How Industrial Process Chillers Work & Their Applications

industrial warehouse with tanks

A variety of industries rely on chillers to lower high temperatures from industrial processes or maintain sustained cooling.  

Industrial chiller applications range from health and hospitals to the food and beverage industry to manufacturing, agriculture, and more.

In this article, we’ll look at how chillers work, common industrial chiller applications, and how to maintain your industrial chiller.

How Do Industrial Chillers Work?

Manufacturing equipment and other production components can generate a great deal of heat, putting food or beverages at risk of spoiling or equipment at risk of overheating. Industrial chiller systems are used to maintain a certain temperature or cool production equipment or products. 

Industrial chillers move heat from a product or equipment to another location (typically outside the facility). By directing heat away from products or machinery, the lifespan of production components is maximised, the risk of overheating is reduced, the operation can function more efficiently, and products are kept at a safe temperature. 

Industrial chillers often use a water/glycol solution or water to pump cool fluid from the chiller to eliminate heat. 

Each chiller system is different, but here’s how industrial chillers work at a glance: 

  • Heat is brought to the chiller through cooling loops
  • The heat is transferred via a refrigerant solution to the condenser
  • The liquid is cooled
  • The cooled liquid circulates back through heat exchangers
  • The circulating liquid cools equipment and is moved outside of the building  

What Are the Different Applications of Industrial Chillers?

Industrial chillers play an integral role in a variety of industries that require equipment, products, or processes to be maintained within specific temperature ranges.

Here is a look at some of the various applications of industrial chillers:

  • Manufacturing — Chillers are immensely important in the manufacturing industry. Industrial chillers are crucial to numerous manufacturing sectors, including plastics, metal finishing, composite manufacturing, commercial printing, laser cutting, die-cutting, and machine tooling.
  • Food and Beverage — Industrial chillers in the food and beverage industry are crucial for keeping ingredients at a set temperature, preserving product quality, preventing spoilage, maintaining food safety, and achieving temperature-controlled storage space.
  • Breweries — Breweries rely on chiller systems to cool beverages during the production process, maintain sustained temperatures during the packaging process, ensure product quality and safety, and maintain temperature control during product storage.
  • Pharmaceuticals — The pharmaceutical industry relies on chiller systems to maintain specific temperature conditions for drug manufacturing and storage, ensuring product efficacy and safety.
  • Health — Chillers are crucial in hospital facilities and other health industries where precise temperature control is required. Chillers control temperatures for storage, experiments, laboratory reagents, and pharmaceutical equipment, and medical imaging equipment such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines.
  • Chemical Process Plant — Chemicals can be especially vulnerable to temperature variations, making chillers a crucial part of safe operations. Chillers remove heat from stored materials, control heat during production, and maintain temperature stability during chemical reactions. 

brewery tanks in warehouse

How to Look After Your Chiller

Regularly cleaning and maintaining your industrial chiller system, along with scheduling regular professional inspections, will help extend your unit’s lifespan, reduce energy consumption, decrease operating costs, and maintain safety.

A poorly maintained industrial chiller will use excess energy, lose efficiency, and may pose safety issues. 

Benefits of Regular Chiller Maintenance 

  • Catch and fix issues early before they turn into costly, major problems
  • Extend the lifespan of your chiller
  • Prevent chiller failure
  • Reduce excess wear and tear
  • Increase reliability and efficiency
  • Reduce consumption of energy and resources
  • Reduce downtime
  • Decrease operating costs
  • Maintain safety 

Tips to Maintain Your Chiller

To help promote optimal chiller system efficiency and performance and ensure safety, be sure to:

  • Follow all manufacturer guidelines
  • Only use cleaning agents in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations
  • Follow the recommended cleaning measures as recommended by your refrigerant technician and the manufacturer 
  • Closely monitor the heat efficiency
  • Consistently monitor the system’s temperature, pressure, and flow rate
  • Schedule regular professional chiller maintenance and inspections
  • Maintain detailed maintenance logs

When keeping chiller maintenance logs, be sure to record: 

  • Water flow rate
  • Condensation pressure and temperature
  • Refrigerant levels
  • Operating conditions (fluid levels, flow rates, pressures, temperatures, etc.)
  • Evaporation pressure and temperature
  • Power supply parameters
  • Suction temperature
  • Discharge temperature
  • Oil pressure and temperature
  • Oil humidity and acidity
  • Superheat and subcooling values
  • Inlet and outlet water temperatures

We recommend having your industrial chiller professionally serviced at least twice a year. For industrial chillers that are in continuous operation, we recommend quarterly professional chiller maintenance.

Best Bar chiller

Sizing a Chiller for Your Application

When sizing an industrial chiller for your application, there is a vast range of factors to consider, including: 

  • Ensuring the chiller will be capable of handling maximum process loads under worst-case conditions, not just nominal conditions
  • Determining maximum ambient temperature
  • Determining the glycol concentration
  • Elevation above sea level
  • Water supply temperature

An appropriately sized industrial chiller will deliver reliability, efficiency, and safety, even under the variable conditions commonly found in laboratory settings, breweries, and manufacturing facilities. 

Sizing your chiller properly can reduce operating costs, increase the lifespan of your chiller, ensure product safety, and ensure production efficiency.

If you have questions about choosing the right size chiller for your application, our team is here to help. From our higher capacity York Air Cooled Screw Compressor Liquid Chillers to our durable Aqua Coolers and our ultra-precise Fluid Chillers, we have industrial chillers to fit every application. 

Find the Right Industrial Chiller for Your Application With Thermal Engineering

Without the cooling process performed by chillers, many many industries would be unable to function safely. A properly sized chiller can lead to less wear and tear on equipment, lower operational costs, increased safety, and a variety of other benefits. 

At Thermal Engineering, we carry chillers to accommodate a broad range of industrial applications. Our goal is to partner with you to provide you with a custom cooling package tailored to your chosen industry.  With over 30 years of experience, we’re proud to be Australia’s trusted chiller manufacturer. 

Whether you need a small-scale chiller collusion, a rooftop setup, or a large-scale project, our team can design the cooling package that suits your requirements and application. Contact us for personalised advise or a free quote.