How to Find the Right Chiller for Your Application

mining chiller up close

If you work in the manufacturing or mining industry, you know that you can’t afford to lose production time due to excess heat. That’s where having the right chiller on your project is crucial.

Chillers play a vital role in supporting the mining industry. But how do you know what size chiller you need and what type will suit your application?

As experts in industrial and mining chillers for more than 3 decades, we put together this guide to help you find the right chiller for your application.

How Do Chillers Work?

Chillers are a type of refrigeration system that keeps critical materials and equipment cool. Chillers work by removing heat from equipment by cooling down the circulating fluids.

Along with protecting valuable equipment by removing heat, a chiller can save on water usage and costs by recirculating the plant’s water supply.

Benefits of chillers include: 

  • Minimised downtime 
  • Allow operations to run seamlessly
  • Protects temperature-sensitive equipment
  • Can provide significant cost savings 
  • Saves water by recirculating the plant’s water supply

What Applications Are Chillers Used In?

Chillers are used in a broad range of industries, including:  

side panels of a mining chiller

What to Consider When Picking a Chiller

We suggest considering these 5 factors when choosing a chiller.

  1. Thermal Load

    Industrial chillers come in a vast range of sizes, up to thousands of tons in capacity. The most important part of selecting the right chiller for your application is making sure you get the correct size.

    An undersized chiller will struggle to cool the processing equipment, resulting in unstable temperatures.

    An oversized chiller will use more energy than needed and result in higher operating costs.

    To determine the right size chiller for your application, you’ll first need to know the thermal load of your application.

    The heat load formula is Q = m × Cp ×ΔT. Heat load = mass flow rate x specific heat x change in temperature.

    When choosing the right chiller size, we also recommend accounting for any plans of plant expansion, effects of high altitude, and any exposure to high ambient temperatures.

  2. Coolant Type, Temperature and Flow Rate

    Once you have your thermal load calculated, you’ll need to determine:

    • The coolant
    • The target coolant temperature
    • The flow rate the cooler needs to provide for the operating process

    Chillers utilise different coolants depending on the requirements of the process and budgetary factors. Commonly, these systems use water or a blend of water with another substance that enhances heat transfer capabilities, such as glycol-based compounds.

    • Water – Choosing water as a coolant for chillers is cost-effective, as it is often readily available at low expense. For higher cooling efficiency, water chillers may use treated water, like deionised or reverse osmosis water.
    • Glycol – Coolants based on glycol typically contain either ethylene glycol or propylene glycol. Despite their similar properties, these two should not be mixed. Glycol coolants are beneficial for their increased corrosion resistance and antifreeze qualities.

    We are happy to help you calculate the thermal load of your application, along with the target coolant temperature, coolant type, and flow rate to ensure you invest in the exact chiller size you need.

  3. Environment

    The environment is an important factor when selecting a chiller. For instance, an indoor environment that is dirty and dusty will require a chiller that is specifically manufactured to handle these harsh conditions.

    For outdoor applications, it is imperative to consider the ambient temperatures. Ambient temperature can have a significant effect on a chiller’s efficiency.

    Ambient temperature is especially important if you opt for an air-cooled chiller. This type of chiller cannot remove heat as well if the ambient temperature is too high.

    If a chiller is operating above its maximum ambient temperature recommendations, the pumps, electronics, compressor, and other components can be damaged.

    As a general rule, 40°C is the maximum ambient temperature for non-exterior rated chillers. Thermal Engineering are experts in high ambient applications and our range of Mining Chillers are all rated to 50°C.

    When choosing the right chiller for your application, we also recommend evaluating your space. A chiller needs adequate space around it to ensure proper circulation and airflow.

    If a chiller is crammed into too small of an area, it will be forced to operate without sufficient air to recirculate. Along with having a negative effect on your operation, this can damage the chiller unit.

  4. Type of Work

    Chillers play a crucial role in a wide range of industries, including: 

    • Mining applications, such as extracting gold, iron ore, and copper
    • Medical applications (lab operations, blood bank refrigeration, radiotherapy, and more)
    • Industrial applications, including agriculture, healthcare, food processing, and many other industries
    • Metal finishing chillers for furnace cooling, powder coating, die-casting cooling, and more
    • Explosion-proof chillers used in environments with flammable vapours and gasses, such as oil refineries, coal plants, and chemical processing plants
  5. Budget

    Industrial chillers and mining chillers can cost thousands, so we understand that you want to be sure you are selecting the right chiller.

    We can work with you to find the chiller that fits your application and needs but also keeps your budget in mind. We’ll also ensure you get the right size chiller, so you aren’t wasting money running a chiller that is too big for your application.

  6. How to Keep Your Chiller Running Effectively

    Proper maintenance and regular servicing ensure your chiller operates efficiently. It can also help maximise your chiller’s longevity.

    As a vendor with all Tier 1 mining companies, we offer comprehensive chilling servicing and maintenance to keep your chiller running efficiently. 

    Our chiller service offerings include: 

    • Oil and water sample analysis
    • Routine maintenance and inspections
    • Full condition reporting
    • Troubleshooting

inside a factory with a large industrial chiller setup

How to Keep Your Chiller Running Effectively

Proper maintenance and regular servicing ensure your chiller operates efficiently. It can also help maximise your chiller’s longevity.

As a vendor with all Tier 1 mining companies, we offer comprehensive chilling servicing and maintenance to keep your chiller running efficiently. 

Our chiller service offerings include: 

  • Oil and water sample analysis
  • Routine maintenance and inspections
  • Full condition reporting
  • Troubleshooting

Need Help Choosing the Right Chiller for Your Application?

Many of our customers tell us that calculating the size chiller they need and deciding between the different brands can be extremely overwhelming.

That’s where our expertise comes in. We’ve been a trusted provider and guide in cooling solutions and chillers since 1991.

We offer personalised assistance in determining the custom chiller solution that fits your industrial or mining cooling requirements. We also offer comprehensive chiller servicing to keep your machines running efficiently and smoothly.

Whether your project calls for a rooftop setup or a plant room installation, our team can design and select the suitable cooling package for you. From the smallest solutions to multi-megawatt projects, our team can design the cooling package that will fit your exact needs.

Contact Thermal Engineering today and our dedicated team will work with you to answer your questions, provide personalised recommendations, and help you calculate the size and type of chiller you need.

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