How Do Industrial Chillers Work?

April 04, 2023


Industrial chillers are an essential part of many industrial processes, including cooling down liquids and gases as well as keeping machinery from overheating.

Industrial chillers are found in a wide variety of applications, including:

  • Distribution and storage
  • Food and beverage production
  • Chemical processing
  • Pharmaceutical and healthcare
  • Utilities

What Are Industrial Chillers Used For?

The main use for industrial chillers is to cool down the ambient temperature of a space by removing the thermal energy that has been generated. Understanding how industrial chillers work is essential when it comes to being able to choose the correct chiller for your business.Components Of An Industrial Chiller System

Industrial chillers are made up of a variety of different components, as well as process liquids and gases, that all work together to deliver energy-efficient, cost-effective cooling. The main components of an air-cooled chiller system are:

  • A compressor
  • Condenser
  • Evaporator
  • Expansion valve


Kicking off the chilling process, the evaporator absorbs heat from process water within the chiller unit, which then moves to the compressor.


The compressor within an industrial chiller extracts the hot refrigerant vapour, and pumps it into the condenser.


Here, the refrigerant vapour condenses, releasing the heat into the cooling water or air. The condensed refrigerant liquid then moves into the expansion valve.

Expansion Valve

The expansion valve reduces the pressure and temperature of the liquid refrigerant, allowing the liquid to evaporate back into a gas, ready to get funnelled into the evaporator again.

What type of industrial chiller?

Each type of chiller is different and suits different industrial environments:

  • Air cooled chiller: Uses air to cool down the refrigerant gas. These are generally used in larger buildings where the expelled heat is not a concern, such as industrial buildings and hospitals.
  • Water-cooled chiller: Uses water to cool down the refrigerant gas. They are usually found in large industrial plants that have a ready supply of water nearby.
  • Absorption chiller: Uses a combination heat and a chemical solution to cool down the refrigerant gas. They are used wherever electricity is limited or thermal energy is abundant.

Why Use An Industrial Chiller?

Industrial chillers are great for industrial applications and offer a variety of benefits to businesses, including:

  • Rapid and efficient cooling of important industrial processes
  • Improve production times by keeping machinery in an optimal operation climate
  • Maintain a consistent temperature to ensure product quality remains high
  • Reduce energy costs by using expelled thermal energy to heat other rooms

At Johnson Controls, we can help you to select the ideal industrial chiller for your business, simply get in touch using the form below to discuss your industrial refrigeration needs.