How Thermoelectric Cooling Can Help You Optimize Your Enclosure Climate Control — and Increase Your Sustainability Efforts

September 28 2023

Product insights

The most common method of industrial enclosure cooling in the manufacturing space uses a vapor-compression model, a method of cooling that requires a combination of refrigerants and an internal compressor in order to create cooling output. However, as the manufacturing landscape continues to evolve and the applications for cooling units become more varied, vapor-compression cooling units lack the necessary deployment flexibility and versatility. 

What's more, the continued push for more sustainable climate control units — for example, those that use less refrigerants or even eliminate the need for these chemical solutions — has encouraged design engineers and control engineers to look at other methods of enclosure cooling.

This is where thermoelectric cooling units have emerged as an innovative approach to create powerful enclosure cooling in a wide range of applications and reduce energy usage and waste. To help designers better understand the benefits of these kinds of climate control units, let’s look at how thermoelectric cooling can help optimize your climate control strategy, and also help support your sustainability efforts.

Thermoelectric cooling units are easy to operate and maintain

Unlike compressor-based cooling units, thermoelectric cooling units do not rely on a complex system of moving parts or internal mechanisms to create targeted cooling. In fact, thermoelectric cooling units help control the temperature of an enclosure by passing an electrical current between two similar conductors, which results in heat being absorbed or released depending on the path of the current.

When DC voltage is passed through a material or object, one side of the object will become hot while the other side will remain cool; when the current flow is reversed, the hot side will become cool, and the cool side will become hot. Not only does this process significantly reduce the number of parts inside the cooling unit, but it also removes the need for refrigerants like freon, oil, or other chemical solutions that must be monitored and replenished for efficient cooling.

Plus, thermoelectric cooling units do not require filters, which removes the manual, tedious task of cleaning or replacing air filters for optimized performance. Without the need for regular maintenance or high levels of monitoring to ensure peak performance, thermoelectric cooling units are ideal for use where access to the cooling unit is difficult or restrictive, or where consistent cooling is required to match a 24/7 production schedule. 

Thermoelectric cooling units can help manufacturers reduce their automation footprint

Because thermoelectric cooling units do not require a compressor, automation architects have greater configuration and mounting flexibility. What’s more, the compressor-less operation of thermoelectric cooling units helps reduce the overall weight of each unit, thereby increasing the variety of applications.

This is essential for manufacturers in helping reduce their automation footprint, especially given the popularity of retrofitting existing facilities for automation where space may be limited. The material handling industry is a good example of an industry where retrofitting for warehouse automation is pushing designers to think outside the box about how an automation infrastructure can be configured based on layout constraints.

Another important benefit of thermoelectric cooling units is their solid-state design, which provides increased reliability and durability in applications where human intervention is extremely difficult. As such, this makes thermoelectric cooling units ideal for indoor and outdoor use, and this versatility makes it easier for manufacturers to facilitate a climate control system that can go almost anywhere their industry takes them.

Thermoelectric cooling units help increase the efficiency — and sustainability — of your climate control system

The solid-state design of thermoelectric cooling units also helps increase operational efficiency. The solid metal engineering increases the level of heat transfer and dissipation, and it also reduces stress on the unit from continued operation while helping the unit provide longer periods of powerful cooling.

Plus, because thermoelectric cooling units are engineered without moving parts like motors or compressors, there is no need for regular lubrication and repair or replacement of these parts. This reduces the potential for costly downtime and helps you facilitate more productive manufacturing programs by more consistently regulating the temperature of your industrial enclosures.

From a sustainability perspective, thermoelectric cooling units help you reduce your carbon footprint by eliminating your use of refrigerants. Not only is the production of these refrigerants harmful to the environment in the form of greenhouse gas emissions, but cooling units that use these chemicals pose an increased risk to the environment in the form of refrigerant leaks or spills.

Integrating thermoelectric cooling units into your enclosure existing climate control infrastructure can help you create more consistent, reliable cooling outputs in a more eco-friendly manner. Rittal’s thermoelectric cooling units combine powerful cooling outputs with a lightweight design for ultimate efficiency and ease of integration into existing climate systems.

Learn how a Rittal Climate Efficiency Analysis can help you increase the efficiency and sustainability of your climate control systems.