Refrigeration Compressor Maker Marks 150th Anniversary with Eye Toward Continuing Innovation
From its humble beginnings in in 1867, when it was founded in Milwaukee for general jobbing and the manufacture of slide-valve steam engines, Vilter evolved with the marketplace to deliver products in demand. In 2017, Vilter, now a unit of Emerson, celebrates its 150th anniversary.
According to the company’s history, Vilter furnished the equipment for one of the first air-conditioning installations in Milwaukee. It even installed the first unit cooler in a small butcher shop in Milwaukee. Along the way, company recognized the need for new refrigeration machinery and developed cooling equipment to ice plants, breweries and packing houses. Its reciprocating and scroll compressors are used in industrial refrigeration as well as air-conditioning and refrigerated transport applications. More recently, the company expanded its compressor lines into the gas compression market.
Emerson acquired Vilter in 2009, enabling further growth and an increased presence within the industrial refrigeration and gas compression industries.
Among the recent highlights Vilter points to in its 150-year history are building a 7,000-pound ammonia test lab in 2012; developing the 401 mm line, the largest single-screw compressor, in 2013; and the development of a high-suction pressure solution that can handle suction pressures up to 750 psi.
“Vilter has kept equipment, maintenance and energy costs at the foundation of development and innovation throughout our history,” says Tom Hoopes, business development director, Emerson’s Commercial and Residential Solutions platform. “With increasing regulations prompting a shift toward sustainable alternative refrigerants such as CO2, our business is focused on maintaining that lower total cost of ownership while addressing the needs of our customers to lower the charge of ammonia systems and in some cases, even remove ammonia out of occupied spaces.”
To address those needs, Vilter has developed systems that utilize carbon dioxide (CO2) as a volatile secondary fluid, cascade systems that use CO2 in the low stage and a CO2 transcritical booster system. As a natural refrigerant with near zero global warming potential, Vilter notes that carbon dioxide is becoming a preferred option for retailers seeking to meet sustainability goals and achieve regulatory compliance.
“We remain committed to developing solutions that meet the regulatory compliance, efficiency, cost and sustainability needs of our customers as we move forward,” said Hoopes. “Leveraging the Emerson Helix Innovation Center as well as our ammonia lab, we continue to test and refine those solutions, simulating the conditions and environments that are most challenging, and allowing us to design ideal systems.”