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Staying chilled when your chillers are down

10 September 2017

Carl Webb offers a solution that will allow maintenance engineers to keep their cool when in-house chillers go offline. 

Throughout the food and beverage production cycle a carefully controlled operating temperature is essential.  For much of this there is the reliance in a supply of chilled water delivered by in-house chillers.

Key to chiller efficiency is its heat transfer performance and this can be maintained if the unit's condenser and evaporator tubes are cleaned regularly. Cleaning tubing in heat exchangers is laborious but necessary to ensure high-efficiency performance.  Another area of concern is the condition of the water used within the chiller, it should be treated properly to avoid issues such as scaling, corroding and biological growth.  

Chiller failure can have a devastating effect. in-line machinery can overheat with the potential for damage; stored ingredients may become unsafe to be used; and even a moderately low-temperature can be difficult to maintain in-store. At such crucial moments on-site maintenance engineers will be under extreme pressure to resolve the situation. It could simply be a stuck valve or a more serious incident that could remain unsolved for many days. 

While major repairs take place a good alternative is chiller hire.

Bottling plant 
A major brewery was experiencing minimal air movement in its bottling areas due to lack of ventilation during a planned staged replacement of its air conditioning system. This left the area exposed to temperatures in excess of 30°C. To prevent downtime and protect the quality of the end-product emergency chiller hire was essential.

The brwery contacted Andrews Chillers which was able to supply a 100kW chiller along with two air-handling units for localised cooling of a bottling area during the air conditioning upgrade. However, as more bottling areas started to have their air-conditioning disabled, during a period in the summer when temperatures were high, site managers soon realised that additional temporary cooling was required and the company again turned to Andrews Chiller Hire.  It was decided that duplicating the original hire package would be the best option, comprising another 100kW chiller plus a 30kW and a 50kW air handler unit.

Where possible pre-planned shut-down of an on-site chiller and organised temporary hire of a chiller will ensure there is no loss of chiller water.  This was the case when a major food distribution warehouse needed to upgrade its in-house chiller. 

The warehouse team carefully pre-planned closure of the cooling plant and discussed the situation with Andrews Chiller Hire to ensure that food stock would not degrade.  On the scheduled date Andrews delivered and installed ten Fast Chill 90 low temperature chillers to keep the warehouse at the required temperature until maintenance work was completed. The main advantage of the Fast Chill 90 units in this application was their portability, which resulted in fast and easy installation, providing 100kW of cooling at -10oC to ensure stock did not degrade during the plant shutdown.

The chiller units were placed at a high level within the storage area and connected to a bank of exterior heat exchangers to dissipate the extracted heat to atmosphere. They draw hot energy into the system, which passes over a cold coil, is converted into water which is then pumped to a condenser within the heat exchanger where it is discharged outside the building. 

Andrews Chiller Hire offers its customers 24/7, 365-day access to specialist engineering staff that are able to advise and offer solutions to maintaining room temperature.  With over 35 depots nationwide and a large chiller fleet with individual units ranging from 6kW to 750kW the Andrews-Sykes Special Hire Division can respond quickly and deliver a temporary, time-critical response, whether for planned or emergency temperature control.

Carl Webb is director of Andrews Chiller Hire.

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