Chiller upgrades are cooler than ever
Chiller technology is gaining ground with more sophistication in controls, integrated communications and other improvements that mean greater energy efficiency for plastics processors. One equipment maker also will begin making cooling equipment in the U.S. that had been imported.
Universal Dynamics, newly moved to Fredericksburg, Va., now has 110,000 square feet for making equipment, including its Aquatech process water cooling equipment. In 2019, the facility will become the manufacturing center for that line, which has been imported from Italy for three years.
Una-Dyn now will become the first manufacturer of high-efficiency adiabatic fluid coolers in the U.S., officials said. This includes Aryacool coolers, which are making their debut in the North American market after being offered for several years in Europe.
“Adiabatic fluid coolers are a product that U.S. customers are starting to seriously look at,” said Giorgio Santella, VP, service and sales, for Una-Dyn. “The big advantage of not using water, or of using a very small quantity of it during the hottest periods of the year, makes fluid coolers the best choice in the majority of the applications.”
The company has had several successful installations in hot locations where conventional fluid coolers could not be utilized, he said.
“A high-efficiency fluid cooler works with a temperature approach of just 10 degrees Fahrenheit, meaning it produces water at a temperature of 10 degrees Fahrenheit above the dry bulb temperature in dry mode and the wet bulb temperature in adiabatic mode. Our production line will produce adiabatic high-efficiency fluid coolers only,” Santella said.
The layout of the more than 5,000 square feet of space dedicated to the Aryacool line at the new facility will allow the company to produce multiple units concurrently, he said.
Aryacool uses a pressurized circuit to keep the process water clean. Aryacool is available in two versions, either dry or adiabatic, said Tom Stone, Aquatech USA’s national sales manager. The dry system is used when process water temperature is 10 degrees Fahrenheit above the ambient air temperature. The adiabatic version is used in periods of high ambient temperature. Sprayers nebulize water directly on the heat exchanger, promoting the cooling of both incoming air and the battery coils in contact with the water. This version uses only the quantity of water that is strictly needed, reducing waste and operating costs, the company said.
“The most common application for an adiabatic version of the Aryacool line is to replace a traditional cooling tower,” Stone said. “With U.S. companies becoming more and more concerned about environmental impact, the Aryacool is a great compromise solution to achieve nearly the same temperature that a tower can but at a fraction of the water consumption. The Aryacool also eliminates the need for water treatment chemicals — so there is an added level of ‘green’ initiative and operating cost reduction.”
Aryacool makes use of electronically commutated (EC) fans, which operate at 50 percent capacity and use much less energy than a traditional fluid cooler that merely cycles fans on and off, he said. Because the fans are driven with brushless DC motors, they allow for variable speed control and the motors are some of the most efficient available on the market. The Aryacool units also are capable of capitalizing on winter temperatures. Adiabatic water usage is completely eliminated, but the fans can slow down significantly and, in some cases, turn off completely.
Frigel’s Microgel line of chillers now has expanded features and is the broadest line that the company has introduced to the market, with units that can be used with every process. Most have integrated temperature-control units (TCUs).
Frigel’s Microgel models now include:
• RCD water-cooled, dual-zone chillers with chilling capacities of up to 30 tons (105 kilowatts (kW);
• RCM water-cooled, single-zone chillers, up to 60 tons (210 kW);
• RCX single-zone units for pipe/profile extrusion that are equipped with a separate heat exchanger and a recirculation pump to isolate downstream tank water that may have plasticizers or other contaminants in it;
• RAM/RAD air-cooled chillers for injection molding and blow molding machines;
• RCP chillers for large-part blow molding and PET preform molding. This type of chiller does not include a TCU. These units have standard high-flow/pressure pumps for turbulent flow and low-temperature rise through large/multicavity molds.
The upgraded digital control system now has 22 sensors, roughly double the number of the previous version, enabling remote monitoring via Ethernet or Wi-Fi, so there are no gauges to physically check.
“These sensors capture full energy data in addition to temperature, pressure and flow rates,” marketing manager Al Fosco said. Plant managers now can determine how much energy a machine uses to achieve a certain level of cooling; with that information, they can assess the cost of the chiller/TCU.
“With that information, managers can accurately compute and include that cost in their pricing models,” Fosco said. “It’s critical to know kilowatts needed in production in order to accurately price the product.” The digital controls allow processors to collect energy data over extended periods of time, then use the data to improve cycle times and efficiency.
The remote connections also enable users to take advantage of real-time remote troubleshooting services from Frigel technicians, as well as software updates. The built-in communications include interfaces for proprietary injection molding OEM protocols, as well as for Euromap guidelines. Chillers equipped with an option called CT — short for cooling tower — can work seamlessly with cooling towers.
A 7-inch backlit touch-screen interface includes complete views of all parameters for water and refrigeration, as well as the ability to control variable-frequency drives (VFDs) for two pumps. “You’re only consuming the amount of energy required for the flow,” Fosco said. Color-
coded status bars show the status of active components, including compressors, heaters, pumps and three-way valves. They also show whether valves are free-cooling or filling.
Frigel also recently announced its new Diamond Service. The service provides customized cooling solutions for its customers, after providing in-depth thermal load analyses.
ACS Group introduced its High Efficiency (HE) central chillers, which can save processors as much as 60 percent in energy costs compared with traditional chillers, said Kyle Nelson, senior product manager.
“The difference comes from three major, more-efficient components,” Nelson said. “Newer controllers have higher computing capabilities, there are more modern electronics and proprietary algorithms that allow more computations to take place within the machine.”
The smart controls offer fast system diagnostics, including live graphing and data logging, as well as the ability to monitor as many as 10 HE chillers by way of a smartphone, tablet or PC.
The computations enable HE chillers to continuously monitor conditions and make adjustments to run in the most energy-efficient way. HE chillers also features fans using EC brushless motors, which are more energy-efficient than units with VFD compressors, regardless of the load, Nelson said.
AEC’s HE chillers also are easy to maintain and service. The units’ strainers have a large surface area so that they need less frequent cleanings. In addition, the strainers are easy to access without using tools.
As many as 10 modules, with a maximum cooling capacity totaling 600 tons, can be controlled together. The modular design and the integrated communications enable the HE chillers to communicate with one another. And, should one chiller go down, the others can automatically compensate to keep tank temperature at the optimum level. The modular design also enables users to add or remove chillers as their needs change. To further protect against downtime, each HE chiller has a pair of compressors that cycle at different times, lessening the load on each.
The HE chillers also feature welded, powder-coated frames for increased durability and corrosion resistance.
Operators can add optional features, including an evaporator pressure differential regulator to provide heating in the event there is too much difference between the input and output pressure of the evaporator; an integrated flow sensor for monitoring individual circuit flows; an alarm package; and a shell and tube evaporator for chillers using water with a high level of particulates.
Advantage Engineering has introduced its upgraded MG-series control system for its Maximum portable air- and water-cooled chillers. The upgraded system provides better temperature control. It has more user features and a better user interface via an LCD that provides more information about performance for easier and quicker diagnostics, and better control.
The control replaces legacy M1-series and LE-series chiller controls, said Jon Gunderson, president of Advantage Engineering, for the goal of providing more features that customers are interested in and to improve overall performance of the chillers. The key feature upgrades include pressure transducers that monitor and report the refrigerant and water pressures. These replace gauges.
“This information can now be communicated to other primary equipment and systems that monitor the chiller performance,” he said. “Removing the gauges also leaves fewer places that could experience refrigerant leaks, improving overall chiller reliability.”
The MG control also can operate a wide range of chiller configurations through its set-up menu. It is Industry 4.0-ready with a standard RS-485 port and Modbus RTU or SPI communication interface.
Angie DeRosa, managing editor
New Berlin, Wis., 262-641-8600,
Advantage Engineering Inc.,
Greenwood, Ind., 317-887-0729,
Frigel North America,
East Dundee, Ill., 847-540-0160,
Universal Dynamics Inc.,
Fredericksburg, Va., 703-490-7000,