Seven Reasons to Think
Intelligent Process Cooling
By Al Fosco, Frigel North America
Former U.S. Congressman and moti- vational speaker Ed Foreman once said, “If you always do what you've
always done, you'll always get what
you've always got.”
It’s a quote worth paying attention to
when it comes to the traditional method
of delivering cooling water to any number
of processes used in beverage packaging
and processing. That’s because many in
the industry who continue to do what they have always done are
likely to experience inefficiencies and waste. Those who consider
a different approach stand to benefit. Here’s why, along with seven
reasons to rethink traditional methods used for process cooling.
Traditional Method: One Size Fits All
The traditional method used to satisfy cooling loads for processes such as pasteurization, carbonation, hot filing and distillation, involves the use of a central chiller system that provides
process-cooling water or ammonia refrigerant at the lowest temperature required for any given process within the plant.
It’s a one-size-fits-all approach. That means all process water
or refrigerant is cooled to the single lowest temperature required
and routed to other processes, regardless of whether the same
temperature is needed elsewhere. Additionally, centralized chillers
in many plants use ammonia as the refrigerant.
Decades ago, the industry determined that centralized chillers
delivered the best cooling efficiencies based on the efficiencies
of ammonia as a refrigerant. The traditional approach established
decades ago also involves the use of open cooling towers to provide cooling water to centralized chillers.
Intelligent Process Cooling: New and Better
A number of companies have begun to realize that doing things
the way they’ve always been done when it comes to process
cooling isn’t always best. Instead, they’re looking to an approach
called “intelligent process cooling.”
The approach involves a closed-loop system with a closed-loop
adiabatic fluid cooler that uses heat exchangers and an internationally patented adiabatic chamber to cool water and circulate it
to and from smaller chillers positioned near each process cooling
point within a plant. It eliminates the need for an open cooling
tower and a centralized chiller. The advantages are clear. Seven of
1. Increased efficiencies: The approach delivers cooling water
to each individual process at only the temperature required
for that process rather than one set point and one flow rate
for the entire operation. That means the system won’t have to
do more work than
necessary to provide
cooling water at the
and pressure where
2. Improved safety: An
doesn’t use ammonia as a refrigerant, eliminating significant
safety risks and expenses associated with it.
3. Water savings: The central cooler with its adiabatic chamber is
unlike an open cooling tower in that it does not use an evaporative process to cool water. Instead, the adiabatic chamber
pre-cools ambient air on hotter days before it enters the central
cooler’s heat exchanger compartment. Cooled water is then
re-circulated to the water cooled chillers or any process points
that do not require cold temperatures. As such, water savings
of as much as 95 percent can be achieved when it’s used
instead of a cooling tower.
4. Avoidance of the risk of proliferation of harmful bacteria, such
as Legionella, due to the patented, enclosed design of the adiabatic misting chamber and the absence of stagnant water.
5. Lower maintenance and chemical costs: Compared to cooling towers, a closed-loop system is far easier and less costly
to maintain. The need for chemicals to treat process-cooling
water is also drastically reduced when a closed-loop system is
compared with a cooling tower.
6. Reduced energy consumption: An adiabatic fluid cooler allows
for “free cooling” because it uses ambient air to cool process
water. That means there is no need for chillers to meet cooling loads when ambient conditions permit. Instead, the system
automatically shuts down the chillers for any given process to
capitalize on free cooling, in turn saving energy.
7. Improved bottom line: Water savings, energy savings, reduced
maintenance and less chemical use — in addition to the lower
costs associated with reduced safety risks — translate to
operational savings that contribute directly to the bottom line.
A Path Toward Success
Intelligent process cooling is a concept that has been widely
adopted in various industries. The reason is because progressive
and forward-thinking companies decided it was time to move
beyond the traditional approach to get ahead.
Leading companies involved in beverage processing and packaging are now starting down the same path because they’re no
longer thinking about the way things have always been done.
They’re thinking about the benefits they get with an advanced
approach to process cooling.
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