-week timescale to ensure minimal disruption to the airport.
Manchester Airport project manager Stuart Gaffney comments: “This new mechanical upgrade to two of our existing data centres will deliver a highly resilient and energy efficient cooling infrastructure to our facilities.”
Sudlows mechanical services director Gary Frith adds: “Manchester Airport has chosen the ideal time to commission this upgrade to its cooling systems. This project is a great example of the direct benefits that any company can witness when considering replacing its legacy cooling systems with a more environmental and energy efficient system.”