Case Study: CHRYSLER PARTS DISTRIBUTION CENTER SAVES 50% OR MOREHome » Industrial Infrared Heaters » Case Studies MANSFIELD, MA. A perimeter design using gas-fired infrared heaters from Space-Ray, Charlotte, NC, has resulted in significantly lower annual fuel costs for a large automotive parts distribution center located in Mansfield, MA. According to figures provided by the Chrysler Corporation and the natural gas supplier, Bay State Gas Company, the average fuel costs for the 215,000 square foot warehouse and office complex are approximately 12 cents per square foot, a savings of 8 to 13 cents or up to 50% or more when compared to heating costs for a similar type warehouse in the area. Total annual energy costs are between $26,635 to $28,302 a year.
The Space-Ray heating system was installed in the newly-constructed 336 foot by 576 foot Chrysler Corporation warehouse, training and parts facility in 1989. The perimeter design consists of 28 infrared heaters strategically placed in the large warehouse structure. Instead of one temperature control for the whole system, the Space-Ray system was designed with individual controls for groups of up to three heaters for maximum zone comfort.
To heat the new warehouse, Terry Condon, President of the Condon Company, specified a total of eight RSTP17 vented gas-fired infrared heaters, each with a 175,000 Btu/hr capacity; three RSTP10 infrared tube heaters, each with a 100,000 Btu/hr capacity; and 14 LTU-75 unitized low intensity infrared tube heaters, each with a 75,000 Btu/hr capacity. Total capacity of the entire warehouse heating system was 2,750,000 Btu/hr. According to Condon, this is 40 percent less input than a comparable system to do the same job.
Space-Ray's free and unique COMPUHEAT® computerized heat loss analysis was conducted before installation of the system to determine optimum heater selection and approximate fuel cost.
The Mansfield facility is a concrete slab structure with standard membrane type roof construction. It consists of concrete walls with up to 2.5 inches of insulation and metal deck roof. The facility has 18 loading dock doors that are from 12 to 16 feet high and 10 to 12 feet wide.
"The client became interested in infrared gas heaters based on results we achieved at the nearby Nissan Motor Corporation auto parts facility we built in the same office complex and outfitted with a competitive gas fired radiant heating system three years earlier," noted Condon. "Chrysler insisted on an infrared radiant gas heating system and wanted us to not only update ourselves on the systems available but recommend the most economic system available for their plant."
Condon noted that Chrysler eventually chose the Space-Ray system over competitive systems because of its simpler design, higher radiant efficiency, minimum maintenance and lower first cost.
"None of us knew that Space-Ray would be that much more superior to the previous system we used," Condon noted. "We were used to seeing a tail pipe along the building perimeter and questioned Space-Ray on the efficiency of their system when we found that this was not included."
Perimeter Heating System
Space Ray's infrared heaters were mounted 5 feet from the loading dock doors and hung from steel trusses four feet from the 33 foot high ceiling. All were mounted at 15° angles for maximum warmth and comfort.
Condon noted that the Space-Ray heaters were easier to install and maintain compared to the competitive system he used previously which was not unitized.
"With the other system, if one of the unit's vacuum pumps became defective, the whole system shut down. This was not the case with Space-Ray where a defective unit will not cause the whole system to shut down. Installation was simple since all Space-Ray heaters are unitized and factory shipped as complete units, with only a few bolts usually necessary for mounting."
The cost of the Space-Ray system was 40 to 50 percent less than the competitive system he previously recommended. Once installed and considering labor cost, actual savings increased to over 50% compared to the competitive system, Condon observed.
Based on four years heating experience, the system has also proved to be more efficient. The input firing range of the Space-Ray system averages 16 BTU/sq. ft compared to 25 to 30 BTU/sq. ft for conventional heating systems. "Considering that we need about 40% less Btu/hr input to begin with to maintain the same heating comfort, annual savings with this feature is significant."
Condon also noted that the client feels that the comfort level of the Space-Ray system is much more efficient than other systems they are familiar with. "They are very pleased with the uniform heating coverage provided by the Space-Ray system. Optimum warmth and comfort has been maintained for the employees during the past four winter heating seasons."
Kevin Kelley, Maintenance Supervisor for Chrysler Corporation, was concerned when they first moved into the building. "He was concerned because the previous building was so uncomfortable, and was sure the small number of Space-Ray units would not heat the warehouse," Condon said. "He became pleasantly surprised and pleased with the comfort throughout the building once the heaters were installed from end to end and side to side. Even between the racks, the temperature was consistent. Not only that, but Chrysler has not experienced any service problems with the heaters in four heating seasons."
Condon added that Chrysler is extremely satisfied with the units and their clean, efficient and quiet operation. "We are currently specifying a Space-Ray system for another Chrysler warehouse facility."