One way innovation happens is when a company that has found a successful technology solution in one industry turns to address similar needs in other industries.
A good example of cross-industry innovation was put forward for consideration at Process Expo in Chicago by Frigel, an Italian-based company with North American headquarters near Chicago. The company has delivered "intelligent," which for the most part seems to mean "highly engineered," process cooling systems, especially in plastics extrusion and injection, since the 1960s.
"An engineering approach means it’s more than refrigeration equipment," says Daniel Garcia Juambeltz, regional director. Its modular approach to engineering cooling systems, he adds, eliminates the need for open cooling towers and centralized chillers using ammonia.
How cool is it?
The market wager Frigel is making is that its approach will be found especially well-suited to beverage cooling applications that require zero contaminants and precise temperature control, including wort and yeast cooling, fermentation, maturation, syrup cooling, carbonation, pasteurization and cooling tunnels.
"What we find in the beverage industries," says Juambeltz, "are a wide variety of processes being served by a single cooling system."
Benefits of systematically addressing individual process loads include energy savings, and less maintenance and chemical use. The expense and safety risks associated with ammonia and of Legionnaire’s disease inherent with evaporative cooling towers are eliminated.
"With an ammonia chiller in a beverage plant it must run at the coolest temperature needed overall. If one application needs 60F water, the whole house has 60F water at its disposal," says Juambeltz.
Frigel says its solution combines benefits of centralization with the ability to manage the cooling load individually for each cooling process.
Free as air
Free cooling is the use of ambient temperatures as a source of inexpensive cooling, and there is surprisingly little use of it in beverage production, says Juambeltz.
Frigel cooling solutions include central chillers, which can be water- or air-cooled. Its central cooler can serve as the primary component of a closed-loop cooling systems to deliver clean, temperature-controlled water to industrial processes. The water-cooled central chillers are meant for use within the closed-loop system, providing local flow and temperature control.