Monthly Archives: May 2020

7 large air cooled chiller condensers maintained with 12 fans each

Air Cooled Chiller Condenser Maintenance

Air cooled chiller condenser maintenance at Maximus Chillers. The condensers in the picture are a row of 6. These are remote from a row of 6 chillers, located in a plant room in the building below. The chillers are 750 kw single screw compressors with a control panel located to the side of each. On this visit, the emphasis of the maintenance was scheduled as being to the condensers.

Fan Speed Controllers

The refrigerant for the systems is R134a, so to allow for the saturation of the refrigerant, 8 bar is the head pressure set point. This pressure corresponds to the desired condenser temperature of 36°. Subcooling of 6° to 8° is achieved during the nominal operation of the plant. Each fan speed controller runs the 12 condenser fans together. Other condenser designs where fans bang on forwards and backwards cause vibrations resulting in reoccurring leaks on the condenser. Chiller No. 2 had tripped during a “discharge override” system message. On inspection of No. 2 condenser- the fans speed inverter had tripped on “over temperature” alarm. The panel fan, which is the kind to cool computers, was found to be still trying to run but seized. This failure had caused the alarm on the inverter. The panel fan was replaced from the stock of parts in the on site stores. The chiller was reset and a detailed Tick Sheet was completed noting the occurrence of this fault on arrival.

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Air Cooled Chiller Condenser Wash Down Maintenance

Because of the large size of the plant, the customer had installed a fireman’s hose for the wash down of the condensers during air cooled chiller maintenance. This is located in the free space beneath the condensers. It is fitted to a portable buggy so it can be moved under each condenser. Setting the nozzle to the correct attitude, our engineer moved the buggy sideways, so as to rinse the condenser in the direction of the fins. The condenser was relatively clean as the on site maintenance engineers carry this task out as part of their scheduled maintenance.

To read more about air cooled chiller maintenance click the Tag at the top of the page.

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2 Torr showing on a gauge during process chiller vacuum service

Process Chiller Vacuum Service

During a recent process chiller vacuum service, our engineer achieved a deep vacuum of 2 Torr. This is the same pressure as if the Torr gauge had been fitted directly to the vacuum pump.

Torr Gauge

The Torr gauge was fitted to a refrigerant hose. The refrigerant system uses a different kind of fitting used for breaking in. Therefore, an adaptor fitting was used to go between the two kinds of fitting. A specialist sealant was used between the adaptor fitting and the refrigerant system and another sealant was used between the adaptor fitting and the refrigerant hose. This completed, the Torr gauge was located in a convenient location for inspection on achieving a deep vacuum.

0161 370 7193

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Process Chiller Vacuum Service Pump

Each of our engineers is issued with a high capacity 10cfm pump which is used for process chiller vacuum service. Only the best equipment will do at Maximus Chillers. The oil was changed as per standard industry procedures and the correct level of oil was checked. The vacuum pump was ran up to operating temperature for half an hour with the inlet valve closed. This was to ensure the correct operating temperature of the oil was achieved before load was given to the vacuum pump. A steel braided refrigerant hose with bolted ends fits with the service ports on the refrigerant system. Therefore, adaptor fittings were again used to get between this hose and the vacuum pump.

Dehydration Process

The purpose for evacuation is the removal of moisture from the refrigerant system. Air contains usually around 50% relative humidity of moisture carried within it. Air had ingressed into the system during the works that had been carried out. The boiling point of moisture is 100°C at 760 Torr (1 bar absolute- Earth’s air pressure at sea level) This boiling point drops, corresponding to pressure until at 15°C the boiling point of water is 10 Torr. The boiling point of water at 0°C is 5 Torr. Therefore, with our vacuum pump achieving 2 Torr, a dry system is capable of being achieved regardless of the UK ambient temperature. Also, various heaters were used to speed up the process. Eventually the pressure in the refrigerant system was recorded at 2 Torr.

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Controls panel open during chilling plant maintenance

Chilling Plant Controls Maintenance

Prior to this chilling plant controls maintenance visit, another contractor had changed some of the settings and adjustments in the controllers. They did this while they were diagnosing a fault with the water system and the pumps. Therefore, this visit was to recommission the plant and to resolve the issues resulting from the adjustments.

Chilling Plant Flow Controls Maintenance

The flow controls were found to be set wrong causing a wrong. Our engineer adjusted the pumps, then various valves on the water system, a little at a time, while monitoring the controller. Full load and part load readings were taken until they came to within standard industry limits.

0161 370 7193

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Compressor Run On Time

A timer had been adjusted which made the compressor wait to stop after reaching 0% on achieving set point. In the meantime, some more heat would build up in the water system and the compressor slide valve would open up a little. The result was that the compressor would run for an hour with the slide valve shut most of the time. The oil pump carried on pumping during this time resulting in a head of oil building up in the discharge pipe- all the way back up to the oil separator. Then, a low oil level fault had occurred. This being confirmed by the sight glass on the oil separator. The compressor had enough oil charged into it to allow a start up. During the start up, a low oil level timer counts down. As soon as the compressor loaded and started pumping, the oil level returned to the correct level on the sight glasses. The timer was adjusted along with the dead band to ensure the chiller off cycled after achieving set point.

Slide Valve Potentiometer

The slide valve potentiometer has a configuration mode button. It can be pressed to set the 4mA or 0% position. This is the usual position of the slide valve as a spring and 2 drain valves return it to the start position. The slide valve can then be manually opened in the program. Then, the potentiometer button can be pressed to set the 20mA or 100% position. “Chattering” can occur on the fully closed position so a setting is available to only close the slide valve to 2%.

To read more about chilling plant maintenance click the Tag at the top of the page.

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Follow this link to read more about potentiometers on Wikipedia Click Here


An engineer filling blue oil drums during industrial chiller maintenance

Industrial Chiller Maintenance

Industrial Chiller Oil Maintenance

On a recent Major maintenance visit to an industrial chiller, the scheduled oil change was carried out. The required oil being selected by our oil analysis process to the correct viscosity for a Grasso screw compressor operating at a 1° saturation.

Oil Drain Out

The oil separator and oil system was valved off from the rest of the system. The standing pressure of the vapour in the vessel was 5.8 bar. On the far end of the oil cooler is located an oil drain port, this is because it is the lowest part of the system. Using hoses and a valve, the oil was drained into empty oil drums.

Oil Pump In

Our engineer removed the old oil for recycling, then lifted the new oil to the work location. He used his portable oil pump to pump back in 4 drums of oil using the same port from which the oil was drained. This is so that the oil cooler, on the other side of a heat activated three way valve, was primed. The oil came to the correct level on the oil sight glasses and the vapour was bled from the oil filter so that the compressor was primed with oil. When the system starts, the discharge pressure in the oil separator pushes the oil into the suction of the screw.

0161 370 7193

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Slide Valve Oil Pump

To operate the slide valve, a gear type oil pump is bolted to the casting next to the shaft. This raises the oil pressure to 5 bar above discharge. The oil is pumped through channels in the casting to operate the slide valve. A spring is fitted to the slide valve to return it to 0% when the plant shuts down.

Industrial Chiller Maintenance Monitoring

The oil heater was switched on until the oil was 46°. The chiller was then started and run tested. The Delta P across the oil filter was found to be nominal at 0.5 bar. The oil level remained at the correct level as the three way valve opened to the oil cooler. The oil cooler, in turn being cooled by a cooling loop which uses some of the tubes on the air cooled condenser

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Green Bitzer compressor being vacuumed during HFC chiller service

HFC Chiller Service

The HFC chiller being serviced in the photo is 600kw. It consists of two systems with a large Bitzer compressor for each system. It has a bespoke Micro Control System front end to run the machine and stop it should there be a fault condition. The chiller had been reported by the customer to have tripped out on a low pressure fault.

HFC Chiller Diagnosis Service

The readings of superheat and subcooling are available in the controller of the HFC chiller being serviced. This removes the need to fit instrumentation carried by our engineers. The process of diagnosis was therefore speeded up. The result being that the chiller was found to be running short of refrigerant.

Return Visit to Decant the Refrigerant

A Quote was submitted to the customer for approval. Once the Order was raised, a convenient time was arranged to return to site and carry out the HFC chiller service. The remaining charge of refrigerant was decanted into our recovery vessels with one of our fast pump out units which are carried by each of our engineers.

0161 370 7193

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Looking Around the Pipework for a Leak

Nitrogen, an inert gas, was introduced into the system to assist in the location of the leak. The leak was quickly found on one of the end turns of the condenser.

Brazing and Pressure Testing

Our engineer made good the leak using his brazing torch. Then, the integrity of the system was proven to industry standards with a system pressure test.

The Evacuation Process for HFC Chiller Service

The picture shows a 10 cfm (cubic feet per minute) vacuum pump being used to dehydrate the system during HFC chiller service. Each of our engineers carries a vacuum pump of this capacity as it speeds up the process. One refrigerant hose being fitted to the discharge pipe and another, smaller hose being fitted to the suction pipe. The system being vacuumed to a deep vacuum.

Recharge and Run Testing

After the chiller had been recharged with some of the charge of the refrigerant R134a, the remaining refrigerant was charged in its liquid phase, away from the compressor, until the superheat and subcooling values were within industry limits. A large amount of load was available as the chiller feeds an air blown film plastic manufacturing facility.

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