Centrifugal refrigeration machine nay be classified by the type of compressor:
- Open compressors have a shaft which projects outside the compressor housing, requiring a seal to isolate the refrigerant space from the atmosphere.
- Hermetic compressors have the driver built into the unit, completely isolating the refrigerant space from the atmosphere.
Open type equipment may be obtained for refrigeration duty in single units up to approximately 4500 tons capacity at air conditioning temperature levels. The compressor is normally designed with one or two stages, and is driven by a constant or variable speed drive. Compressors are usually driven at speeds above 3,000 rpm and may operate up to 18,000 rpm.
The centrifugal drive may be an electric motor, steam turbine, gas engine, gas turbine or diesel engine. An electric motor, gas engine or diesel engine usually requires a speed-increasing gear between the drive and the compressor. Gas turbines operating at high speeds may require a speed-decreasing gear between the turbine and the machine.
Steam turbines are usually directly connected to the compressor. Capacity can be varied to match the load by means of a constant speed drive with variable inlet guide vanes or suction damper control, or a variable speed drive with the suction control.
Standard hermetic equipment may be obtained in single units up to approximately 2000 tons capacity. They are normally designed with either one or two stages and are driven at a single speed. The drive motor may be rither refrigerant- or water-cooled. A hermetic machine nay be drive at motor speed or, by means of a speed-increasing gear between the motor and compressor, at a single higher speed. Most machines use variable inlet guide vanes for capacity control.
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