Communication and power management requirements influence chiller selection.
Communication. Will an operator be at the chiller at all times? If not, then remote operation and monitoring of the chiller is crucial. Communication from the chiller via RS232 or analog ports enables integration into PLCs for seamless operation. The controlling software supports chiller temperature profile programming, data capture of internal/external temperature, cooling power and interfacing to external dataloggers. Chiller manufacturers also have wireless options available that eliminate the need for long cables.
Alarm output is an important option for remote safety and shutdown. Remote software control increases peace of mind, frees operators from performing manual datalogging, reduces foot traffic in the production area, and provides a definitive performance log.
Power Management. What do you do if the facility does not have 24-hour shifts, or the chiller is not connected to a PLC, and the power goes out overnight? When the power returns, will the process resume operation automatically? If the application or process resumes operation and the chiller remains off, what then?
These scenarios are not often discussed but they warrant consideration ― especially from a hazard-safety analysis standpoint. Ask if the chiller has an “auto-on” option. This feature will initialize the chiller to the previously assigned setpoint temperature when the power returns. Having this option can provide peace of mind when storms blow through.