Designed to last: Cooling Tower Performance Tips

"Expert design and timely maintenance lengthen cooling tower service life and boost efficiency."

CIS Building Technologies has factory trained, certified cooling tower specialist available to assist you with routine maintenance and service of cooling towers. Our staff of expert design and engineering professionals can participate in the design phase with layout and selection based on your application to ensure optimal performance and longevity. Below we will review key points that will help ensure top cooling tower performance.

Effective Design

When considering the design of a cooling tower system, it is of critical importance to design for the tower’s intended end use. A large part of that is the system’s size. However, materials used, water treatment capabilities and redundancy are other important aspects of cooling tower design. All of these factors of design work together to help provide for minimal downtime and maximum process uptime in process applications.

The materials used to construct the cooling tower itself must be appropriate for the environment in which the tower will be installed. If it is to be installed on the coast, where it will be exposed to sea air, or in or near a chemical plant, the corrosive nature of the air can cause damage to the tower components. In these cases, if materials are not selected properly, components can degrade over time and structural integrity can be threatened, leading to unplanned downtime. Also of concern in chemical-plant applications is the presence of chemicals in the water used for cooling. Depending on the chemicals present in the water, this can lead to fill media being destroyed and cooling tower efficiency being severely reduced.

Customers in these environments may choose to use stainless steel instead of galvanized steel for the construction of their tower. While stainless steel is more expensive, it offers corrosion resistance and a longer lifespan. If chemical contamination of the process water is suspected, a filtration or decontamination system may be necessary to increase cooling tower service life, or the fill media may need to be replaced more frequently than in other applications. Other potential issues with water — for example, high solids if water is taken from a local freshwater source rather than municipal water supplies — can be addressed through proactive system design and careful maintenance.

A final key consideration in the design of effective cooling tower systems is the introduction of redundancy in applications such as in a power plant where it is especially necessary to avoid downtime. In these cases, the additional cost of redundancy within the cooling tower outweighs the cost of an outage or downtime from the deformation of PVC fill material due to excessive heat.

Inspecting and Performing Regular Maintenance

Cooling towers do not require extensive, frequent maintenance. Timely, periodic maintenance, however, can significantly lengthen cooling tower service life. The most important aspect of cooling tower maintenance is maintaining water quality. In addition, keeping mechanical parts well lubricated and inspecting the tower to ensure structural integrity are other critical maintenance steps to ensure safety and long service life.

The fan in use in a cooling tower contributes to a significant amount of the system’s overall cooling power. Users should expect to regularly grease the fan’s motor and replace the oil in its gearbox in order to keep the system operating at or near its maximum capacity.

Finally, users should perform routine inspections of the cooling tower to identify maintenance issues like fouled PVC fill material. The vibration from the moving equipment in the system can cause structural integrity issues such as bolts working loose. Such issues can cause the pitch of the fan to be incorrect.

Inspections — occurring after approximately five years on a new tower and then annually thereafter — can identify potential issues before they lead to safety concerns or damaged equipment. Additionally, periodic inspections allow users to identify issues and schedule downtime rather than waiting for problems to cause significant unplanned downtime.

For more information on how CIS Building Technologies can assist you with the design, maintenance or service of cooling towers, please visit www.cis-bt.com.

Reference & credit: http://www.process-cooling.com/articles/88633-tips-for-ensuring-top-cooling-tower-performance​


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