May 31 2021

Сhiller for ice arena

Cooling of an ice arena is a very important task, where many factors must be taken into account: climatic conditions, type of construction, type of technological plate, operating time, and of course the customer’s budget. All these factors must provide the right choice of refrigeration equipment (a chiller with a hydronic module), which, as the heart of the entire system, will cool the ice arena by feeding cold glycol through the veins – ice mats.

We hope that our article will help you in choosing refrigeration equipment.

Europrom company present to your attention our top chillers for high-quality freezing of an ice field:

Chiller TRANE series e-RTAA

One of the leading manufacturers of refrigeration equipment is TRANE. Chillers TRANE are characterized by a significant margin of safety, as they can be in excellent condition even after 70,000 working hours. The TRANE e-RTAA model is a chiller model that has the option of operating in a low-temperature environment and can lower the coolant temperature to -13°C.

We equipped several ice arenas with TRANE chillers, such as “Snowflake” in Lutsk and VDNH in Kiev. The compressors used in the air-cooled chillers of the e-RTAA series are embodied with microcomputer-based control systems and are double-circuit chillers with a screw-rotor type.

Furthermore, the TRANE e-RTAA chiller model uses R404 freon, which has good performance at low freon boiling temperatures. At different temperatures, the R404 refrigerant has the following pressure indicators (see table 1):


The chiller TRANE CGAN with a capacity of 250 kW with scroll compressors is ideal for small ice arenas with an area of 20 * 40m². The advantage of this chiller is the 4 scroll compressors, which allow the maximum smooth regulation of the transformer load.

Based on our experience in installing chillers, this model is popular for regions where the average annual temperature is + 10.7 °C (Odessa, Paris, Vienna, Simferopol).

Chiller Liebert Hiross Model SLS 108

The Liebert Hiross SLS 108 chiller is one of the excellent decisions for high-quality ice field freezing. The Liebert Hiross chiller is ideal for working on an ice arena in the harshest environmental conditions. (We installed this model at the Ice Palace facility in Rudny, Kostanay region, Kazakhstan, where the temperature in winter reaches -50 ℃).

The main advantage of this chiller is the free cooling option. Chiller with free cooling characterized low external temperatures to cool the water and reduce the load on the compressors. Using a 3-way valve, the coolant is transferred to an additional heat exchanger called free cooling before entering the evaporator. 

Free cooling can provide up to 10-100% cooling capacity in free cooling mode. Working process of the chiller with 100% free cooling is presented below.

Ambient temperature / free cooling option

A chiller with a free cooling option allows less or no use of the compressors to cool the liquids. This depends on the ambient temperature as well as the required cooling capacity of the chiller. Below on the graphs we can compare the temperature in the city of Surgut, in the city of Yaremche and in the city of Barcelona. If it is necessary to maintain the surface temperature of the ice at -4 °C, then in Surgut at a temperature of -20 °C, the free cooling option will work at full capacity (the compressors will not work). In Yaremche, at a temperature of -5 °C, free cooling will work partially (the compressors will also work at not full capacity). In Barcelona, ​​at 5 °C, the free cooling option will not work, so the compressors will run at 100%.

     Surgut                                                                                     Yaremche                                                                                Barcelona

However, we must remember that the free cooling operation mode also depends on the chiller capacity, the area of the ice arena and, of course, the region.

Chiller YORK YEAS 0715 SA

In our practice, we have not installed YORK chillers with additional options on the ice rinks, nevertheless, their reliable quality allows us to operate them for the proper operation of ice arenas. Chiller YORK YEAS 0715 SA – the refrigeration unit is equipped with two York brand screw compressors with high efficiency. Energy savings are possible due to automatic smooth starting of speeds. Used chiller YORK YEAS 0715 SA is designed for outdoor installation, it is also perfect for ice arenas where low temperatures are required.

Types of ice arenas

The types of ice arenas according to the location criterion can be:

– closed (indoors),
– open (on the street),


depending on the technological plate:

– with a concrete base,
– with a sand base,

depending on the size, ice arenas can be:

– standard hockey field (60 * 40),
– small (20 * 40),
– arbitrary size.

For seasonal ice rinks, the mat system usually is sand based. In most stationary rollers, the pipe system is installed on a concrete base. However, with the help of a concrete slab, better distribution of the cold from the chiller is ensured. After all, even one degree is of great importance for the quality of the ice.

Ice surface creation

The pouring of an ice surface consists of two stages: filling the water and maintaining its temperature. The highest working capacity for a chiller is when the water is filled with layers of hot water using an ice harvester. After the first layer of water freezes, the next one is poured. It is during priming that the chiller compressor operates at higher capacities. In addition, based on our experience in selling chillers for ice arenas, all ice filling is done in the last week with maximum loads on the refrigeration unit.

Correct ice filling

To create an ice arena with a high-quality surface, water must be supplied in a certain mode – slowly and accurately. Too thick ice requires more electricity to operate the refrigeration unit and maintain the appropriate temperature. Ice that is too thin is also dangerous, as the tube mats under the ice can be damaged by skates sliding, for example.

As practice shows, the optimal for pouring layers is the supply of 1.5-2.5 tons of water per hour. Each of the intermediate layers must freeze before the next 1.5-2.5 tons of water are fed (with a min. arena length of 51 m, a min. width of 24 m). Following this technology, we get high-quality ice.

 After the roller is installed, the system is connected to a cooling unit, which consists of a cooling system, a pump and a buffer tank. These components provide cooling and circulation of the refrigerant (the ice arena is filled with propylene glycol – the cooling agent). When the chiller is turned on, propylene glycol circulates in the piping system and freezes the water. Ice will start to form slowly, starting in the pipes, until all the water is frozen.

To maintain an ice surface temperature of -4 °C, the chiller must maintain a glycol temperature of about -8 °C, and the boiling point of freon will be -11 °C, which is a very high load for compressors. Therefore, not every chiller is capable of withstanding such work over a long period of time. The choice of chiller capacity also depends on the area of ​​the ice arena, the location of the ice rink (indoor / outdoor), as well as the temperature characteristics of the area, the thickness of the ice layer and the operating conditions.

We hope our article has helped you to understand in more detail the operation of chillers in ice arenas. If you have any questions, we will be happy to advise you and choose the right chiller.