The Importance Of Maintaining Your Cooling Tower Gearbox

The energy-efficient water cooling tower is a mainstay in American industry. This equipment has become far more efficient thanks to the widespread adoption of axial fans, which are more energy efficient than traditional centrifugal fans. Water cooling towers also recycle most of their water, providing a constant source of coolant. Water cooling towers, therefore, are energy-efficient, and cheap to operate and maintain. One of the most important cooling tower components to maintain is the gearbox.

The motors of cooling towers

Like any machine, cooling towers are only as reliable as the components within them. Cooling towers primarily rely on water to do heavy work loads. However, there are mechanical parts that drive the recirculation process as well. At the heart of the mechanical process is the motor. The motor powers the energy-efficient axial fans and is the most energy-demanding component, and the most critical, in the system. You should inspect your motors at least twice a year for rust, degradation, broken parts, and other issues.

Additionally, attached to the motor via a driveshaft is the gearbox. A gearbox is a collection of gears that transforms electrical energy into mechanical energy. You probably remember seeing primitive versions of gearboxes on the first steam engines in history books in school. The gearbox and the motor that drives your cooling tower is far more sophisticated and vital to efficient operations.

Condensation and corrosion

Cooling towers generate condensation, which is an inevitable byproduct of the cooling process. Condensation is the collection of moisture on the outside of the tower, which sometimes coalesces and drips onto components within the building. Rust, mineral buildup, and other types of corrosion are typical in and around a cooling tower as well. Rust reduces the mechanical efficiency of the motor and the gearbox within it, and could eventually lead to equipment failure.

Preventing corrosion

There are three ways to mitigate corrosion. First, you can add epoxy coatings to vulnerable components. You can also raise the pH level (base vs. acidity level) to 9.0, or make the water have a higher acidity level. The third option is to add orthophosphates to the water. Most industry experts will recommend you use all three of these techniques to extend the life of your cooling tower and its mechanical components. However, you need to be careful that you use these techniques in careful balance. If the pH level is too high, it can lead to increased chances of biological contamination. Orthophosphates can also act as “fertilizer” for microbial infestations, but you can use chlorine to control the growth of the bacterium.