Refrigeration for Airborne Electronics

Heuch Engineers provided engineering and manufacturing services to a Defence Industry Prime Contractor for the development of an on-board cooling system for suspended airborne test equipment.

The rigorous specification included 0% to 100% capacity control, minimal power consumption, shock load testing, operation at large tilt angles and variable ambient conditions.

The project required the development and manufacture of a variety of special components to meet the specified requirements.

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Coastal Off-shore Container Refrigeration

We manufacture specialised containers including models for of-shore platform supply and re-supply. The containers are designed to be stocked on shore and then delivered to off-shore platforms on a revolving cycle.

Continuous refrigeration is provided whenever the container is connect to a suitable power supply. The flexible and forgiving capacity of the Heuch Coastal Tricons allows for seamless operation on either 50Hz and 60Hz power supplies from 3442 to 500 volts. This allows the containers to move between the 50Hz shore and platform based power systems to the 60Hz platform supply vessels (PSV) without a hitch.

The Heuch Coastal Tricon containers allows a PSV to stand off a platform during foul weather and await a more suitable window without loss of refrigerated supplies. Once in place on the platform, the container functions as a refrigerated storage facility.

The unit is purpose built to provide user selectable operation for use a a chiller +4°c or a freezer -18°c in ambients up to +40°c. The design features a full reverse cycle defrost system with componentry selected to minimise maintenance requirements and to operate at maximum efficiency at both ends of its operational range.

It is specifically manufactured for an off-shore food / stores transit system and operation in a Hazardous Class 1 Zone 1 Group @B Temp T4 area IP65.

The container shell is built and tested to Lloyds Register of Shipping requirements and certification to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) MSC/Circ.860 “Guidelines for the approval of off-shore containers handled in open sea” is available.

Heuch’s Coastal Tricon is configured to be inherently stable by careful location of major mass components as close to the deck as possible. This provides for a low centre of gravity which resists toppling when loading and unloading on a rolling tender vessel deck.

Location of critical components well above the base also provides inherent protection against desk wash typically found during PSV operations.

The interior lining of the container is fully seal welded 216 stainless steel which provides corrosion resistant and ease of cleaning. The basic container can be fitted with an array of options to suit the particular characteristics of individual operation requirements. The exterior finish of the standard container is Water Borne Zinc with alternative finishes available on request.

Equipment can be configured upon request in single or multiple zones, one piece or as a split system.

The units can be specified with a 100% cooling unloading capability built into the system. This allows the refrigeration oppressor to run continuously once cooling is selected. This assists in the reduction of transient power fluctuations caused by the stopping and started of the compressor motors which be be useful on weaker or heavily loaded supplies.

All electrical connections between major components utilise rugged disconnect plugs. The coastal triton is a derivative of aa local concept designed and conceived by Defence Force personnel and Heuch engineers to provide a simple, rugged solution for reliable deployment into remote areas.

When placed into storage in standby mode the unit utilises a battery monitoring system to hold the unit ready for immediate action.

The shell may be constructed from a variety of materials and is suitable for air transportation in stand alone configuration and may also be carried by approved slings under suitable aircraft.

When suitable power supply is connected the Coastal Tricon may be operated whilst mounted on the rear of wheeled transport or statically when mounted for base area operations or sea transportation.

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Mobile Air Conditioners

Heuch manufacture a series of lightweight mobile air conditioning equipment, designed for Australian roads and ambient extremes.

Each component as been selected for its suitability to withstand the stresses found on off road vehicles used over rugged terrain.

Equipment strengths and options include:

  • Light weight welded aluminium chassis
  • Light weight aluminium access panels
  • Unloading refrigeration system for continuous operation
  • Modular construction
  • High efficiency heat exchangers
  • High volume air circulation fans suitable for ducted connections
  • Remote control console with umbilical cord
  • Low ambient temperature control

Equipment can be configured upon request in single or multiple zones, one piece or as a split system. The units consist of three main components; an evaporator housing, an air cooled condensing unit assembly and an electrical assembly.

The ADGE series units can be specified with a 100% cooling unloading capability built into the system. This allows the refrigeration compressor to run continuously once cooling is selected. This assist in the reduction of transient power fluctuations caused by the stopping and starting of the compressor motors.


General A one-piece lightweight air conditioning system also suitable for split operation
Cooling Capacity 5.6 kW @ 48°c, 22°c return air temp
Heating Capacity 3.75 kW
Power Requirements 415VAC, 50Hz, 3 Wire + Earth
Operating Temperature Max 55°c, Min -15°c
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Environmental Test Chamber

Environmental Test Chamber

This Environmental Test Chamber & associated equipment was designed, constructed, installed & commissioned by Heuch. The Environmental Test Chamber was featured in a segment of ABC’s Catalyst program, presenting the Chambers use as a testing environment for Australian Defence Force uniforms.

To view the video and read the story transcript please click here.

Construction – Chamber

  • 100% 316L Stainless steel Shell with concentric reinforcing at strategic load points.
  • Seal welded construction using ASME IX approved welds.
  • Air Flow floor & ceiling (removable)
  • Air Lock (ante room)
  • Pass Through Box.
  • Instrument & Gloved ports.

Facility Requirement

  • Chemical & Biological.

To measure the protective capability against chemical vapour or spray. To test large-scale aerosols experiments including sodium chloride, fluorescent sand, BG spores & corn oil.

  • Human/Physiological.

To simulate human physiological response to thermal loads. To test human physiological response to a range of climatic conditions.

  • Simulation Mode

Temperature, Humidity, Chamber Pressure & Exhaust Filter Element combinations are selected using the touch screen interface. Temperature: -20 Deg C to +40 Deg C. Humidity up to 90%. Maintenance of negative pressure & purge air. Combination of 3 individual filter media selected to operator’s requirements.

  • Purge Mode

Temperature & Humidity dependant on ambient condition. A continual flow of air through the Chamber & Exhaust Filter Elements is controlled to maintain air flow & negative pressure.

  • Deluge Wash Down Mode

Automatic, multi sequence deluge cleaning system for the Machinery space, Chamber operations     area, ceiling space, under floor spaces & recovery system for remote waste disposal with alarm safe guards.

Functional Areas

The functional areas of the Facility are as follows:

  • Chamber– Testing of all materials & products within this area.
  • Air Lock– Permits the passage of people between the Test Chamber & its surroundings while minimizing the change of pressure & the loss of air within it.
  • Control Room– A room adjacent to the Chamber giving visibility of the entire Chamber from operators sitting at a desk. Access points into the Chamber are via a glove box as well as access ports to supply various materials & monitor & control environments
  • Plant Room– A dedicated area near the Chamber which houses mechanical & associated electrical equipment.


The cooling system is designed for efficiency, simplicity & stability. The greenhouse & water requirement profile is minimized by the selected use of two separate air-cooled, high & low temperature refrigerant/compressor systems within a single chiller unit to maintain the operational conditions required.

The set point temperature of the cooling brine is manipulated by the Chamber PLC system to suit the desired operational set point. The PLC has the capacity to drive the control set point to provide for rapid changes in set point temperatures upon demand & then soften the differential as the control point is reached for a close approach temperature.

A large internal brine fluid buffer tank provides for high levels of energy efficiency & control stability. The twin refrigeration compressor circuits include multi-stage capacity control, brine circulation pump, operational & safety functions.


A variable temperature recirculating Brine system (ethylene glycol) provides heating fluid to a large internal stainless steel air-brine heat exchanger. The heated brine temperature is manipulated by the PLC system to provide for very close approach temperatures to the Chamber operational set point.

Humidification and Dehumidification

A mains water, electric cathode, steam humidifier provides humidification whenever the chamber is above +4 Deg C. The unit offers variable steam generation from 0% to 100% of its rated capacity. Filtered mains water is electrically heated & distributed into the chamber plant space by a self draining, heated stainless steel distribution wand.

Air Circulation

External, variable speed motors are direct coupled to two stainless steel, backward curved centrifugal fans within the Chamber plant area. Two variable speed Fans are dedicated to the movement of re-circulated air around the Chamber to generally maintain the required chamber velocity or temperature gradient in accordance with the demands of the PLC.

The third Fan is used to move a side stream of air across the internal air-brine heat exchangers where its constituent nature is adjusted to meet the temperature &/or humidity requirements of the Chamber space.

Air Distribution

A polished , stainless steel ceiling & heavy-duty floor grid provides for an even, top to bottom, distribution of the air stream within the Chamber operational space.

Chamber Pressurisation

The Chamber can be pressurized during testing & this allows the Chamber to operate across the full environmental application range.

Chamber Evacuation

The Chamber can be operated at a negative pressure between -1.0 Pa & -60 Pa during experimentation to allow for the positive containment of stimulants & decontaminants applied within the Chamber.

Chamber Deluge

A 1600 litre HDPE water storage tank & pump system is connected to the Chamber & Air Lock by a stainless steel distribution system. The distribution system supplies a series of stainless steel spray balls to provide for wash down of the internal chamber surfaces.

Condensate & waste from the deluge system is collected into the Chamber sump where it is pumped to a remote 6000 liter HDPE effluent storage tank for later treatment & removal by others as required.

Chamber Air Purge 

The purged air is drawn through the Chamber & the resultant exhaust air is vented through the series of manually selected air scrubbing components before finally venting to the external exhaust stack.

PLC & Electrical Control System

An Innotech GenII series PLC touch-panel control system provides the operator with the tools to perform a wide variety of experimental tests within an enclosed, repeatable environment. The user friendly touch screen, within the adjacent control room, includes a graphical display of the system with a selection of menu activities & control set points.

The PLC system automatically co-ordinates the activities of a variety of air control valves, ventilation fans & primary cooling/heating components.

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RAAF – Heuch Utility Tricon

Heuch have been operating alongside the Australian Defence Force since 1970 and one of the many projects commissioned was the Heuch Utility Tricon. The Heuch Utility Tricon is designed for flexible support of personnel in remote areas and can be tailored to cover a range of uses and requirements dependent upon use and environment.

The on-board 415-volt marine generator is powered by a Yammar 3 cylinder water cooled diesel engine direct coupled to an 11 kVA brushless alternator. The generator may be switched between providing power for the on-board refrigeration system or providing a useful 415 volts, 15 amp power outlet for other appliances and lighting.

The Heuch Utilty Tricon contains sufficient fuel in the gravity fed fuel tank to operate for three days under normal conditions without refuelling. During operations where grid power is available the Heuch Utility Tricon refrigeration service can be switched across to the new power source.

The three major mechanical groups in the Tricon are designed for modular assembly and rapid removal by a minimum of personnel with basic tools. All electrical connections between major components utilise rigged disconnect plugs. The Tricon was designed and conceived by Defence Force personnel and Heuch engineers to provide a simple, rugged solution for fast deployment into remote areas.

When placed into storage in standby mode, the Heuch Utility Tricon utilises a battery monitoring system to hold the unit ready for immediate deployment.

The Tricon conforms to ISO 1E configuration and may be constructed from a variety of materials, including marine grade aluminium. The Tricon is suitable for air transportation in stand-alone configurations and may also be carried by approved slings under suitable aircrafts. The utility unit may also be operated whilst mounted on the rear of wheeled transport or statically when mounted for base area operations or sea transportation.

The equipment composes of two main “cassette” assemblies to enable an easy changeover of components for replacement and repair in the field or base workshop. The container shell includes a roof access ladder, access ramp and internal lighting.

Options that can be customised in the Heuch Utility Tricon:

  • Internal shelving
  • Sections for two temperature operation – Internal, insulated dividing panel and thermostatically controlled fan kit to move air between the two sections.
  • Separate freezer cabinet – a separate cabinet with thermostatically controlled refrigeration circuit.
  • Alternative paint types and finishes
  • Solar or diesel and electric hybrid available
  • Marinised
  • Chart Recorders
  • Data logging
  • Fault alarms
  • Product restraining nets
  • Product drawers
  • Lockable drug safe
  • External lighting
  • Container certification for overseas operations
  • Certified lifting slings



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