Since industrial processes, motors and machines are not fully efficient, they release heat as a byproduct. When you fail to get rid of the heat, it accumulates with time, thus lowering production times and even equipment breakdowns. Incorporating cooling into the process is crucial to avoid such issues.
Besides, adequate cooling is crucial in various industries, including bakery, beef processing, milk processing, brewery, poultry processing, feed mills, chemical, metal, pharmaceutical, plastic manufacturing, and construction. Use of chillers is essential in these industries for cooling purposes.
Industrial chillers uses glycol as the heat transfer solution to convey heat from one location of the processing line to another. Therefore, it is vital to carry out regular monitoring of the fluid to ensure optimum functioning. In this post, we explain the best way to test glycol with your industrial chiller.
Industrial chillers use glycol solution in the transfer of heat. Glycol is a chemical compound with low volatility characteristics at room temperature, although you can find it as vapor or air. This slightly thick and translucid compound is crucial in refrigeration. Glycol is eco-friendly and has distinctive properties that make it suitable for the food and beverage industries, unlike other refrigerants.
Glycol comes either as propylene glycol or ethylene glycol. Most industrial applications use ethylene glycol since its more economical. On the other hand, propylene glycol tends to become more viscous at very low temperatures and typically used near food.
How to Test Glycol
One of the best practices when using a glycol cooling system is regularly test the heat transfer solution. The recommended tool to analyze the fluid is a Misco Products Refractometer, model 7084VP (°F).
A refractometer typically checks for the refractive index, which describes the speed through light travel via a material. It measures the angle at which the light seems to bend and converts it into concentration. You only require adding a few drops of the glycol on the prism, and you won’t need to adjust the fluid temperature. After that, you can read the screen readings that represent the anti-freezing point of the glycol concentration.
Applications and Locations
When checking the percentage, you have to consider the chiller’s environment and location. The percentage of glycol tends to reduce for chillers in an indoor location with zero possibility of freezing. But if the chiller is in an outdoor environment and temperatures are low, the percentage of glycol tends to be greater.
Note that location and environment are critical considerations when choosing the correct mixture of glycol/water for the chiller process. You will need more glycol if your system is in an outdoor environment where low temperatures might freeze the fluid and cause the bursting of pipes. But a process in a completely indoor environment where there are zero chances of freezing does not require much glycol.
Other Best Practices
When using glycol concentration, you must be careful not to go for the automotive-grade anti-freeze. These glycol types are not suitable for industrial purposes and could cause havoc to your heat exchanger and affect heat transfer.
While it might be tempting to use different glycol brands or types, the mixture can clog filters or cause gelling. If you intend to change the type you have been using in your system, ensure thorough cleaning to eliminate the current fluid.
Importance of Industrial Chillers
There are numerous benefits of using chillers, including consistent temperature and pressure to the process. Elimination of temperature and pressure variables leads to optimization and convenience in the process development, thus giving a high-quality product. An industrial chiller differs from wasteful one-time pass-through systems by allowing recirculation of the cooling liquid. Therefore, it increases productivity and also saves on cost.
To extend a chiller’s life and lower the costly downtime, you need to use a fluid filter and perform fluid maintenance. Besides, maintaining a proper balance of the heat transfer solution and filtration of dirt out of the system is necessary to receive more years of service from an industrial chiller. You can identify leaks along the system using food coloring but ensure it is FDA approved. Additionally, you need to have glycol in your hand in case anything happens in the process.
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At JC Younger, we understand the critical roles a chiller plays in different industries. For that reason, we commit to meet your needs through industrial or commercial chiller rentals and sales across the United States. Check out our chiller services and learn about how we can meet assist you.