Chillers (industrial) Information

Industrial chillers provide a constant stream of coolant for manufacturing and laboratory processes. They do this by cooling process fluids or by dehumidifing air using refrigeration technology. Applications include the controlled cooling of plastics during fabrication, manufacturing elements such as printer rollers, and high-heat specialized items such as MRI machines and lasers.

How a chiller works - process water side of a chiller. Video credit: Martin King / CC BY-SA 4.0

Industrial chillers typically come as complete packaged closed-loop systems, including these components:

  • Chiller unit
  • Evaporator - Typically one of two types of evaporators are used: Shell and Tube Evaporators and Brazed Plate Evaporators.
  • Compressor - Typically one of four types of compressors are used:
    • Reciprocating
    • Centrifugal
    • Scroll
    • Screw 
  • Condenser: Condensers can be air cooled, water cooled, or evaporative
  • Pump station with recirculating pump
  • Expansion valve
  • Expansion tank
  • No-flow shutdown
  • Temperature control 

Specifications

Following are important specifications to consider when searching for industrial chillers.

Power source: electric power specified in voltage, frequency, and phase

Cooling capacity: the chiller’s capacity to remove heat from the processed fluid

Fluid discharge temperature: heat absorbed by the evaporator

Compressor motor horsepower

Closed Loop or Open Loop: Closed loop industrial chillers recirculate a clean coolant at a constant temperature and pressure to increase the stability and reproducibility of water-cooled machines and instruments. Open loop industrial chiller systems are also available. Open loop industrial chillers control the temperature of a liquid in an open tank or sump by constantly recirculating it. The liquid is drawn from the tank, pumped through the chiller and back to the tank. An adjustable thermostat senses the makeup liquid temperature, cycling the chiller to maintain a constant temperature in the tank.

Cooling medium: Most industrial chillers use refrigeration as the medium for cooling, but some rely on simpler techniques such as air or water flowing over coils containing the coolant to regulate temperature. Water is the most commonly used coolant within process chillers, although coolant mixtures (mostly water with a coolant additive to enhance heat dissipation) are frequently employed.

Process pump specifications that are important to consider include:

  • Process flow: pump flow capacity
  • Process pressure: pressure necessary for the pump
  • Pump rating: maximum tolerable operating pressure flow output at a maximum speed and displacement per pump shaft revolution.
  • Reservoir capacity: capacity in gallons of chilled fluid reservoir
  • Full load amperage

Control panel features that should be considered when selecting between industrial chillers include:

  • Local or remote control panel
  • Temperature indicators
  • Pressure indicators

Additional features include:

  • Emergency alarms
  • Hot gas bypass
  • City water switchover
  • Casters

An important environmental parameter to consider is the operating temperature.

 


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