Just today I picked up the business section of the Chicago Tribune, where the front page carries a story on how U.S. factories are spending money to enhance productivity. Specifically, the article says, budgets have loosened up for industrial-automation projects that boost efficiency and lower operating costs.

There is another route, at least in part, to higher efficiency and reduced operating expenses: Maintenance. I know it sounds like nagging. You've heard it before and perhaps your plant does have a good ongoing maintenance program. But many don't. It's these companies that I'm talking to here.

Want your equipment to perform more reliably? Want your process temperature to stay at setpoint? Want to depend upon the uniformity of your food product? Want your heat transfer fluid to do what it's supposed to do all the time, every time? Want to stop downtime because a heat exchanger fails to get the heat out? Want to keep your cooling towers from succumbing to debris?

Well, we want all of that for you, also. It's part of our job at Process Cooling to push you along with articles on preventive maintenance, and this issue won't disappoint.

In "Chiller and Condensing Coil Maintenance," author Randy Simmons acknowledges what a nuisance maintenance can be. But based on his experience with filter customers at Air Solution Co., in West Chester, Ohio, Simmons urges readers not to favor tight budgets over maintaining what he calls mission-critical equipment. He even goes so far as to say that if you avoid the maintenance issue, the results may be catastrophic to your business. Defer coil cleaning, as too many companies do, and you won't see trouble-free operation at your plant.

For those of you relying on fans in your cooling process, you'll find an article with a fan-maintenance checklist as a quick reference. While fans typically just keep on trucking without being a nuisance, don't get lulled into a false sense of security. Without a fan doing its job, your entire system could dome to a dead stop. This maintenance article is adapted from Operations and Maintenance Best Practices Guide, a publication of the Federal Energy Management Program, Operations and Maintenance, Washington.

$$$ Nicole, if this is too long, cut the next paragraph and the bullet points $$$

You also can go to www.process-cooling.com and do a Google-powered Linx search for past Process Cooling maintenance articles. Here is some of what you will find:

  • "Increase the Life of Your Cooling Tower" at http://www.process-cooling.com/CDA/ArticleInformation/coverstory/BNPCoverStoryItem/0,3668,17374,00.html

  • "How to Get More Out of Your Equipment" at www.process-cooling.com/CDA/ArticleInformation/features/BNP__Features__Item/0,3674,83007,00.html

  • "Lowering Refrigeration System Operating Costs" at www.process-cooling.com/CDA/ArticleInformation/Chill_Factor_Item/0,3672,29762,00.html

  • "Predicting Temperature Controller Maintenance" at www.process-cooling.com/CDA/ArticleInformation/features/BNP__Features__Item/0,3674,7411,00.html

    In this issue, Process Cooling also gives you look at a new intake-filter technology being pilot tested. This surface-water filter traps but does not injure or kill marine organisms, thus meeting EPA and clean-water rules. The article, by Jeffrey H. Hanson, P.E., and John T. Murphy, both from the engineering firm Hanson, Murphy & Associates, Brockton, Mass., describes the small-particle filter element as the primary screening device. The filter's testing shows how it eliminates the potential entrainment of marine organisms as small as 40 micron.

    Our regular column, Water Works, consistently and reliably tackles process cooling problems and solutions in every issue. Written by water expert Paul Puckorius of Puckorius & Associates Inc., Evergreen, Colo., this month's column addresses filters for cooling water systems. He asks: Are they worthwhile? Turn to the column on page 19 to find out what he thinks.

    And, of course, every issue of this magazine carries Chill Factor. On page 17, you'll be updated on the revisions to the International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration's Ammonia Refrigeration Piping Handbook. Column author Dennis I. Halsey, P.E., of FES Systems, York, Pa., notes that IIAR's Piping Committee spent about two years revising Chapters 1, 2, 6 and 7 to reflect modern practices, current codes and standards.

    And I'd bet that the Ammonia Refrigeration Piping Handbook contains maintenance information. Everyone wants to keep productivity, efficiency and safety high. Maintenance is one way to get there.

    Anne Armel
    Group Publisher