When the cold is WITHOUT FLAME too

VULKAN Lokring gets on board superyachts with VECO: the origins of the project that changes an established technology into an innovative application in the superyachts’ refrigeration world

What do VECO, Italian company, well known refrigeration and air conditioning systems manufacturer for the yachting industry, and VULKAN Italia have in common? Let’s start with the obvious: both are historical Italian groups, engaged for decades in the yachting world.

It is well-known fact that VULKAN is a designer and a solver of issues related to torsional vibration’s attenuation and, in general, of noise and vibrations that, originated from propulsion lines equipped with diesel engines, could propagate through structures overall on-board. The place where VULKAN operates is the engine room: with a system approach (managing the synchronous activity of torsional, tail shaft couplings and resilient mounts), VULKAN is the on-board comfort keeper.

Another kind of comfort VULKAN takes care of when operating in domestic and commercial refrigeration sectors, onshore, as a partner of worldwide companies (Whirlpool, Electrolux) or in commercial refrigeration, a very important sector in Italy, with excellence districts in many Italian areas (Veneto, Marche, Piedmont): this is the VULKAN division, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, unknown to seawolfes.

VULKAN Lokring Technology, FLAME-FREE Connections

VULKAN offers “cold” (flamefree) mechanical connection solutions based on VULKAN Lokring technology, to make hermetic and, therefore effective in their operation, all the refrigeration systems: they work with gases, performing a closed thermodynamic cycle, removing heat from the system.

Each refrigeration circuit consists of four basic elements, the compressor that increases the refrigerant pressure in the system, moving it from the evaporator, where the heat absorption from refrigerator takes place, to the condenser, where the transfer of the heat to the external environment takes place, and then filter and capillary (or expansion valve) that allow the fluid to return to its first conditions and begin its cycle again.

Essential is to ensure the refrigerant presence within the system: it is the vector fluid operating the heat exchange. Without refrigerant, the refrigerator would be a simple pantry and could not fulfill its role as a fridge!

The tightness of these systems is also essential. The refrigerants used in the marine sector are HFC, having a major impact on the environment: if they are released into the atmosphere, they contribute to the greenhouse effect. It is mandatory that they remain within the circuit and, therefore, don’t be released into the atmosphere, due to leakages of the system.

Installation of the VULKAN LOKRING coupling.

The refrigeration industry mostly use copper as refrigeration circuit material: pipes, connecting the various components, are made of copper, and traditionally assembled by brazing. This technology is based on metal parts connected with the help of filler material at melting temperature: it acts like a glue between tubes ends.To melt the metal, a heat source is required and, most of the time, it is a flame.

Connection tool and coupling

VULKAN connection kit for refrigeration applications

VULKAN Lokring technology, based on mechanical connection concept with elastic deformation of the tubes that constitute the connection point, has some distinctive features: it is hermetic and resists even stronger to vibratory stresses, no gas use nor system for heating and melting components are involved to get to the combustion, it is applied with simple tools, which ensure its repeatability, depending less on the specific skills of specialized technicians.

VECO and VULKAN Italia collaboration was born in this context. VECO designs and manufactures its products with the possibility to fully customize them, both from an aesthetic and design point of view, especially in case of Mega Yacht when designers request completely personalized solutions.

VECO’s design and production department had an important goal for a specific product line: production process of connecting the circuit inside the refrigeration unit review, by removing the brazing process to optimize production time and entrusting all assembly operation for the same product to a single operator.

Here it is the added value about the companies’ collaboration: Cristina Fasciolo, VULKAN Italia Refrigeration and Air Conditioning (RAC) Sales Manager, in collaboration with Stefano Gallazzi, VECO’s Technical and Production Director, studied a technical solution that, using a specific VULKAN Lokring connector, allows simple and fast assembly, using a handy battery-powered tool that can be adapted to variable assembly needs and production layout when introducing non-series products with specific characteristics.

Stefano Gallazzi

“In VECO we are always open to testing new technologies that can optimize and make our production process faster and more efficient, considering the variability of our products and the very high customization that our customers require. The collaboration developed with VULKAN on our MS series Frigoboat furniture, is a clear example of this”.

For VULKAN, this project is an important milestone: it is the first VULKAN Lokring connection application installed on a refrigeration system onboard yachts. This is a non-obvious result that comes from the openmindness and foresight of a reliable company. VECO was ready to implement, and test established technologies which are easily adaptable to similar products for different applications: VECO believed in a non-traditional technology for its industry, getting its goal of production process optimization.

VULKAN Italia is part of the German VULKAN Group. With 43 employees and two locations, in Novi Ligure and Genoa, it stands out among subsidiaries for its constant goal of increasing its know-how in terms of system expertise, not just products supplier. Well known in the maritime world for its solutions against noise and vibrations problems, as well as its innovative approach in the realization of customized hybrid architectures, it operates in two other sectors: the Refrigeration and Air Conditioning world with its VULKAN Lokring technology for flame free circuits connection, and Industry and Power Generation sector, with solutions for power transmission and vibrations damping.

A project that involves the world of production and its objectives, but also paves the way for VULKAN LOKRING technology in the area of service on board yachts, offering the possibility for technicians to intervene in a safer, faster, more practical way on board.

VULKAN Italia Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Team

(When the cold is WITHOUT FLAME too – Barchemagazine.com – March 2024)