Refrigeration 4.0: components for cold

The R&D importance and the future of cold components

Essential to manufacture refrigeration plants, components go towards the future, meeting digitalization and new challenges, as witnessed by an Italian leader company in the sector

The importance of electronic parts, of motor and insulating materials is often highlighted but components play an as essential role in refrigeration. Let us think of nuts, fittings and other parts that allow assembling and granting the right functionality, efficiency and safety to plants intended for cold. One of the outstanding realities in Italy, acknowledged and appreciated worldwide, is Dall’Era Valerio, Lombard company headquartered at Sabbio Chiese (Brescia), specialized in industrial components, primarily brass nuts and connections. Established in 1966, it has lived an unceasing technological evolution. Let us just consider that in 1968 it manufactured one thousand nuts per hour: in 1982 it had already doubled it. Nowadays, through constant innovation, it has reached 1,3000,000 components daily, with a strong propensity for export (90%), reaching as many as 31 Countries in 5 continents.
The mission of Dall’Era Valerio has been the production of brass components for various sectors, including the refrigeration industry, manufactured since its setup. «Starting from customers’ technical designs, we can manage a finished part, even of particular complexity», Alberto Dall’Era, managing director, explains.

Refrigeration components: characteristics
Refrigeration components weigh by about 10% of the total annual production, that is to say around 25 million parts yearly. The various nuts and connections land in almost all Countries where the Italian company exports, supplying the biggest multinationals. Even if there is not a real peculiarity of the component intended for refrigeration plants «because the intrinsic characteristics of brass are suitable for several uses and, in particular, also for very low temperature», a specific feature however exists: the alloy used to make refrigeration nuts and connections is brass cw617n, characterized by excellent qualities of hot forming and machining with tools. Nevertheless, it is not the only peculiarity of the cold sector: «like many other sectors, refrigeration needs particular care in the workpiece turning. One of the historical manufacturing targets is maintaining minimum error tolerances with impeccable turning result. Today we succeed in achieving a reject percentage close to zero of components judged unsuitable: in other words, we managed to decrease defective components to few units every one million of nuts and connections manufactured».
While along the years the demand for highly reliable nuts and connections has been the main market requirement, and the arrival of natural refrigerants (CO2 and not only) has not achieved any change in components, the digital transformation has had significant implications also in the sector where Brescia company operates: «The digitalization has shared in the overall increase of the manufactured part quality. Together with quality –Alberto Dall’Era tells –we can hit also other very important goals. Machining times decrease, on the whole making plants and the corporate operation more efficient. We can state that digitalization aids in satisfying the high standards of Quality management imposed by the most exacting multinationals that we supply».

The R&D importance and the future of cold components
Research and development represent a crucial issue at Dall’Era, too. Improvements targets concern both the manufacturing process and the product. «All main implementation stages, from the technical design upon customers’ specifications to the real machining of the connection, up to threading, are performed with attentive performance and quality control. ISO 9001:2015 standard, one of the primary certifications of Dall’Era Valerio, represents the quality management system most known and used in the world».
Today, what will the future of refrigeration components be during next years? «The component evolution in this sector should be circumscribed to a higher and higher efficiency of brass components. Efficiency is granted not only from the technological point of view but also by our technicians, who year by year gain complete knowledge and management capability in the identification and implementation of corrective actions for the amelioration and the management of non-conformities. We might say the evolution of refrigeration components is increasingly oriented to the direction of a non-standard component, created upon customers’ specific design requirements», Alberto Dall’Era ends.