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ARC Greenhouse Stellenbosch

Alliance: a home-grown South African success story

In 2006, Fourways Airconditioning launched their own airconditioning brand in South Africa, providing a medium-priced, high quality range of products for the local market.

Today, Alliance’s current airconditioning range includes both Inverter and non-Inverter split units and portable units for the residential market as well as cassettes, ducteds, rooftop units, underceilings, floor standing units, air curtains and even a recently-launched Air-to Water Generator that literally produces water from the air.

Then, after the ‘Energy Usage in Building Regulations (XA2)’ law came into being in 2011, it became clear to Fourways that this was another fruitful new area in which Alliance could expand its sales.

Fourways thus launched a range of top-quality Alliance heat pumps, from small retro-fitted domestic units and pool heat pumps to larger Direct Heating Commercial units, 70° and 80° High Temperature Commercial models and commercial Swimming Pool Heat Pumps.

Today, backed by 9 Fourways Airconditioning branches with warehouses around the country along with technical support, Alliance products have truly become a home-grown South African success story.

Alliance contributes to the ‘greening’ of South Africa

The Agricultural Research Council (ARC) in Stellenbosch is one of those interesting organisations quietly beavering away, intent on improving the future of agriculture in South Africa. One of their projects involves growing and testing the development of plants in a temperature-controlled environment.

By carefully regulating the interior temperature of glasshouses, ARC conducts studies on plant growth throughout the year, protecting plants from changing external temperatures. In this way, they can determine the best possible conditions for the development of plant growth using statistically comparable conditions.

Greater energy efficiency required

While their glasshouses had been in existence for a number of years, it became obvious that a more energy-efficient method of controlling the temperature of glasshouses was required. The old rooftop airconditioning units were anything but economical in terms of energy usage.

A tender was issued and Louwco Cooling Solutions became the preferred bidder. MD Marius Louw, who had had previous dealings with Fourways Airconditioning Cape, asked them for assistance. The tender called for Inverter-type rooftop units, and there was no company in South Africa that had suitable units in stock at that stage.

Mfundo Ciko, a director of Fourways, on a trip to China, had already examined units of this type for addition to the Alliance range here. Following his recommendations, an order was placed in May 2018 for 12 x 26kW full Inverter Alliance Rooftop units, and these were delivered in August.

Wasting no time, Louwco Cooling installed these in September, and with the help of Fourways Airconditioning, commissioned them at the end of the month. The job included fabricating suitable ducting to conform to the requirements of the new Alliance units.

Alliance Inverter units ensure precise temperature control

A key issue in the installation was the accurate maintenance of interior temperatures inside the glasshouses. Due to the fact that these Alliance units are fully Inverter, compressor speeds can be varied to ensure precise temperature control.

States Marius: “While the old units were running at 18 amperes, the new Alliance units – depending on temperature and capacity of the greenhouse interior – can drop to as little as 8.5 amperes. On average we thus estimate an energy saving of at least 32% over the old units.

“We are grateful for the expert assistance we received from Fourways Airconditioning Cape, both in the expediting of the order from China, the prompt delivery and their follow-up on site. We now look forward to hearing from ARC in the longer term precisely what the energy saving is of these new Alliance units we have installed.”

Adds Mfundo Ciko: “Fourways is proud to have its Alliance units contributing to the further ‘greening’ of South Africa – in more ways than one!”