While the function of a water chiller is to lower the temperature of water only, one may not realize its tremendous secondary usefulness, without which many day-to-day operations may have breakdowns causing productivity, operational and financial losses. Chillers use refrigerants in a closed-circuit loop to facilitate the exchange of heat from water to the atmosphere and, in the process, keep machinery cool and function at optimum capacity. In our day-to-day use, water chillers are in refrigerators, air conditioners, or hotels where individual room temperatures need to be maintained separately.
Chilled water or any other liquids gets pumped with the help of a laboratory or any process equipment in many industrial applications. The chillers used in various industries have functions that include cooling of products, mechanisms, and machinery.
Industrial chillers find their use across different industries like the following:
• Plastic industries, injection and blow molding.
• Metalworking cutting oils
• Welding equipment
• Chemical processing
• Die casting and machine tooling
• Pharmaceutical formulations
• Processing of food and beverage
• Processing of paper and cement
• Cacuum systems
• Power supplies and generation stations
• X-ray diffraction
• Compressed air and gas cooling
• Analytical equipment, semiconductors
• Used in cooling high-heat specialized items such as lasers and MRI machines
• Used in hospitals, hotels, and campuses.
Heat is the most common by-product of any industrial process which uses machines and motors for its operations. Without heat generation, this process cannot be 100% efficient. On the flip side, removing heat and cooling down of the industrial process is equally essential; otherwise, there are equipment breakdowns, reduced production time and output, and premature equipment failure. Incorporating cooling mechanisms into the industrial process is critical to avoid these issues.
Benefits of Water Chillers
Water chillers cooling effect has multiple benefits. It ensures consistent pressure and temperature to an industrial process. By eliminating the variables in pressure and temperature, the industrial process becomes more stable, simplifies and optimizes process development, and delivers consistently high-quality products. The chiller also has another advantage: cost savings as far as water consumption is concerned. So, instead of a single pass-through water system, which allows water to drain out, a chiller recirculates the cooling water.
Not only does it save on water consumption costs, but it also helps the environment. In industrial applications, chillers are centralized so that one source can serve multiple cooling needs or decentralized in situations where each machine or application has its chiller. Many industrial applications use both centralized and stand-alone chillers, and there are advantages in both systems. There is no such rule not to have a hybrid system for chillers, especially when the cooling requirement is for some applications or a particular point of use but not everywhere.
Water chillers come in different sizes and cooling capacities. A typical decentralized chiller will be small in size, usually 0.2 to 10 short tons. Centralized chillers come in larger capacities ranging from ten tons to hundreds or thousands of tons.
Warm and humid airs in large-size commercial, industrial or institutional facilities are cooled and dehumidified by the help of water chillers using chilled water. Water chillers mode can be air-cooled, water-cooled, or evaporatively cooled.
• Water-cooled chillers use cooling towers to improve chiller’s thermodynamics effectiveness compared to air-cooled chillers. In this case, the heat rejection is ensured at the air's wet-bulb temperature instead of the higher up the dry-bulb temperature.
• Chillers cooled evaporatively provide higher efficiencies than air-cooled chillers but lower than water-cooled chillers.
• Water-cooled chillers are for indoor installations and operations. They are cooled using a separate condenser water loop connected to an outdoor cooling tower that expels heat to the atmosphere.
• Air-cooled and evaporative cooled chillers are widespread in outdoor installations and operations. These air-cooling machines are cooled directly by the ambient air that is mechanically circulated now into the machine’s condenser coil for expelling heat to the atmosphere.
• Evaporative cooled machines are similar to air-cooled ones. They form a water mist over the condenser coil to help cool down the condenser, making it more efficient than an air-cooled machine. Cooling towers remotely controlled are not required with either of these two types of packaged air-cooled or evaporatively cooled chillers.
Wherever there is an availability of ready cold water such as nearby water bodies, they are used directly for cooling, replacing, or supplementing cooling towers. For example, cold lake water finds its use to cool the chillers, which cool any industrial or institutional system. Heat rejection in a chiller can serve a productive purpose, in addition to the cooling function.
Water chillers have versatile usages. They are in daily home appliances. However, they are used in all types of industries and commercial complexes as well. The good thing about water chillers is their flexibility. Manufacturers can customize and make chillers of size and capacities per requirement.