The beauty of modular cooling


The production of bath oils, gels, mouth washes, body lotions and fragrances rely on critical cooling and for one leading toiletries manufacturer Aermec’s modular chiller helps boost production capabilities and offers flexibility.

The UK market for beauty and personal care products is worth over £10 billion. The beauty and personal care products are continuing to grow and one UK manufacturer is taking advantages of technological advances to reduce the carbon footprint of its manufacturing processes whilst increasing energy efficiencies.

As a full-service provider rather than a contract filler, the company develops various formulations. As well as filling tubes, jars and bottles of varying sizes, the business also has a cello and shrink-wrapping assembly enabling goods to leave the site ready for retail.

The plant has two tube fillers which can handle tubes as small as 5ml up to 300ml and these can be used for hand creams as well as shampoos. The tubes are capped, filled with product then crimped at the base. There is also an adjacent high-speed filler which is used for fragrances for both multiples and small niche brands. Over one million units are produced every month.

At the heart of the process is an Aermec’s award winning NRV modular chiller which provides cooling for the cream room where a number of jacketed mixing vessels are located. The NRV replaced an aged system which was costly and challenging to maintain.

The business saw an opportunity to invest in a modular chiller, which could address environmental concerns but also offer the increased energy efficiencies and performance levels required. A modular cooling strategy provided the flexibility required and enabled extra modules to be added easily when cooling requirements grew.

Meticulous planning was required prior to installation – production could not be interrupted. All of the company’s products has its own formulation requiring varying degrees of heating and cooling.

The workflow of products on the shop floor can be complex. Other than autumnal months when production is frenetic with products destined for shelves in the run up to Christmas, there are no set peak times.  To make all the products required a single production line must be capable of producing many different products. So, depending on the scheduling small batches of exclusive products can be produced on one side and larger volumes for major supermarkets on the other, cooling underpins the formulations each use.

“We require critical cooling 24/7, all year round. If we can’t cool it, we can’t make.” says a company spokesperson.

The switchover to the new chiller successfully took place over the summer without the need for any standby chillers. Hot filled products, such as waxes were re-scheduled so that production was not impacted whilst the chiller was being installed and the work was completed before the company ramped up production for the Christmas period.

Installation and commissioning including all the pipework, electrics and pump sets was carried out over a seven-day period. The end result was a closed system circuit using largely recycled water, providing cooling down to 5⁰C.

Aermec’s modular chiller design comprises individual modules that can be connected to each other to provide 970kW. Each module features high efficiency scroll compressors, axial fans, micro-channels coils and plate exchanger on the system side.

Individual modules have their own electrical panel and the management logic allows them to be operated independently or in synergy with the others to ensure continuity, even if one or more of the other modules is not operational. You can ask an emergency electrician such as like JEOAH Electric to know more.

Up to nine systems can be coupled together for maximum flexibility and this reduces the overall dimensions of the unit to a minimum. This flexibility appeals to customers integrating forward planning and trying to future-proof their applications as much as possible. The modular NRV does not lock the business into one solution.

The integrated free cooling enables the toiletry manufacturer to benefit from further energy efficiencies and the simplified maintenance was also a bonus – the refrigerant components are located in a draw that simply slides out from the front. Noise concerns were alleviated as the chiller has been designed to be quiet and guarantees good acoustic comfort when using the night mode profile.

The chiller also features aluminium micro-channel coils that provide high levels of efficiency and allow less refrigerant to be used compared to tradition cooper/aluminium coils, which in turn lessens the environmental impact.

With the personal care market set to continue expanding, the modular approach for cooling provides the adaptability and flexibility the business needs.

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