Explosion-proof equipment

So you have an aging Explosion-proof Screw or Reciprocating chiller. You would like to extend the life of this unit….Hopefully for another 10+ years…..We are here to help you.

First, let’s look at some manufacturer’s equipment we have serviced in the past:

  • F.E.S. Southwest
  • Frick
  • GEA
  • Vilter
  • Mycom
  • Mayekawa
  • M&M Refrigeration
  • Engineered Packaged Systems
  • Carrier
  • Trane
  • Dunham Bush
  • Rae Corporation
  • Berg

In this post, we want to cover three common issues that customers can endure with aging equipment.
(1) Are your chiller controls antiquated or obsolete? Do you wish you had BMS communication?
(2) Is your unit running reasonably well but you would like to make sure it continues running at peak condition for years to come?
(3) Is your chiller 10+ years old? It may not comply to the newer Explosion-proof classifications of today. How can you correct this?

Question 1: We all know proprietary controllers can cost a small mint to get spare parts for repair. Many of these old controllers do not feature BMS communications either. How do you remedy this situation? Do you trash the unit? No, of course not. Do you continue to pay the exorbitant spare parts pricing being asked by the Explosion-proof equipment manufacturers? Preferably not. But how? Smart Family of Cooling Products can help you solve this situation. We are continually retrofitting existing MRU’s (Mechanical Refrigeration Unit) from the manufacturers listed above. Smart Family does this so often that it is a daily part of our business. At any given moment, we are working on a unit upgrade for one of our customers.

We update these units with electro-mechanical controls and older chiller controllers to all new control panels. Our improved non-proprietary SmartAdvance2 unit controller can provide full unit diagnostics as well as communicate with most existing Building Management Systems. We build these new enclosures with Nema 4 or Nema 4X control panels (Z-purge required) or full Nema 7. We can re-use your existing motor starters and circuit breakers or upgrade to the most current technology (recommended). Our updated control panels will meet the existing Area Classification requirements (Class 1, Division 2, Groups B, C, or D).

Question 2: When you contact Smart Family to do a unit inspection on your existing XP Chiller, we will completely review each piece of your package for wear, fouling, or failure. Our technician(s) then provide you, the customer, with a list of recommended trouble items for repair. Typically, condensers (air or water cooled) need cleaning to help improve efficiency. Depending on the age of your equipment, the compressor oil may need to be changed out as well. We will inspect and adjust all of the refrigeration valves to make sure they are performing as required.

If you have an air cooled unit, it is quite possible that your lower efficiency is the result of clogged fins or corrosion. Smart Family can obviously clean the coils where possible, but sometimes that is not enough. Where you have excessive clogging or corrosion that cannot be remedied, you may require a new air cooled condenser. We can build a new, custom coil to replace your existing condenser or possibly retrofit your existing one with new coils. Smart Family’s coils are all built with heavy gauge, plate fin stock. The aluminum fin stock is pre-coated to increase its corrosion resistance. These fins are non-lanced and spaced with a wider gap (14 fins per inch maximum) to help reduce clogging.

Question 3: If your Explosion-proof equipment is over 10 years old, there is a good chance it no longer meets today’s NEC requirements. When doing an XP update, our experienced engineering staff consults with our technicians to conduct a complete electrical review of all the skid’s components (outside of the electrical panel). Where needed, we will add intrinsically safe, stamped & labeled, solenoid valve coils, hot gas bypass solenoid valve coil(s), and compressor unloader coils. We have successfully retrofitted Vilter screw chillers, Carrier 5H080 and 5H120 direct drive chillers and many more.

Custom refrigeration and HVAC equipment can last a long time. Explosion-proof equipment is built to a much higher standard than standard commercial or industrial cooling equipment. But as these units age, things change. Not only do the units start to lose efficiency and, with that, overall capacity, but the NEC electrical classifications for Explosion-proof equipment (XP) continues to change as well. If you feel like your cooling equipment has some years left but have concerns about the overall efficiency and how “up to date” the unit is, Smart Family can help.

The bottom line is if you have aging piece of Class 1, Division 2, Groups B, C, or D cooling equipment, we can help you bring it back up to today’s NEC standards. We can also improve the overall efficiency of the equipment with our Parts & Maintenance inspection services. Call our Service Team today to get started! 281-540-7552 or 281-540-2805.