Advanced Manufacturing recently shared an article written by Josh Roby, Director of Engineering at Glen Dimplex Thermal Solutions entitled “New Chiller Technology Help Industrial Lasers Keep Their Cool.”
Industrial lasers require cooling to remove excess heat generated in the resonator power electronics and the optics system. The type of cooling required is determined by laser wattage, resonator efficiency, resonator and optics temperature requirements, and ambient temperature.
For some applications, resonator and optics operating temperatures are always above ambient temperature and the heat load is low, so components can be air cooled with fans. However, this method is generally limited to relatively low heat fluxes and offers limited temperature stability. When heat flux exceeds the capabilities of direct air cooling, laser systems may use liquid-to-liquid cooling chillers, in which a pump circulates process water through the system to remove heat, transferring it to a chilled facility water system via a heat exchanger.
For laser systems requiring the resonator and optics operating temperatures to be at or below ambient, vapor compression (VC) water chillers are typically used. These chillers use a refrigeration system, which includes a compressor, condenser, expansion valve, and evaporator. They transfer heat from the process cooling water to the air through an air-cooled condenser or to a facility chilled water system through a water-cooled condenser. VC water chillers can handle high heat loads and, when equipped with the proper control systems, hold process cooling water within <±0.5°F.