One characteristic of industrial refrigeration is the temperature range it embraces. While evaporating temperatures may be as high as 15°C (60°F), the range extends down to about -60° or -70°C (-76° or -94°F). At temperatures much lower than about -70°C (-94°F) another industry called cryogenics takes over, producing and using liquefied natural gas, liquid nitrogen, liquid oxygen, and other low-temperature substances. If industrial refrigeration were described as the refrigeration that occurs in the food, chemical, and process industries, then probably two- thirds of the applications would be covered. Figure 1.1 shows the machine room of a refrigerated warehouse, which is one of the many examples of industrial refrigeration in the food industry. Another significant application exists in the manufacturing industry and in laboratories where special conditions, especially low temperatures, must be maintained. While the low temperature range may be the best single means of characterizing industrial refrigeration, some industrial heat pumping applications that reject heat at much higher temperatures than ambient could also be called industrial refrigeration.
The remainder of this chapter briefly describes some of the major applications of industrial refrigeration in food processing and preservation and in the chemical, process, and construction industries.