What is a Cooling Tower?

Cooling Tower Services Industrial Cooling Tower

A cooling tower is a heat exchanger which, through evaporation, removes heat from the water and that rejected heat is transferred to the atmosphere. The cooling process occurs when the hot water contacts the air drawn through the cooling tower, this reduces the temperature of the hot water.  To improve upon the efficiency of the cooling process, the effective surface area of the water running through the cooling tower is often increased by spraying, splashing or filming of the water to expose more of the water surface area to the air. Evaporative cooling is commonly seen when one steps out of the shower, the water drops still on your body evaporate quickly, leaving one with a cooling sensation.  When a person sweats on a hot summer day, it is to help the body cool down. Sweat glands release sweat onto the skin, which then evaporates and helps reduce the body’s internal temperature.

How Do Cooling Towers Work?

Cooling towers hot water intakes spray hot water, usually pumped through FRP or PVC pipe headers, over PVC fill media. The fill acts as a heat transfer enhancer by providing the maximum amount of water surface area to transfer heat. The water and the air passing through come together, creating evaporative cooling. There is a small amount of water loss through evaporation, which is the result of cooling down the water. The remaining water falls into a water basin to be reused or pumped back into the cooling system. The cooling towers ICS builds are custom heat exchangers to meet industrial customer needs.

Where Are Cooling Towers Used?

Cooling towers are often used in commercial and industrial applications, but in this section, we will focus on industrial applications.

Power plants like biomass, gas – fired, nuclear, and geothermal power all use industrial cooling towers to cool-down processes. Additionally, petrochemicals, oil refineries, pulp and paper plants also use cooling towers to cool process water.

What Are The Different Types of Cooling Towers?

Natural Drafts or Atmospheric Cooling Towers: This type of cooling tower does not require mechanical components to operate, instead, the hot water is sprayed and the airflow through the tower is produced by the density difference between the less dense air inside the cooling tower stack and the more dense air outside the tower.
The natural draft cooling tower can be designed and erected as counterflow or crossflow as well.

Mechanical Draft: Mechanical draft cooling towers are categorized into an induced or forced draft type. These types of towers are usually driven by motors coupled to gear reducers connected to axial fans. It is common to see the cooling towers with a single fan but there are cases where the need of two fans per cell is required to meet the airflow volume.

Induced Draft: These types of cooling towers have axial fans on top of the cell. The fans move the air by suction instead of forcing (pushing) the airflow through the cooling tower. These types of cooling towers have air discharge velocity higher than the entrance velocity. Because of the high discharge velocity, the induced draft cooling towers are less probable to experience recirculation.

Forced Draft: These types are characterized by high airspeed at the air inlet (entrance) and low exit velocities. This makes them susceptible to recirculation and therefore are considered less efficient. Additionally, due to the location of the fans, these types are subject to developing severe icing during the winter months.

Induced and forced draft cooling towers can be built in counterflow or crossflow configurations.

Counterflow Cooling Towers: Air moves vertically upward, entering the cooling tower through the air inlets, then passing through the fill and counter to the down spray of the hot water. Due to the enclosed nature of these types of cooling towers, water is not exposed to the environment; thereby retarding the growth of algae.

Crossflow Cooling Towers: On this type of cooling towers, air moves through the fill positioned horizontally across the downward fall of water. The hot water is poured into hot water basins located at the top of the fill and it is distributed by gravity through nozzles on the floor of the hot water basins.


Whether you need to repair, upgrade or rebuild your tower, we customize solutions to restore your tower to its optimal condition and operational performance. Our innovative designs will increase tower efficiency, boost profitability, and ensure safety and longevity. Contact us today to request a quote!


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Comments (0) November 24, 2020 /

Counterflow Vs. Crossflow

Industrial Cooling Tower

Cooling towers are manufactured in many different configurations and sizes to match a wide range of applications across many different industries. Understanding that different configurations may have different advantages and disadvantages is important for you to be able to decide which one will be most efficient and cost-effective for your company. In this blog, we’re going to discuss the difference between a crossflow and a counterflow cooling tower.

What is a Cooling Tower?

A cooling tower’s main purpose is to remove heat from whatever it is that needs to be cooled. This is done through the process of evaporation which occurs when air and water are brought together inside of a cooling tower. A cooling tower is needed in many cases because it maximizes the surface area of the water, resulting in more evaporation. There are two configuration designs of cooling towers: counterflow and crossflow towers.

Crossflow Cooling Towers

With a crossflow tower, hot water flows downward from a distribution basin while air flows horizontally. They are filled with splash type fillings and can be applied when water has higher suspended particles. At Industrial Cooling Solutions, we offer crossflow towers in induced draft, forced draft, concrete, FRP, and wood structure as well as splash fill, film fill and low fouling fill materials. ICS cooling towers are built to withstand the most demanding of situations and provide the most cost-effective solution for you.

  • High Performance
  • Low Maintenance
  • Low Noise
  • Optimized Power Consumption

Counterflow Cooling Towers

A counterflow mechanism is one where air flows vertically through the fillings or packing at the top while water flows downward. In a counterflow cooling tower, there is an induced draught fan that is attached to the motor. This fan pulls in air to draft it upward resulting in air that is exhausted faster than it is pulled in. In turn, you’ll see lower pressure and circulation.


  • Low Power Consumption
  • Low Fouling Film or Splash fills
  • Plume Abated Systems
  • Low Pumphead
  • High Performance with Minimal Maintenance
  • Optimized Footprint
  • FRP Wood or Concrete Structures

Which one should you choose?  

The type of cooling tower you choose will depend entirely on the industry and the application. What works for one company may not be effective for another. Another factor that is taken into consideration is the typical climate on your site.

Contact us to learn more about which type of cooling tower is right for your company, 

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    Comments (0) February 28, 2018 /

    5 Steps To A More Energy Efficient Cooling Tower

    Industrial Cooling Tower

    We live in a world that is constantly in need of more and more energy in order to meet consumer demands or government regulations. So it’s not surprising that people are looking for a way to make industrial cooling systems more advanced and energy efficient, not only for the sake of the environment but in order to be able to satisfy everyone’s demands. Additionally, more efficiency means more money that your company will be saving.

    Many industrial environments need cooling systems to custom fit their size and design, so it’s important to consider your situation in order to determine what will be most important. The electronic and chemical industries are some that may need precision control of heat and humidity in order to avoid bad chemical reactions or bacterial growth. This can damage items and lead to inefficient business practices, so it’s important to have the right cooling solutions to avoid the chance of damage. For many corporations, this can result in cooling systems running all the time, eating away at the company’s budget, and harming the environment.

    In this blog, we’re going to talk about how you can make your cooling towers more efficient so that you don’t have to worry about if you’re saving enough money or not. Here are several ways to save money with your industrial cooling tower.

    Having the Right Filtration System

    Like a standard in-home HVAC system, industrial cooling towers require a good filtration system in order to be energy efficient. Once water is evaporated in a cooling tower, dissolved solids are left behind. These solids include magnesium, calcium, silica, and more. If these aren’t removed properly or avoided with a good filtration system, they can start to take a toll on your cooling tower efficiency and even damage it. In the long run, this could result in thousands of dollars worth of damages. In addition to taking a look at your water treatment company to see if they’re providing you with an adequate water supply, you should consider an alternate filtration system like a side stream sand filter.

    Consider All the Cooling Tower Options Available

    You always want to choose a cooling tower that meets ASHRAE 90.1 standards. This standard provides the minimum energy-efficiency requirements for whatever building you’re trying to cool. Not only should you be complying with the regulations, but it can help you run a more efficient cooling tower if that’s ever a concern to you. If you have any questions about this process, you should contact Industrial Cooling Solutions. We offer complete evaporative cooling tower services ranging from cooling tower engineering to tower repair that is custom fit to each customer’s needs. Contact us today to learn more and start saving money for your company.

    Variable frequency drives

    Variable frequency drives are another great way to save money with a cooling tower. On humid days, cooling towers rarely need to be running at full horsepower, a variable frequency drive (VFD) will help you save money by optimizing the process and reduce fan energy. If you have any questions about how to save money and increase efficiency with your cooling tower, don’t hesitate to contact Industrial Cooling Solutions today. We specialize in providing engineering, construction, thermal upgrades, and replacement parts for your cooling towers, worldwide. There are a lot of different types of towers that could prove to be more of an asset to certain industries than others. When you choose a cooling tower or need replacement parts, it’s important to know exactly what you need. We have wood, fiberglass and concrete cooling towers in addition to counterflow and crossflow towers, so contact us today for a consultation.

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    Comments (0) January 9, 2018 /

    Common Industrial Cooling Tower Issues

    Industrial Cooling Tower Industrial Cooling Tower

    Industrial Cooling Towers, Like All Things, Experience Issues

    As anyone will tell you who has purchased any type of machinery, issues crop up. While machines are designed to be as durable and efficient as possible, they all inevitably need maintenance. Nothing performs perfectly forever and this is especially true for industrial grade machinery. Industrial machines have to deal with a workload that is near constant and, as a result, need much more maintenance than a lawnmower or car engine. Although industrial cooling towers are designed to be as efficient and maintenance-free as possible, they too occasionally need a little tender love and care. In today’s post, we here at Industrial Cooling Solutions Inc. are going to go over some common issues that can industrial cooling towers develop and how to properly maintain them.

    Water is Both the Best and Worst Thing for Industrial Cooling Towers

    Although some industrial cooling tower designs do not make use of water, the vast majority do. Water is, so far, the best options for eliminating heat from industrial processes because it is efficient and cost effective. However, anyone who has dealt with a machine that must deal with water knows that water can cause some pretty nasty issues. This is compounded with industrial cooling towers because often times the water picks up contaminants from the heat that it is trying to mitigate. Below, we have listed the most common issues that arise in industrial cooling towers due to water.

    • Scale Buildup: The buildup of scale is one of the most common issues in the world of industrial cooling. Scale if most often formed by the build up of inorganic mineral compounds present in the water such as calcium phosphate, iron oxide, and magnesium silicate. As scale buildup coats the inside of an industrial cooling tower the heat transfer efficiency is reduced. If the scale buildup is left unattended, it can lead to higher energy costs to run the cooling tower and may even require the entire cooling system to be shut down and serviced. The best way to prevent scale buildup is to routinely clean towers and reduce the amount of mineral buildup.
    • Corrosion: While it is true that over time water will corrode just about any substance known to man, water is not the main culprit when it comes to corrosion in industrial cooling towers. While it is true that water is the vehicle that provides the corrosive elements to travel, the elements themselves are more harmful than the water could every be. Many industrial cooling towers are exposed to harsh industrial chemicals during their lifespans. Corrosion can become a major issue because it can decrease cooling efficiency, increase energy costs, and in extreme cases cause damage or destruction to equipment within the tower. Again, the best way to mitigate corrosion is to routinely clean towers. Additionally, choosing tower materials that are naturally resistant to corrosion, such as FRP, is a great way to eliminate the problem of corrosion.
    • Fouling: Fouling simply refers to the process by which the water in an industrial cooling tower becomes soiled. Because so many industrial cooling towers scrub dirt, dust, and chemical components out of the air that they are cooling, the water can quickly become contaminated. If left untreated, this soiled water can clog up the water nozzles in the tower, reducing efficiency and increasing energy consumption. To help reduce the amount of fouling that occurs, it is important to have a well-maintained filtration system as well as a chemical treatment to break down the contaminants in the water.
    • Microorganisms: While the previous issues were mostly the fault of chemicals found in the water of industrial cooling towers, microorganisms can be blamed entirely on the water itself. Everyone knows that if air and water mix for a long enough period of time in a closed environment, things are going to begin to grow. Algae, bacteria, and fungi can all form in industrial cooling towers and can have some serious effects on the health of those that are around the cooling tower on a daily basis. Additionally, the buildup of algae and fungi can reduce the efficiency of heat transfer, compromise the integrity of the tower, and increase energy loss. To prevent the development of microorganisms in an industrial cooling tower, it is important to clean the tower routinely with an anti-microbial cleaner.

    When you are in need of industrial cooling tower maintenance, contact us today at Industrial Cooling Solution Inc. We will ensure that your industrial cooling tower(s) is running as efficiently as possible and perform any maintenance to improve performance. Don’t let your tower degrade, contact us today.

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    Comments (0) January 31, 2017 /

    Choosing The Right Industrial Cooling Tower Contractor

    Industrial Cooling Tower

    Industrial Cooling Towers are Only as Good as Their Contractors

    Hello, and welcome back to our blog. Here at Industrial Cooling Solutions Inc., we have a reputation for producing high-quality, durable, and efficient industrial cooling towers. For many industries, cooling towers can be a large expense. With this in mind, we feel it is important that our current and future clients understand what it takes to produce quality industrial cooling towers. In today’s post, we are going to go over some of the qualities that you will need to look for in your cooling tower contractor to ensure you are getting the best cooling tower for your money.

    A Good Contractor Remains Updated and Connected

    Like nearly every industry, industrial cooling towers are constantly changing and evolving. When choosing a contractor for your next job, it is important to choose one that keeps up with the latest trends and developments in the industrial cooling tower world. This means that they need to attend events and seminars relating to cooling towers in order for them to gauge the pulse of their customer base. By keeping up with what the customer wants, contractors are able to incorporate new elements or designs in their industrial cooling towers that may be preferable to their customer base.

    Contractors Must Have Integrity

    When choosing a contractor to construct your counterflow or crossflow cooling tower, it is important to find one that you feel produces quality work and has a reputation for integrity. Most industrial cooling tower jobs range in the millions of dollars, and it is important that you feel this money isn’t being wasted on frivolous materials or extra construction time. Additionally, being confident in the quality of your contractor’s work should be high on your list of priorities. Because of the investment required for an industrial cooling tower job, you don’t want to later find out that your contractor charged you for a quality product when in fact they delivered sub-par work.

    Demand Reasonable Rates

    While all industrial cooling tower jobs are different, you should expect a reasonable rate from your contractor. If you feel that they are charging you more than they should for the job you require, you are probably right in questioning their pricing. When determining if their estimate for your job is reasonable or not, be sure to consider the conditions that the tower will be constructed in, the climate, and how easy it is to bring in raw materials and workers to the job site. As an added measure of safety, we recommend that you get quotes from multiple contractors to ensure that you are receiving a rate that is pretty standard across the industry as a whole.
    By following these simple safety steps, we here at Industrial Cooling Solutions Inc., feel that you will have the resources necessary to make an informed decision when choosing your next industrial cooling tower contractor. On a final note, we recommend that you give us a call for your next industrial cooling tower job. Our knowledgeable and experienced staff have an excellent track record of producing high-quality cooling towers in a plethora of conditions and environments.

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    Comments (0) January 9, 2017 /

    Water Cooling For Power Plants

    Industrial Cooling Tower

    Making Power is Hot Workcooling-towers

    At Industrial Cooling Solutions Inc., we find all forms of industrial cooling interesting. While we mostly focus on our counterflow and crossflow cooling towers, today we wanted to talk about another form of industrial cooling. Water cooling is an important process for thousands of industrial plants across the nation, but are most important in their application of cooling industrial power plants. Generating power produces a lot of heat and that heat has to be mitigated in a safe, responsible, and cost-effective way. To learn more about how power plants use water cooling systems, continue reading below.

    Thermoelectric Power Plants Require Industrial Cooling

    In the United States, we get about 90 percent of our electricity from thermoelectric plants. Thermoelectric plants are plants that utilize coal, natural gas, oil, or nuclear rods to produce power. To create power, these plants use their respective energy sources to boil water and generate steam. This steam is then fed through turbines, generating electricity. Once the steam has passed through the turbines it must be cooled again so that it can be recycled back into the plant’s power generation system. To cool this rising steam, thermoelectric plants utilize three main methods.
    Once-through: In this method of industrial cooling, systems use water from a nearby source and circulate it through pipes to absorb the steam’s heat in systems called condensers. Once the water has effectively cooled the steam, it is discharged back into a local water source where it will naturally cool. This method of industrial cooling was initially the most popular form of cooling available to plants, because of the simplicity of the system and the low cost to run it. While this type of industrial cooling is still widespread along the eastern United States, most new power plants do not use this system to cool steam. This shift away from once-through systems is due largely to the fact that these systems can cause some major disruptions to the local ecosystems around the plant. Siphoning water from local water sources and then reintroducing warm water into the same system can cause damage local rivers, lakes, and aquifers.
    Closed-loop: Closed-loop systems are the main reason that cooling towers even exist. In this method of industrial cooling, heated water is run through a second cycle instead of being discharged back into the original water source. In most closed-loop systems, cooling towers are used to lower the temperature of the water by exposing it to the outside air. While some of the water does evaporate, the effective use of fill media allows most cooling towers to reclaim the vast majority of water that is funneled into them. While this type of industrial cooling system withdraws less water from local sources than once-through systems, it tends to have a considerably higher rate of water consumption.
    Dry-Cooling: In this type of industrial cooling, air is used instead of water to cool the steam as it exits the turbine of a thermoelectric plant. This system dissipates heat by routing the steam towards an array of A-framed tubes while a fan blows the steam directly across the tubes. As the steam passes over the metal tubes it condenses, and the cooled water is collected to be reused. While dry-cooling systems use no water and can decrease a power plant’s water consumption by up to 90 percent, they require a higher initial cost, higher auxiliary operating power, and can result in overall lower plant performance and efficiency. Lower plant efficiency means that a plant must use more fuel to produce the same amount of electricity, and can lead to a greater impact on the environment. As a result, most dry-cooling systems are only used in small scale thermoelectric plants.
    While we obviously have a preference for closed-loop cooling systems (because they require cooling towers), we can appreciate the other methods of effectively cooling steam as it exits thermoelectric power plants. Here at Industrial Cooling Solutions Inc., we have a track record for fast, professional, and safe industrial cooling tower installations, conversions, and upgrades. To learn more about our industrial cooling tower services, visit our website or contact us today. Let us show you the wonders of industrial cooling towers.

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    Comments (0) January 4, 2017 /

    Environmental Concerns And Industrial Cooling Towers

    Industrial Cooling Tower

    Cooling Towers Love The Environment Too

    As you are probably already aware, we here at Industrial Cooling Solutions Inc. are experts on industrial cooling towers. Our knowledge and experience has given us valuable insight into the world of cooling towers, and today we’re going to talk about a subject that many people find concerning: The environment. In a world that seems  to be going through some pretty heavy environmental changes, we want to help clear the air in regard to industrial cooling towers. While it may seem like these towers are releasing a lot of harmful stuff to the average person, cooling towers are actually designed to reduce pollution as much as possible. To learn more about the steps taken to reduce pollution in industrial cooling applications continue reading below.

    Drift Is Bad, That’s Why We Eliminate It

    As we discussed in our previous post, drift is an unavoidable side effect of industrial cooling tower performance. Drift occurs when water droplets that are caught in the rising steam escape the tower. Drift is an environmental concern, because it allows potentially harmful chemicals to unintentionally escape the cooling tower. While most chemicals are too heavy to be carried by steam alone, water droplets serve as a convenient vessel for these chemicals to latch onto. While this sounds like quite an environmental issue, drift can be effectively mitigated through the use of drift eliminators in cooling towers. By forcing the rising steam to pass through a drift eliminator, the water droplets in the steam collect along the surface, merge together, and fall back into the cooling tower’s water basin. So, the next time you see steam escaping a cooling tower, remember that steps have been taken to ensure that the steam is as clean as possible.

    Blowdown is Necessary, But Not Necessarily Bad

    Most industrial cooling towers these days use water to eliminate heat. As water naturally evaporates from the cooling process and escapes the tower, the remaining water becomes saturated with chemicals, dissolved minerals, and other undesirable elements. Over time, this dirty water must be flushed from the cooling tower to ensure proper performance is maintained. This process, known as blowdown, has raised concerns in the past from environmental groups because of the potential release of these chemicals into the surrounding environment. However, these concerns are largely unfounded. As any industry knows, running afoul of the Environmental Protection Agency is a sure fire way to gain negative publicity and potential fines. As a result, industries use water treatment and removal services that are well-versed in EPA regulations, and take the necessary steps to treat and dispose of the blowdown in a way that is not detrimental to the environment.

    Eliminate Cross-Contamination With Proper Maintenance

    One of the biggest environmental concerns in regard to industrial cooling towers is cross-contamination. Cross-contamination occurs when leaks from process equipment attached to a cooling tower introduce chemicals to the system that would otherwise not be present. In layman’s terms, cross-contamination happens when something leaks into a tower that shouldn’t. Most often, cross-contamination occurs when a faulty heat exchanger starts to leak chemicals into a tower, causing the water medium to become saturated with chemicals that it was never intended to handle. While this is always a concern, cross-contamination can be effectively eliminated by routinely checking tower components for faults or leaks. Again, because no industry wants to get on the EPA’s bad side, redundant maintenance checks are put in place to ensure that all components of the tower are doing their job without leaking unwanted substances into the tower itself.
    We hope that this post has helped to alleviate any concerns you may have had in regard to industrial cooling towers. While no tower will be 100 percent environmentally friendly, multiple steps are taken to ensure that the least amount of pollution possible is released from these towers. The next time you see a cooling tower releasing steam, just remember that steam is almost 100 percent of what it is releasing. At Industrial Cooling Solutions In., we are dedicated to responsible environmental maintenance, and we take every step necessary in our cooling tower production to ensure that pollution is reduced. Contact us today or visit our website, and see why Industrial Cooling Solutions Inc. is a trusted provider of cooling tower solutions around the world.

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    Comments (0) November 30, 2016 /

    Cooling Tower Components: Drift Eliminators

    Industrial Cooling Tower

    Drift Eliminators Keep Water in its Place

    Hello, and welcome back to Industrial Cooling Solutions Inc.’s blog! Our last few posts have been focused on specific components that make industrial cooling towers work, and today’s post is going to follow in that same vein. As we are all aware by this point in our blog series, the vast majority of cooling towers used in industrial applications rely on water to dissipate excess heat. Drift eliminators, the subject of today’s post, come into play when excess moisture tries to escape from a tower. Continue reading below to learn more.

    What Exactly is a Drift Eliminator?

    A drift eliminator, like the fill material we discussed in our previous post, is used to manipulate the water within the cooling tower. All industrial cooling towers that use water experience loss of that water in the form of evaporation. This water loss is acceptable and expected; however,  issues can arise in the form of drift. As the evaporated water rises towards the top of the tower, larger droplets of water will get caught up in the mist and escape through the top of the tower. Not only does this drift cause more water to escape than is necessary, it can also allow harmful chemicals to escape from the cooling tower. To prevent these drops of water from escaping, the rising vapor is forced through a drift eliminator. The drift eliminator is typically made of polyurethane and is comprised of many tightly packed rows molded into the shape of an “S”. When the evaporated water enters the bottom of the “S” it must pass around two curves before exiting through the top. By forcing the vapor to go through these two sharp bends, any water droplets that have been caught by the rising vapor will collect along the drift eliminator and eventually fall back to the bottom of the cooling tower.

    Why is Drift Bad?

    Now that you know what drift is, you’re probably wondering why it’s a bad thing. As we stated previously, a drift allows excess water to leave the cooling tower due to evaporation. While the amount of water droplets that get carried away by the rising vapor may seem minuscule, every drop of water that escapes reduces the efficiency of the cooling tower. For many industries, their cooling towers run almost constantly and even a small drop in efficiency can lead to wasted  energy and money. Additionally, a drift can allow harmful chemicals to be released into the atmosphere. Most chemicals present in the water of industrial cooling towers are too heavy to rise with the evaporated water, but if too much drift occurs they can escape from their intended space. By using a drift eliminator, industries can better control the amount of chemicals they release into the atmosphere, and ensure that they are operating within state and federal environmental guidelines.
    We hope that this post has helped to shed some light on drift eliminators and why they are important for proper industrial cooling tower operation. Here at Industrial Cooling Solutions Inc., we have the knowledge and skills to handle any construction or repair project you may have. Contact us today to learn more about our services, and discover why Industrial Cooling Solutions Inc. is trusted around the world to deliver professional results in a timely and cost effective manner.

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    Comments (0) November 22, 2016 /

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