Type of commercial chiller that Smart Family offers

Various types of chillers offer different benefits and features, enabling them to cool a wide range of industrial and commercial equipment. Understanding the differences between chiller systems can help you choose the right solution for your processes. Whether you need an air-cooled, water-cooled, screw, scroll, explosion-proof, low-temperature or glycol chiller, it’s essential to learn what each system can offer.

What Are Commercial Chillers Used for?

Commercial or industrial chillers are intricate systems that cool equipment and spaces to prevent overheating and maintain required temperatures for optimal operational efficiency. Different types of chillers use water or air to transfer heat where climate control or process cooling is necessary.

Industrial chiller units are crucial for various applications. High-quality chillers provide businesses with greater operational efficiency, decreased cooling costs and reduced equipment downtime. Choosing the right type of chiller ensures efficient cooling for applications such as:

  • Medical equipment
  • Plastic processing
  • Waterjet cooling
  • Ice rink temperature consistency
  • Food and beverage cooling
  • Industrial laser chilling
  • Chemical processing

Types of chillers include water-cooled, air-cooled, screw, scroll, explosion-proof, low-temperature and glycol.

Types of Chillers

Several types of chillers differ in their design, operation and benefits. Before choosing a chiller for your equipment, consider the following types:

1. Water-Cooled Chillers

A water-cooled chiller pulls water into an evaporator through a primary return. The evaporator transfers heat from the water to a refrigerant, chilling the water before sending it through the primary supply to the system’s water tank. A water pump then distributes chilled water to climate-controlled spaces.

As the chilled water flows through each space and reaches the air handler, it absorbs ambient heat. The second law of thermodynamics, which states that heat naturally flows from higher-temperature regions to lower-temperature regions, makes this heat transfer possible.

If this is an air conditioning application, after the heat transfers to the chilled water, the air inside the air handler cools down. A fan forces the air through ductwork and into each space, cooling the equipment’s climate-controlled areas. When the warm water returns to the system’s chiller, it cools again and repeats the process.

In order for the refrigerant to absorb more heat from the water in each cycle, it must transfer the heat it absorbed during the previous cycle. The evaporator moves the heated, low-pressure refrigerant to a motor-operated compressor. The compressor increases the temperature and pressure before sending the refrigerant to the condenser.

Inside the shell & tube condenser, the water surrounding the refrigerant pipes absorbs heat from the refrigerant. The water inside the condenser is pumped to a cooling tower where it releases its absorbed heat. As the refrigerant continues through its cycle, an expansion valve (much like a water spray bottle nozzle) reduces the refrigerant’s temperature and pressure as it flows through on its way back to the evaporator where it restarts the process.

Water-cooled chillers provide the following benefits:

  • Increased efficiency: Water transfers heat more effectively than air, so water-cooled chillers operate more efficiently than air-cooled chillers.
  • Greater consistency: Water’s ability to transfer heat more effectively than air allows water-cooled chillers to operate more consistently.
  • Longevity: Water-cooled chillers typically last longer than air-cooled systems.
  • Requires water treatment: The Cooling Tower on a water cooled chiller system requires water treatment, filtration, and continuous water make-up.

2. Air-Cooled Chillers

An air-cooled chiller operates similarly to a water-cooled chiller. The only difference between and Air Cooled & Water Cooled chiller is in the condenser section of the units. And air cooled chiller utilizes an air-over condenser coil to remove heat from the refrigerant while the water cooled chiller uses a water to refrigerant condenser coil. The way each chiller removes heat from the process remains the same.

The refrigerant then increases its temperature and pressure by moving through the compressor until it reaches the condenser where outside air circulates from a fan. The condenser absorbs the refrigerant’s heat and expels it into the surrounding air. Finally, the refrigerant returns to the evaporator through the expansion valve to begin the process again.

Air-cooled chillers offer the following benefits:

  • Low maintenance costs: Air-cooled chillers typically have low maintenance costs.
  • More compact: Because air-cooled chillers lack the water tower and pump that water-cooled chillers contain, they take up less space.

3. Scroll Chillers

A scroll chiller compresses refrigerant using a scroll compressor. It contains a stationary scroll plate and an orbiting scroll plate, which rotates around the stationary component and compresses the refrigerant to raise its temperature and pressure (Link: https://youtu.be/yNgqI4XPUZc). This process prepares the refrigerant for the rest of the cooling process.

Scroll chillers have the following benefits:

  • Smooth operation: Scroll compressors contain fewer moving parts and produce less torque variation, allowing scroll chillers to operate more quietly and smoothly than other chillers.
  • Efficiency: Scroll chillers can output more cooling per energy unit than other chiller systems, making them a highly efficient option.
  • VFD options: Newer models offer scroll compressors with a built-in variable frequency drive for variable speed control.

It’s best to avoid choosing a tandem scroll compressor chiller unit. It’s much better to choose a scroll compressor that applies a single compressor to each refrigeration circuit — this eliminates the risk of burnouts damaging multiple compressors.

You can choose between industrial air-cooled scroll chillers, air-cooled portable scroll chillers and water-cooled portable scroll chillers for your applications.

4. Screw Chillers

When it comes to a scroll vs. a screw compressor, it’s important to note that screw compressors handle larger capacities than scroll compressors. While scroll chiller tonnages vary between 2 and 140 tons (60HP maximum single compressor size), screw chillers vary between 30 and 400 or more tons. The main difference between screw and scroll chillers is that screw chillers use one or two rotating screws to apply force and compress refrigerant. Screw compressors are most commonly found in industrial process and petrochemical applications.

5. Explosion-Proof Chillers

Some industrial machinery is susceptible to explosions, requiring industrial explosion-proof chillers to maintain safety. Explosion-proof chillers are manufactured with a reinforced, specialized design and contain features that protect their components from flammable materials. This design prevents potential explosions to protect employees, equipment and facilities.

Few air-cooled chiller manufacturers have the expertise to provide reliable explosion-proof chillers. If your equipment operates in hazardous conditions, it’s crucial to select an explosion-proof chiller from a reputable manufacturer that follows National Fire Protection Agency standards and codes.

6. Low-Temperature Chillers

Some industrial operating conditions require the leaving fluid temperature to remain below 35 degrees Fahrenheit. Low-temperature chillers ensure equipment operates efficiently for applications such as petrochemical processes and ice rink cooling that require low leaving fluid temperatures. Some units can run down to as low as -40 degrees F leaving fluid temperature. At these conditions, special heat transfer fluid is required.

7. Glycol Chillers

An industrial glycol chiller features a reliable digital temperature controller. This controller makes it possible to maintain ideal temperatures for food and drink products. Wineries and breweries often use glycol chillers for this reason.

Contact Smart Family today for high-quality cooling systems

Contact Us Today for High-Quality Industrial Chillers

Whether you need a water-cooled, air-cooled, scroll, screw, explosion-proof, low-temperature or glycol chiller, Smart Family of Cooling Products can provide a solution for your processes. We customize and manufacture cooling systems to meet each application’s specifications. Our unique expertise allows us to provide experienced consultation and manufacture long-lasting, efficient chillers for each industry.

Contact us to learn more or request a chiller quote today.