Category Archives: Chiller Technology

Two green screw compressors being maintained in an air cooled chiller

Air Cooled Screw Chiller Maintenance

We recently carried out air cooled screw chiller maintenance at a site we look after in the North West. The plant is described such because it uses two Bitzer screw compressors to create a pressure difference in the R134a refrigerant. The plant has been designed to be remotely operated…

Chiller Remote

This is a way of operating the chiller remotely. Instead of the end user having to walk up to the machine each day to check for faults (chiller local) the plant can be remotely operated and monitored.

Run Signal

The run signal to start the chiller is sent by a relay being energised in the BMS panel (Building Management System) in the plant room. When the chiller receives the run signal, it shows the chiller on message.

Fault Feedback

When the chiller develops a fault, the chiller energises a relay, sending a fault feedback signal to the BMS panel. This fault signal causes the run signal to drop out and a new run signal to be sent to the adjacent redundant system.

BMS Panel

The BMS panel runs contactors which bring the water system pumps on, it also receives analogue signals from temperature sensors on the water system. These inputs and outputs are wired into a PCB which converts them into a data signal. This signal is sent down a CAT 5 plug cable to the supervisor in the facilities management room in the building below.

Remote Monitoring During Air Cooled Screw Chiller Maintenance

A supervisor is a computer which has graphic monitoring of the chillers and the air handlers. The supervisor, is connected down a phone line to the BMS company. Often, the chiller is remotely operated and monitored from a laptop used by a BMS engineer working from home.

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Air Cooled Screw Chiller Maintenance Parts

With a comprehensive range of chiller parts available, off the shelf, for air cooled chillers- look no further than Maximus Chillers for all your chiller parts. We can also supply parts mostly same day. A specialist part on this chiller is the electronic expansion valve driver- this regulates the steps in the expansion valve to ensure correct superheat in the shell and tube evaporator. An electronic expansion valve driver is also available to regulate the expansion valve in the refrigerant economiser. This acts to subcool the refrigerant to ensure optimum system efficiency.

Diagnosis During Air Cooled Screw Chiller Maintenance

Should you need chiller diagnosis- one of our trained professionals onsite during the maintenance will identify the issue with his system test equipment.

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

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Read more about remote monitoring and control on Wikipedia | Click Here


Vacuum pump and green compressor during air cooled chiller superheat maintenance

Air Cooled Chiller Superheat Maintenance

Air cooled chiller superheat maintenance at Maximus Chillers. During the visit, we found a high superheat condition with an Italian chiller. The customer had reported a low refrigerant charge trip out. The customer raised the order, so we got straight to work on the leak during the maintenance visit.

Pressure Temperature Relationship

Put simply, the higher the pressure, the higher the temperature of the refrigerant- this is consistent with Charles’s Law of Constant Volume. The refrigerant was found to be at a higher temperature above saturation (or boiling point) than usual- which is a high superheat condition. The chiller runs on R134a, which is a HFC refrigerant.

Air Cooled Chiller Superheat Maintenance with Leak Finding

Our engineer used his leak identification equipment to find the leak. After looking around the chiller he found the leak adjacent to the shell and tube evaporator, where 4 bolts hold the suction pipe on. This coupling is sealed with a gasket.

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Chiller Pump Down

Because of the location of the leak, our engineer decided to pump the chiller down to the condenser and valve the evaporator off. A lot less time consuming than setting up the recovery unit to decant the refrigerant.

Air Cooled Chiller Superheat Maintenance with Leak Repairs

He used his Allen key set to remove the suction pipe from the evaporator. On inspection, the paper gasket had deteriorated then been pushed out by the pressure in the system. All of our engineers carry an extensive range of commonly used parts and materials as standard in their cars. This is to reduce down time for the customer. He made up a new paper gasket, coated it with a special sealing compound, then re fitted the suction pipe to the evaporator. He then used his torque wrench on the Allen key bolts to the correct manufacturer’s recommendations. The system was then pressure tested and dehydrated as per standard industry guidelines.

Screw Compressor

The superheat value at the Bitzer screw compressor was found to be within normal operating values after additional refrigerant was added to the system. A further follow up leak test was carried out at a later date according to F-gas regulations. The paperwork being kept in the F-gas file in the chief engineer’s office.

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

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To read more about vapour compression on Wikipedia | Click Here


Brazing equipment box and vibration eliminators during packaged chiller service

Packaged Chiller Service

Packaged chiller service due to a refrigerant leak, resulting in a trip out. This visit was to identify the leak and get the plant back online.

Leak Testing During Packaged Chiller Service

Nitrogen was added to the system to aid in the identification of the leak. All parts of the system were checked, including the removal of lagging around the couplings onto the evaporator. The leak was found on a poor quality ‘eliminator’ which had rubbed through on the evaporator.

Vibration Eliminators

We decided to fit high quality vibration eliminators- see picture. These are fitted one in the horizontal position and the other in the vertical. They absorb both directions of vibration then they are clamped to the chiller frame.

Brazing During Packaged Chiller Service

The pipework brazing was carried out during packaged chiller service with all combustible materials being removed from the work location. A permit to work was opened with our engineer as the responsible person. A half hour fire watch was carried out on completion of works.

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Pressure Test During Packaged Chiller Service

The pressure testing was carried out using nitrogen. As nitrogen is an inert gas, it will not cause other potential risks to the chiller and other personnel. The pressure test was a pass, so the next phase of the job could be carried out…

Vacuum Pump

Each engineer carries a 10 cfm vacuum pump. This high capacity ensures a fast vacuum. The Torr gauge was fitted to the system and 2 Torr was pulled.

Refrigerant Saturation

In the cylinder, the saturation of R407c is 7 bar at 11° The refrigerant in the cylinder is in its liquid phase with vapour on top.

Subcooling

On run testing the chiller, the subcooling value was found to be nominal at industry standard level.

Superheat

The superheat was adjusted, little by little, with the charging of the refrigerant until a good value was achieved. This was tested across all loading conditions for the rest of the visit.

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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.

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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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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.

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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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Follow this link to read about polyolester oil on Wikipedia | Click Here

 


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.

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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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Engineer carrying out process chiller service with yellow and black cylinder

Process Chiller Service

Maximus Chillers has just carried out process chiller service to a flooded evaporator. The refrigerant seal on a four bolt, flanged coupling had been found to be leaking liquid refrigerant. There was no possibility to valve off that section of the machine, as the flooded evaporator is the storage vessel for all of the charge of the system in its liquid phase.

Refrigerant Decant for Process Chiller Service

Our high capacity pump out unit was set up next to the machine to carry out process chiller service. 55 kg of refrigerant was recovered in a short time into our recovery cylinder. This refrigerant was collected for recycling after the job was completed.

Process Chiller Refrigerant Leak Service

The flanged coupling was unbolted and the failed refrigerant seal was removed. The new seal was fitted from our full range of sizes that we keep on the shelf in our stores. Our engineer bolted the flanged coupling back up to the correct torque setting.

Pressure Leak Test

A nitrogen pressure leak test was carried out to ensure the integrity of the system with the result being a pass.

Dehydration Process

As the system was open to atmosphere, air had got into the system which carries moisture content. The moisture and non condensables were removed down to a near perfect vacuum using one of our high capacity vacuum pumps.

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Charging of Refrigerant

The photo shows the charging of a cylinder of refrigerant into the system in its liquid phase. The cylinder has a dip tube fitted for ease of cylinder handling. Once the pressure in the system and the cylinder equalized, remaining refrigerant was drawn into the system during the operation of the plant.

Run Testing

The sight glasses and level glasses were found to be at the optimum level under the normal running conditions of the process chiller. As it is a flooded system, there was found to be a low superheat value. A high subcooling value was achieved with the use of a subcooler. Our engineer monitored a full cycle of an hour and a half: compressor temperatures and oil level were found to be within normal operating limits.

Remote Service Monitoring of Process Chiller

The service of this process chiller can be remotely monitored via a data uplink through the internet. Our office continued to monitor the plant for some days as it went into seamless operation.

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Two dark green centrifugal chillers undergoing maintenance in plant room

Centrifugal Chiller Maintenance

At the beginning of the year we completed centrifugal chiller maintenance for one of our customers in America. A last overseas trip for the moment given the current world lockdown. The chillers in the photo chill water that is pumped around a university campus.

Centrifugal Chiller Maintenance of Redundant System

The plant has a water cooling shell and tube evaporator and a water cooled shell and tube condenser. It has been designed according to the N+1 principle: N being the amount of cooling required and 1 being that same amount of cooling again. Each chiller has enough capacity to satisfy demand. Given the large size of the campus, this principle was critical to keeping the University functioning should system failure occur. The chiller on the right was the lead chiller on arrival. After taking detailed readings during the maintenance, our engineer switched that chiller over into being the lag chiller and took readings from the chiller on the left. He rotates the lead/ lag of the chillers on each visit to balance the run hours of the compressors.

Volumetric Efficiency

Centrifugal chillers have a lower volumetric efficiency compared with positive displacement compressors such as screws and repips. This is because the impeller does not mechanically compress the refrigerant like a piston in a reciprocating compressor. This kind of compressor relies on centrifugal force to spin the refrigerant off the tip of the impeller and onto the next stage. The refrigerant is then discharged from the compressor.

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Mass Flow Rate

The above is more than compensated for with a high mass flow rate. That is to say: a high volume of refrigerant circulates around the system at its operating density. A large capacity machine is cost effective when considering energy efficiency and centrifugal chiller maintenance costs.

Gantry Crane for Centrifugal Chiller Maintenance

The gantry crane in the picture is available to aid with the lift and shift of the compressor, should compressor failure occur. Maximus Chillers are specialists in the overhaul of centrifugal compressors. We can arrange the lift out, transportation, strip down and reassembly of your compressors. All of our strip downs come with a 12 month warranty to give you peace of mind and confidence in our ability.

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Air cooled chiller planned maintenance showing both economizers with solenoid valves and expansion valves

Air Cooled Chiller Planned Maintenance

An air cooled chiller planned maintenance visit for a long standing customer of ours. They have just signed up to another 3 year contract. We know at Maximus Chillers that if we want to keep our customers, we must continue to offer the Maximus Service. Maximus is Latin for the highest and the greatest.

Critical Air Cooled Chiller Planned Maintenance

Planned maintenance is essential for these air cooled chillers as they are critical plant. They feed a large conference room which is a major part of the end user’s business. They can’t afford to loose the conference room when there is an event on. There is redundancy in the plant, but the customer always makes sure that the issues highlighted on the planned maintenance are acted on promptly. Also, the chillers feed a water cooled condenser for a pack which cools £50,000 of products used during the conferences.

Air Cooled Chiller Oil Planned Maintenance

1mw of cooling across 2 air cooled chillers were undergoing planned maintenance. Our engineer noticed that the oil level was slightly below the sight glass on one of the 250kw Bitzer compressors. The machine had previously been extensively run tested to ensure no oil return issues were present. Therefore, he decided to adjust the level with the oil available onsite.

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Economiser

The economisers, in the picture, were tested to ensure the solenoids were opening when the program sent the run signal. The electronic expansion valves functioned correctly and subcooled the liquid further after the condenser.

Head Pressure Control

The head pressure control was functioning correctly, keeping a steady 8 bar of pressure across all stages of loading and water system temperatures. This is because these chillers use a fan speed controller for each system. The fans cut in at the minimum running speed, which prevents stalling and over heating. Also, all fans running together are more reliable. Fans fail on systems using relays or pressure switches as the higher pressure fans don’t often come on. When they do, moisture has ingressed into them causing them to fail.

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

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Process chiller maintenance visit showing refrigerant gauge lines fitted to a grey chiller

Process Chiller Maintenance Visit

Maximus Chillers recently carried out a maintenance visit to an Italian process chiller.

Process Chiller Maintenance Visit for Water Level Sensor

The process chiller has a water treatment schedule, but on this visit, the water level sensor needed maintenance. This is because the three probes of the sensor were not completing continuity. The probes complete the continuity from the wire going into the sensor, along the probe, then to another wire completing continuity back to the controls of the chiller.

Low Water Probe

If the controls loose continuity to the low water probe, the alarm is triggered and a call out is arranged to resolve the issue.

Correct Level Probe

In normal operation, the correct level probe is activated and the chiller runs as normal.

High Water Level Probe

Should the high water level probe be activated, again the alarm is triggered and a call out arranged.

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Maintenance Visit to the Process Chiller

As we were already on site to carry out the maintenance, there was no need to arrange a call out. We soaked the sensor for an hour in a special a decontamination chemical that has been designed to restore the probes. That done, the rest of the maintenance was carried out including the tightening of the wiring and motor connectors. It was possible to do this on this visit as the factory was not in production.

Run Testing

All readings around the chiller were taken when the factory went back into production. We found the fridge system to be working with optimum efficiency, meaning that the chiller will use the optimum amount of electricity. Efficiency is a great concern to a factory as they want to reduce their carbon footprint as much as possible.

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Air cooled chiller maintenance of two white chillers with green compressors

Air Cooled Chiller Maintenance

Air Cooled Chiller Maintenance Bodger Watch

We carry out air cooled chiller maintenance at an office building in the North West. Chiller maintenance is usually very good, but this is bodger watch! The customer told us that there had been this guy who used to come who spent most of his time in the canteen- reading manuals on his laptop! Not even the manuals for that site either! You couldn't make it up could you? What kind of a chiller maintenance schedule is that? They said he used to fix everyone's bathrooms in the evening to make up his pay! This is bodger watch!

Air Cooled Chiller Antifreeze Maintenance

One of our engineers rang the office from a site we look after the other week. He was struggling to carry out the maintenance- the antifreeze dosing. He was advised to use his testing instrument to assess the level in the water system. He came back with the result- too much antifreeze. The customer uses a non industrial antifreeze even though the site is heavy industrial. This is because the price is narrowing between industrial and non industrial antifreeze which is not toxic.

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On Site Maintenance Engineer

The customer adding antifreeze is the usual course- it means their onsite engineer can keep on top of things. This onsite engineer was a little too keen though: he had been putting too much in.

Antifreeze Removal

Our pump out team was sent to site with their tanker and equipment. Then, the correct level of antifreeze was then charged into the system.

Clear Site

Last but not least, our engineer gave the machine a wipe down and the chiller location a sweep- good house husbandry costs nothing.

For the efficient running of your plant- choose Maximus Chillers.

Any Chiller- Any Problem- Any Part- Any Refrigerant- Anywhere- The MAXIMUS ADVANTAGE™

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

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Visit Refcom for industry guidance and advice.


Chiller service of fan decks showing 8 fans

Chiller Service of Fan Decks

Chiller Service of Fan Decks Bodger Watch

Chiller service of fan decks is usually very good, but this is bodger watch! A new customer of ours was telling us about this little guy that used to come to carry out chiller service of fan decks. He was reported to have been running around like the apprentice- ringing everybody up! Then when help came, it came in the form of this huge big man who proceeded to get stuck in the chiller! You couldn't make it up! This is bodger watch! The customer asked for a professional service from Maximus Chillers.

Repeated Leaks on Condenser

Our engineer found the head pressure control was bringing the fans thumping on and off forwards and backwards. During a visit, the fans were found to be rattling the frame and juddering the chiller into leaks.

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Learning How to Think

Instead of just swapping like for like parts. Our engineers have the capability to think outside the box and make changes to chiller design. All of our engineers attend the Maximus School of Chillers at Head Office in Droylsden, Manchester. Read More on the Chiller Company page.

Fan Speed Controller

On a return visit, we fitted off the shelf fan speed controllers from our stores- one for each system. These fan speed controllers are stand alone- they do not need to be integrated into the existing controls. When the pressure builds up- the fan speed controller speeds the fans up from the minimum (cut in) to the maximum (same volts as the incoming supply)

Chiller Service of Fan Decks Seamless Operation

Now the fan speed controllers are fitted- there are no more leaks. Any chiller can be made to settle down into seamless operation.

Are you a factory manager or facilities manager with recurring leaks on your chillers? Look no further than Maximus Chillers.

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Visit the Institute of Refrigeration to read a paper on the comparison between air cooled condensers and evaporative condensers.


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