Work produces heat, which means that too much work produces too much heat. This is a major problem in some of the world’s most efficient manufacturing plants and this is exactly what industrial cooling systems are. Through these complex, industrial constructs, this high temperature is regulated quite efficiently and both the safety and efficiency of the industrial process are preserved.
Now, there are several major groups of industrial cooling systems, alongside a lot of different subtypes of these systems in use. With that in mind and without further ado, here are the top 4 types of cooling systems you may encounter in industrial use.
Moreover, keep in mind that this type of division requires classification from several different standpoints. Here’s a brief rundown of some industrial cooling solutions.
The reason why this method is so popular is due to the fact that it’s a natural cooling system, which uses direct contact with fresh air to cool the hot water from the system. One characteristic of these systems is that the system (that contains them) itself, needs to be quite massive. This is the only way in which the system works, seeing as how there has to be a difference in density between hot air at the top and the air outside of the cooling tower.
One of the most common industry uses for cooling systems of this type can be found in power stations or natural gas plants. The simplest way to describe the way in which this system works would be to compare it to a massive, complex chimney. The shape of the system is such that it naturally draws a draft into the tower, eliminating the need for a mechanical fan system with a propeller and motor. Moreover, it’s what gives power plants their iconic look.
Mechanical draft cooling is an industrial cooling water system, which involves the use of an evaporation process for cooling. Hot water from the condenser or other piece of equipment is sprayed on horizontal slats or corrugated PVC fill-packs. These water droplets are then mixed with the ambient air and the temperature difference between this hot water and cold ambient transfers heat to the dry air. All of this is achieved with the help of power-driven fans, which classify this cooling system type as mechanical.
In major industrial complexes, these mechanical draft cooling systems can be found in various shapes and sizes. Some smaller variants come in the form of rooftop units. A major consideration when considering mechanical industrial cooling systems alternatives is their materials of construction, durability, and ease of maintenance. These industrial cooling systems are critical to have 100% uptime to not stop the production line within the facility.
Packaged towers are the most common type of industrial cooling systems. Their main trait is that they’re pre-designed, built completely in a factory, and transported to the target location. This is opposite to field erection types, which are transported in parts and assembled at the location.
The benefit of packaged towers is that they’re much simpler and quicker to install, can be modular for future expansion and don’t carry the risk of field erection time and costs. Their downside lies in the fact that they’re substantially smaller and, therefore, less potent than their field erection counterparts.
When it comes to the application, packaged types are usually used in small to medium size facilities (like basic manufacturing processes, hospitals or HVAC buildings). On the other hand, larger industrial cooling systems, those that are used in heavy industry and in massive plants, are almost always constructed on-site. These are erected on the spot (hence the name), but they also can be more expensive.
Another potential division of cooling systems can be based on the heat transfer technique that these cooling systems are using. The first major subgroup is water cooling systems. The major benefits of these are cost-effectiveness, as well as outright effectiveness through significantly colder cooling water delivered to process. This means that the decrease in temperature is rapid, reliable, and as effective as it gets.
Dry cooling is a bit different, seeing as how it uses mechanical means to cool the fluids by the air. The heat is transferred through air-cooled heat exchangers. This separates the working fluid, which means that there is no water loss in this system, as a result. However, these dry cooling systems result in warmer cold water so they are not as efficient as mechanical open industrial cooling systems.
Fluid coil cooling systems are usually smaller; however, they can be custom-made in order to serve as industrial cooling systems. They can be found in many industrial applications as well as refrigeration systems you may see atop supermarkets. When efficient cooling is not at a premium and water savings is a must, these are a good fit.
Additional Factors to Consider
One of the biggest factors worth considering is that there’s no such thing as an ideal cooling system. Even with the same system, you can make a massive difference by running the facility and the cooling system in a different way. Factors like new water piping, cooling cycles, and water recycling processes can offset the efficiency of cooling systems drastically.
Moreover, as we’ve mentioned, not all of these systems are made equal and some are standard for specific industries. This means that your line of work may mandate the need for a specific tower type.
In the end, it’s important to point out that without these industrial water cooling systems there is no heavy industry (or industry of any kind). The amount of work produced is proportional to the amount of heat generated. Without proper cooling systems, the temperature would be unbearable both for humans and machines.
Now, cooling systems are generally used to control the temperature but the temperatures that these systems are supposed to handle are far higher in some industries. This is why these industrial cooling systems are manufactured from different materials to allow for higher temperature ranges and overall efficiency. They should also be designed to be anti-corrosive and resistant to all sorts of conditions and chemicals.
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