Keeping Food and Beverage Chilling Systems Operating at Peak Performance

Using a food and beverage chilling system to fill ice cream cones

The industrial chilling system at the heart of your food and beverage processing plant is likely the highest consumer of energy in your facility, but how confident are you that it is operating at peak performance? Even the smallest reductions in industrial refrigeration efficiencies can incur great costs both financially, and in terms of food and beverage safety risks. Knowing how to keep your chiller running at maximum efficiency plays an important role in the success of your company.

2 Keys to Maximum Food Chiller Efficiency

Food process chillers can consume over 50 percent of your plant’s electricity. The slightest divergence from optimum chiller performance can cause utility bills to soar.

(Learn more about the principles of basic refrigeration from Berg’s School of Cool.)

At Industrial Refrigerated Systems clients often come to us with maintenance requests that would be avoidable with two simple keys: Understanding and sticking to the design characteristics of your facility’s cold room refrigeration system, and ensuring that evaporator coils are kept clean.

Knowing Your Chilling System’s Optimum Configuration

The purpose and function of all chilling systems is to remove unwanted heat, yet the manner in which this is accomplished varies from system to system.

Whether you’re using a closed loop cooling system, central chiller, outdoor packaged chiller, portable chiller or another type of industrial refrigerated system, having a precise and detailed knowledge of that system’s full load design and the most efficient configurations for your unique chiller is critical. Maximum efficiency is running the greatest tonnage at the lowest kilowatt usage.

Effectively understanding your particular system’s capabilities and applying that knowledge will keep your energy bills from skyrocketing. It will also lower your maintenance requirements.

Keeping Your Industrial Chiller Parts Clean

The other huge energy savings can be found in the proper care and cleaning of your industrial chiller parts—namely the evaporator coils of your industrial refrigeration system. Evaporator coils, found within the air handling unit, capture and transport the heat. They provide the cooling that is required to produce cold air even when temperatures are at their hottest. They are vital to the chiller system’s cooling and dehumidification performance.

Additional effects of evaporator coils include:

  • Reduced heat transfer
  • Decreased cooling capacity
  • Increased energy consumption
  • Increased operating pressure and temperatures
  • Increased wear on the system, which can lead to component damage system malfunctions and reduced life expectancy
  • Build- up of ice on coil

Dirty coils can require 40 percent more energy and decrease the cooling function capabilities by as much as 30 percent. Consistently cleaning them is vital.

6 Steps for Cleaning Evaporator Coils in Food and Beverage Chilling Systems

Proper and frequent evaporator coil cleaning is required for chilling systems to operate at peak performance.  The methods for doing this vary from unit to unit but here is the general process involved in cleaning a food and beverage refrigeration system:

  1. Use a flashlight to check the amount of dust and dirt to be cleaned from your unit by examining the cleanliness and condition of each finned coil (spaced 6 to 8 inches apart). With the flashlight, check for cardboard fibres, clogging and dirt.
  2. Enclose the unit from the top of the unit to the floor to prevent all nearby equipment from overspray
  3. Use a power sprayer to remove all dust and debris. Ensure that just enough pressure to clean the dirt off the entire depth of the coil is used so that the fins are not bent in the process
  4. Use mild soap (rather than chemicals that would break down galvanized surfaces) and a good supply of warm water, to carefully and thoroughly clean each coil
  5. Flush all water and debris is flushed down the drain lines
  6. Dry the coils by running “FANS ONLY” for several hours.

Although this process can occasionally be done in-house, Industrial Refrigerated Systems offers the expert chiller maintenance services to clean coils and keep energy costs low. Our technicians will assess the job and have the correct equipment, training, and materials needed to properly clean your evaporator coils without causing damage to the coils, fins or other components.

Getting the Industrial Chiller Service You Need

For 40 years, Berg has provided industrial process temperature control solutions with chilling, pumping and freezing equipment to achieve proper food processing temperatures and maintain the cold chain to prevent spoilage.

Berg Chilling Systems designs, engineers, manufactures, installs and services eco-positive chilling management solutions for the global food and beverage industry.

Industrial Refrigerated Systems is a Berg Company. If you would like more information on how to clean evaporator coils or to schedule a professional maintenance and cleaning appointment for your system, contact us.