Vilter Manufacturing was established in 1867 and built Corliss steam engines a device in which steam pushes a piston through a cylinder to rotate a flywheel producing mechanical energy. Although the concept of mechanical refrigeration was understood, prior to 1890 there were few realized applications for mechanical refrigeration and thus the technology was not commercially viable. Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where Vilter is headquartered, is often considered the beer capital of the world. Beer brewers would typically "harvest" ice off of Lake Michigan and utilize the cooling effect of the ice to aid in the fermentation of the wort in the production of beer.
In 1890 there was a severe ice crop "drought" as a result of a warm winter, and thus by the law of supply and demand (since beer consumers often are very demanding of their preferred beverage) the public was waking up to the idea of utilizing manufactured ice for use in the production of beer. Vilter capitalized on this idea and began producing compressor packages consisting of Corliss steam engines on common skids with horizontal reciprocating compressors.
This was a natural fit for Vilter since the concept of pushing a piston through a cylinder to compressor ammonia was very similar to the mechanics of a piston driven steam engine.
About 30 years later Vilter started production of vertical reciprocating compressors. The smaller footprint and better efficiency of the vertical recips resulted in a product that was requested more and more frequently, until its acceptance overcame horizontal recips and became the predominant compressor of choice for the next couple decades. Like horizontal recips, early versions of the vertical recip compressor utilized steam engines as the driver.
The Vilter Multi-Cylinder Compressor, introduced in 1945, was a further development of the vertical compressor. It combined the stroke and bore of the smallest vertical compressor with a pressurized oiling system and a new casting that incorporated several sets of cylinders. This design along with new technologies allowed for a significant increase in compressor speed and a decrease in area needed for a similar size compressor.
The Vilter Muti-Cylinder Compressor is built to last and many of the original compressors built in the 1940's are operating today. The biggest difference between the Vilter recip and all other recips is that Vilter uses double tapered roller bearings on the main crankshaft as opposed to sleeve type main bearings that wear quickly and require the replacement of the crankshaft during overhauls. Most Vilter overhauls only require a "top end" replacement which produces major cost savings over the life of the compressor. The double tapered roller bearings also are more energy efficient and provide for high belt-driven horsepower requirements. The natural volumetric efficiency of the reciprocating compressor makes this compressor the most efficient compressor on the market.
In the 1960's, the twin screw compressor was introduced to the marketplace which allowed for greater capacities in a smaller footprint. Vilter packaged twin screw compressor packages using various manufactured compressors.
In 1990, Vilter introduced the Single Screw Compressor to the marketplace. The Single Screw had the advantage of having no thrust loads and balanced radial loads on the bearings which greatly extended the life of the compressor thus reducing maintenance costs due to compressor rebuilds. Vilter is the only refrigeration screw compressor manufacturer with a 15 year bearing warranty. Vilter also developed a patented Parallex Slide System which allows for 100% volume ratio control over 100% of the capacity control which prevents the compressor from over or under compressing the gas which provides for major energy cost savings.
Tradition and Technology make Vilter Manufacturing the #1 choice in industrial refrigeration.