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Condition monitoring for evaporative cooling towers

Inside cooling tower fan

Taking a proactive, preventative maintenance approach will limit unexpected mechanical failures. This will improve overall plant availability and mean time between failures (MTBF). 

Vibration testing 

Costain will detect any abnormal increase in vibration signals months before actual failure by using leading edge vibration analysis hardware. The hardware takes measurements on machine bearing casings with seismic or piezoelectric transducers. This allows scheduled replacement before an actual failure occurs, preventing much longer down-times. 

Dynamic balancing 

Ninety percent of all vibration problems originate from the impeller unit. Vibrations drastically reduce the life expectancy of all associated mechanical equipment. Hence, the ideal would be to remove all causes of vibration and run the unit totally smoothly.
Typical causes for losing dynamic balance include: 

  • Dirt deposits on the impeller
  • Impeller wear and damage caused by erosion and corrosion
  • A seal or sleeve that is not concentric to the shaft
  • Hardware not balanced correctly at assembly
  • The impeller has been altered and not re-balanced. 

Costain offers multi-plane or dynamic balancing as part of our service portfolio to ISO 1940 and ANSI S2.19,1975 specifications. This ensures that your fan operates without excessive vibrations, increasing the life of your mechanical equipment. 


Laser alignment 

Misalignment of equipment can occur from vibration, thermal effects, poor foundations, equipment accidents or equipment overhauls. 

Correctly aligned equipment will: 

  • Reduce vibration, stress, and extend bearing and coupling life
  • Reduce motor amps and which is likely to bring significant electricity savings
  • Increase the mean time between failures (MTBF).

Costain offers an alignment system using a laser that is faster and more accurate than the traditional alignment methods. By using this laser alignment technique, problem analysis is simplified, and equipment can be accurately measured and aligned in a fraction of the time that it would take using other traditional methods.


Endoscope inspection 

Our endoscope inspection has many potential applications through its ability to provide detailed internal examinations and intelligent imaging of equipment or areas that cannot be accessed for normal visual examination, such as cooling tower packs, piping, and gearboxes. 
The optical viewer can penetrate the gearbox, piping or pack in situ and identify main areas of concern such as pack contamination or blockages that may affect thermal performance. This also ensures compliance with the Health and Safety Executive’s Approved Code of Practice and guidance.

A conventional method for determining the contamination rate of modular plastic cooling pack is to take the pack out of the tower and weigh it. An endoscope inspection can be done in situ, saving valuable time and cost whilst avoiding any potential damage to the pack. 
After each condition monitoring activity, a detailed report is produced including expert recommendations to ensure the tower operates with optimum performance and is in compliance with ACoP-L8. This endoscope inspection method is a cheaper, technically superior, and a safer alternative, to traditional inspection methods.