Although it seems obvious, it is pertinent to establish the scope of commercial and industrial refrigeration. The truth is that the evolution of one and the other have made it possible to improve the capacity and productivity of the retail sector and manufacturing companies. On the one hand, supermarkets can maintain the properties of the products that require cold, while offering their customers an attractive arrangement of these. In the other area, a large number of industrial processes in the food and beverage, pharmaceutical, chemical and even energy sectors require various industrial refrigeration facilities. Keep reading and learn to distinguish the scope of these two branches of refrigeration.

What is commercial refrigeration?

The first thing we should know is that commercial refrigeration focuses on both the design and the installation and maintenance of specific refrigeration units for commercial sales areas, aimed at the general public. The purpose of this area is also to cover the storage and handling of different perishable products, with all the difficulty that this entails. One of the key pieces of this industry is the refrigerator cabinet, in other words, the one that is responsible for displaying the aforementioned products. In this sense, the perishable product can be open, with an air curtain interposed between the showcase and the outside. Or, closed, through the use of sliding doors or covers. The temperatures reached in these compartments, in the case of refrigeration, are between 7° and 10°, for some foods, such as fruit. If we talk about shelves for frozen products, such as ice cream, this temperature can be between -18° and -20°. On the other hand, the facilities that can be offered in this sector, for this type of use, are very extensive. To the point of being located, sometimes, between the commercial and industrial area. Indeed, said equipment and structures can be a direct expansion or have an indirect glycol cooling system.

Other features of commercial refrigeration

The coolant traditionally used in these installations is freons, which work together with an expansion and electronic control system. However, since freon is a gas that is harmful to the ozone layer, the facilities already have more renewable fluids, such as carbon dioxide or ammonia. Commercial installations usually incorporate semi-hermetic screw or reciprocating compressors, depending on the cooling needs, as is the case in a refrigeration plant. The aforementioned infrastructures can have between 3 and 6 units per plant. Another fact to take into account is that the equipment that makes up commercial refrigeration is known to require a smaller assembly. This is because the most complex refrigeration machinery in this area is already assembled at the time of delivery. Therefore, its adaptation is less complicated. It should be noted that the devices used in commercial refrigeration contribute to energy savings. Without a doubt, this is an important issue if you have other equipment in your work area since they have protection in case of sudden electrical falls that can cause a short circuit. It also prevents the motor of this equipment from burning out, due to the power surge that arrives suddenly.

What is industrial refrigeration and how does it differ from commercial refrigeration?

On the other hand, industrial refrigeration refers to refrigeration applications ranging from the highest temperatures to the lowest, in mechanical compression, reaching a figure of up to -60°C. In general, the devices used in the industrial sector have a larger size, compared to the systems used in the commercial area. Because they are structures and equipment of great power and safety. Among some of its most frequent applications, we can find ice plants, storage plants to preserve foods such as meat, chicken, fish and ice cream. They are also present in the dairy and brewery industries. Furthermore, outside the food sector, they are indispensable in various industrial processes in plants such as oil refineries and chemical product processing, among others. Other than that, they’re in logistics facilities, catering clean rooms, and on surfaces like hockey and ice-skating rinks. In this area, the most frequently used fluid is ammonia. On the other hand, the refrigeration systems can vary, being single and double stages of compression in the systems that provide very low temperatures. Also, there are direct refrigerant expansion and refrigerant charged systems, either by pump or gravity. There is even a closed indirect system with glycol as secondary liquid and ammonia as primary. Similarly, carbon dioxide in a secondary fluid is beginning to be used with ammonia primers in this field. Essentially, the compressors used in industrial refrigeration are screw compressors with mechanical joint couplings.

Other characteristics of industrial refrigeration

As we said, the application of industrial refrigeration equipment is very wide and can take various forms. For example, in the air conditioning of habitat spaces or for the preservation of food that is kept in refrigerators at an adequate temperature. In the same way, it benefits industrial processes that require a stable temperature or care, such as work machines. Additionally, we must know that cryogenic refrigeration is used specifically in scientific research processes and in internal combustion engines. The use of the equipment in this segment can occur depending on a specific climatic condition. An interesting fact in this regard is that water has a higher cooling factor than air because it has a greater thermal capacity, which means that emission levels are very low, as far as the installation is concerned. One of the most important points in industrial refrigeration is that it helps reduce changes in processes at the biometric level. To the same extent, it is responsible for reducing the speed and loss of water, as well as the speed of ethylene production. In addition, this sector is associated with the sensitivity that the product may have to said substance, which is reduced as the product begins to cool. An example of this is the ripening time of fruits. In parallel, it allows the growth of certain types of vegetables to be delayed, combats possible infections and, in addition, is responsible for delaying the deterioration of some products.

At Intersam we develop refrigeration systems for industry and commerce

Intersam is a leading company in large-scale commercial and industrial refrigeration and air conditioning systems. For 27 years we have been manufacturing adiabatic heat exchangers, condensers and air coolers and many other equipment and infrastructures adapted to the requirements of your company. No matter the magnitude, we can always assemble custom systems. Our commercial line includes evaporators for various purposes:

  • With Atex fans.
  • Ceiling light for workrooms.
  • Cubic for cold rooms.

We also have the Hydrocooler with a centrifugal fan. Regarding our industrial line, we offer a wide variety of options, among others:

  • NH3 evaporators: cubic, ceiling and wall-mounted.
  • Glycol coolers: cubic, ceiling and cold ceiling.
  • And our exclusive series of Ibox condensing units.

As if that were not enough, we offer other services and advantages:

  • We design and manufacture refrigeration and heating equipment.
  • We provide our software to facilitate the work and monitor the operation of our systems on request.
  • We move our products to the location of your project, whether in Spain, in another European country or beyond.

Refrigeration is our business. Therefore, we are trained to develop and install the equipment and systems you need. Do not hesitate to contact us!