Process cooling is a core factor in many industries, like food storage and processing facilities, or companies that handle chemicals and other temperature-sensible materials. Without the ability to cool their supply and processing chains effectively, many businesses would experience catastrophic losses.
That’s why it is essential to take extra care when selecting the appropriate water chiller for your process cooling needs. Here are important tips on how to find the right cooling system.
The Importance of Process Cooling
An industrial water chiller has a critical influence on the quality and success of many industrial processes. Whenever a material needs to reach and stay at a certain temperature, these systems will provide the relevant parts of a processing chain with the needed cooling medium. In this case, this medium is water.
The uses for cooled water to help with temperature control in industries are countless:
- For example, metal working processes, where materials get drilled or ground, typically need to be cooled down to eliminate the heat created by friction.
- In food and beverage processing, the large amounts of cooled water can ensure the products are preserved from spoilage and contamination, turning them into health hazards and complete losses for the company.
- The same applies to the secure storage of chemicals, and other resources, like fuel, which could turn into health and environmental hazards when heated above certain temperatures.
How does a Water Chiller Operate?
A chiller uses a condenser to compress, condense, and evaporate a coolant that is led through a closed circle within the cooler. This process makes use of the change in temperature the cooling chemical experiences when being put under pressure or relieved of it.
- Described by the Laws of Thermodynamics, when two objects with differing temperatures come in contact, the hotter will always emit its heat and transfer it to the colder area, until both reach an equilibrium.
Whenever the compressing process rises the temperature of the coolant above the temperature that is surrounding it, it will transfer its heat into its surroundings. When the liquid coolant evaporates and cools below its surrounding temperature, it will draw the heat from the outside and carry it along to the next step in the circle, repeating this process over and over.
In water chillers, these channels the coolant travels through when drawing heat from the outside, are connected to water tanks. The water gives its heat to the coolant and reduces its own temperature in the process.
Pumps transport the cooled water as the cooling medium to wherever a process needs steady temperature control. The water draws the heat from its surroundings, cooling them to the desired temperature, and then returns to the cooler to pass the heat to the coolant once more.
What Determines the Quality of a Water Chiller for Specific Processes?
Water chillers are typically suited best for processes which require a constant temperature on a permanent basis.
There are several traits that make specific water chillers the right choice for industry processes:
- Reliability, Service & Maintenance | A water chiller must both be efficient, but also reliable. A strong cooling effect is worthless, if the machine breaks down regularly, especially when a strict constant temperature control is needed. Good water chillers are simple to clean and perform maintenance on, even without specialists. However, a good vendor will also provide a great service when it comes to consultations and repair.
- Cost-Efficiency | Different chillers have varying levels of efficiency vs operating costs. Some technologies, like sending the coolant through many small micro-channels that create a larger, heat-exchanging surface on the water tanks, lead to more efficiency when cooling down the water and require less refrigerant at the same time.
- Environmental Safety | This cost-efficiency also adds to the environmental safety of a chiller by wasting less energy and resources. Using water as the cooling medium is a better solution for the environment as well, in comparison to cooling systems with large amounts of chemical coolant.
- Compact Size & Flexibility | In many companies, space can be an issue when they are looking for new machinery. A good water cooler has a compact size that easily fits into processing chains. Some manufacturers even offer different series of chillers, some with a reduced size and cost-optimization. Another good trait for the chiller to have, is a simple plug & use system that makes it easy to flexibly integrate it into preexisting processes.
Water chillers make use of water tanks connected to a cooling system to create large volumes of a cooling medium. Pumps can deliver it to any processing step that needs a continuous temperature control. The use of water as a resource reduces the need for large amounts of chemical coolant, making these chillers environmentally safer.
Additionally, a good chiller comes with easy and reliable maintenance and service, uses cost-efficient technologies, and has a compact size that can easily be introduced into industrial surroundings.