Rx for Maintenance-Intensive Cooling Towers

May 22, 2006
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+
Engineered molded plastic cooling towers, as the one put in place for Brock Equipment Co., are one piece. Rust and corrosion does not occur, plus there are no seams, welds, or patches that can wear prematurely.
CRYSTAL LAKE, Ill. - For Marvin Richer, president of Brock Equipment, it was clear they were "throwing good money after bad."

"We were spending between $5,000 and $10,000 a year on cooling tower repair - patching metal, putting in rubber seals, and gasketing," said Richer, referring to the cooling tower that supports the facility's HVAC equipment. "In other words, Band-Aid fixes just to keep the tower from leaking."

The cooling tower in question, installed in 1950, was being used on an absorption chiller to cool two facilities - the Brock Equipment plant and the adjacent Crystal Lake University Center, an educational facility for undergraduate studies and continuing education. Brock is owner of the Crystal Lake center.

"As the tower got older, not only did we have ongoing leak problems, we started to have a structural problem," said Richer. "The tanks that hold the water on the bottom were getting heavier as we added more materials to fix the leaks. All that weight was beginning to bend the structural members that held the cooling tank together."

Richer began investigating an alternative: engineered-molded plastic cooling towers, which are designed to be high-capacity, lightweight, and energy efficient.

"Given our choices, we were most likely going to install a new tower similar to the old one," said Richer. "But first I wanted to look into a new plastic type of cooling tower that was said to be more reliable and require less maintenance."

In the eyes of Richer, because engineered-molded plastic cooling towers are one piece, there are no problems with seams, welds, and patches that can wear prematurely. He also said they are price competitive.

REAL ESTATE CONSERVATION

Brock Equipment's cooling tower does not interface with manufacturing processes, but supports an absorption chiller that conditions facility air, a demanding application that is clearly affected by tower downtime. For this reason, the reduced maintenance requirements and extended life of molded plastic cooling towers were very appealing to Richer.

In this case, Richer selected a unit manufactured by Delta Cooling Towers. The company said it produces units that are rotary-cast with a single- or double-wall UV-protected, polyethylene shell "that is virtually impervious to weather conditions and harsh environmental elements." The manufacturer also offers a 15-year warranty.

"If you are familiar with plastics, you know that engineered plastics are very tough. The new cooling tower has been trouble-free. We still have normal maintenance, but there has been no repair work on the tower, no leaks at all," said Richer.

The modular design of engineered plastic cooling towers has also introduced new flexibility in conserving valuable real estate, explained Richer.

Brock Equipment Co. said it put an end to $10,000-per-year maintenance costs by replacing a metal-lined cooling tower with an engineered plastic tower.
"With the new Delta system, we actually got more cooling with less tower," he said. "Our old 45-foot by 20-foot by 18-foot cooling tower was replaced by a lightweight plastic model that is only half that size, yet has slightly greater cooling capacity."

Utility savings can also be realized by reducing the cost of electric power to drive cooling tower fans, he said. In the case of the engineered plastic towers from Delta Cooling, direct-drive motors are employed to power cooling fans. This is designed to provide energy savings while delivering more horsepower.

"The two motors installed on the old tower were each 40 horsepower, three-phase, 480 volts. On the new tower, there are four 10 horsepower motors," said Richer.

"So we now have only half the power requirement. Plus, the new motors are more efficient than the old ones. We have not measured the energy savings, but it's there."

Publication date: 05/22/2006

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to The NEWS Magazine

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

2014 MCAA Annual Convention

Scenes from the 2014 MCAA Annual Convention in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Podcasts

NEWSmakers: Julian Scadden

Training is an ongoing process. Julian will discuss how you can generate maximum return on time and energy invested training by following a three part process. Listen to this podcast to get expert tips on training, tracking and follow up. 

More Podcasts

THE MAGAZINE

ACHRNEWS

NEWS 04-14-14 cover

2014 April 14

Check out the weekly edition of The NEWS today!

Table Of Contents Subscribe

SERVICE CALLS POLL

Which statement on service calls best applies to your business?
View Results Poll Archive

HVACR INDUSTRY STORE

plumbing-hvac.gif
2014 National Plumbing & HVAC Estimator

Every plumbing and HVAC estimator can use the cost estimates in this practical manual!

More Products

Clear Seas Research

 

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications, Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

DON'T MISS A THING

Magazine image
 
Register today for complete access to ACHRNews.com. Get full access to the latest features, Extra Edition, and more.

STAY CONNECTED

facebook icontwitter iconyoutube iconLinkedIn i con