Plastic Cooling Towers - A Viable Alternative to Steel Cooling Towers

Cooling systems utilizing water towers are usually high maintenance and come with expensive replacement costs. A wise alternative to the less dependable and more costly metal-coated towers that are so common is an all-new plastic cooling tower design.

"I have seen firsthand the problems that come with metal cooling towers, the consequences of which would be devastating to our business," says Rich Grosky, the CEO and founder of TechNH, Inc., a Merrimack, NH plastics and injection molding specialist."

Gosky's experience with a high-maintenance, failure-prone metal tower came in 1982. "The toy company we were sharing space with had a big old cooling tower on the side of the building, with a galvanized steel lining and the wood wet decks. You could see why frequent failures were occurring, from all the corrosion and rust. We needed a cooling system, but I didn't want any part of that one."

Grosky talked to several manufacturers of conventional, metal-coated cooling towers, but was less than enthusiastic about getting one. He could not shake the feeling that in a relatively short time they would end up looking like the one he had rejected at the mill building. Later, he discovered Delta Cooling Towers and was impressed with the engineered-plastic design.

"My very first thought was, it doesn't look like any other metal cooling tower," says Grosky. "You could easily see that there was no service-intensive sheet metal to rust or corrode. I liked the simplicity of their design and construction."

Grosky was convinced that he had found a long-term cooling solution that would virtually eliminate the problems of downtime, including the lost time when the metal tower needed to be welded, patched or was waiting for replacement parts. The math was simple: With 16 to 18 machines running 24/7 at fifty dollars per hour per machine, if the cooling system went down for just 24 hours because of a tower failure, the cost was $20,000, not even including paying employees to stand around waiting.

TechNH also saves on upkeep with its plastic cooling system. While metal-coated towers require constant upkeep, including chemical cleaning, removal or rust and welding repairs, the engineered plastic Delta towers require very little attention, and are therefore able to run more or less constantly.

"I can honestly say that we've had the cooling tower for almost 20 years, and the only replacement has been the wet decks, which we've replaced once," says Grosky.

Also unlike many metal installations, there are no expensive water treatments required to keep the system free of problematic calcium, particulate matter or bio growth. TechNH's Delta tower is supplied with water from local wells, which have high mineral content, so that system is drained every couple of weeks to prevent sludge buildup.

"Since there are no chemicals, the town lets us drain to the spillway," Grosky explains. "The city monitors our water, and it is clean year after year, so we have no environmental problems."

Although the Merrimack area has no harsh environmental factors, other than the "New Hampshire winters," TechNH's faithful Delta is rugged enough to withstand elements that would damage metal-clad towers.

Delta has changed their cooling tower designs over the years. But Grosky sees no need to update.

"The newer models are very modern looking with modules that nest together to save space. Ours is the big ol' black one. Over the years we have regular discussions about replacing equipment. But when we consider the Delta cooling tower, the first question that comes up is… why?"

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