Replacing a failing galvanized cooling tower with a high-efficiency plastic system enables wire manufacturer to dramatically increase manufacturing capacity
Cooling towers, used to reduce the heat of circulating water used to cool industrial processes and HVAC systems throughout the world, 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.
While these attributes are compelling, the idea of incorporating this technology to increase production capacity is, for many, an unexpected benefit of the HDPE cooling tower technology.
An example of this capacity benefit occurred when Tencarva Machinery was asked by Strand-Tech Martin, a leading manufacturer of prestressed concrete strand and high carbon wire, to evaluate a galvanized cooling tower that had required extensive service over its lifespan, and was beyond repair.
Tencarva Machinery is a distributor of liquid process equipment and custom engineered systems, most of which incorporate pumping packages and electrical controls. The company serves industrial and municipal markets in the Southeast.
“Our inspection made it clear that the existing cooling tower, a typical galvanized model, was beyond practical repair,” says Chad Plott, of Tencarva. Plott explains that the main problem was a destructive, corrosive effect on the metal-clad shell produced by salt air that permeates coastal areas such as Charleston SC, where Strand-Tech Martin’s manufacturing plant is located.
The process used by Strand-Tech to produce its PC 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 adds.
The Strand-Tech application is an open cooling system, Plott explains. It includes pumps that feed water to the wire drawing machines from the cooling tower. The cooling water goes through some heat exchangers on the wire drawing machines, and provides some spray cooling on the machine, and also travels through coolant passages in the wire drawing dies. Eventually, the water gravity-feeds from that production equipment back to the cooling tower.
When Plott was asked to make a recommendation for a replacement cooling tower, he suggested an HDPE type of tower manufactured by Delta Cooling Towers (deltacooling.com). 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 gasses.
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.