A Lab to bring shared innovation to cold

Davide Elardo, managing director Bereva, member and co-founder. Courtesy BerevaLAB ©Chiara Grossi
Davide Elardo, managing director Bereva, member and co-founder. Courtesy BerevaLAB ©Chiara Grossi

It is called BerevaLAB and it is a laboratory to design, to develop, to test and to monitor components or systems that are part of refrigeration plants. It is unique, due to its characteristics: that is why

Designing, developing, testing and monitoring components or systems in an advanced technological environment, able to replicate refrigeration plants’ real operating conditions. It is the target for which BerevaLAB was conceived, innovative startup originated and controlled by a world-scale reality such as Belimo. Bereva is the acronym of Belimo Refrigerated Valve. It is a reality based on innovation, carried out with new modalities indeed.
It is a made in Italy startup: it is headquartered in Padua province and it was co-founded by Luca Pauletti, managing director of Belimo Italia and integral part of the Swiss company, and by Davide Elardo, managing director Bereva, member and co-founder.
«BerevaLAB was born to bring control valves inside the refrigeration world, especially expansion ball valves. They are motorized ball valves for the fluid control, able to prevent the refrigerant leak. This results in a safer and more reliable machine management in its whole: compressors have longer service life, lower problems are surveyed and the use of an electric actuator of Belimo derivation brings further benefits», Elardo illustrates.
It was established in 2019 upon initiative of Belimo parent company, world-scale Swiss company specialized in the development, production and sale of field devices for the energy-efficient control of heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.
Since 2019 Bereva has developed four registered patents: overheat regulator integrated into a ball valve; a valve that integrates with third parties’ regulators; a four-way innovative valve for cycle inversion; a range of optical-type sensors that might solve some problems in the assessment of refrigeration process parameters.

BerevaLAB: a sharing environment
Why was this innovative reality devised? «Developing novelties makes sense if we can rely on competences and on a dedicated environment where testing products: this is the first reason for the Lab establishment–Elardo specifies –. Moreover, we have immediately believed in the possibility of creating a sharing environment with our customers, where to succeed in creating useful synergies and ideas to develop innovation». The collaboration with universities completes a scenario rich in potentialities that make Bereva an outstanding research centre dedicated to refrigeration.
They have developed all useful conditions to create an accessible technological environment in terms of both space (1,000 square metre wide) and to allow people to meet and to share ideas, relying on ideal technological solutions. The existing plants create, in fact, the ideal framework to apply solutions and to create some others: two refrigerating machines are installed, one featuring 100 kW and the other with 700 kW of refrigerating power, making it a peculiar reality. «We are unique in Italy and probably also in Europe as refrigerating capacity for thermodynamic testing activities», the managing director underlines with justified satisfaction. «We have replicated two refrigerating plants on large sizes: so, it is possible to study their operation and the reactions with the use of always-new refrigerating liquids, as it happens also due to the constant pressure for a more sustainable production. A forefront laboratory that will be open also to other sector companies and to our customers». Today seven people work there, but it is a growing reality.

The guidelines of Bereva and of Lab
Padua reality has three guidelines: first of all, Bereva LAB, that is to say the advanced research laboratory to support partner customers in the development of innovative solutions based on the integration of smart valves. They in-house work at the implementation of a new generation of XBALL smart valves. Bereva, finally, is going to supply a reality able to provide user-friendly smart solutions for the refrigeration market, maintaining a strict contact with market and customers.
The laboratory activity addresses innovation (research and development of innovative products, solutions and services in collaboration with partner-customers), the analysis and development (study, analysis and development of new technologies and frameworks) and prototyping and test. The latter activity concretizes with testing phases: on components and control technologies of the refrigeration circuit; on the development and optimization of technological packages and single components validated by laboratory tests; on performance tests and measurements of components or systems; on the training and updating of technicians and specialists.

The role of electronics
What role does electronics play in BerevaLAB? «It is the integration element to allow us to enter a world that already has its own rules. Concerning this, we have created brand-new electronic solutions to dialogue with overheating control drivers. The first is linked with the features of valves’ control, highly vertical, characterized by a stepper motor control. Not relying on stepper motors of this kind, we have created a bus stepper converter that replaces a conventional valve in plug and play manner. The adjustment is not affected and we enter this world without interruption, which was our intention», Elardo specifies. The second step will be dedicated to the complete management of the overheating process control.

The family is growing, in the name of intelligence
The programmes for the year in course address the range enlargement, which today reaches solutions for 500 kW refrigerators, up to 1 MW and over; regarding the integration issue, we work at a patent for the overheating control in integrated manner.
Another synonym of innovation is the propensity for intelligence, which characterizes the generation of smart valves. Where does intelligence reside? «In applying integration and in permitting customers to connect the valve with a cloud environment where they can carry out analyses, remote management and reporting. The already present smart part will be further developed with the new product expected next months», the manager underlines.