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Industrial cooling towers are specialized heat exchangers that use evaporative cooling to lower the temperature of incoming water. Pumps bring the water into the tower, where it is sprayed over some type of a louvered cooling structure to maximize surface area exposed to moving air. Fans create airflow over the water as it cascades across the cooling structure. As with boilers, cooling towers are essentially utilities whose products are consumed by the processes that take place in the plant. There are complex systems that take time to start up and shut down.
To keep these systems functioning optimally, it’s important to perform continuous cooling tower condition monitoring.
In some cases, these fans are mounted overhead in the center of the tower, making them hard to reach for manual cooling tower monitoring both in terms of location and environmental conditions. Side-mounted fans are easier to access for monitoring but failure between readings can still stop the flow of cooling water and interrupt dependent processes across the plant.
Being remote in nature, traditional route-based monitoring methods with manual data collection can be challenging to maintain both in terms of technician safety as well as collecting data frequently enough to catch changing conditions that may indicate a motor or bearing is close to failure.
When selecting the best condition monitoring approach, vibration monitoring is a useful method of catching changing conditions for any rotating asset and is ideal to monitor cooling tower fan motors, which are a common route cause of failure. Remote vibration monitoring systems that utilize online data collection can help maintain regular data collection and avoid the need to send a technician to a remote asset. Vibration monitoring of cooling tower fans motors can help catch critical increases in over vibration RMS levels indicating a potential bearing issue and tools such as FFT analysis can help determine the type of bearing issue and the severity of the problem.
With the help of remote cooling tower condition monitoring and continuous vibration analysis of cooling tower fans, you can avoid potential failure and costly downtime. Online cooling tower condition monitoring and cooling tower fan vibration analysis gives visibility into the health of even difficult-to-access fans around the clock. Systems such as the Dynapar OnSite condition monitoring system can be configured to automatically send alerts to vibration technicians and maintenance in the event that the vibration spectrum changes or other operating parameters exceed thresholds and provide cloud-based analysis tools to remotely diagnose problems and determine their severity.