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Machine Oil Coolers

Oil cooling heat exchanger for applications large and small

From vehicles to power plant generators, there is a vast range of machinery that relies on oil, such as for lubrication. These processes generate heat, and oil must be cooled to prevent overheating, inefficiencies, or hazards. This is the purpose of our range of machine oil cooler heat exchangers.


Types of machine oil coolers

There are a wide variety of situations where the cooling of machine oil is needed. Sterling Thermal Technology design and manufacture more specific products for particular applications. For example:

  • Lube oil coolers take the lubricating oil from an engine or other machine and cool it to ensure it does not exceed the maximum permitted temperature.
  • Bearing oil coolers are designed specifically for use with the large bearings of industrial machines, where they cool the bearing’s lubricating oil. For example, the guide and thrust bearings of a turbine or generator would use this type of cooler.

Oil coolers range in size from small, vertically mounted units to large sets of parallel bay air blast oil coolers. The form also varies. Self-contained units would be suitable for supplying lubrication to individual bearings, whereas you would need a centralised cooling system for a whole plant.

If you have another application in mind not mentioned above, don’t hesitate to contact us.

What to expect with Sterling TT’s machine oil coolers

With decades of experience designing and building heat exchangers for this purpose, we can rightly claim to be a leading oil cooler manufacturer. Whether an end user of the product or an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) looking to use a cooler, this is what you can expect from us:

  • Bespoke – We create an optimised design for your application with features appropriate to the system requirements. The mechanical design will be based on system pressures and temperatures, while the thermal design will take into account the potential use of heat transfer enhancement features.

  • Flexible batch production – We produce the bespoke design as a single item or a batch run with full control, including a drawing production and approval cycle. Our fin production tooling catalogue is extensive.

  • Design optimisation – We know how to get the most out of a cooler. We create a bundle with tube-side turbulation, and we can enhance the fin array with louvres. As a result, the tube-side coefficient is maximised for available pressure loss while the fin geometry is matched to fan performance requirements and noise limitations.

How machines oil coolers work

Though the applications and size vary, the general principles that an oil cooler works on are quite simple. Oil from the machine is circulated through pipes into the cooler. The pipes are equipped with fins that dissipate the heat, and may also receive air cooling via a fan system.

Design considerations of machine oil coolers

When designing and manufacturing a new machine oil cooler, our first consideration is the type of physical properties. Different machines use different oils for cooling, and different oils have different viscosities. Viscosity is crucial to the thermal design as it is a determining factor in calculating the tube-side heat transfer rate.

Take a system where the oil has a high viscosity and low velocity. In this case, the heat transfer enters the laminar regime where heat transfer coefficients are relatively low. In other words, oil flow is smooth, and turbulence is low, which is inefficient for heat transfer because less of the oil comes into contact with the heat transfer surface.

The solutions

To address this, we can adopt two alternative design approaches that increase turbulence and thermal transfer:

  • Increase passes and thereby increase velocity to maintain turbulent flow, and with it, higher thermal transfer coefficients.
  • Introduce turbulators to create enhanced flow characteristics.

The limitation of these approaches is the available tube-side pressure drop. However, there is significant flexibility in the specifications of turbulators. Dense windings have high enhancement factors and high-pressure drop per unit length. If pressure limits are exceeded, we can reduce the winding density to bring the design within available pressure drop limits.

Ready to talk to your new oil cooler partner?

As a recognised machine oil coolers manufacturer, we can help you to get the best equipment for your application.

Find out what we can do for you, and contact us today.

If you feel you need another type of heat exchanger, visit our products and services page or contact us.


Customised heat exchangers

Over 100 years of design & manufacturing knowledge

Your partner for the entire lifecycle of your business

Sterling Thermal Technology has designed a set of machine oil coolers that we used to cool our generator bearings. The specifications allowed for running at either 50Hz or 60Hz. The support structure of the units was mounted to our packaged skid. STT was very helpful in this collaborative effort.



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We customise our heat exchange solution to meet your requirements, so contact us today to discover the right equipment for you.

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