When HVAC water chillers are not sufficient enough in providing cooling power, industries may instead opt to use a process chiller. A process chiller is a highly effective piece of equipment that cools a facility, a machine, or a product either during or after an industrial procedure that generates a large amount of heat. Process chillers may either be portable and compact, or they can also come in a centralized configuration that can be installed outside or inside a facility. Refrigerants that are commonly used in a process chiller include halocarbons or ammonia.
Quick links to Process Chillers Information
Purpose of Process Chillers
Process chillers have the ability to regulate and drop the temperature of an entire industrial or manufacturing facility regardless of the size, and cool up to 40 tons of a refrigerant at a time. However, they are not used to provide continuous cooling, as they are only needed during certain manufacturing processes and are not used to control the temperature of the facility itself. Process chillers are extensively used in the food processing, manufacturing, and medical industries in order to maintain a low temperature within the facility.
Application of Process Chillers
Applications in which process chillers are required include MRI and CAT scan machines, food processing plants, breweries, and dairies. Processes that utilize process chillers include printing, photographic processing, batch cooling, hydraulic systems, metal spraying, plastic molding, automatic welding, metal forming and cutting, laser cutting, and welding.
Chillers can be found in the food processing industry, such as in baking applications. Bakeries used to use fluorocarbon-based cooling systems, but the chemical will not only impact the taste of the products, but are highly toxic. However, over the past decade, bakeries have made the transition to cool their goods using water and glycol-based systems. The use of cold water allows dough to mix for a longer period of time, which increases the quality of the final product. Using a chiller eliminates the need for a bakery to use ice to cool their products, since the utilization of ice may cause the gluten to change, as well as affect other properties of the dough. Chilled glycol has been used for multiple baking processes. The mixer cooling process controls the temperature of the dough by circulating chilled glycol through a cooling jacket. Sponge cooling involves circulating the chilled glycol through a plate heat exchanger. Liquid yeast cooling involves controlling the product's temperature by storing liquefied yeast in insulated tanks. In addition to baking, process chillers are used to cool products such as vegetables, meat, and chocolate. In the manufacturing of pharmaceutical products, process chillers are used to quickly cool down emollient vats, which become very hot in the fabrication process. In the printing industry, printing presses require process chillers for pressing and rolling in order to ensure that photographs do not stretch or bleed. Process chillers can also be found in winemaking, to ensure that the wine is not clouded, discolored, or browned during the fermentation process.
Design of Process Chillers
Process chillers, like most industrial chillers, are made up of four main components; compressor, evaporator, condenser, and metering device. Despite having four main parts in common, process chillers may vary greatly depending on the application for which it is used. For example, stainless steel pumps and tanks are used for non-ferrous applications. Smaller and more compact chillers are frequently caster-mounted to make them more portable. Depending on the temperature of the facility and the desired temperature, the chiller may have high or low ambient controls, and several heat recovery rates.
Variations of Process Chillers
Process chillers are not just used to cool down machinery. They are also used for many other applications that vary according to industry. One example is glycol chillers. Glycol chillers are commonly used in the brewery and microbrewery process. In its simplest definition, glycol consists of two hydroxy groups and carbon atoms that vary in structure and size. Glycol transfers heat more easily than water, but its heat transfer characteristics can be enhanced by mixing it with water. There are two varieties of glycol: ethylene glycol and propylene glycol. The former is most commonly used in food processing, while the latter is most frequently used in industrial applications. Both types are used to help keep the piping, pumps, and evaporator from freezing. While brewing beer, heat load swings may occur. Therefore, some glycol beer chillers feature a temperature controller that is programmed to regulate the fluctuation of heat by displaying temperature set points on an interface. Another example is plastic forming. The plastic forming industry utilizes chillers to hasten the cooling process and in turn decrease cycle times.