Portable chillers give your operation the cooling solution you need without requiring you to install a built-in model. Portable chiller rentals give you a temporary option to test a model before committing to a purchase, but you can also buy these units. While compact, these coolers have capacities for rigorous industrial tasks. Before deciding on one, though, you need to know the specs to look for and the best cooling solutions for your industry.

Portable Chiller Definition

Portable chillers get their name from their mobile nature. Thanks to wheels or casters on the base and a compact, movable size, ranging from 2 to 50 nominal tons, you can readily place them wherever you need them in your facility. They also serve well as emergency replacement options should a permanent fixture breakdown.

The range of portable chillers available includes water and air-cooled models for a variety of versatile uses. These are ideal rental chillers because the company providing them can quickly dispatch a complete unit to your facility for use.

Key Considerations When Choosing a Portable Chiller

When selecting the best air cooler or portable chiller, you must consider your cooling needs and what stresses you put the unit under. Four mobile chiller specifications will help you choose the portable cooler that is ideal for your situation:

  1. Coolant temperature
  2. Heat load
  3. Coolant flow
  4. Condenser heat dissipation

Let’s look at each spec more closely.

1. Coolant Temperature

The coolant temperature measures the coldest the chilling liquid reaches in the chiller. Once it reaches the process, the cooling fluid absorbs heat from the surrounding air and the process, raising its heat. The temperature of the cooling liquid will help determine how much heat it can absorb.

2. Heat Load

Heat load refers to the amount of heat your process generates. The higher the heat load, the more powerful the chiller must be to remove the excess heat. The heat load is measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs) per hour. Calculate the heat load by multiplying the coolant flow in gallons per minute, the specific gravity, the change in temperature and 499.8 to convert pounds to gallons.

  • Heat Load (BTUs) = Coolant Flow (gallons per minute) x cooling liquid specific gravity x change in temperature x 499.8

To find the tonnage required to handle your heat production, divide the heat load by 12,000.

    • Cooling Load (Tons) = Heat Load ÷ 12,000

3. Coolant Flow and Pressure

Coolant flow rate and pressure affect a liquid’s ability to remove heat. The coolant flow rate uses the heat load divided by the product of the coolant’s specific gravity and the change in temperature.

  • Coolant Flow = Heat Load ÷ (cooling liquid specific gravity x change in temperature)

The size of the pipes the coolant flows through will determine the pressure. A well-made chiller will allow for proper pressure to prevent long-term damage to the chiller’s components.

4. Condenser Heat Dissipation

How the condenser removes heat makes a difference. You have the options for both air-cooled and water-cooled systems. Both have benefits for the chiller and facility.

Air-cooled units vent excess heat out into the surrounding atmosphere. This method is the one typically used by home air conditioning systems, making it a familiar option for many. These systems are a better choice for colder climates since you do not need to worry about water in cooling towers freezing.

Water-cooled chillers send the extra heat into a water system. Water-cooled systems use large cooling towers of water to absorb the excess heat. In freezing weather, without taking preventative measures to keep the water above freezing, the cooling tower can ice over, significantly reducing its effectiveness in absorbing heat. For milder climates, water-cooled chillers are more energy-efficient compared to their air-cooled counterparts.

If you plan to use your portable cooler outside in freezing temperatures, air-cooled models may be better. However, if you want higher efficiency, water-cooled models in controlled climates may be your better option.

Portable Chiller Applications

The best water or air cooler for portable use depends on your industry. Since the chiller you choose will depend on the heat load, which differs based on usage, what you need to cool will help you select the right chiller. Applications include removing the excessive heat from a variety of processes such as plastics extrusion and medical manufacturing.

1. Anodizing

Electrochemically coating a surface with metal encompasses both anodizing and metal plating. Anodizing often happens over aluminum, forming a surface coating of oxides with the base metal. Because the base and surface have the same material components, the surface coating is a more integrated component of the base. Unlike plated surfaces, those metals that have anodized coatings do not have the surface flake or chip off easily.

Anodizing switches which material has a positive charge and which has a negative charge. In metal plating, the base metal is a cathode with a negative charge. However, in anodizing, the base is the anode with a positive charge.

Creators submerge the base material, usually aluminum, into an acid bath with the cathode. Passing an electric current through the liquid takes the oxygen ions from the electrolytic acid bath and creates an anodic oxide coating that strengthens the aluminum.

Portable chillers for manufacturing remove heat from the electrolyte liquid to keep it at a consistent temperature. For high quality anodizing, temperature control is imperative.

2. Metal Plating

Metal plating coats the surface with metal ions from a donor over a conductive base material. In metal plating, a donor metal acts as the positively charged anode and the base has a negative charge that accepts the positive metal ions. When an electrical current passes through the bath both the cathode and anode are in, it moves metal ions from the anode to the cathode, creating the surface coating.

As with anodizing, temperature control is vital to the outcome. Calculating the cooling load to accurately size a process cooler for metal plating requires you to use the voltage and rectifier amps to find the heat load. Multiply these two values together then take the product times 3.412. The result from this calculation gives you the heat load in BTUs.

  • Heat Load (BTUs) = volts x amps x 3.412

Next, divide this heat load in BTUs by 12,000 to find the cooling tonnage needed.

  • Cooling Load (Tons) = Heat Load ÷ 12,000

Instead of cutting this value down to account for system losses, using the full tonnage found from the calculation ensures you will have a process chiller that can handle your metal plating temperature needs.

3. Injection Molding

Several plastics processes require cooling. Using a closed-loop system to prevent contamination of the plastics, cooling systems work for multiple operations in forming plastic.

Injection molding accounts for the most common form of plastics creation, and cooling requires the majority of the time of the process. During injection molding, 80% to 95% of the process involves cooling.

To create plastic using this method, a screw and plastic heat up, which pushes the melted material into a mold. The force of the molten plastic also produces heat.

Water-based cooling systems remove the excess heat generated during the many steps of this process. Systems that use water-based cooling have increased efficiency, making it an ideal process cooler option for injection molding of plastics.

4. Blow Molding

Hollow plastics containers and parts don’t use injection molding but blow molding for their creation. Targeted cooling at a precise rate determines the success or failure of this process.

During the process, melted plastic in a tube-shape has compressed air forced into one end of it, stretching and shaping the plastic into the desired form. Once the final shape forms, a process cooler removes heat to stop the shape change.

Cooling too quickly prevents the plastic from reaching its final form, but if the process occurs too slowly, the plastic will develop deformities, making it no longer useful. Having reliable portable chillers for plastics to remove the heat from the material at the precise time during the formation of the plastic will ensure the success of the production.

5. Plastics Extrusion

Plastic extrusion, like other methods for plastic creation, also requires careful cooling to create the correct shape. Melted plastic pushes through a mold. If the plastic cools too quickly while moving through the form, it will solidify too early. Additionally, if the plastic stays too hot after moving through the mold, it will not form the correct shape.

To maintain the proper cooling, process chillers remove heat from the plastic-filled forms to allow the part to solidify at the correct pace. Choosing the right process cooler is vital to ensuring you have adequate control of the cooling process throughout the plastic extrusion steps.

6. Biodiesel

For creating greener biofuel, producers must control the temperature. In some cases, breaking down organic matter starts under extremely high heat, up to 1,000 degrees Celsius. This high-temperature step is not the only one in the process. Keeping temperatures regulated throughout the creation of biofuel is essential, and industrial coolers can help regulate temperatures wherever the production plant requires them.

7. Medical Scanners: MRI, PET and CAT

Medical equipment can generate high levels of heat. Such heat can make patients and technicians uncomfortable and reduce the efficiency of the machinery. Medical scanners such as MRI, PET and CAT machines create significant temperature increases during use. Having a process chiller to draw heat from the devices can help the equipment maintain its accuracy and longevity.

Unlike other types of coolers, portable chillers for medical imaging equipment operate on a cyclical basis. They must respond immediately to rapid temperature changes when the equipment starts operation.

Choosing a Chiller Manufacturer

Because you have many choices for portable chiller companies, you need to select a company that has your best interests in mind. Ideally, find a manufacturer that will offer you customization to your specifications while maintaining efficiency. If you have susceptible areas that require explosion proofing, demand that option from your chiller manufacturer.

Not all companies provide you with these options. The Smart Family of Cooling products does, providing you with customized, efficient portable chillers.

1. Efficiency and Energy Savings With Smart Family

We can help you choose an appropriately sized cooler. By selecting a compact chiller that removes sufficient heat from your operation, you will save energy. Oversized chillers will waste money on both the purchase cost and when they run. If you need some help with getting the perfect size for your business, let us know.

While some companies may leave you to pick your condenser size, we can help you select the most efficient model. Additionally, with our customization options, you can choose added features to improve the performance of the cooler you want.

2. Experts in Explosion-Proof Design

While not all industries require explosion proofing in their equipment, some do. Those industries that operate in extreme conditions or remoteness, such as off-shore oil rigs, have settings that demand the durability and reliability of explosion-proof models.

Not every chiller manufacturer can build these specialized machines. With Smart Family, you can request explosion-proof customization. We’ve worked with Chevron, Shell, Exxon, GE, Dupont, Solvay and Goodyear to provide them with customized explosion-proof chillers for their facilities.

We only make our explosion-proof design available for those who ask about it. Feel free to send us an inquiry or ask for a quote on a customized industrial cooler for your extreme environment.

3. Custom Configuration Available

Every business has different needs, and if you choose a manufacturer with only off-the-shelf chiller options, you may miss out on specifications your industry requires. Select a chiller company that will work with your given needs.

Custom configurations of process chillers ensure you make the most of the equipment. Specifying the requirements that you need helps you avoid the inefficiency of an oversized unit or the insufficiency of an undersized one. Because the Smart Family of Cooling Products understands this, we offer quotes based on the exact parameters you outline for your cooler instead of on a mass-produced product.

If you need customization of your process chiller or other portable coolers, let us know. We give you multiple options for your chiller, including the cooling liquid, whether it has an explosion-proof design, low-temperature options and more. Our staff can also help you choose the best air cooler or liquid chiller in a portable size for your needs.

To get the customization you want, though, you must ask when placing your order or requesting a quote.

Choose Smart Family for Portable Coolers

When you must make a choice for a portable chiller manufacturer, select the Smart Family. We offer delivery anywhere in the United States within 48 hours for in-stock products. Our customer service and product quality are of such a high caliber that some of the largest companies trust us for their industrial cooler needs. You can get an air cooler, portable coolers and much more from us.

Let us help you with your chiller needs. Whether you’re looking for portable chiller rentals or need a solution for your industrial facility, let us know. Get your quote for a chiller now.