What Is A Chiller?
When people first encounter the term “chiller” (if they don’t first think of a scary movie) they usually think of something that creates cold or cools the surrounding air like an air conditioner or the maybe even a refrigerator. This is a bit misleading. A chiller consists of the following six main components:
Evaporator – cools the water, water/glycol or air by transferring the heat to a refrigerant which is turned into a gas. Compressor – takes this gas and increases its pressure so that ambient air or water can remove the heat.
Condenser – rejects heat gained by the gas using ambient air or cooling tower water to condense the gas back to a liquid for use again by the evaporator.
Holding Tank – holds the circulating coolant, usually water (can be water/glycol), tank is sized large enough to prevent turbulent flow in tank causing pump cavitation.
Pump – circulates coolant from the holding tank to the evaporator and from the evaporator to the machine or process being cooled and back to the tank.
Control Panel – houses temperature controller, compressor contactor, pump starter, 3-phase fuses, control transformer, safety controls, run and fail lights.
While it is true that a chiller is a device that cools something else, i.e., a plastic injection molding machine, it does not create cold, it removes heat. In short, it’s a heat removal device. Using the six components listed above an “industrial” chiller removes heat from one element – water/glycol/air – and then circulates that cooler element through a heat exchanger to cool the surrounding air or process equipment.