Order #1: M&M Refrigeration

Order number one was made on 30 July 2004, and at that time, Vahterus did not even have the ASME U-Stamp. From these very humble beginnings, the contractor, M&M Refrigeration, and end user, US Cold Storage (USCS), have become cornerstones of Vahterus Refrigeration in the USA, utilising many Vahterus Plate & Shell Heat Exchangers (PSHE), notably in CO2 /NH3 cascade systems. The key individuals involved on all sides are still involved today, and this is what has made the working relationship and collaboration between all parties so strong and long lasting.

Ole Christensen, Vice President of Engineering at M&M Refrigeration, had previously encountered Vahterus in Europe, during his time with Sabroe in Denmark. When M&M Refrigeration was part of the York Group, he transferred to work with M&M Refrigeration in Federalsburg, Maryland, to which he brought considerable knowledge of refrigeration compressors, heat exchangers and very importantly, CO2 cascade systems.

Christensen said, ‘Because of my previous work as Global Product Manager for CO2 refrigeration systems at Sabroe/ York Refrigeration, where we started to sell CO2/ NH3 cascade systems back in 1999, it was pretty exciting for me to introduce these systems in the USA when I moved here in 2004. There was a lot of interest in these “new” systems, mainly because of large reduction of ammonia charge and because of potential power savings in low temperature applications. Within the ­first year, we secured the ­first two orders and it has now escalated to 36 systems/system expansions. The cascade heat exchanger is an essential part of these systems and here at M&M Refrigeration we’ve used Vahterus heat exchangers in every project. I’d be very hesitant to use anything else.’

Around the time when Christensen relocated to the USA, Chuck Toogood was Vice President of Engineering at USCS. Due to the resistance of large-charge ammonia refrigeration systems in many jurisdictions throughout the USA, Toogood was looking for a sustainable and efficient refrigeration system with a smaller refrigerant charge than the common systems in use. This search took him to Europe, where he was able to observe numerous Cascade CO2 /NH3 refrigeration systems operating successfully in various industrial applications. Since the Cascade CO2 /NH3 refrigeration system generally has a refrigerant charge 1/10 of an equivalent two-stage ammonia system, the Cascade CO2 /NH3 refrigeration system became a viable option to consider.

The search led Toogood to M&M Refrigeration, Inc., where he encountered Christensen, who was of course very knowledgeable in the area of Cascade CO2 /NH3 refrigeration systems, both in Europe and USA. After careful consideration and based on M&M Refrigeration recommendations, Vahterus Cascade Exchangers were selected. Two reasons for this were their reliability and a lower refrigerant charge in comparison to other types of heat exchangers. On this basis, the Vahterus Cascade exchangers were purchased by M&M Refrigeration for their first USCS system, to be installed at the Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, facility. Following the success of this initial installation, many new systems and expansions have been installed by M&M Refrigeration at USCS facilities throughout the USA.

In the early years, Vahterus Business Development in North America was led solely by Jonathan Pascoe, who was working remotely from a UK base to support M&M Refrigeration and other clients, not only within the Refrigeration sector. Under his leadership and with support of many, the Refrigeration sector and very importantly, M&M Refrigeration, have grown to become key components of Vahterus business in the Americas. Since the establishment of Vahterus Americas office in Charlotte, North Carolina, at the end of 2011, day-to-day working between the companies has strengthened. Colleen Webster, who has worked at M&M Refrigeration for 15 years, has been a key collaborator, as has Aaron Purse in Purchasing.

In addition to their work in North America, M&M Refrigeration have expanded their international operations and installed bases in places such as Mexico, Malaysia, Costa Rica, Colombia, the Philippines and Puerto Rico, again using Vahterus PSHE as a key component in their systems. Greg Robison, M&M Refrigeration’s Vice President of Sales, has been instrumental in securing many of these projects as the company looks not only to develop its geographical coverage, but also to take its knowledge into other related markets.

Dr Jonathan Pascoe

Vahterus Americas