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Irinox: Energy of the Sun

For Irinox the new PV installation is a futureproof system, where data exchange can be adapted for smart metering and for feeding into a smart grid..

Gabriele Cavazzana, Salesperson
Eaton Electrical Sector, Italy


The Italian company Irinox S.p.A., founded in 1989 in Corbanese (Treviso province), specializes in the production of blast freezers, shock chillers and control panels. 150 employees at present contribute to the success of the company, with two production plants in the province of Treviso and various sales branches and agencies in 80 countries around the globe. Being an environmentally aware company, Irinox gives due consideration to its energy consumption, and the company intends to install a PV installation for resource conservation at both production sites.

Irinox is regarded as one of the pioneers in the development of blast freezing in order to ensure sufficient freshness of top quality products in the catering and confectionery sectors, as well as in ice cream and bread production. Whether for food preservation, cooling or deep freezing systems – Irinox offers a wide product range for virtually any requirement. In this process the company always gives due consideration to energy efficiency. In order to optimize costs, a PV installation was planned for the roof space of its two plants located in Conegliano. In the course of the project, Tecno Emme, headquartered in Vittorio Veneto, and L.R.E. Impianti (Engineering Automation), headquartered in Giavera del Montello got involved.


After evaluating Irinox's requirements, Tecno Emme decided on the integration of a control system that would collect and evaluate all the information relating to energy generation and energy consumption in the production plants and make it available to the network. Together with the Eaton system integrator L.R.E. Impianti, Eaton added its highend and well-rounded PV product range and its wellfounded experience into the mix. In all, both PV installations produce today over 750 kW, which has a significant effect on the energy balance.


At Irinox, PKZ-SOL help to protect the PV modules and are housed in the 40 switching cabinets underneath the solar modules. PKZ-SOL string circuit-breakers offer a fuseless alternative to short-circuit protection. Thanks to their variable tripping range, they can be optimally set to the actual short-circuit current of a string. A thermal release already trips at 1.05 … 1.3 times the current, and the magnetic release trips at 6 times the current. The U-PKZ0 undervoltage release is optionally available and can be used for remote disconnection. The attachable NHI-E-PKZ0 auxiliary contact can provide information about the actual switching state.

AC switching devices: Controlling, switching, protecting

Two newly installed stations next to the Irinox production plants house the AC connections and interfaces to the interface panels. NZM2 circuit-breakers are used to protect the power inverters. NZM4s are installed on the output side. The innovative NZM circuit-breaker series from Eaton offers switching, protection and communication up to 1600 A: Four switches with four seamless switching capacity levels from 25 kA for small subdistribution systems up to a switching capacity of 150 kA for complex high energy plants round off the comprehensive range. The compact design of the small 160 A circuit-breaker saves space when used as the main switch in machine control centers, as well as for the incomer in service installation boards or as outgoer switches in power distribution systems. The remaining device levels include 300 A as well as the compactly designed 630 A switches and not least the large 1600 A circuit-breaker. This series stands out on account of the identical functionality, mounting and handling for switch and accessories throughout the entire series.

Irinox uses the Eaton XV460 HMI on the one hand as a data collector for the highly granular XI/ON remote I/O modules from Eaton, in order to process the large volume of data from the PV installation with five strings. On the other hand, it also serves as the PLC.

The XV400 touch display series from Eaton offers a scalable, future-proof device generation. A 400 MHz CPU provides sufficient processing power for implementing complex HMI or HMI/PLC applications. Eaton offers different touch technologies in order to meet the various environmental requirements for operation: The robust infra-red or the industrial resistive touch with a fully laminated polyester foil – for protection against splintering. Scalable display sizes from 5.7 to 15 inch are available. Over 100 communication protocols enable the XV400 devices to meet virtually any requirement, and pluggable communication modules include CAN or optionally Profibus DP master or slave (12 MBaud each) protocols and many others. L.R.E. Impianti developed the data processing, control and visualization for the XV460 using Eaton's Galileo project design environment.

Galileo is an easy to learn and yet powerful and extensive project design software environment. With its nonsector specific design, Galileo offers seamless project design for all graphical operator units from the Eaton HMI product range as well as for PC singleuser solutions. Galileo always provides the project designer with the full functionality without any graduated restrictions on tags (variables) or screens, according to the performance specifications of the panel used.

The software displays each of the five power inverters at Irinox graphically and is used to write parameters to them and read values from them; the Modbus protocol used here makes it possible to scan the energy yield of each PV module according to specific time settings (e.g. daily, monthly, yearly), and this also applies to alarm messages. In the event of an alarm, the XV460 automatically sends an email or activates a specific response, if required also in stages.


The XV460 provides Irinox with a future-proof system for its PV installation. The data exchange can be adapted as required to meet the Italian requirements for smart metering and for feeding into a smart grid, and it is also possible here to connect a smart metering device via Modbus.

In order to fulfill any mandatory documentation requirements and also to calculate profitability, Irinox can also document all input/output data as well as energy yields. It is also possible to display this information graphically as a time plot, or summarize it in detailed logs. Each alarm, for example, is processed in real time and logged as historical data (up to 520 alarms, log with serial number, description, date and time of the incident).