Wood Tower Comes Down, Fiberglass Goes Up
April 28, 2010
With a tight six-week window, Midwest Towers Inc., Chickasha, Okla., had to demolish an approximately 35-year-old wood cooling tower and replace it with a new 10-cell fiberglass tower on the existing concrete basin. The contract required at least eight cells to be operational by the end of the scheduled six-week outage. Because of the aggressive schedule, the project required extensive planning.
To handle the job for its Midwestern power plant customer, Midwest Towers managed five subcontractors plus its own crew to provide engineering, design, drafting, manufacturing, material, field supervision, project management and labor. Midwest’s crew consisted of three field superintendents and about 80 daily laborers.
Beetle Plastics, a Midwest Towers subsidiary, provided 20" fiberglass pipe for the 10 risers and internal water distribution crossovers, plus three 24" dia. bypass pipes, expansion joints for the risers and various other components.
The cooling tower structure, or bent lines, and the fill grids were preassembled on site prior to the outage. The fan stacks, mechanical support subassemblies and stairways also were preassembled on site.
Demolition of the existing wood tower took just three days. Assembly of the fiberglass bent lines was so efficient that 81 bent lines were stood in five days. Unlike a wood tower, the columns can be one piece instead of two or three, which reduces the amount of time and material it takes to put a bent line together.
Surpassing the aggressive deadlines, Midwest handed over all 10 cells to the customer four days ahead of schedule, without any reportable safety incidents occurring during the project. The cooling tower company earned a performance bonus from the customer.
Recently, the customer decided to replace the other old 10-cell wood cooling tower and tapped Midwest Towers to perform the work again.