Liquid chillers are devices that provide continuous cooling in various types of industrial processes such as manufacturing, photo labs, bakeries, paper processing plants, steel mills, wineries, and laboratories, etc. by cooling water or other types of liquids through refrigeration cycles. These chillers are best suited for controlled cooling requirements such as: plastics, high heat equipment like MRI machines, printer rollers, lasers, etc. Liquid chillers are also commonly used for air conditioning buildings where ducted systems aren’t feasible. They are useful in most processes where the processing liquids are heated to a desired temperature and then have to be quickly cooled down for handling and packaging purposes.
Liquid chillers are available as air-cooled, evaporative cooled and water-cooled units and each of these various types can be further subdivided into packaged liquid chillers and split liquid chillers. This means that they regulate temperatures by enabling the air or water to flow over coils which contain coolants. Water-cooled chillers use a fluid medium, ideally water or a water-glycol mixture to percolate through an application for cooling. Air-cooled chillers make use of air as a medium to cool the system.
Air cooled chillers are pretty convenient as they don’t require too much maintenance. However, they do use up quite a bit of power as they require both a compressor fan motor and a condenser fan motor. Air cooled chillers require condensing temperatures of 120-140 degrees Fahrenheit. Water cooled chillers require less energy to operate and they are also capable of operating at lower condensing temperatures. Although water cooled chillers cost less to operate they generally increase maintenance costs as they use a tower which must be regularly maintained to make sure system runs efficiently. Evaporative coolers have the lowest operating cost and the highest efficiency of the three types of liquid chillers as these coolers can work with a condensing temperature as low as 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Liquid chillers can then be further categorized into packaged and split chillers. In packaged chillers, all of the required components such as compressors, condensers, and the control center are built into the system and are ready for immediate use right straight from the factory. With a split liquid chiller, the components are split into two separate sections where one is often kept outdoors and the other is kept indoors.
Cooling capacity, power source, fluid discharge temperature and compressor motor horsepower are important factors that need to be considered while making purchasing decisions on liquid chillers.