Chiller Replacement Project

A major pharmaceutical plant in the Midwest contracted Superior Engineering (S/E) to replace an aging, high maintenance chiller system with a higher capacity model that was more versatile and less costly to operate.

The existing chiller was subject to repeated failures and presented both operational and environmental risks. In addition to performance and reliability issues, production was frequently idled due to insufficient cooling.   

S/E was responsible for the engineering and design, including project management and construction support.  A full complement of engineering experience was applied: architectural, structural, mechanical, electrical and instrumentation. The design work was completed over an expedited, six-month time period.

3D Laser scanning and model development was used extensively to ensure design accuracy and to augment existing drawings that were incomplete. The model helped to streamline internal project reviews and allowed operational staff to visualize locations for equipment access and operating constraints. It also facilitated interactive design reviews with operations and construction representatives. In addition, piping and electrical tie-in points were identified and confirmed early in the process so that the tie-in bid packages could be issued to support a strategic installation schedule.

The project was executed within an operational facility that needed to maintain production schedules and providing reliable utilities operation during this project was paramount. Full or partial building shutdowns were carried out with close communication between all parties.

The new chiller system was designed to accommodate future capacity and is better able to handle load swings and changing service conditions. The system upgrade included a larger buffer tank and redundant coolant and lake water pumps to improve performance. Control of the system was converted to VFD’s for the chiller compressors and the coolant pumps. An additional MCC section was installed to support the increased electrical loads.

Overall, the project significantly improved the facility’s up-time, and added measurable efficiency gains to the client’s utility operations.

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