top of page
  • lowyh93

What Does An Industrial Chiller Do?

An industrial chiller system is being implemented in all industries whose facilities require process fluids or heavy-duty machinery that generates heat.

Industrial chillers are able to cool down the processes and also internal machine components; utilized in many different applications where liquid or chilled water is pumped through process machinery.

An industrial chiller moves heat from one location (usually process equipment or product) to another (typically the air outside the manufacturing facility).

Water or a water / glycol solution is frequently used to transfer heat to and from the chiller, which may necessitate the installation of a reservoir and pumping system in the chiller process.

The next question you may pop out will be, why chiller instead of split unit? In this context, heat is the most common byproduct of industrial processes, machines and motors which are not 100% efficient.

If this heat is not being dissipated, it will eventually accumulate and result in shorter production cycles, equipment breakdowns, and possibly even premature equipment failure. To prevent these problems, cooling must be included in the design of industrial process systems.

There are several advantages to using a chiller to provide cooling. Your industrial process can operate at a constant temperature and pressure thanks to a chiller.

Removing the variables related to pressure and temperature makes process development and optimization easier while maintaining the greatest possible level of quality. The chiller rotates the cooling water in place of a single-pass-through device, which is wasteful.

Recirculation reduces the need for water, which can be costly and harmful to the environment.

Types of Industrial Chillers & Its Working Principles

Unlike a traditional split system or package unit, a chiller utilizes water or water solution to perform heat transfer instead of air. There are 2 types of chillers which are commonly utilized in industry: water-cooled and air-cooled chillers.

For a Water-Cooled chiller system, water enters the evaporator from the primary return, where heat is transferred from the water to the refrigerant, starting the cooling process. The primary supply, indicated in blue, delivers the chilled water to the water tank, where the water pump distributes it to the several climate-controlled areas.

The ambient heat in the conditioned environment is absorbed by the chilled water in the air handler since heat always flows from hot to cold according to the second law of thermodynamics. The cooled air is then forced into the room through the ducting by a fan. After then, the warmer water is put back into the chiller to cool down once more.

To enable the refrigerant to absorb more heat in the interim, the heat it has already taken in the evaporator (route indicated in green) needs to be transferred. The motor-driven compressor raises the temperature and pressure of the low-pressure, high-temperature refrigerant as it travels from the evaporator.

The refrigerant then enters the condenser after that. Water is used by water-cooled chillers to envelop the refrigerant pipes and capture heat (red path). After that, the water is pumped into a cooling tower to dissipate heat.

Following condensing, the refrigerant passes through an expansion valve to lower temperature and pressure before going back to the evaporator and starting the cycle over.

While for the Air-Cooled chiller system, the process starts with the primary return supplying warm water to the chiller, just like with water-cooled chillers. Water travels through the primary supply to the cooled area after heat is passed from the evaporator to the refrigerant.

After passing through the compressor to increase temperature and pressure, the refrigerant travels to the condenser. Here, fans drive outside air through the condenser, which absorbs heat from the refrigerant and then releases it into the surrounding air (remember, the second rule of thermodynamics states that heat goes from hot to cold).

After passing through the expansion valve as before, the refrigerant exits the system and returns to the evaporator.

Industrial Chillers Applications

Industrial water-cooled chillers are much preferred due to its consistency and efficiency in performance and possesses longer lifespan compared to air-cooled counterparts.

In general, water-cooled chillers are commonly used in medium and larger facilities, as long as the facility has an adequate water supply such as airports, hotels, hospitals and shopping malls.

In comparison, Air-cooled chillers are more to small-medium sized facilities where space and water may be limited. These chillers are less expensive to build and operate than their water-cooled equivalents, but their lifespan is usually shorter. These chillers are frequently utilized by eateries, sporting and corporate events, and temporary buildings.

Industrial chiller systems can be used for cooling operations in diverse industries as shown below:-

  1. Food Processing

Industrial chillers are widely employed in processes related to food manufacturing and processing, where precise temperature control is crucial. For example, winery chillers are used to regulate temperature when wine is fermenting and being stored. Similarly, chillers for bakeries aid in the cooling of mixers, potable water, and yeast jacketed tanks—all essential elements of bakeries.

2. Metal Finishing

Since many metal finishing techniques, such electroplating and electroless plating, need very high temperatures (several hundred degrees) to join the metals, temperature control is crucial to removing surplus heat. Certain businesses employ glycol/water as a cooling medium to lower the temperature within the tank, or they use metal-finishing chillers to cool the anodizing liquid in a heat exchanger.

3. Mold Injection

Using an injection-molding machine, thermoplastic pellets, and a mold, injection molding is a mass-production method for producing plastic parts. Precise temperature limitations must be maintained throughout the process and melt to avoid issues like internal strains, warping, and cracks in the finished product. To guarantee optimal product quality, an injection molding chiller can provide a stream of supercooled fluid to cool the mold at the optimum rate.

4. Area Cooling

In manufacturing facilities, where heavy-duty machinery produces a lot of heat, a chiller can assist keep offices and other work areas from becoming very hot or cold. They also reduce the need to spend money on expensive separate HVAC systems for cooling.

5. Plastic Manufacturing

The characteristic of a plastic is temperature-sensitive and could melt upon heat. Appropriate temperature is required during plastic cooling in mold and in order to keep the mold cooling with suitable temperature, a chiller is required for this chilling process.

Chiller Tonnage Requirements

Both undersized and oversized units of chiller will affect the efficiency of the process involved in industrial use. To decide for an appropriate chiller tonnage, we are able to derive the formula as shown below:-

It is suggested that the tonnage to add 10% higher to the number in order to have free-play if there are any plans to increase the operations in near future.

Get In Touch With Us

In overall, there are many aspects to consider when deciding between an application of air-cooled vs. water-cooled chiller systems. You may consult us and discuss the specific application to cater to all your industrial and commercial process cooling needs.

As an industrial chiller supplier based in Malaysia, TCW Group is ready to advise you regarding the HVAC components selection to fit your applications. Please do not hesitate to contact us at for more inquiries. 

39 views0 comments


bottom of page