Photronics installs Turbomiser in hi-tech process cooling project

Two Turbomiser chillers are cooling high power lasers and clean rooms at Photronics’ high-tech production facility in South Wales.

The company is a world leader in the production of specialist components for semiconductor and flat panel display manufacturers.

The recent installation, carried out by Cool-Therm at Photronic’s Bridgend facility, involves two model TMA300 Turbomiser chillers, rated at 300kW each, which replaced aging Trane and Climate units running on R22 and the interim refrigerant R79.

Since the Turbomisers were installed, energy consumption for cooling at the plant has been halved. With a fairly constant process load throughout the year, this is anticipated to give a pay-back on the project in less that two years.

A key requirement was that the replacement chillers had to operate with very low noise and deliver high efficiency, reliable cooling. In addition, as Photronics operates a 24/7 continuous process business, there had to be continuity of cooling during the change-over and high resilience once up and running.

The chillers cool clean rooms and supply vital cooling for manufacturing lasers which cut masks and reticles - very fine optical etching - for high quality imaging screens.

Patrick Silman, who heads up the process facilities at Photronics, said: “The project has been handled superbly by the Cool-Therm team from start to finish. The installation has delivered everything promised – and more. In terms of both energy efficiency and noise, the Turbomisers are absolutely excellent.

“We are monitoring energy use carefully and are on schedule to save some £170,000 within two years on power costs alone, a very impressive achievement and exactly what Cool-Therm promised they would deliver. The machines are also incredibly quiet. I sometimes have to go and physically check they are actually running.”

David Blackmore, who headed up the project for Cool-Therm, said: “It is an interesting, high-tech process application. The installation was carried out at ground level and was completed without too many complications. There was a requirement to adjust the water flow in order to optimise performance, which was accomplished by updating the pipe work and valve configuration.”

He added: “We believe Turbomiser has great potential for application across a range of process industries. The steady cooling requirement provided by a process heat load, plus Turbomiser’s proven efficiency and reliability, mean it is ideally suited to such applications.”