We're reopening with a new refrigeration plant

It’s something few will think about as they take to the ice, but the huge piece of equipment which essentially keeps the ice on the rink frozen, has been replaced during the National Ice Centre’s closure. 

As well as working hard to make the venue Covid-Secure over the past few months, our Facilities Team have been working on an eight-week long project to install the new refrigeration plant.

Manufactured in the UK with the electrical panel produced in Derby, the refrigeration plant is the most critical piece of equipment in the venue. It replaces the original refrigeration plant that was installed over 20 years ago!

Our Head of Facilities, Lee Chadburn said: “As one of the busiest venues in the world for ice sports, we heavily rely on the plant being effective and reliable 365 days a year. We scoured the world to procure the best piece of equipment to serve the city’s ice users for a long time to come.”

“The plant specification has been fine-tuned and tailor made for our specific application to deliver efficiency and reliability. We take the making and upkeep of ice to be the best it can be, very seriously and we’re really excited about this installation.”

How does the ice plant work?

To maintain temperature and keep the ice frozen, the system pumps glycol around a series of pipes set into the concrete under the rink.

Water is then poured onto the concrete which sets as ice.

The in house team then paint (by hand) all the hockey and advertisements.

The glycol is controlled by the plant at a set temperature between -2C and -10C, depending on how soft or hard the ice needs to be.

To explain how important the ice plant is to the operation of the centre, the ice would begin to melt within seven to eight hours of the system going down.

On an average day, the ice is in use for around 20 hours. Some skaters are on the ice at 5am and some as late as 1am the following morning.

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