In any industry, ensuring that your machinery remains cooled and regulated is important for preventing damage or undue strain on the machinery. Alternatively, they’re used for dehumidifying air, which is perfect for air compressors that need a dry environment to prevent corrosion or contamination. While you can probably imagine what process water chillers do broadly, let’s discuss specifically how they work and how they’re applied. Here’s everything you need to know about industrial chillers.
What Are Industrial Chillers?
For both commercial and industrial facilities, industrial water chillers are the go-to solution for portable cooling systems. As a refrigeration unit, industrial chillers serve as either a way to cool down liquids or dehumidify the air. Both functions are in the interest of protecting machinery. By helping keep fluids cool, the industrial chiller helps manage the temperature of equipment so that production rates remain optimal. Similarly, when using the chiller to dehumidify, they benefit machinery like air compressors that need to be in a dry environment. Dehumidifying the area prevents water vapor from getting into the machinery and potentially causing corrosion of the machinery or contamination of products.
However, there’s the “twist.” Industrial chillers don’t actually “chill” anything. Instead, industrial chillers simply remove the heat rather than working to cool machinery down. The chiller extracts the heat and circulates it through a heat exchanger in order to keep a fluid, the surrounding air, or a piece of equipment cooled. In all, it’s much more accurate to think of these devices as “heat-removers” rather than chilling devices.
The Chilling Process
So now that you have a better understanding of what industrial chillers exactly are, we can talk about the process that they actually undergo when keeping something cool. The process is comparable to what you would expect from a normal refrigerator, and this process can be broken down into four steps.
First is the refrigeration process. As previously stated, the chiller removes heat from the machinery, fluid, or the surrounding area in order to keep the intended object or environment cooled down and at a desirable temperature.
Second, once the refrigeration process has begun, the heat will begin to evaporate with the aid of either water or air, depending on whether you’re using a water-cooled or air-cool chiller. The water or air will boil and convert to vapor, which begins step three.
Third, the newly created vapor enters a compressor that increases its temperature and pressure.
Fourth, after the vapor has been compressed, the vapor moves on to a condenser that lowers its temperature once more so that the vapor reverts to a liquid. This liquid is then metered back into the evaporator, and the cycle repeats itself.
Because the process practically recycles and reuses its water or air, it can be repeated over and over again without needing to be refilled. This ensures you receive constant and consistent cooling that maintains optimal production rates.
Water vs. Air Chilling
As mentioned, there are two kinds of industrial chillers for you to choose from: water- and air-cooled. Neither of these variants is a “wrong” choice, but there are different advantages and disadvantages to consider when choosing between the two to get the option best suited for your facility and needs.
The key advantage of a water-cooled chiller is that it is much more efficient and precise in transferring heat. They also operate at a lower condenser pressure and are thus much more energy efficient in comparison. In addition to typically being installed indoors, this lower pressure means that water-cooled chillers have a longer lifespan, ranging from about 20 to 30 years.
The trade-off is that the upfront and maintenance costs of water-cooled chillers are higher, and having water-chilled coolers requires a bit more space. This typically balances out thanks to the longer lifespan, but you’re also paying for greater precision, quality, and lesser costs on energy and resources.
An interesting development that will help keep water-cooled chiller maintenance costs down, however, is the development of AI. AI algorithms can help detect potential issues within your industrial chiller and ensure predictive maintenance can occur before an actual issue or system failure occurs. This means that your ongoing maintenance costs are smaller, and your industrial chillers are operating with much less downtime.
In contrast to water-cool chillers, the advantages of air-cooled chillers stem from overcoming the water-cooled chiller’s disadvantages. With lower upfront costs and no water treatment costs, the air-chilled cooler is preferable for facilities or companies on a tighter budget, or those that need a chiller for outside applications. Because they’re smaller and designed with outside applications in mind, you can find portable variants for multiple applications rather than having to get a dedicated chiller for each application.
The disadvantages of air-cooled chillers are that they aren’t as precise at transferring heat, nor are they as energy efficient as water-cooled chillers because they operate at a much higher condenser pressure. Combined with enduring the environment outside, this higher condenser means these chillers have a lesser lifespan—typically between 15 and 20 years.
Sourcing Industrial Chillers
Now that you have everything you need to know about industrial chillers to get started, you may be wondering where you can find the best source for your chillers. Compressor World is an online leader in the sale of air compressors, and our inventory is wide enough to ensure we can service any industrial or commercial application. With a team of experts in our field, we’ll be happy to work with you and ensure you can find the industrial chiller you need for your facilities. With different systems that are as simple or sophisticated as your desire, Compressor World will be your one-stop shop for all your industrial chilling needs.
To learn more about our industrial chillers and what models may be best for your needs, get in contact with us today! We’ll be more than happy to help you explore our inventory and discuss what kinds of chillers will best suit your business.