As emergent technology for the process industries, microchannel air-side coils are having a favorable impact because their performance exceeds traditional copper tube/aluminum fin coils in many OEM applications. Long term, microchannel coils have a bright future in process cooling, process chillers, cooling coils, environmental chambers and rooftop system air-handling equipment. Microchannel coils are used as refrigerant condensers (ranging in size from 0.5 to 400 ton systems), evaporators (cooling coils), and fluid coils for air-side cooling and dehumidification.
The microchannel coil story began approximately 30 years ago in the automotive industry. Design engineers needed an air-side heat exchanger for condensers, evaporators and radiators that weighed (and cost) less than the traditional copper tube/aluminum fin design. The microchannel heat exchanger was developed as a result. The all-aluminum microchannel heat exchanger coils have a flat-tube design and air-side fins. Since their introduction into the automotive industry, four variations in their design have been developed to serve as radiators, air-conditioning condensers, evaporator/cooling coils and cabin heaters.