Since the cooling needs of virtually every manufacturing plant differs, how can a facility manager determine which chillers, cooling towers, temperature controllers or other cooling equipment is right for their operation?
Chiller & Cooling Best Practices Magazine interviewed Peter Armbruster (Director of Sales and Marketing) and Bob Smith (Director of Product Management) at Thermal Care to gain insights into best practices used to accurately evaluate and assess a plant’s cooling needs and ultimately provide the solution best matched to the application.
Good morning! Tell us about Thermal Care
We’re an industrial process cooling equipment and systems solutions provider headquartered in Niles, Illinois. We’ve been manufacturing chillers and other process cooling equipment since 1969 for use in a wide range of industrial applications worldwide.
We offer central chillers, portable chillers, temperature controllers, cooling towers, and tanks. This includes standard models, as well as customized integrated systems. We excel at bringing all of the individual components that make up a complete cooling system together in a single portfolio. In addition, we have the engineering capacity and a deep level of expertise required to understand a facility’s processes and to determine the appropriate solution to meet their needs.
Thermal Care manufactures a complete line of process cooling solutions.
What’s the first step in accurately assessing a plant’s process cooling needs?
That’s what makes the job fun because there can be a whole host of things that determine the appropriate solution. You’re never putting the nut on the bolt every single day the same way, even if it is a single piece of equipment.
As with any business, we’ll start with the very basics to find out what the customer is looking for and asking key questions because there are so many variables involved. If the plant is in need of a single piece of equipment, such as a chiller, and the chiller will be cooling a single machine or process, we can formulate the appropriate solution fairly quickly without the need for a lot of technical detail. But even then, it’s about asking the right questions. We train our people to always take a step back, and ask, “What problem are we trying to solve?”
For example, a facility manager might say, “I need a 100-ton water-cooled chiller.” In that case, we start asking questions like, “Can you tell me about your cooling tower system?” And then we might learn they don’t have a cooling tower, which means what they really need is an air-cooled chiller because there’s no way to effectively cool a water-cooled chiller without a cooling tower system.
Or, the customer might say they need to do something relatively straightforward like providing cooling to their air compressors. That sounds fairly straightforward, but then we’ll always dig deeper. For instance, we’ll ask if there’s anything else in the plant that needs cooling. And they might say, “Oh yeah, I’ve got a vacuum pump over here that also needs cooling.” So now, we start to learn more about their entire cooling load and what they really need.
What we always do at the fundamental level is ask, “Where is the heat coming from?” Then the next question we want to answer is, “How do we want to get rid of it, while saving water or energy or whatever is most important for that facility?”
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