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Understanding Cooling Solutions for Industrial Plants

The Role of Cooling Towers in Industrial Processes

Cooling towers play a vital role in heavy industrial applications like manufacturing, chemical processing, and oil-and-gas refining by cooling water crucial to their processes. As these industries face stricter environmental regulations and market pressures, new cooling technologies are emerging to meet these challenges. Some modern cooling towers are designed with modular, pre-assembled components that can be shipped to the job site as needed, minimizing construction time and labor.


Types of Cooling Towers

  • Cooling towers play a crucial role as specialized heat exchangers in industrial settings, where they lower water temperature by exposing it to air. Initially, water heated by industrial processes is piped to the cooling tower, where it is sprayed onto fill material, allowing for maximum air-water contact. As the water flows through the tower, it is exposed to air pulled by an electric-motor-driven fan. This contact causes a small amount of water to evaporate, creating a cooling effect. The cooled water is then pumped back to the process equipment, where it absorbs heat before being returned to the cooling tower for further cooling.
  • Various types of cooling towers cater to different industrial cooling needs. Field-erected towers (FEP) are constructed on-site, engineered to handle large heat loads, and customized for specific applications. They are commonly used in power and heavy industrial settings, including refineries and chemical plants. In contrast, factory-assembled towers (FAP) are built in modules at a manufacturing facility and shipped to the processing plant for final assembly. They come in various cooling capacities and box sizes, featuring standardized mechanical and structural components.

Maintenance of Cooling Towers

Regular maintenance is essential for ensuring the long-term performance and reliability of cooling towers. Maintenance typically includes regular inspections, cleaning of components, and repair of any damaged or worn parts. It’s important to follow a proactive maintenance schedule to prevent issues such as scale buildup, corrosion, and microbiological growth. Connect with us here to discuss how we can provide comprehensive maintenance services to keep your cooling towers operating at peak efficiency.

Replacing Old Cooling Towers

The replacement of aging cooling towers is a complex undertaking that demands meticulous planning and execution. These towers are often vital to the production process, requiring any maintenance, repair, or replacement work to be completed within short scheduled outage periods to prevent disruptions to plant operations. In some instances, replacements are done one cooling cell at a time, allowing the plant to continue functioning—an approach known as online construction. However, during this process, rental of temporary cooling equipment may be necessary.

To address the logistical challenges and high costs associated with replacing old cooling towers, talk to your contractor about field-erected and factory-assembled towers, and which is right for your facility.

  • Field-Erected Solutions: Typically, modular cooling towers can be field-erected more quickly and require less on-site space compared to traditional tower construction methods, yet they offer the same capabilities to manage large heat loads. Modular components can be delivered to the job site, reducing construction time and labor demands. These assembly processes are designed for safety.
  • Factory-Assembled Tower Considerations: Factory-assembled cooling towers present a feasible option for oil-and-gas applications. They provide rapid delivery and installation, along with greater flexibility in site placement. These towers also minimize downtime and allow for easy expansion by adding extra cells to increase cooling capacity. Specifically designed for process applications, factory-assembled cooling towers are available in counterflow or crossflow designs, featuring heavy-duty, corrosion-resistant structural components and dependable mechanical drive trains for extended service life.
  • For a look at one of recent cooling tower replacement projects, click here.

Partnering with Us

At DePue Mechanical, we are committed to providing plant managers with the expertise and support they need to maintain efficient and reliable cooling systems. Our team of experienced professionals can help you understand your cooling tower needs, recommend appropriate solutions, and provide ongoing support to ensure that your cooling system operates at its best. Contact us today to learn more about how we can support your cooling tower needs and help you achieve optimal performance in your facility.