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A Single Design Error can lead to this cooling tower’s mess?!?”

Last updated: 2 Feb 2024
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A Single Design Error can lead to this cooling tower’s mess?!?”

Hey there! OMG, are you missing me? Like, seriously, after our super long separation, it's time to finally reunite with me, Nong Pink. Oh my gosh, I can't wait! Since we've met before, I'm totally assuming you're all about reading another case study that I've prepared.


Just in case some of you haven't checked out articles from our website's Knowledge Center or seen my face before, I thought I'd give you a quick refresher. So, like, our team is all about giving you knowledge, helping you avoid or deal with events involving cooling towers, right? My job is to compile real-life accounts from our amazing customers and turn them into a super cool case study essay. Isn't that awesome?
 

Alrighty, let's dive right into today's case study, shall we? Get ready, because we're about to spill the tea on a cooling tower that was built with totally inappropriate materials. Like, major disaster alert!


So, the event we're talking about is still fresh, like hot off the press. And guess what? Our customer actually gave us this crazy picture with a gear box and propeller that, like, came loose from their mounting and just went crashing down to the Drift Eliminators area below. Can you even imagine?

Picture 1 : Impeller and gearbox detached from their mountings

But wait, hold on, the damage doesn't stop there. It's, like, a domino effect of destruction. During our on-site inspection, we discovered a total of eight components that were completely shattered. Can you believe it? I'm talking about the propellers, gear boxes, drift eliminators, water distribution pipes, Spray Nozzle, oil line, drive shaft, and fan stack. Ugh, it's a total mess!

So here's the deal: except for the gearbox (if it's not too badly damaged and can actually be fixed), every single one of those components needs to be swapped out for shiny, brand-new ones. Like, no compromise, no shortcuts.
 
OMG, you wont believe it, but the damage is about 2 million Thai Baht! Ballpark!

These estimates don't even include other losses like operational or production revenue. Damage to the cooling tower necessitates the suspension of some activities until the tower can be repaired. Even if manufacturing doesn't completely halt, it will almost certainly be impacted in some way, which could mean fewer products coming out and stuff. Such a bummer!

So whats really causing all this chaos? 

Mr. Blue, our resident cooling tower expert, spilled the tea and told me something super important! So, get this, the old cooling tower provider used this thing called a 'Chemical Bolt' to fix the foundation structure. But guess what? It was like, totally not enough! 

Picture this: the gear box goes through, like, insane vibrations while it's doing its thing. And here's the kicker: if you've got a weak bolt holding things together, it's bound to come loose, and boom!  It's, like, a ticking time bomb!

Picture 2 : A picture of the cooling tower's concrete foundation with the impeller and gear box disassembled

So what is that Chemical Bolt we're talking about? How does it work?

Picture 3 : Chemical Bolt

So basically, it's made up of a bunch of stuff like a glass tube filled with this special chemical solution, a rod, and some nuts and bolts. The whole idea behind it is to put the glass tube with the chemical solution into a hole that's already been drilled. Then you gotta stick the threaded stud in there too. And here comes the fun part: you twist that stud with a drill until the glass tube breaks and releases the solution. And guess what? That solution chemically bonds the stud and the inside of the hole together! It's like magic!
 

But here's the thing, Chemical Bolts work best for outdoor projects and stuff where you don't have to worry about things getting all damp and wet. They're not really great for cooling towers though. You know, those places with super high temperatures, tons of humidity, and lots of water-borne pollutants. Those conditions totally mess with the effectiveness of the Chemical Bolts.

Like, seriously, if Chemical Bolt wasn't meant for cooling stuff like this, then why on earth did they even go for it?

The thing with Chemical Bolt is that it's super cheap to install and doesn't take up much space. The setup is like, totally simple, and keeping it in check is a piece of cake. So, like, even though it's not meant for cooling, they probably thought it was the most convenient option. But hey, who knows? People make weird choices sometimes.

What does a cooling tower professional like Innovek suggest?


The gearbox and the propeller of the cooling tower create some constant vibrations when they're doing their thing. It's, like, a big deal to make sure they're secure and stuff, so they can last for, like, forever and not just a few years.

Anchor bolt (J bolt / L bolt) is what we suggested.

Picture 4: Anchor bolt (J bolt  L bolt)  

 
Anchor bolts, also known as J bolts or L bolts, are made of solid iron and shaped like a J or L.

The anchor bolt gets attached to the steel of the building in the pier formwork, and then concrete is poured into the formwork to cover the anchor bolt all evenly. And let me tell you, this kind of bolt is seriously sturdy 'cause it's literally built into the foundation. It totally makes sense that it can last for, like, decades even with all the shaking from the gearbox and propeller!

But here's the catch! If one of those bolts gets damaged, it's gonna be a real pain to fix. You see, you'd have to remove the original structural base to make room for a new bolt, and that means higher maintenance costs compared to using chemical bolts.

Picture 5 : Structural base extraction

Our cooling tower design team and all the engineers here at Innovek totally agree that maintaining an anchor-bolted cooling tower is, like, way cheaper than replacing all the internal equipment when damage happens because of an unstable base structure. We've got a solid case study to prove it. The anchor bolt team totally takes the win in this situation.


Designing a cooling tower is, like, super complex, and it totally requires expert-level expertise. So, if you wanna have a cool tower that'll last for years, you gotta find a reliable and competent cooling tower manufacturer. But, if you settle for some substandard manufacturer, you're gonna end up dealing with constant maintenance costs. And trust me, there will be a bunch of nitpicky issues popping up here and there in the future.


Okay, so now we've reached the end of todays article. Hopefully, this case study thingy shed some light on the subject and totally benefited you in some way.



If you wanna talk to our cooling tower expert, just shoot them an email at coolingexpert@innovek.co.th. They'll totally give you a free consultation and help you out with any cooling tower-related questions or concerns. Oh, and if you need advice on your cooling tower project, they got your back too.


Oh, and if you don't wanna miss out on articles like these, make sure to add our official account on Line by clicking here or. just tap that green button on the right side of the screen! Unfortunately, the subscription feature isn't available on our site right now. So, if you're, like, super serious about not missing a thing, follow us on Line or check out our Facebook Page. We got you covered!


Here at Innovek Asia, we're like the most respected and successful cooling tower manufacturer in Thailand, like seriously! We've been doing this for over 15 years, and we've built a solid reputation as a one-stop-service for everything cooling tower-related. From the first consultation to the final inspection and maintenance of your tower and all its components, we got you. And, like, if you ever have trouble with the fan, gear box, fill pack, or anything else related to your cooling tower, remember us! We're here to help you out, no problemo!

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