Schoeneck Containers, Inc. (SCI) is a company that thinks a lot about its future – and how to continue to maintain a long track record of profitability and reliability while meeting a growing demand for its quality plastic containers for customers throughout North America. It’s the kind of thinking driving the decision to install a closed-loop adiabatic fluid cooler and central chiller with free-cooling capabilities at the company’s new 250,000-square-foot production facility in Delavan, Wisconsin.
Industrial automation and process applications requiring a chiller or heat exchanger can come in all types of shapes and sizes, and cooling capacity demands can range from a few hundred Btu/hr. for bench top lab equipment to many million Btu/hr. for laser applications. Chiller sizing for large-scale end users such as beverage, chemical or plastics manufacturing usually will demand central systems to achieve the massive cooling capacity requirements compared with small- to medium-range point of use automation applications. These unique differences become more challenging for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) as machine designers must anticipate a wide range of end-user operating environments and operator skill levels when specifying chillers or heat exchangers in contrast to end-user facilities where cooling capacity requirements are location specific and operator skill levels are known.
Recent legislation is impacting the use of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants, both globally and nationally. On the heels of these changes is confusion about legislation and the availability of certain types of refrigerants. On a global scale, the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol provides a global phase-down schedule for the use of HFC refrigerants in multiple sectors - including R-134a and R-410A - for the HVAC/R industry. While ratified across the globe by approximately 100 countries to date, the amendment has yet to be ratified in the United States.
“Evaporative cooling capacity for the district system is provided by a six-cell, open-loop cooling tower capable of 6,000 tons,” said Reid Olsen, USU Central Energy Plant Manager, who has been at the university for 26 years. “This tower serves the condensers of the water-cooled chillers at the heart of the district cooling system. There are four chillers in all, two of which are rated for 1,800 tons each, and the other two are 900 tons apiece. The cooling towers reject heat from the condenser water loop via evaporative cooling, allowing the chillers to supply chilled water to the campus cooling loop.”