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What Is An Industrial Chiller & How Does It Work


An industrial chiller is a refrigeration machine designed to remove heat from a process fluid ,machinery or industries space that needs cooling. Industrial chillers are vital equipment for temperature regulation in several industrial applications, such as in the food processing, plastics, metal plating and chemical manufacturing industries.Understanding how an industrial chiller works and the various types of chillers available will help you make the right choice for your cooling needs.

How Does An Industrial Chiller Work?

An industrial chiller is made up of four main parts: the compressor, evaporator, condenser, and expansion valve. The cycle starts with the heat exchanger,this heat exchanger is called an evaporator,which has a liquid refrigerant that flows over the evaporator tube bundle where it evaporates. In the process, heat is absorbed from the chilled water circulating through the bundle. The compressor then pulls the refrigerant vapor from the evaporator. The compressor is then tasked with pumping the refrigerant vapor to the condenser, which increases temperature and pressure. The refrigerant condenses when it’s in the condenser tubes, releasing its internal heat to the air or cooling water. The high-pressure liquid then moves through the expansion device and into the evaporator; in the process the refrigerant pressure is reduced along with the temperature. To complete the continuous cycle, the refrigerant flows back over the chilled water coils and absorbs more heat.

Types of Industrial Chillers

Industrial chillers are used in industries such as plastic industry and food production include air-cooled and water-cooled. These types of chillers differ in how the refrigerant gives off the heat it absorbs. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages, depending on its use:

Air-Cooled Chillers: Air-cooled chillers remove the heat from the process fluid by passing it over the chiller's coils, which use ambient air through the machine to cool the refrigerant. These units have numerous applications. Food processing and plastics industry use air-cooled chillers to maintain the temperatures of products. A lot of customers prefers air-cooled chillers because they are a stand-alone unit and do not require any additional equipment (such as cooling tower) to function ,so they are easy installation .

Water-Cooled Chillers: Industrial water cooled chillers require a separate cooling tower to remove heat from the refrigerant. Compared to air-cooled chillers, water-cooled units take up more space, as with the cooling tower. But they do need a sizable water-filled tower that requires a continual water source, which wastes water. This can be a detriment especially in areas with water restrictions.But when your ambient temperature is very high above 50℃ ,which is a ideal chiller for your application.

Beyond the way of cooling the refrigerant, industrial chillers also have several compressor types. Screw and scroll are two different ways of compressing the cooling agent used in the chiller:

Screw Chillers: Screw chillers come in water-cooled and air-cooled varieties. These use the movement and force of one or two screw hanbell or bitzer compressors to compress the refrigerant inside. Screw chillers come in capacities of 30 ton to 400+ tons, for  large buildings and industrial applications.

Scroll Chillers: Like screw chillers, scroll chillers also can be air-cooled or water-cooled. Industrial applications of scroll chillers include small to medium-sized applications from 1/2ton to 60 ton cooling capacity.These chillers are efficient and cost-effective with Panasonic and Danfoss scroll compressors.

In addition to specific compressors used in industrial chillers, some chillers have particular applications,such as explosion-proof and low-temp, are custom chillers used by petrochemical companies. But these two types of industrial chillers also have utility in other industries, such as pharmaceutical production:

Explosion-proof Chiller: In some hazardous work environments, you want guarantee the safety of employees and equipment,which need explosion proof chiller for safely cooling equipment . Chemical plants, refineries, laboratories, natural gas refineries, coal-fired power plants,Off-shore oil rigs and petrochemical facilities use explosion-proof chillers for their durable design. All of our explosion-proof chillers are designed from the ground up to meet the area classification needs and provide the longest life.

Low temperature Chiller: Low-temp chillers also called glycol chillers,which can reach down to35℃. These chillers use either scroll or screw compressors to attain these low temperatures.Low temperature chillers are used in petrochemical cooling and to create the ice for ice skating rinks, they also have other applications,such as the medical field uses them to manufacture or test various drugs, while the food industry uses the low temperature chillers for instantly freezing food before storage.

Industrial Chillers Applications

Industrial chillers are used in a wide range of applications,such as pharmaceuticals, food production, petrochemicals, plastic production, metal plating and agriculture are some of the industries that benefit from having industrial chillers for their many manufacturing processes.Below are the main industrial chiller are used in :

Plastic Production:Plastic production is a process that requires the most precise and accurately controlled temperatures to avoid producing damaged or inferior products. The process has little margin for error since intense and elevated heat can melt the plastic and destroy a production run. Although the molds for plastic production do not have to achieve exceptionally high temperatures, their continual use requires that they remain heated for several hours.

In the case of extruded plastics, the extruded plastic has to be cooled in a bath at exactly the correct temperature. The bath water must also be circulated and cooled at each run. For cast plastic and extruded plastic, industrial chillers provide the necessary temperature control to ensure the quality of the products produced.

Metal Plating and Anodizing: Metal plating can be done with electroplating or electroless plating. Both methods require high temperatures. Anodizing is a similar process to reduce corrosion on non-iron surfaces. It uses high temperatures to electrically bond the finish to the metal. Because both anodizing and metal plating require temperatures ranging in the hundreds of degrees, companies specializing in these processes need a heavy-duty chiller to remove the heat produced from the solution. The exceptionally elevated temperatures and harsh conditions demand the use of industrial chillers that are resilient enough to withstand the conditions.

Food Processing:The food production industry is the first application many people think of when they list uses for industrial chillers. While most people think of refrigerators, industrial process chillers is a vital part of the preservation and stability of foods and is the most common application for which cooling is required.  For instance, chillers are used in food production to ensure that products are kept at a constant temperature, especially in producing alcoholic beverages that temperature fluctuations can severely damage,breweries and wineries frequently use industrial glycol chillers for keeping their products at the perfect temperature. The beverage industry isn’t the only one to use chillers. Food manufacturers use industrial process chillers to chill dough mixers or cool ice cream makers.

How Long Do Industrial Chillers Last?

How a process is maintained, the type of industrial chiller and material design determine the life of the chiller. Compared with scroll compressor chillers, screw compressor chillers are used for 20 years, while scroll compressors are only 8-15 years . Air-cooled condensers can also last 20 years (if properly maintained).When selecting a industrial process chillers, consider its service life when comparing prices. It will help you make the wisest investment of your money.

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