Industrial Chillers: How to Manage Oversized Equipment

Big Industrial Chiller

Chillers come in all sizes and can be used in a number of applications. These machines remove heat from food and liquids using vapor compression technology or through absorption refrigeration. An unavoidable byproduct created by the process is heat, which has to be exhausted for efficient functioning. It’s important to look at the design before choosing chillers, as a number of factors come into play – efficiency, performance, product life cycle and general environmental impact.

Industrial chillers usually require a substantial capital investment and add a lot to operational costs. In many instances, chillers are major energy users and proper maintenance is important for efficiency and reliability. Many maintenance methods are available to diagnose issues in advance, so that maintenance plans can be devised. Advances in equipment design, coolants, and controls have helped in improving chiller function.

Big Industrial Chiller

To understand more about proper maintenance procedures, here’s a brief discussion from

What to Include:

Five areas have to be taken into account when developing maintenance plans. Operators of industrial chillers should maintain daily operation logs with information on start up data and control set points. This will allow maintenance engineers to have a comprehensive history of operating conditions and issues faced on individual pieces of equipment. As microprocessors are used in automating operations, checks should be done on a regular basis.

One area for potential issues is efficiency in heat transfers. Performance is directly related to this ability and evaporator and condenser tubes have to be kept clean. Large chillers have a lot of tubing in the heat exchangers, so it’s important to keep these surfaces clean. Tubes can get foul if contaminants like scale, sludge and algae start to collect. It also depends on whether it’s an open or closed system.

Tests for leaks have to be done regularly. Chillers use different refrigerating materials like CFC or HCFC. Though they’re built to be sealed machines, leaks do occur and throw the equipment out of sync. This aspect has to be checked and addressed immediately to maintain operating efficiency and limit environmental damage from coolants.

Water is used for heat transfer in industrial chillers. It has to be treated to prevent biological growth and scale. Chemicals are used to treat water systems. Whether it’s a one-time deal or done on a regular basis will depend on open or closed water systems. Follow manufacturer instructions on maintenance.

Annual checks of refrigerants and oils help detect contamination problems before they become serious. Testing methods usually include spectrometric chemical analysis to check on contaminant levels, metals, and moisture.