FABTECH is North America’s largest metal forming, fabricating, welding and finishing event. Held at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois, FABTECH 2019 closed with a record total of 48,278 attendees from 95 countries. Three massive exhibit halls featuring more than 1,700 exhibitors with more than 500 new products being revealed allowed attendees to see the emerging trends and technologies influencing the future of manufacturing. Attendees also had access to more than 175 educational sessions with 15 technology tracks, expert-led presentations, FABx Tech Talks in the style of TED Talks, even a head-to-head welding tournament. Many booths featured hands-on displays and live product demonstrations.
One of three large exhibit halls at FABTECH 2019.
Chillers for Laser Cutting Systems
Most laser cutting systems require two different chilled water temperatures. A lower temperature is needed for the water that chills the resonator (also known as the oscillator) - the component that generates the actual laser. A higher temperature is needed for the optical system that guides, bends or deflects the laser from the resonator through the lense and the nozzle, to the work piece being cut.
Another key performance indicator of chillers for laser cutting systems, is water temperature tolerance. Most laser cutting systems require very tight chilled water temperature tolerances for both the resonator and the optics.
Chiller Technologies on Display
Chase Cooling Systems Chase Cooling Systems revealed their Laser Series dual-temperature chiller, designed to accommodate the varying heat load of each side of the laser cutting system at once. The Laser Series has dual cooling circuits in a single chiller with cooling capacities from 1.6 to 6.0 tons (water inlet 77 °F, water outlet 68 °F, ambient 86 °F). The Laser Series chillers from Chase can achieve the tight temperature tolerance of ±1.0 °C needed for the optics, and can also achieve an even tighter temperature tolerance of ±0.1 °C for the resonator.
Michael Ferris (Delta Industries), Massimiliano Parisi, Chip Miller, Phil Shaver and Mark Honath from Chase Cooling Systems (left to right).
A Chase Laser Series chiller installation at the CYLASER booth.
One of two SMC booths at FABTECH featured the circulating fluid temperature controller Thermo-chiller HRL series. The HRL Series also has the capability of providing the two different temperatures for the oscillator and the optics with just one chiller versus two. The chiller is also capable of maintaining a ±0.5 °C water temperature tolerance for the optics, and even tighter tolerance of ±0.1 °C for the resonator. Available in three models, the HRL100, 200 and 300 models have cooling capacities from 9, 19 to 26 kW respectively (2.56, 5.4 to 7.39 tons). The chillers use R-410A refrigerant to reduce footprint, and can reduce power consumption by over 30 percent compared to a two-unit-system.
Zane Baker, Aleksandr Shmushkin and Ryan Fultz (left to right).
The MTA Booth had a TAEevo laser chiller developed specifically for laser applications on display. The accurate and stable temperature control allows the laser to work with optimal wavelength, minimized power variation and optimal beam quality. This results in increased working life and decreased maintenance costs. With temperature tolerances as tight as ±0.5 °C, the TAEevo laser chiller can ensure high system-operating stability. The chiller has a compact design and uses hermetic scroll compressor technology for application versatility and reliability. More benefits include the high performance, eco-friendly R-410A refrigerant with strong heat conductivity properties, an innovative tank-mounted evaporator, an oversized hydraulic tank intended to compensate for load-demand changes from the user, and weather resistance. The TAEevo laser chillers also come in a portable mini-series with cooling capacities from 0.39 to 1.23 tons in four models (0.33 to 1 hp).
Brian Corretore, Dan Rogowski and Tim West at the MTA booth (left to right).
In 2019, Thermal Care is celebrating 50 years of manufacturing water chillers and process cooling equipment for industry worldwide. Their product lines include chillers in packaged portable units from 1 to 40 tons, central systems from 20 tons up to 250 tons of cooling for mechanical refrigeration, and evaporative cooling systems including fiberglass cooling towers, adiabatic coolers, fluid coolers and pumping systems. On display was the Accuchiller NQ Series chiller, with a leaving water temperature range of -30 °F up to as high as 80 °F (-1.1 °C to 26.6 °C) allowing for OEMs and end users to have flexibility in their applications. The maximum leaving water temperature is important because it has a direct effect on energy efficiency, and the chilling capacity achieved by the unit. “The higher the leaving water temperature, the higher the capacity achieved by the unit, and the more efficient the unit will be for the customer. Another important feature is variable speed compressors are available in our chillers, which is very unique to the industry,” said Peter Armbruster, Director, Sales & Marketing. In addition, to control such a broad product breadth, Thermal Care offers CONNEX 4.0, which provides centralized integrative connectivity and remote access for up to as many as 15 Thermal Care pumps and chillers.
Peter Armbruster alongside the Thermal Care Accuchiller NQ Series chiller.
The nano-purification solutions booth displayed the C1 industrial process chiller. Models range from 0.6 to 104.6 tons of cooling capacity with 0.5 to 10.1 horsepower. The C1’s design is backed by over 50 years of design and collaboration with industrial users to ensure reliability and versatility in essentially every industry and application. They offer precise water temperature control, optimum energy efficiency, waste minimization, and a closed circuit (open circuit optional) to prevent corrosion and bacterial growth.
Jane Sexton, John Haslam and Jim Tomczyk at the nano-purification solutions booth (left to right).
The Semyx booth had a fully operational waterjet cutting system on display. Semyx uses chillers to cool the hydraulic pressure pumps and the filtration system to maximize high-pressure pump seal life. Semyx systems reach water pressures as high as 60,000 to 90,000 psi.
Hazar Shehadeh at the Semyx booth.
In conclusion, when considering the appropriate chiller for laser cutting systems, one must answer a few key questions. What temperature tolerances must I meet? What does the outlet water temperature need to be? How many different temperatures must I provide to properly cool the different components in a laser cutting system? How much space do I have for installation? How much cooling capacity do I need in either tons or kW? One refrigeration ton is equal to approximately 3.5169 kilowatts. More of these questions can be answered by consulting the companies featured in the report or attending FABTECH in the future.
To read similar articles on chiller technology by specific industry, please visit coolingbestpractices.com/industries.
For more information on FABTECH 2020, taking place in Las Vegas on November 18-20, 2020, visit www.fabtechexpo.com.