Vibrations Are Bad For Business

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Cooling Tower Fan

Vibrations Can turn Cooling Towers Into Cooling Nightmares

 
Hello once again, and welcome back to Industrial Cooling Solutions Inc.’s blog. In our last post we covered variable frequency drives and listed some of the benefits that these devices have for applications in the cooling tower industry. While the benefits of VFDs are pretty straightforward, we thought we would talk about a component of cooling towers that many people outside of the industry never think about: The vibration switch. This tiny little device keeps the whole operation running smoothly, and today it will get the recognition it deserves. We hope that after reading this blog post you will come away with a more confident understand of why vibration switches are so very important.

Feel the Vibrations

To talk about vibration in an industrial setting, we must first define a few terms. Vibration, in the mechanical sense, is the mechanical motion of a machine or machine part away from its equilibrium point. To put it in simpler terms, vibration happens when a part moves back and forth from its intended point of stability. While all machines experience some level of vibration, this motion becomes an issue when it exceeds the allowable safety standards of the given machine. To use an example that most people are familiar with, think of your car’s engine. When you start your car a noticeable vibration is experienced and is totally normal. However, have you ever started your car and noticed too much vibration? If you have then you probably had to get your engine serviced, because an excessive amount of vibration is indicative of engine problems. This same concept applies to any mechanical device, and is especially true in the industrial cooling tower industry.

Cooling Towers are Only as Effective as Their Fans

The Majority of industrial cooling towers use a large fan to circulate air. Whether this fan is placed at the top or the bottom of the tower doesn’t really matter, but what does matter is how efficiently the fan rotates. If a cooling towers fan isn’t rotating at an optimal rate, the tower is not doing the most effective job it can at dissipating heat. Cooling tower fans have rotation issues for multiple reasons, but one of the most common causes of fan failure is excessive vibration. Because these fans rotate at high speeds for extended periods of time, they can run afoul of simple physics. Centrifugal force, the same force that keeps you secured in a rollercoaster when it’s going through a loop, acts upon the fan as it rotates. These fans are designed to handle this force, but even the most well designed mechanical device will experience some issues at one time or another. Over the life of the fan’s operation, centrifugal force slowly but surely warps the equilibrium point of the fan, which in turn causes the fan to vibrate. To mitigate this effect, a vibration switch is installed to monitor the fan at all times.

Vibration Switches are Always Watching

The function of the vibration switch is to monitor the rotation of the fan, and make sure that it is running within the acceptable vibration level specified by the manufacturer. If the vibration switch detects too much vibration, it can be programmed to either slow down the fan’s rotation speed, or halt the fan’s rotation all together. By doing this, the vibration switch prevents the fan from becoming too wobbly and causing potential damage (or complete failure) to the cooling tower. If the vibration levels are considered too severe, maintenance workers can recalibrate the fan and avoid potential issues in the future. With such an important job, the vibration switch is one of the unsung heroes of the cooling tower industry.
If you want to learn more about vibration switches, or are simply interested in cooling towers, give us a visit today at Industrial Cooling Solutions Inc. Our cooling tower experts have the knowledge and skills needed to construct high-quality cooling towers for the industrial sector. With projects spanning multiple countries, no job is too big. We have proven ourselves to be able to handle jobs from simple applications all the way to complex industrial systems. Contact us today to learn more!

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Comments (0) November 30, 2016 /

Variable Frequency Drives Save Money

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Hello, and welcome back to our blog! In our previous posts, we laid down a few basics about industrial cooling towers, such as why they are important and which type works best for a specific industry. At Industrial Cooling Solutions Inc., we understand that not everybody is as well-versed in the systems and parts that make an industrial cooling tower work. In today’s post, we are going to cover one common component of cooling towers: Variable frequency drives.

What is a Variable Frequency Drive?

Variable Frequency Drives, or VFDs for short, are computer controlled, electric motors that are connected to fans located in many industrial cooling towers. The VFDs’ job is to correctly identify the motor rotation of the fan and ensure that it is spinning in the correct direction at all times. To do this, the VFD is started, slows the fan down to zero rotations, and restarts the fan in the correct rotation. The VFD is also responsible for ensuring that the fan is rotating at an optimal speed while in use, and it can be used in emergencies to completely shut down a fan.

Why are VFDs Beneficial?

VFDs have many benefits when it comes to ensuring that cooling towers perform at their maximum efficiency. VFDs are beneficial for cooling towers that are located in cold climates, because they can run the fan at a slower speed than normal. By rotating the fan at a slower speed, the cooling tower’s temperature is raised and ice is prevented from forming on the tower. Conversely, during warmer months, a VFD can automatically run the fan at a higher speed (but still within acceptable safety ranges) to increase cooling efficiency. By doing these things, a VFD helps to reduce energy consumption from the fan, reduces maintenance issues, and helps to keep the cooling tower running as smoothly as possible.

VFDs Sound Cool, But Can’t A Person Do The Same Thing?

While the VFDs’ main function may sound simple (simply controlling the speed of a fan), it is a little more complex than that. While fans can be manually regulated by a worker, a VFD provides a level of control and accuracy that just cannot be replicated by a human. The VFD is always watching, always adjusting, and never gets tired. Additionally, variable frequency drives help to eliminate the need for other cooling tower controls such as electrical brakes, time delay relays, and anti-ratcheting devices. Coupling a VFD with a vibration switch, which identifies any mechanical resonance that occurs at high rotation speeds, can effectively eliminate any issues associated with vibrations caused by the fan. The VFD can achieve this because these vibration speeds can be relayed to the VFD, at which point it will adjust the fan speed to compensate for any unwanted mechanical vibrations.
At Industrial Cooling Solutions Inc., we have the experience, resources, and qualified professionals to handle any industrial cooling tower job. Our past projects speak for themselves, and our footprint can be seen on a global scale. Contact us today to discuss your next cooling tower job, and learn why Industrial Cooling Solutions Inc. is a trusted name in the cooling tower industry.

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Comments (0) November 22, 2016 /

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