Industrial chillers cool liquids for various industrial purposes. These liquids, also known as coolants in this case, include water, alcohol, brine, oil, or other chemicals. With the help of heat exchangers, the coolant cools air or directly or indirectly processes equipment. Chillers are found in air conditioning systems and are widely used in large industrial and commercial buildings.
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Applications of Industrial Chillers
Specific industries that utilize chillers for various applications include laboratory, food, and beverage, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, and medical. These industries use chiller systems because of their ability to cool products and keep their temperatures controlled and uniform. Chillers are also used to regulate the temperature of various pieces of equipment that would otherwise overheat.
Industrial chillers are often used in these applications:
- Printing Presses
- Chemical Processing
- Die Casting
- Metal Working
- Plastic Molding
Industrial Chiller Design and Function
Cooling capacities range from a fraction of a ton within an industrial chiller to thousands of tons within a multi-unit chilling system or “plant.” The cooling capacity of chillers are measured in tons, which equals the heat of fusion of one ton of ice. In numerical form, it equals 12,000 Btu/h. Industrial chillers carry out their cooling functions using two possible cycles: absorption or vapor compression. In the absorption process, the cycle is carried out using a heat source. In the vapor compression method, a gas or electric-powered compressor is utilized. In both of these processes, a cycle of condensation and evaporation is carried out. These cycles release heat in a specific place and absorbed in another to precisely provide cooling where it is necessary. Refrigerants that are commonly used include water, methane, brine, alcohol, sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide, or ammonia. The interior insulative coating is made of liquid ceramic. It assists in regulating the amount of cooling power inside the pipe and thus ensuring that loss of cooling power is kept to a minimum. It also helps to decrease the noise that comes with chiller systems. Other benefits of this internal insulative coating includes protection from determination, rust decay, and harmful chemicals, such as lead paint. The external insulative blanket protects the chilled liquid from factors such as chloride exposure and humidity.
During the process of condensation, air or water from outside of the chiller assists in changing compressed refrigerant vapor back into a liquid by cooling it. Water cooled chillers are highly recommended in carrying out this process, but they require both a cooling tower and a water pump to recycle the water. A more simplified type of chiller is an air cooled chiller, which blows ambient air over and around a set of condenser tubes. The air then transports some of the heat energy to the atmosphere. In an evaporation cooled chiller, a similar process is carried out. The only difference is that instead of air, a mist of water comes into contact with the coils, using evaporation to achieve extra cooling. Any type of chiller that functions using a consistent amount of clean coolant within a closed loop can be categorized as a recirculating chiller. Alternatively, open loop chillers provide cooling by regulating the temperature of a tank full of liquid and pumping the liquid refrigerant through a heat exchanger.
Factors to Consider When Purchasing Industrial Chillers
If you belong to a company whose facility utilizes an industrial chiller, the use of the system is not without its challenges. One of these challenges is how to efficiently provide insulation for the piping that is connected to the chiller. Chillers need insulation because of how much cold liquid it transports from place to place. If the chiller is not insulated properly, the liquid will warm back up again, thus decreasing the efficiency of the machine. Most machines feature complex arrangements, posing an even greater challenge of insulating them, and thus forcing the manufacturers of the chillers to find a new solution to insulate the machines’ piping. Any chiller—and by extension, the business—can greatly benefit from insulation. When insulation is applied to chillers, it greatly improves the machine’s efficiency, increases its cost effectiveness, and protects it from contaminants and other detrimental factors. Fortunately, manufacturers have been successful with finding a solution to insulate the pipes. These pipes have two insulating features: a built-in insulative coating and an external thermal insulation blanket. With these two features working together, they help contain the cool air inside the pipes and prevent contact with the air surrounding them. These systems are designed to accommodate for any network of chiller pipes, regardless of how complicated the layout may be.