Tempco Blog articles

Plate heat exchangers and hydraulics

Here’s a new video rolling out a series of videos dedicated to the mechanical sector, and this new one in particular is about plate heat exchangers in hydraulics applications.

On hydraulics plants, until a few years ago, shell and plate exchangers were commonly employed, or also air cooled exchangers. While there is not very much to say about air cooled exchangers – in fact radiators using electric fans -, an interesting evolution happened on the side of the water cooled process: for hydraulic oil cooling, here shell and plate exchangers were, and still are, a widely employed solution.

But recently, plate heat exchangers became more and more employed for hydraulic oil cooling applications, both brazed plate and inspectable exchangers. The main advantage they offer is the fact that they allow cross temperature, on the contrary of what shell and plate exchangers can do. In hydraulics plants, the oil have to bee cooled at a relatively high temperature, because the hydraulic oil must keep an average temperature of about 40° C, being cooled when it comes back from hydraulic drives.

Therefore, there is no need of a very hard cooling, and thus a plate heat exchanger is a profitable solution because it allows to employ cooling water at higher temperatures. Indeed, there is no need of water at 15-20° C, since it’s possible to have evaporative tower water at the temperature of 30° C available in order to achieve the same cooling task. This is possible thanks to the higher thermal transfer efficiency, and also the possibility to use a lower thermal transfer surface.

In addition, as they permit to cross temperatures, plate heat exchangers allow to use a lower amount of cooling water. Being it an ideal solution wherever there is a lack of cooling water within the facility, allowing to take maximum advantage of the limited cooling water available obtaining anyway a very efficient cooling of the hydraulic oil.

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Infographic from heat to value, energy recovery in industrial processes

The new Tempco infographic, which has been published at the end of 2021 and with which we are glad to welcome you in the New year, is related to the energy recovery market, a field aimed to maximize the value of heat, in other words thermal energy which is a precious resource widely available within industrial processes; and for Tempco it really means playing at home.

Following the previous infographics that spanned through automation, smart manufacturing in industrial processes and the renewables, finally heat recovery applications in the field of industrial production processes is what really characterizes Tempco’s engineering commitment.

The primary technology here analyzed for energy recovery are heat exchangers, a kind of thermal machines employing the physical effect of thermal transfer between two fluids having a temperature’s gap, allowing an intelligent re-use of thermal energy which is a very abundant form of energy available in a wide variety of industries, that can be re-used as second-level kind of energy in other points of the production process. With no further power consumption required, contributing to increase the energy balance of the process by implementing energy saving and efficiency solutions reducing CO2 emissions and the environmental impact of industrial productions.

A look at other technologies such as dry cooling and cogeneration is included as well, solutions that enable a more efficient and smart use of fuels, reducing energy waste for an increased and more efficient use and deployment of primary resources in cooling and heating tasks involved in any kind on industry, from oil & gas and steel mill to food & beverages and plastics, to chemical and pharmaceutical sectors. The key words of Tempco’s vision for each one of these sectors are energy efficiency and thermal energy recovery.


infografica-dal-calore-al-valore-eng thermal energy recovery

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Solid wishes from Tempco!

Merry thermoregulating units from Tempco!

This year we wanted to wish you a Very Merry Holiday Season with something special, wishing you also that the New Year will bring everyone Joy, Health and Safety, Inspiration and lots of Satisfactions!

And so, Enjoy, and Happy Holidays from all the Tempco Team! #solidtemperature



Efficiency and energy saving with SCR relays in electrical heating

Let’s keep on talking about energy, renewables and energy saving. We’ve already talked on how is it possible to achieve energy saving in refrigerating groups using inverters, and how to increase efficiency in cooling tasks using dry coolers and evaporative towers.

While the use of inverters is quite affirmed on the cooling market, the use of SCR solid state relays with switching control is still not very much widespread on heating tasks. This is in fact a kind of application that we implement on Tempco’s thermoregulating units. When there is the need to heat a fluid, there are two options: a traditional boiler producing vapor, or diathermic oil or pressurized water, thus heated. The second option is to use electrical heaters. The primary energy sources employed are thus fossil fuels, or natural gas in burners, or electricity in the case of heaters.

Modulating burners are already very common in the market, enabling an adjustment of fuel consumption based on the thermal duty required. In case of electrical heating, the goal is to adjust the power capacity of the heaters. This is possibile thanks to SCR (silicone controller rectified) solid state relays. In this case, using a thermoregulating unit with a PID controller (proportional integral derivative controller), we can ask the heaters to provide only the effective power capacity required for the thermal duty needed at a certain step of the production process, in order to reach the temperature set-point or to maintain the temperature level.

The energy saving that can be achieved is really interesting. That’s because when engineering these kind of machines, they are designed to be able to provide the maximum heating capacity required. For example: an application requires to heat a certain amount of product inside a pharmaceutical reactor. The thermal duty is calculated by considering the starting temperature of the product and the final temperature to be reached, and the time lapse to achieve the heating task. With some additional power to the final result in order to also heat the reactor itself, and considering for example possible thermal losses. But once the final working temperature has been reached, the power capacity required becomes very much lower, only aimed to maintain that temperature level. For sure there will be the need to supply some more energy, for example in case of chemical reactions of the product, to compensate thermal dissipation or the heat loss through the coibentation. But, overall, this amount of energy will probably only be 1/10 of the design capacity, or maybe 1/3 or 1/5.

In order to adjust this power capacity, the solution employed in the past was to build multistage machines, equipped with different heating stages obtaining power adjustment using contactors or ON/OFF solid state relays, with the PID regulator switching these devices on and off in function of the heating capacity required.

The thyristor, or SCR solid state relay, allows to adjust the power capacity providing only the effective thermal duty required to maintain the temperature level within the proportional range, thus maintaining the set-point. Two main results are obtained, the first one being a relevant energy saving. While the second one, very important as well, is a much more accurate and fine regulation of the temperature.

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Chillers in special EC motors test bench

The growing attention on energy saving and efficiency within the industry, even for cooling applications, as we have seen already involves the possibility to implement electronic control motors on machinery such as chillers and evaporative towers. EC motors allow a variable speed control over equipments such as fans, based on the real cooling need of the production process. Even if designed and sized upon the maximum cooling capacity requested, indeed, cooling systems don’t always have to function at maximum capacity, requiring a lower cooling effect during many production steps.

In this context, the trend towards a more smart energy consumption in cooling plants leads to a growing employ of EC motors. This kind of motors have in particular to ensure the correct definition of the power absorbed at various rotation speed levels possible, as well as the evaluation of potential energy savings that can be achieved. The engineering of EC motors therefore requires accurate tests during the design step, in addition to the check of their effective performances: at this purpose, special test benches with a high sophistication level are employed. These test benches require at their turn an extremely accurate control of temperature and flow rate during the cooling/thermoregulation task, in order to guarantee the precision of the test process of EC motors.

Tempco raffreddamento test bench motori EC

The temperature range required in this kind of test benches is between 0° C and +90° C, involving two circuits. The first one is easier to realize, aimed to brakes cooling, while the second one is quite more sophisticated, aimed to the direct cooling/thermoregulation of motors, that undergo strict tests and thermal stresses.

The test bench for EC motors is then served by an air condensed chiller. The chiller provides refrigerated water for a thermoregulating unit, serving the plant water at the required temperature for each of the different steps of the testing. A series of equipments then provide water at the correct flow rate and temperature level as needed by the various components being tested. Finally, the overall system is equipped with instruments with an interface for remote control and monitoring of the plant.

Tempco raffreddamento banchi prova motori EC

Tempco termoregolazione banchi prova motori EC

Tempco raffreddamento banchi prova test motori EC

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Renewables and energy saving in free coolers and evaporative towers

Back to renewables and energy saving in applications involving second level energy, in other words thermal energy. After the video on refrigerating groups, another field offering important and interesting opportunities in terms of energy saving are free coolers and evaporative towers.

These are cooling systems employed in case of industrial production processes requiring cooled water at temperatures above 30-35° C. With such temperature levels it is possible to avoid the employ of refrigerating groups, and thus eliminating the energy consumption related to compressors and the complicated refrigeration circuit, the use of freon and so on.

Using free coolers, or dry coolers, and cooling towers, every saving can be therefore implemented fans equipped with EC motors, with electronic control and inverters. A sensing probe measures indeed the temperature of the water, and based on a predefined set-point it provides the adjustment of the power required to dissipate the right amount of energy to achieve the cooling task.

In the past, the costs of EC motors and inverters were too high to justify the investment cost. Alternative energy saving solutions were thus employed, such as using multi-fans installments with stepped functioning, partializing the number of functioning fans and limiting the power consumption based on the real demand.

Nowadays, the costs of EC motors allow a very interesting ROI. The solution is indeed more and more often required by our customers, and gladly embraced because it allows the obtain not only significant and effective energy savings, but also a reduction in maintenance costs. It’s clear indeed that the wear of a fan working for six or even nine months per year at a lower speed will be much less than the wear of a fan working at 100% of its capacity.

EC motors and inverter technologies are very much consolidated in the market today, and can thus be widely employed in industrial applications but also in conditioning, plants that have to work 365 days per year. Clearly, if a system works only during the summer, the ROI will probably be longer. But the opportunity is worth to be evaluated anyway, because during the night hours the temperature decreases, leading the an increased efficiency of the exchanger and requiring a less amount of air. So that energy saving can be achieved too.

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Energy saving with dry cooler for pharmaceutical packaging

We’ve talked recently about the customized thermoregulating solution we have deployed for a customer that manufacturers plastic containers for the packaging of pharmaceutical products. For the same customer, we have studied a further technological upgrade applied to the presses employed for plastic moulding.

This is in fact an intervention aimed to implement energy saving in the production of plastic packaging for the pharma industry. The customer produces containers and plastic bottles for the pharma and cosmetic sector, requiring very high quality standards in the production lines in order to ensure excellent characteristics of transparency and material stability.

energy saving presse stampaggio pharma

The study for an energy saving solution in this kind of production line led us to focus on the temperature of the diathermic oil, which has to be maintained at a temperature of approx. 40° C. Therefore the intervention we did involved the substitution of old refrigerating groups, high power consuming machines, with more efficient and economic dry-coolers. This solutions involved in particular the substitution of shell and tube exchangers, that were previously employed on the moulding presses, with an equal quantity of brazed plate heat exchangers. These kind of exchangers allow indeed a very high degree of temperature cross, enabling to maintain the temperature of the oil at 40/42° C employing a cooling solution (water/antifreeze) at 35/37° C.

The test completed during the past summer on the first example line of machines gave a positive result. The customer has now decided to budget the same energy saving intervention on the entire moulding line.

Tempco scambiatori saldobrasati packaging pharma

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Energy saving with inverters in refrigerating groups

Following a roadmap to renewables and energy saving, on the pace traced by our latest Tempco Infographic, I would like to talk about how energy saving can be specifically applied in all of the different thermal machines. Starting with refrigerating groups.

I remember when first attempts started on the market to employ inverters in order to adjust the speed of compressors on refrigerating groups. Inverters are largely employed to regulate speed on electric drives, adjusting the power absorption based on the season conditions. It’s clear indeed that during the summer season, when ambient temperature is higher, a refrigerating group needs the maximum power in order to achieve the refrigeration task required. While during the winter season it requires less amounts of power, due to a series of reasons such as the increased efficiency of the condensation system and the fact that water comes from the production process at lower temperatures.

The study to implement energy saving on refrigerating groups aimed then at adjusting the speed of fans on condensers using EC motors, with electronic control, through inverters. This allows the regulation of the speed of fans based on ambient temperature levels.

The same kind of adjustment was then possible on compressors. Let’s make an example to explain why: when sizing a refrigerating group employed to regulate the temperature of pharmaceutical reactors, the plant must be engineered to provide the maximum capacity required to achieve the cooling task. But there will be also a series of intermediate steps not requiring the maximum design refrigerating capacity, but maybe only at 50% or 30.


In the past it was used to employ multi-compressor plants, with step-compressors, using all of the compressors, or only 2 on 4, or one on 4 for example. The solution allowed to obtain a good energy saving, clearly using a step-approach. Which means, having a four-compressors plant, the possibility to have a 100% capacity, or at 75, 50, 25 or 0%.

A further improvement was to install a collecting tank in order to accumulate refrigerated water to satisfy peaks and hollows on the thermal work diagram. An optimal regulation, that can be furthermore improved.

The improvement consists in the employ of an inverter, which allows to adjust the speeed of the compressor in order to have the correct amount of power at the exact right moment when it’s needed. Which represents the very perfect condition. I remember that the first attempts to install inverters on compressors failed, because these were volumetric piston compressors that when powered by the inverter kept stuck.

The problem has been solved with the adoption of scroll-type compressors, that can be used with inverters. Taking a huge step forward in energy saving applied to refrigerating groups. There are also other possibilities to further enhance energy saving, such as using inverters also on pumps to regulate the pressure, but let’s discuss it in a next video.

Temperature regulation for flaking and lamination in food and pharma

In Tempco we are currently working on two new projects for temperature regulation for an important manufacturer of plants aimed to process food and pharmaceutical products. A first part of the plant is dedicated to the cooling of stainless steel conveyor belts that provide the transportation and lamination of the products, forwarding them to the final flaking process.

The other part of the project is dedicated to heating the product. The product gets spread out along the conveyor belt in order to obtain flakes or tablets from the layer, at the end of the cooling step explained above here.

Tempco centralina termoregolazione prodotti alimentari

As often required by food and pharma applications, these are also highly personalized plants that require a previous accurate study of the piping, enabling the integration in the existing machinery at customer’s facility. In addition, there is also the study of the flow and the thermal and hydraulic requirements of the production process. Overall, the plant is constructed in stainless steel, enhancing our basic standard machines with a customized execution to meet the installation needs of the customer.

The typical configuration includes a chiller condensed with water or air, for the production of refrigerated water serving multiple utilities:

The thermoregulation unit ensures to keep at constant temperature levels equipments such as:

  • Pipings for product distribution
  • Conveyor belts distribution system
  • Heating process’ components

Centralina termoregolazione Tempco scagliettatura

Tempco centralina termoregolazione industria alimentare

Tempco centralina termoregolazione pharma alimentare

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Renewables and second level energy to fight climate change

Referring to the latest Infographic on renewables published in our dedicated section of the Tempco website, and in the same days of discussions about the Climate Change at UN COP26, I would like to talk a bit about renewable energy. We all know what renewable energies are, these are alternative sources enabling to obtain electric energy from natural elements. These are green energies such as hydroelectric, photovoltaic and geothermal, in substitution of carbon fossil fuels such as oil and coal.

It is interesting to see from the Infographic that renewables have a strong growth trend worldwide, with a solid growth also in Italy where the forecast is by +30% for the next year. But this is also interesting that Countries like China, one of the biggest energy consumers, is also switching to this kind of energy.

Depending on the geographical characteristics and traditions of each area, the kind of renewables mostly employed varies, for example hydroelectric has a huge share in Italy while wind power is widely developed in other Countries.

What renewables have to do with Tempco? That’s easily said: as I often explain, I like to define thermal energy as a second or third level kind of energy. That’s why it is an indirect type of energy, because in order to obtain thermal energy, or to absorb it – and so cooling or heating – we need a primary source of electric power, and therefore a source to generate electricity to power compressors, pumps, fans, resistors and so on.

That’s why is very interesting to understand what the future scenarios of renewables is gonna be, and we very interested in it. Since the design and engineering step of our machines we pay indeed very much attention to the energy consumption. That’s why systems allowing to adapt the power consumption are more and more employed, aimed to ensure the right thermal level using the minimum amount of power required at a certain moment.

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