Modular plastic cooling towers facilitate increased manufacturing capacity.


Cooling towers have undergone substantial design changes over the years. This is particularly noticeable with the introduction of HDPE (high-density polyethylene) cooling towers, which are recognized for providing longer service life with reduced maintenance requirements.


Tencarva Machinery is a distributor of liquid process equipment and custom engineered systems, most of which incorporate pumping packages and electrical controls. “Our inspection made it clear that the existing cooling tower, a typical galvanized model, was beyond practical repair,” said Chad Plott of Tencarva. Plott explained that the main problem was a destructive, corrosive effect on the metal-clad shell produced by salt air that permeates coastal areas, where Strand-Tech Martin’s manufacturing plant is located.


The process used by Strand-Tech to produce its prestressed concrete strand wire and high-carbon wire products requires a cooling tower for the wire-drawing machines, which run at very high temperatures. “They were barely getting enough cooling from the old tower, and really wanted a cooling tower that would allow them to expand the number of machines they run,” Plott said.


When Plott was asked to make a recommendation for a replacement cooling tower, he suggested an HDPE tower manufactured by Delta Cooling Towers.  HDPE engineered plastic cooling towers are designed to solve corrosion problems, which have plagued metal towers due to problems such as soft water, aggressive water treatment, and ambient factors such as salt air or caustic industrial gases.


The design that Tencarva selected for the wire production facility was the TM Series, a modular cooling tower system that allows isolation of up to eight cooling cells for maximum operational flexibility. Plott recommended a four-cell configuration, which can produce up to 1,580 cooling tons.


Since the new HDPE tower system was installed, in late 2014, it has provided an additional 30% cooling capacity, more than enough for the added production output his customer has required, and will likely meet additional production increases in the foreseeable future.


If more cooling capability had been needed, the modular design of the TM Series could easily have allowed doubling the capacity of the four-cell cooling tower that was recently commissioned via the installation of an eight-cell version.


In addition to solving the corrosion and cooling capacity problems, Plott said the new cooling tower technology has provided other benefits to his customer.  Among those is the 20-year standard warranty on the double-walled HDPE shell, which is a standard warranty on all Delta products. In addition, the tower fans now come with direct-drive motors, which relieve the maintenance and downtime issues commonly associated with belt-driven or gear-reducer systems.


Another advantage is the cooling tower’s efficiency, including the fan drive system. It is composed of direct-drive fans staged, with two fans per cell. “This staged design means it’s not always necessary to run all of the fans continuously,” Plott said. “The payoff is a substantial savings on electric power consumption.”


The ease of installation of the four-module cooling tower was also an unexpected benefit. Because Delta products are pre-assembled at the factory, installation normally goes quickly and easily.


Maintenance is another positive. The corrosion problem of the salt air will become obviated, and the direct-drive fan system will require minimal service. In the end, the new solution aims to provide added production capacity with no maintenance issues or downtime surprises.


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