A 5MW, state-of-the-art testing laboratory was recently commissioned at the Modine Rockbridge facility in Virginia, further expanding the services that Airedale by Modine can offer data center customers and meet increasing demand from the data center industry for validated, sustainable cooling solutions.
Airedale, the critical cooling specialists, is a trusted brand of Modine, a diversified global leader in innovative thermal management solutions, and provides complete cooling solutions to industries where removing heat is mission-critical. Modine’s Rockbridge facility opened in 2022 to manufacture chillers to meet the growing demand from US data center customers.
The new lab can test a complete range of air conditioning equipment, accommodating air-cooled chillers up to 2.1MW and water-cooled chillers up to 5MW. Crucially for data center applications, the ambient temperature inside the chamber can be reduced to prove chiller-free cooling performance. Free cooling is the process of using external ambient temperature to reject heat, rather than using the refrigeration process. If used within an optimized system, free cooling can help a data center significantly reduce its energy consumption and carbon footprint. The lab also can facilitate quality witness tests for customers to validate chiller performance in person.
In addition, the first US-based service team has been launched, to provide ongoing support to data center customers in the field. The team offers coverage for spare parts, planned maintenance and emergency response, providing reassurance to customers when every second counts.
Demonstrating further commitment to developing the local workforce, the Rockbridge facility is working with colleges in Northern Virginia to recruit and train service engineers, either as new graduates who will receive fast-tracked training or through apprenticeships. Apprentices will have a mix of college classes and on-site training, after which they will graduate with an associate’s degree in engineering.
Rob Bedard, general manager of Modine’s North America Data Center business said, “Our ongoing investment in our people in the US and the launch of the service team and apprenticeship program – along with the opening of our 5MW chiller test center – allow us to better serve our US customers and cement our continuing commitment to the US data center industry.”
These investments coincide with deliveries of the first Airedale chillers and fan walls to key customer Corscale. 28 OptiChill™ Free Cool chillers and 64 fan walls have so far been transported from Modine’s Rockbridge and Grenada, Mississippi, facilities to Corscale’s 130-acre Gainesville Crossing Data Campus in Northern Virginia, with further deliveries planned, to complete the order announced last year.
Once complete, the chillers will provide cooling to 8 x 9MW data halls in what is eventually planned to be a 300MW development. Corscale selected the chillers due to their market-leading free cooling performance.
At the launch of the partnership, Nic Bustamante, chief technology officer at Corscale said, “We selected Airedale by Modine because we wanted something that mirrors our dedication to deliver sustainability at scale. We wanted to work with an established brand that our customers can trust. Airedale by Modine products are renowned for their innovative approach and commitment to efficiency, which in turn reduces waste, and we were impressed by the work they have done across the world with other data centers.”
Rob Bedard continued, “We are delighted to celebrate more milestones at our Rockbridge facility by seeing the first chillers leave the plant and start their life in service at Corscale’s new data center. The whole team turned out to see the trucks leave, and that is testament to how proud we are of what we have achieved together here.”
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