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Designing Medical Equipment Refrigerant Cooling Systems

Medical facilities and equipment are susceptible to environmental factors — temperature, humidity, and pollutants — and thus necessitate specialized devices. Two critical requirements in every medical facility include air conditioning and ventilation to maintain optimum thermal conditions. Over the years, the cooling system industry has developed various server refrigerant devices intended to process cooling for year-round operation, making them ideal for medical components.

Since 1985, Tark has been developing cutting-edge pumps and complete cooling system packages for multiple industries, including the medical sector. We have a dedicated and knowledgeable engineering team that provides products and solutions to meet project specifications.

How Does a Refrigerant Cooling System Work?

Also known as cooling, refrigeration removes excess and unwanted heat from one object, substance, or space and transfers it to another medium. Heat removal lowers the temperature and can be accomplished with chilled water, ice, snow, or mechanical refrigeration.

The standard cooling procedure begins with the refrigerant being pumped through a closed refrigeration system. Then, the refrigerant will dissipate into the surrounding media if the system is not closed. If the system is closed, the same refrigerant is used repeatedly to remove heat before discharging it. The closed cycle also secures the refrigerant from contamination and regulates flow because it is liquid in some parts of the process and gas or vapor in others.

Refrigerant Cooling Systems in the Medical Industry

The performance of medical devices is critical in healthcare facilities since any technical or medical equipment malfunction can harm the patient’s health. These problems are affected by several factors, including the device’s operating environment or sudden temperature changes in the area.

A temperature increase exceeding a certain threshold can induce electronic damage inside a device, which can seriously affect healthcare procedures. Furthermore, some medical facilities impose a specific temperature range in the surrounding environment for error-free operation.

Here are the other benefits of having an efficient refrigerant cooling system inside a medical facility:

  • They create the ideal environment for medical products to avoid deterioration.
  • They protect medical equipment and products at a standard temperature.
  • They provide cool air to keep blood and samples safe.
  • They aid in the safe transport of heat-sensitive goods and equipment.
  • They can withstand temperature increases caused by repetitive door openings for a much shorter period.

Applications of Medical Cooling Systems

Medical equipment that requires an appropriate refrigeration system varies widely — from imaging machines to pharmaceutical equipment. Here are some of the most common medical cooling system applications:

MRI Machines

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines are diagnostic imaging systems that produce detailed images of the body’s interior. They are required for various medical imaging applications, including body, chest, neurology, musculoskeletal, and angiography. However, these machines are susceptible to overheating, so MRI chillers are used.

MRI chillers keep the gradient coil and liquid helium compressor cool. The entire refrigeration system keeps the magnet’s temperature at -269 °C to maintain the superconducting state of the coil. Simply put, if the chiller fails, the whole refrigeration system fails.

CT Scanners

Computed tomography (CT) scanners are medical imaging devices that use data from x-rays to generate detailed images of the internal body structures. The x-ray data is then transmitted to a computer, which converts it into a 3D model that specialists and patients can view on a monitor.

During regular use, the x-ray tubes inside CT scanners heat up significantly, and insufficient cooling can cause overheating and malfunction. Chillers quickly cool these scanners and stabilize internal temperatures despite the load surge.

Linear Accelerators

Linear accelerators are particle accelerators that significantly raise the kinetic energy of a particle for use in a wide range of applications, from subatomic physics research to cancer radiation therapy. Specific components in an IMRT system require thermal control within 0.5 °C, making a liquid cooling system the most likely option. Suppose cold plates or heat exchangers cannot provide sufficient or efficient cooling capacity. In that case, components in the electronic cabinet, such as amplifiers and power supplies, may also necessitate cooling from a liquid cooler.

Pharmaceutical Equipment

Pharmaceutical cooling systems must provide a clean, optimal environment with controlled relative humidity (RH). In addition, they ensure that specific medications are securely stored within a limited temperature range as specified by the manufacturer. Vaccines, insulin, chemotherapy drugs, eye drops, glucagon, and many other products are examples of common drugs and products that require efficient cooling.

Medical Cannabis

Most legal cannabis products used in the medical industry are cultivated in climate-controlled grow rooms custom-designed to produce high yields of specific cannabis strains. They are completely enclosed in greenhouses or rooms with few windows that use specialized artificial lighting to stimulate plant growth. Moreover, they thrive in consistent and even-humidity environments, eliminating plant pathogens that can harm the patient.

Cannabis plants are very particular about the conditions under which they can grow. Humidity and temperature are always kept within specific limits based on the crop; otherwise, growth is impeded. Thus, an effective medical marijuana cultivation cooling system must include features that improve ventilation and regulate moisture levels.

Considerations When Designing Refrigerant Cooling Systems for Medical Equipment

As the number of medical operational processes increases and the complexity of delicate equipment adds to the cooler, selecting appropriate cooling systems becomes even more crucial. Here are several factors that manufacturers consider when designing a suitable cooling system for a healthcare facility:

Application Requirements

The desired output of a refrigeration system in a medical facility depends on how the management will use it. These outputs include heat exhaust, temperature maintenance, air humidity control, dust-free air conditioning, and device damage prevention due to heat. As a result, understanding the nature of the application is critical for producing the expected result.

Operational Specifications

Manufacturers should consider operational specifications — such as electricity consumption, maintenance, and operating staff requirements — when designing a medical cooling system. Furthermore, medical facility managers frequently choose systems that require less electrical output, require operational staff, and need little or no maintenance.

Operational Limitations

Once the cooling system is in place, it may be subjected to various constraints, such as building orientation, design complexity, adaptability, and setup difficulty. These limitations may cause the system to malfunction; therefore, manufacturers should consider these factors during the design phase.

Cooling System Lifespan

The durability and performance reliability of refrigerant cooling systems are two critical factors, which is why medical facility managers seek more reliable devices and products with a longer life expectancy.


A medical facility’s cooling systems necessitate significant capital expenditures, including the operational costs and maintenance fees accumulated over time.

In addition to the factors mentioned above, the following are other considerations when designing a refrigerant cooling system for medical equipment:

  • Filtration
  • Ventilation systems with a significant supply of outside air
  • Working pressures to detect failures and evaluate the effectiveness of the maintenance service policy
  • Noise levels
  • Critical room air flows and air speeds
  • Air handling unit specifications based on health requirements
  • Design and construction of a duct network that allows for easy disassembly and cleaning

Tark: The Best Pumps and Cooling Systems Provider

At Tark, we customize cooling system designs for the medical industry to meet stringent and intricate requirements, such as heat load, mechanical loading, form factor, fluid flow rate, and functionality. Our technologies can also improve cooling efficiency while reducing footprint, noise, and weight, making them ideal for various applications.

Contact us today to learn more about our capabilities or schedule a consultation for your cooling system needs!

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