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The History of FRP Pt. 1

FRP Has Changed the Industrial Cooling Tower Game

Every once in awhile, a technological advancement comes along that helps to boost the efficiency of an industry. These technological advancements work together with existing processes and components to bring a new element to an industry, greatly affecting the way the industry standards are set and, in some cases, causing people to question how the industry got by for so long without this amazing new advancement. Here at Industrial Cooling Solutions, Inc., we have been involved in the industrial cooling tower business for quite a while. In that time, we have seen advancements in the industry that have increased efficiency and lowered costs in ways that seemed impossible. In today’s post, we are going to cover the history of Fibre-reinforced plastic (FRP), a material that has been quickly adopted in the cooling tower industry to create fan blades that are more balanced and efficient than any other type of fan blade before them. Continue reading below to learn more.

FRP Technology is Relatively New

The incorporation of FRP technology into industrial processes is less than a century old. As most people know, plastic is a relatively modern invention, with the development of most modern plastics happening in the early 1900s. Plastics came about from the efforts of chemists and scientists who were looking to develop synthetic materials that were able to mimic similar substances found in nature while simultaneously performing better than said substances. The first known product made from FRP was an experimental boat hull developed in the mid-1930s. This hull was initially developed as an experiment looking to study the effectiveness of combining fiberglass fabric with polyester resin. Somewhat surprisingly, the combination of these two materials resulted in an amazingly strong yet light hull, and laid the foundation for the use of FRP technology in a wide range of industries including aerospace, marine, and electrical applications.

Like most new forms of technology, FRP was of particular interest to the defense industry. The US Air Force and Navy quickly began to experiment with FRP composites because of its impressive strength-to-weight ratios and its ability to resist the corrosive effects of salt water. By 1945, just a few short years after the introduction of FRP composites, 7 million pounds of FRP materials were being shipped, with the bulk of the product going to the military. While the military’s early investments into FRP technology cannot be overlooked, it wasn’t long before other industries began to notice the potential benefits of FRP materials.

The Industrial Adoption of FRP

After the military experimented with FRP composites, the public sector caught wind of the many benefits that this new material offered, especially in relation to its ability to resist corrosion. In 1948, the first pipes made from FRP were introduced and, quite quickly, the oil industry saw just how amazing this new technology was. FRP composites proved to be a viable alternative to traditional corrosive resistant materials, even in the high-pressure, large diameter situations of chemical processing. In addition to its vastly superior corrosion resistance, FRP pipe offered durability and strength that helped to eliminate the need for interior linings, exterior coatings, and cathodic protection on pipes used to transport corrosive substances. These benefits helped industries save money and, more importantly, incorporate a superior material into their processes.

Why is FRP Important to the Cooling Tower Industry?

Industrial cooling towers, historically, have had issues with corrosion. Not only do a large amount of cooling towers utilize water, a natural corrosive force in nature, to mitigate heat, many cooling towers also have to deal with chemical elements that are presented into the system due to industrial processes. Before the introduction of FRP materials, fan blades were almost exclusively made from aluminum due to its relatively light weight and durability. Unfortunately, aluminum is still a metal, meaning that over time, it will succumb to the effects of corrosion if exposed on a regular basis. Fan blades made from FRP composites, however, are able to resist the corrosive environment of the interior of a cooling tower, delivering unparalleled efficiency and durability. In addition to the corrosion resistance offered by these fan blades, FRP can be molded into nearly any shape. This means that cooling tower fan blades can be molded into the most optimal shape possible to push the large amounts of air that are needed for a cooling tower to run efficiently and, because the fan blades are molded into a single structure, the chance of the fan coming apart are reduced greatly.

Learn more about the FRP fan blade options that we have available here at Industrial Cooling Solutions Inc. We have been leaders in the industrial cooling tower sector for years and we are dedicated to providing the best materials possible in order to make sure that all of our clients are able to make sure that their cooling towers are performing as efficiently as possible.

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A Look At Cooling Tower Fan Efficiency Pt. 3

Efficiency Factors to Consider in Cooling Tower Fan System Design

Hello, constant reader, and welcome to part three of our multi-part blog series on the factors that inhibit the efficiency of cooling tower fan systems. As this is part three of our series, we encourage you to read our previous two posts, part 1 & part 2. Each post builds upon the last and, as a result, you may find yourself quite lost if you are not familiar with the context of this series. In today’s post, we are going to pick up where we left off last time and delve deeper into the second main factor that can affect the efficiency of a fan system: The fan housing. Like most components in a large machine assembly, the fan housing plays a role that, if not properly optimized, can have a larger negative impact on the overall efficiency of the system than one would first suspect. Even a small decrease in efficiency can be enough to throw off an entire cooling tower system, which is why it is so important for engineers to make sure that their initial system is as optimal as possible before construction.

Don’t Take Your Fan Housing For Granted

In our previous post, we discussed the impact that system design can have on the overall efficiency of a cooling tower fan system. If inefficiencies are built into the system from the start, such as insufficient blade design and positioning, the system is never going to be able to perform at its peak. While these two factors account for a lot of the inefficiency found in fan systems, the housing of the fan assembly can also cause issues with overall efficiency. In the world of industrial cooling towers, one of the most important factors of system loss revolves around the air leakage around the tips of the fan blades. This loss is directly influenced by the tip clearance of the fan blades and the velocity pressure at the operating point and is caused by the tendency of high-pressure exit air to circulate around the fan blade tips into the low-pressure air in the inlet of the tower. For this reason, it is important to make sure that the inlet conditions of a cooling tower are as optimal as possible.

Pay Attention to the Inlet Conditions

In relation to wet cooling towers, a velocity recovery stack is a common means by which engineers can improve inlet conditions and conserve horsepower. To perform this function, velocity recovery stacks most often incorporate a slightly tapered exit cone in conjunction with a well-rounded inlet bell. This results in a significantly reduced velocity pressure at the exit of the inlet compared to the plane of the fan. Because the quantity of air on both planes is the same, however, the recovery of velocity pressure is converted into static regain, lowering the total pressure requirements of the fan. This results in less horsepower being needed to produce the required rotational velocity of the fan. Additionally, the entrance into the velocity recovery stack through the fan deck should not be neglected because, often, this entrance can create turbulence and losses in the fan system. Although most stack designs tend to incorporate a large inlet radius, heavy structural members beneath the stack or a sharp corner through the fan deck ca negate the smooth air flow condition in the stack itself. It is important to note that these issues are not under the control of the end user, meaning that the design of the cooling tower itself should try to limit these negative variables.

Thank you for taking the time to read our third entry into our blog series on cooling tower fan efficiency. Join us again next time as we conclude our series by discussing the recirculation of hot air how this factor can contribute to decreased efficiency in a cooling tower fan system. As always, if you would like to learn more about the cooling tower fan options that we offer here at Industrial Cooling Solutions, Inc., please contact us today.

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A Look At Cooling Tower Fan Efficiency Pt. 2

Cooling Tower Fan Efficiency Requires Careful Analysis

Hello, and welcome back to the Industrial Cooling Solutions, Inc. blog! If you are just now joining us, we are in the middle of a multi-part blog series that is dedicated to detailing the factors that influence the efficiency levels of industrial cooling tower fans. If you have not read our previous post, we highly suggest that you go do so now. While you may find the information in this second post useful, it is build upon important ideas that are presented in the first post and, as such, will make more sense if you read the posts in sequential order. Now that we have that small disclaimer out of the way, we are going to use today’s post to continue where we left off last time and discuss some of the factors that influence the overall efficiency of a cooling tower fan system. While each factor may seem small when isolated, together they can greatly decrease the efficiency of a cooling tower, effectively rendering the tower useless for its intended application. Keep reading below to learn more.

Potential Losses in System Efficiency Can Occur in Several Separate Areas

When it comes to overall system efficiency in cooling tower fan assemblies, there are three main areas that need to be considered by researchers and engineers alike.

  1. Losses caused by the system design of the fan rather than by variable physical properties.
  2. Losses caused by variable environmental properties.
  3. Performance losses caused by the recirculation of hot air.

Of these three main areas of potential loss, only the second category is easily fixable. Below, we have listed out the details surrounding the first category that affects the efficiency of a cooling tower fan system.

Losses Caused by System Designs

While the variables that might potentially decrease the efficiency of a cooling tower fan system are sometimes easy to identify, most of the time they are not. One factor that can greatly affect the overall efficiency of the system is the design of the fan blade. For the most part, modern axial fans found in industrial cooling towers are made from either FRP materials or aluminum. Aluminum fan blades, by their very nature, are always of a uniform design, whereas FRP fan blades can be molded into pretty much any shape that an engineer may want. No matter which type of fan blade material is used, the main purpose of the fan assembly is to produce uniform airflow over the entire plane of the fan. Uniform airflow ensures that the optimal amount of force is produced to adequately dissipate the heat that is introduced into the cooling tower. To determine that a fan blade design is able to produce the amount of airflow that is needed, the work done at any radius along the fan blade is a function of blade width (angle of attack and tangential velocity squared).

The Shape of Fan Blades Plays an Important Role in Efficiency

With the above information in mind, it can be concluded that as a point on the fan blade decreases from the tip toward the hub of the fan assembly, the tangential velocity decreases sharply. To compensate for this and produce uniform airflow, the twist of the blade along with its width must also increase. This becomes an issue when dealing with aluminum fan blades because if the blade width cannot be increased, the twist of the blade must be increased to compensate. Due to the elasticity limits of aluminum, this twist can only be taken to a certain level before the fan blades break. Luckily, FRP fan blades have no such limitation because they are molded into a single piece, allowing the most ideal shape to be more closely achieved.
Another factor that is affected by the design, shape, and twist of the fan blade is the fan operating point, or the point where the system resistance line meets the fan performance line. In laymen’s terms. The operating point is the blade pitch angle that produces the necessary air flow against the required system resistance of the cooling tower. Depending upon the fan speed, only a single pitch angle will be able to satisfy the system design operating condition. To put all of this together, within certain limits, the speed of a cooling tower fan can be adjusted so that the most optimal pitch angle can be selected that will satisfy the required system resistance.

Faulty Design Leads to Faulty Performance

When considering the above two points, it is easy to see how poor fan blade design, as well as a poor selection in the operating point of the fan system, can contribute to a loss in efficiency of a particular cooling tower fan system. Once in place, these two factors are not always the easiest things to fix, meaning that it is always in the best interest of the engineer and designer to make sure that their initial system design is as efficient as possible. If these considerations are not taken into account, valuable time, energy, and money will have to be spent rectifying the issue.

Thank you for reading part two of our blog series on the factors that should be taken into consideration in relation to cooling tower fan efficiency. If you would like to learn more about our selection of FRP fan blade designs and the applications in which they can be used, please contact us today at Industrial Cooling Solutions, Inc. We have completed dozens of cooling tower projects around the world and we are certain that we can handle any and all needs you may have when it comes to optimizing your fan system.

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A Look At Cooling Tower Fan Efficiency

Is Your Cooling Tower Fan as Efficient as Possible?

In the world of industrial cooling towers, many tower components are necessary to ensure that the tower is mitigating heat as efficiently as possible. Proper water flow is important in making sure that the fill material is properly saturated and is able to impede the rising heat, clean surfaces are necessary to ensure that scaling does not affect the evaporation rate of the water, and proper airflow is needed to make sure that the heat does not stagnate in the body of the cooling tower. While all of these components play a part in the overall efficiency of the cooling tower, the fan assembly, if not properly optimized, can negate the positive components by greatly diminishing the amount of heat that is able to be exchanged. In the first of a multi part blog series, here at Industrial Cooling Solutions wanted to take a look at the efficiency of cooling tower fans in relation to both dry cooling towers and wet cooling towers. While different in the way that they exchange heat, both cooling towers have some commonalities that make them worthy of assessment. Continue reading below to learn more.

Fan System Efficiency is of the Utmost Importance

Although dry cooling towers and wet cooling towers are different in the ways that they provide heat mitigation, they also have a few things in common. Both industrial cooling tower types contain an axial fan to move the air inside of the tower, both have a shroud or other covering to simultaneously contain the fan and funnel air into the fan, and both have plenums that direct air so that heat can be transferred by direct or indirect contact. When designing fan systems for these types of cooling towers, the first step is to develop a fan performance curve. Using this curve, engineers can determine an operating point at which the fan performance exactly matches the system requirements of the cooling tower itself. Typically, performance curves as they relate to cooling tower fans are obtained under ideal, reproducible conditions. They are obtained this way so that engineers can be certain that they will be able to reproduce the efficiency levels in the real world, not just in the research lab. To illustrate this point, consider the following example: Test conditions for cooling tower fans usually require a blade tip clearance on a five foot fan blade of about 0.040 inches with a large inlet bell. Under these ideal conditions, total fan efficiency is typically in the 75 percent to 85 percent range. However, as most people who have experience with cooling towers know, in most full-scale fan tests, “real life” performance tends to fall in the 55 percent to 75 percent range. What happened to the efficiency level? The answer, quite simply, is that while the fan efficiency is exactly the same (75 to 85 percent efficient) the system efficiency is much, much lower.

How can a Fan be Efficient While the System isn’t?

Answering this question, once again, requires an example. Let’s assume that we have to design a forced draft air cooled exchanger whose function is to make sure that a factory is able to properly eliminate heat. The tower has been designed to move 200,000 Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM) of air while operating against a system static pressure of 0.42 inches of water. The initial fan performance curve showed that a cooling tower fan with a diameter of 14 feet coupled with a 21 horsepower motor would be sufficient for the job. Using a little math, the engineers find that the Total Fan Efficiency at this operating point is 87 percent, a number that falls well within the acceptable range. Unfortunately, when the system is activated, it is found that it is insufficient in cooling and unable to meet the 87 percent efficiency benchmark that the math showed it was capable of. When trying to determine what caused the sharp decrease in efficiency, it was found that recirculation loss, top losses, and reverse flow at the hub all lead to a decrease in system efficiency.

All of these losses, when combined, reduced the efficiency of the fan system by 20 percent, meaning that the real fan efficiency was closer to 67 percent. Additionally, some simple math shows that the design should have called for a motor closer to 27 horsepower in strength instead of the 21 horsepower unit called for by the initial ideal fan curve. As you can see, not taking the entirety of the fan system into consideration when trying to determine efficiency levels can be frustrating when the end result is less than nominal.

Join us again next time as we further expound upon the topic of cooling tower fan efficiencies and go over some of the small factors that can increase efficiency in these systems. Additionally, if you are in need of cooling tower construction services, cooling tower replacement parts, repair of your current cooling tower, or simply want someone to talk to about your cooling tower, contact us today at Industrial Cooling Solutions, Inc.

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When To Replace Your Cooling Tower Fan

Replace Industrial Cooling Tower Fan
Is Your Cooling Tower Fan Alright?

Sometimes, the machines that we use on a daily basis need a little TLC, and we aren’t talking about the classic 90s R&B group. When you think about it, you cooling tower deserves all of the tender love and care that you can manage to spare. Without your tower, whatever industry you work in would not be possible. While the industrialization of our nation was a good thing overall, it also presented us with a new problem in the form of excess heat. Heat, for the most part, is not something that most people think about in a given day; however, for those individuals who are involved in industrial related fields, heat can be a highly destructive force. Traditionally, heavy machinery does not like heat. That isn’t to say that these machines cannot operate under conditions that, to a human, would seem excessively hot, it simply means that they do not like having to deal with any more heat than is absolutely necessary. In today’s post, we here at Industrial Cooling Solutions Inc. wanted to go over a subject that we feel is important—when is it time to replace the fan blades in your industrial cooling tower. These fans play a major role in eliminating heat and it is important that you, as the operator, know when it is time to retire one fan and replace it with another. Keep reading below to learn more.

Are You a Fan of Your Fan?

When it comes to industrial cooling towers, there are many pieces that must work together in order to make sure that the tower is effectively doing its job. The water pump must be in proper working order to make sure that the necessary amount of liquid is pumped into the system of the tower, the fill media must be properly placed and cleaned to reduce the amount of water that is lost, and the entire tower itself must be free from scale build up in order to make sure that the maximum amount of heat is being mitigated as possible. While all of these details must be taken care of to ensure that the tower is performing as optimally as possible, it is especially important to make sure that the fan inside of the cooling tower is in the best working condition possible. Without the fan, it doesn’t matter if all of the other components of the tower are perfect, the water will not be cooled properly and, as a result, the tower will not be able to perform its job. However, how is a person supposed to know when it is necessary to replace a failing cooling tower fan? Below, we have listed a few things to consider when you are trying to decide whether or not it is time to replace your cooling tower fan.

  • Age: The first thing you need to consider when deciding whether or not to replace the fan in you industrial cooling tower is how old the fan is. Was it installed recently, say two or three years ago, or, is it the fan that came with the tower when it was installed over a decade ago? Cooling tower fans are designed to last for a long time; however, like any component of a machine, they are not designed to last indefinitely. If your cooling tower fan is over five years old, we suggest that you inspect it carefully to make sure that it is still up to the task it was built for.
  • Damage: Piggybacking off of the first point, it is important to inspect the blades and body of your fan on a regular basis to make sure that they have not been structurally compromised. When inspecting the fan look for any cracks, dents, chips, or other forms of structural damage. While a small crack or chip might not seem like that big of a deal in the scheme of things, any compromises in the structural integrity of your systems fan can result in the fan ripping itself apart at an inconvenient time. If you notice that your fan has damage near the center (the area where the blades of the fan meet) it is especially important that you replace your fan. The rotational speeds at which these fans operate could cause the fan’s blades to come off, damaging fill material or, in more extreme cases, causing damage to the walls of the tower.
  • Type of Fan: This tip is more a matter of opinion but, considering we are experts in the field of industrial cooling towers, we feel that our opinions are pretty valid. Traditionally, cooling tower fans were made from aluminum. These aluminum fans were lightweight, durable, and, for the most part, were the best option for their intended application. Unfortunately, these aluminum fans had a few weaknesses. The most glaring weakness was the fact that the fan’s blades had to be attached to a central hub. Where the blades were attached to the central hub became a major weak spot for the fans and resulted in stress fractures that could cause the blades to rip off at high speeds. Luckily, this issue has largely been resolved with the introduction of FRP fans blades. These fans are molded into a single piece and are made from a hard, durable plastic that is much less likely to break apart than traditional aluminum blades. If your cooling tower does not make use of FRP fan blades, we highly recommend that you consider making the switch. Not only are FRP fan blades more efficient at what they do, they have a much longer lifespan as well.

Contact us to learn more about when you should consider replacing the fan in your industrial cooling tower. We will answer any and all questions that you may have and help you choose the fan that is perfect for your application. 

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Why Axial Fans Are Better

Axial Fans Should be the Obvious Choice

Here at Industrial Cooling Solutions Inc., we want all of our customers to have a solid understanding of the different components and assemblies of their cooling tower. In our previous post, we briefly explained the difference between axial fans and centrifugal fans as they relate to industrial cooling towers. In today’s post we are going to continue with this subject, however, we are going to delve a little further into the benefits that axial fans offer for industrial cooling applications. We hope that by the end of this blog you have a better understanding of why axial fans are the best choice in terms of efficiency and productivity. Continue reading below to learn more.

Save Money and Increase Productivity

When it comes to industrial cooling processes, efficiency is key. The effective mitigation of heat in industrial processes accounts for a large percentage of the energy that many facilities consume. As a result, it is in the best interest of these facilities to make sure that their industrial cooling systems are functioning as well as they possible can. Axial fans help to increase this productivity in multiple ways and below we have listed just a few.

  • Airflow: One of the most important variables of an industrial cooling tower is the efficiency of its airflow. Without airflow, cooling towers are unable to dissipate heat as effectively as they are designed to. Proper airflow ensures that the fill material and water system are vented properly, reducing the amount of heat within the entire system. Axial fans help to increase the level of airflow by putting out a large volume of air at a consistent pace. While not as forceful as centrifugal fans, axial fans circulate the air efficiently enough to get the job done.
  • Easier Maintenance: While airflow is an important component of a fan system, maintenance is a component that cannot be ignored. Maintenance costs are something that cannot be ignored when it comes to industrial cooling towers. Of the two fan types, axial fans are much easier to maintain because they are not part of a closed system like centrifugal fans. If an axial fan becomes damaged or needs a routine maintenance check they can be quickly analyzed and repaired. Not only does this save money in relation to repair costs, it saves the maintenance worker time as well.
  • Variable Speed: One of the greatest advantages of axial fans is the fact that they can be adjusted based on the output needs of the tower. While centrifugal fans can have their speed adjusted, it greatly decreases the amount of airflow that is produced. Axial fans, on the other hand, can be run at a lower speed without having a huge effect on the amount of air that is produced.

If you would like to learn more about our fans please contact us today. At Industrial Cooling Solutions Inc., we are dedicated to providing the best in industrial cooling solutions and we are certain that we can handle any need that you may have.

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Preparing Your Cooling Tower For Winter Operation

Is Your Cooling Tower Ready For Winter?

As summer fades into fall, thousands of businesses across the United States are preparing their cooling towers for the lower temperatures that are about to descend upon the land. Unless you are lucky enough to live in a state that experiences mild winters in comparison to the rest of the country, chances are that you can expect the next few months to get increasingly colder until, quite suddenly, the winter months are fully upon you. While humans have found many ways to deal with the lower temperatures, special attention needs to be paid to the machinery that makes our modern lives possible. In today’s post, we here at Industrial Cooling Solutions Inc. wanted to go over some tips that are designed to make sure you have taken the necessary steps to ensure that your industrial cooling tower is ready for winter and will not fail you during an inconvenient time. Continue reading below to learn more.

Don’t Let the Cold Weather Get Your Cooling Tower Down

When it comes to proper cooling tower operation in cold weather temperatures, certain steps must be taken to ensure that the tower not only does its job effectively but does it in a way that does not cause unneeded damage to the cooling tower itself. Cooling towers, by their very nature, are supposed to be able to operate in a wide range of temperatures. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that they don’t struggle to be effective when certain ambient temperatures are thrust upon them. Below, we have listed a few steps you need to take to make sure that your cooling tower does its job properly all winter long without worrying about damage occurring to the tower or any of its components.

  • Remove Scale: If you have read any of our previous blogs, you are already well aware of the fact that reducing the amount of scale buildup and biological contaminants present within the cooling tower is one of the best ways to make sure that your tower is operating as efficiently as possible. When there is a lot of buildup on the inside of a cooling tower, the heat mitigation abilities of the tower are reduced to less than optimal levels. While this little maintenance tip is most commonly talked about during the summer months, it is still an important thing to remember during colder months. Reducing the amount of scale buildup present in the tower lowers the likelihood of corrosion, a condition that can negatively affect the rate of heat transfer.
  • Remove Snow and Ice Buildup: This tip is really only pertinent if you live in an area that experiences snow and freezing temperatures, however, because many areas of the country have to deal with these two factors, we felt that it was important to include it in this list. When it comes to your cooling tower, you want to make sure that the fan blade is free from any ice or debris that may have gathered along the blades. Industrial cooling tower fan blades rotate at extremely fast speeds, meaning that even a small imbalance caused by excessive snow or ice buildup can be enough to reduce the efficiency of the fan or, in a worst case scenario, cause the fan to break from unbalanced rotational forces. While it is true that newer FRP fan blades are less likely to experience damage in this way, we feel that it is still important to make sure that your fan is free from anything that could potentially cause issues.
  • Antifreeze: Depending upon the ambient air temperature, cooling towers should have a certain amount of glycol present in their systems. Glycol works much like the antifreeze in a vehicle, reducing the temperature at which liquid produces ice crystals. By reducing the temperature at which the liquid in your cooling tower freezes, you can make sure that any spray nozzles and fill material that are constantly exposed to water or less likely to freeze over. While fill material can be unfrozen relatively easily, a frozen spray nozzle can easily lead to a busted spray nozzle.
  • Keep Your Tower Warm: One of the best ways to make sure that your cooling tower is not negatively affected by low ambient air temperatures is to keep it as warm as possible for as long as possible. Maintaining heat in the tower, coupled with the antifreeze that should be present in the liquid, will make it difficult for ice crystals to develop even if the outside air temperature is well below freezing. To accomplish this, we suggest that you set your water pump to run continuously. As the water pump draws heat from the building it is connected to, the water entering the tower will be warmer than the water that is already present in the tower. Additionally, the pump itself will produce heat, further reducing the chances that something freezes that isn’t supposed to.

If you are in need of industrial cooling tower services, please contact us today at Industrial Cooling Solutions Inc. We provide cooling tower construction, maintenance, and repair services and can provide you with any and all parts that your tower may need including fan motors, fan blades, and fill materials. Don’t settle for second best when it comes to your cooling tower needs, contact us today and let us show you why we have become a trusted name in the industry.

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Operating Cooling Towers In Cold Weather Conditions

Cold Weather Presents Unique Issues For Cooling Towers

Hello, and welcome back to the Industrial Cooling Solutions, Inc. blog. With summer coming to an end and autumn just quickly approaching, cooling towers across the country are going to face an interesting issue. During the spring and summer months, cooling towers have the benefit of natural, ambient heat to ensure that all liquid is kept in, well, a liquid state. As we all know (at least we assume you know if you are reading this blog), cooling towers are responsible for the mitigation of heat in industrial applications and, for the most part, tend to do their jobs well. As heat escapes from cooling towers and is mixed with water falling through specially designed fill materials, the majority of the heat is removed from the system and the industrial processes can continue without interruption. However, what happens when the temperatures outside begin to drop? What happens if, all of a sudden, spray nozzles located within a cooling tower are unable to properly spray water because they have become frozen shut. In today’s post, we are going to proper cold weather operation guidelines as they relate to cooling towers and what you, as a cooling tower enthusiast, can do in order to make sure that your towers are operating as optimally as possible when the temperature decides to drop. Continue reading below to learn more.

Cold Weather Brings With It Special Circumstances

For the most part, cold weather tends to interrupt a lot of processes that, during warmer times, function perfectly fine. For the purposes of this blog post, we feel that we first need to define what we mean by “cold weather” as it relates to the operation of cooling towers. For our purposes, sustained freezing conditions occur when more than 24 hours go by without wet bulb temperatures going above 32°F. This is considered a sustained freeze because, unfortunately, during weather conditions such as this there is no point where the ambient temperature reaches a high enough level for a freeze-thaw cycle to occur. When this occurs, certain principles must be followed in order to ensure that the cooling tower is able to properly perform its intended function. Below, we have listed these basic principles.

  • When operating a cooling tower in cold weather conditions, do not operate the tower without a heat load and, most importantly, do not allow the cooling tower to remain in unattended operation for multi-day periods experiencing subfreezing temperatures.
  • Always maintain the design minimum or greater amount of water flow rate over the cooling tower heat exchange media, also known as the fill, at all times. This ensures that water is flowing over the fill media at all times and reduces the instances of water freezing to the fill material.
  • Maintain the proper airflow by ensuring that the cooling tower fan is in proper, working order. This works to maintain above freezing water temperatures in all section of the fill media, further ensuring that the fill media will not become frozen after repeated exposure to subfreezing temperatures.
  • If the desired system condenser water flow is reduced below the minimum, the number of cooling tower cells must be reduced at the same time. This works to make sure that the water flow is greater than or equal to the minimum flow per cell.
  • Certain manufacturers of cooling towers may be able to extend the flow percentage minimum to a lower value by using certain design provisions of internal cell water distribution that can accommodate low flow by reducing active plan area while keeping the industrial cooling tower interior heated and moist.

These principles will work to ensure that the industrial cooling tower is able to operate as it should no matter the conditions of the outside atmosphere.
Thank You for taking the time to read our short blog series on the steps to take to make sure that your industry’s cooling tower is able to perform optimally during cold weather conditions. If you would like to learn more about the best ways to make sure that your cooling tower is able to perform during cold weather conditions, please contact us today at Industrial Cooling Solutions, Inc. We have a track record of providing the best in cooling tower installation, cooling tower parts, such as cooling tower fan blades, drive shafts, and motors, and consultation services. Contact us today and see why we are a trusted name in the industrial cooling tower industry.  

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The Importance Of A Stable Fan

A Wobbly Fan is Bad for Business

Here at Industrial Cooling Solutions Inc., we have a lot of experience when it comes to cooling tower fans. For the vast majority of industrial cooling towers, fans are used as a way to ensure that as much heat as possible is mitigated while also helping to reduce the rate of evaporation present within the tower itself. Unfortunately, because these fans are in a near constant state of rotation, issues can pop up. Although the average person doesn’t put too much thought into it, circular rotation is not as easy to accomplish as one might think. Centrifugal force can place a large amount of stress on these fan assemblies and, if left to their own devices, these fans can and will spin themselves into oblivion. In today’s post, we are going to go over some of the ways that you can make sure that your cooling towers fan is set up for success and ways you can reduce the amount of wobble present in your fan assembly. Continue reading below to learn more.

Why Does the Wobble Matter?

First things first, we think it is important to explain exactly what we mean when we use the term “wobble.” If you have every had an unbalanced ceiling fan, you probably already realize how bad a fan can start to wobble when it is not setup correctly or it is damaged. This same idea can be applied to fans in industrial cooling towers, however, with these particular types of fans, we aren’t so much worried about the wobbling so much as we are worried about the vibrations that cause the fan to wobble. Vibrations, even small ones, can cause fans in industrial cooling towers to perform poorly and, in some extreme cases, they can even cause damage to additional components within the tower. So, what should you do to help mitigate vibrations and ensure that your fan is working as well as possible? Read below to find out.

  • Balance: Like The Force, fans in industrial cooling towers are all about balance. These fans rotate at such high speeds that even a slight variation in the balancing of the fan blades can have tremendous effects on the fan assembly as a whole. If one fan blade is unbalanced, it will place stress on the other fan blades through vibrational forces which, over time, can compromise the entire system including the motor that drives the fan and the drive shaft that transforms mechanical energy into rotational force. If you’ve noticed that a fan in one of your cooling towers is underperforming, take the time to make sure that the blades are balanced. A small adjustment now could save a lot of time and energy in the future.  
  • Damage: In industrial cooling tower applications, fans are used to push large quantities of air through the top of the tower or, in some cases, are used to pull large amounts of air into the tower. If a fan blade becomes damaged, it can affect the way that the air flows over the entire fan assembly and, if not caught quickly, can lead to quite a bit of damage. Even a small knick in a single fan blade can be enough to disrupt the airflow to the point that it starts to cause vibrations to occur. As we stated earlier, vibrations are never a good thing when it comes to fan assemblies. To help reduce the chances that this will happen, we suggest that you inspect the blades of your cooling towers fans on a regular basis to ensure that they have not become damaged in some way.

We hope that this blog has been informative and that you have gained a little more knowledge about the importance of a stable fan in your industrial cooling tower. If one of your fans has become damaged beyond repair or you would simply like the advice of some experts, contact us at Industrial Cooling Solutions Inc. today. We have years of experience dealing with cooling tower fans and we feel that our past projects give us the knowledge, tools, and experience needed to handle any issues that you may have in relation to your tower.

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The Importance Of Fan Blade Maintenance

Fan Blades are Essential in Industrial Cooling Towers

Hello, and welcome back to the Industrial Cooling Solutions blog. With summer in full swing, cooling towers across the world are working overtime to ensure that they are doing their job properly. As we all know, heat has an effect on the evaporation rates of water and, unfortunately, this simple fact holds true for the efficiency of cooling towers. The sole purpose of a cooling tower is to make sure that industries, factories, and large buildings are able to properly mitigate the heat that they produce on a daily basis and, in some cases, making sure that harmful pollutants do not enter the atmosphere. While there are many components to an industrial cooling tower, few are as important, and finicky, as the fan blade. Traditionally, fan blades in cooling towers have been one of the components that needs the most attention. Rotating thousands of time per minute, these fan blades put up with a lot of stress, meaning that they were much more prone to breaking than other components of the tower. While recent advancements in fan blade construction have made them more durable and better able to withstand the rigors of daily use, they are still a mechanical component. In today’s post, we are going to go over some of the reasons that it is important to make sure that your cooling tower fan blade is in good, working condition. Continue reading below to learn more.

It’s All About Efficiency

For the most part, industries want to be as efficient as possible. Efficiency cuts down on the amount of time and money that industries must spend in order to properly function and is one of the key components to turning a profit. Below, we have listed a few ways that making sure your cooling tower fan blade is as healthy as possible can increase efficiency.

  • Energy: While the average person may feel that their home’s electricity bill can get pretty high during the summer months, it is nothing compared to the amount of energy that it takes to run a factory or assembly plant. These plants can go through tens of thousands of dollars worth of electricity each month just to function. Because of this, these industries are always looking for ways to cut down on their energy consumption and decrease the amount of money that they are paying out each month. If a cooling tower fan has become compromised, that cooling tower is going to require more energy to function. Over time, this increase in energy consumption, however small, can have a drastic effect on the amount of power consumed on a monthly basis. Making sure that the fan assembly and blade are in good condition helps to ensure that the tower is running as efficiently as possible and is using as little energy as possible.
  • Cost: So far, humans have yet to create a machine that doesn’t need maintenance. Mechanical processes often require many moving parts working in conjunction with each other and, if one component of the machine fails, the entire system could cease to work or become damaged. Fan blades in cooling towers present a unique danger because they rotate at such a high speed on a constant basis, meaning that if a blade becomes compromised, it could cause some serious damage to the rest of the tower. While maintenance costs are never fun, most industries have realized that spending a little money on preventative maintenance is much more desirable than having to replace thousands of dollars of fill material that was ripped to shreds by a rogue fan blade.

We hope that this blog has helped to shed some light on why it is so important for industries to make sure that the fan blades in their cooling towers are well maintained. If you’ve noticed that the fan on your cooling tower could need a little help, contact us today at Industrial Cooling Solutions Inc. We have thousands of hours of cooling tower maintenance under our belts and we are certain that our knowledgeable staff can help you with any needs that you may have. Additionally, if you need to purchase new fan blades for your cooling tower, we offer FRP fan blades that have been proven to work better than their traditional aluminum blade brethren.

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