As I wrap up our April issue, I can’t help but hope for more April-like weather by the time you’re reading this. Winter in the upper Midwest may have started late — we had green grass until late December near where I live. But once it arrived, it has held us in a ferociously cold and snowy loop. Though it’s early March, one still needs to look carefully at corners to see around the snow piles that hide oncoming cars from view. There’s not a blade of grass or a spring flower to be seen, buried as they are under the mounds of snow surrounding me. Still, the forecast promises rising temperatures, and that will bring melting snows. More temperate parts of the country, though I know they are perhaps colder than normal, will begin experiencing a warmup and the first summer-like days that portend a long, hot summer. Before you know it, any seasonal industrial cooling system you have will be called into service. Are you ready? Feature articles in this issue of Process Cooling may help.
With “Cooling Towers Kick Off Major Process Cooling Project,” freelance contributor Dan Vastyan explains how one automotive maker needed a large cooling tower to replace the unit that served a variety of stamping presses. As sometimes happens in plant improvement projects, that one successful cooling tower replacement led to additional upgrades in the process cooling equipment to satisfy cooling water demands throughout the plant.
High ambient temperatures within the plant can be a problem year round but may be more likely in the hot summer months. Sensitive electronics do not enjoy warm summer days as much or you or I might. In addition to an increased risk of equipment failure, high operating temperature can result in long-term costs due to decreased reliability and lifespan. The engineering team at Thermal Edge explains how equipment failures due to electronics overheating can lead to unexpected costs associated with frequent maintenance, component failure, downtime for spare parts, and, in some cases, replacement of the entire system.
Likewise, an article from Vortec notes that ambient factory air pulled into the enclosures by the fans can contain nearly invisible oil aerosols and other contaminants that can coat the surfaces of the sensitive, expensive electronic boards housed in the enclosures. An article by Steve Broerman of ITW Air Management explains how vortex coolers can mitigate these risks.