Advantages of Falling Film Chillers, with Ice Storage

In the discussion of the best heat transfer device for a dairy to use to chill product and processes, there are many choices available, but none except the Falling Film Chiller with Ice Storage, like Vogt /Turbo’s HP1000AR machines, offer the degree of operational flexibility, high efficiency, and robustness to common operational issues commonly found in dairy operations.


First, addressing thermal efficiency, both machines boil R717 at a capacity equal to the heat moved across the plates.  That is to say, both units move BTUs evenly per unit of work done; all of the work done chilling product is directly valuable, all work done moving heat that is “waste” or “external” to the system is the area where the 2 machines’ efficiencies can vary.


The fundamental efficiency (the amount of heat lost to the environment the machine is in) for the plate and frame is dependent on the quality of the insulation installed at the site by the contractor (potentially subject to all the issues associated with field work, and that because this insulation is in direct contact with the refrigerated components, it’s quality must be very high to avoid losses.  Further, the when evaluating the cost of the projects, the type of insulation and special installation methods used must be carefully evaluated by the installing party, and many types of insulation, including commonly used foam materials like “Armaflex” will absorb water, reducing their effectiveness dramatically.


Whereas Vogt/Turbo falling film chillers are insulated at the factory in a controlled process, and further that because our plates are separated from the insulated exterior of the machine by an air gap, losses are inherently lower and much less effected by physical damage, water intrusion, or other inevitable degradation of the insulation’s R-Value over the life of the equipment.


But this matter is not one purely off efficiency, but robustness and suitability for purpose in the dairy.  Vogt/Turbo Falling Film chillers with ice storage offer 2 major operational benefits: the reserve chilling capacity and consistent water temperature from the storage tank outlet, and the robustness of the device in the application.


Let’s take the case of a reduction of coolant flow or refrigeration problem causing ice to be formed in/on the chiller or the plate and frame.  For the falling film chiller, there is no issue for the machine, other than perhaps the ice formed must be melted.  But the machine is designed to melt the ice if it forms, and the energy lost making it, will be recovered when it falls into the storage tank.


Whereas the plate and frame will be severely damaged, at a minimum require rebuilding or service, and could even have to be replaced.    Further, it has been seen that the freezing of the water side of a plate and frame unit, and the potential associated failing of the seals can cause the R717 side to leak internally or externally.  Clearly an external leak is undesirable, but an internal leak between the two sides of the plate and frame could go undetected and result in the contamination of the R717 side of the plate and frame.  Because the water flows down our plates under no external pressure, water intrusion not the working fluid of the refrigerant very unlikely.


Regardless, any service option for the plate and frame, means extended downtime and an almost certain risk of a loss of production during the chiller outage, since there is no “backup” of ice storage for the plant to run on during downtime.


This brings us to the second, and significant, operational advantage of the Vogt/Turbo Chiller with Ice Storage in the dairy service.  Because there is a large amount of ice stored, the dairy may continue to operate: with consistent chilled water temperatures, during the planned or unplanned downtime of the refrigeration system, and without any risk of a refrigeration failure bringing production to a stop while the refrigeration system is serviced or repaired.


The advantages of the Vogt/Turbo Falling Film chillers with Ice Storage for providing the cooling needs of a modern dairy have been well documented and proven over many years of service in applications around the world.  Vogt/Turbo has worked with many customers over the years, and understands that operational decisions are always complex.  Often new or different technology is interesting, but in the case of the plate and frame exchanger vs a Vogt/Turbo Falling Film Chiller with Ice Storage, it is clear that the decision is far reaching, and impacts the operations and contingency planning of the Dairy.  Vogt is confident in the efficiency and operational advantages of our Chillers, and is certain that our dairy customers will continue to see the value of the proven operational advantages it provides, and elect to retain the solution most fit for their needs: Vogt/Turbo Falling Film Chillers with Ice Storage.

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