Driving efficiency and reliability in cooling towers

15 March 2024

Find out how one manufacturer has increased the efficiency of its cooling towers, which play a crucial role in the production of orange juice.

The manufacturer was experiencing low operational efficiency in the cooling towers of plant. The cooling towers play a crucial role in the production plant, maintaining optimal temperatures during various stages of the process, such as juice extraction and pasteurisation. Effective cooling ensures product quality, preserves nutritional content and extends the shelf life of the final product. Further, the continuous uptime of cooling towers is vital for maintaining production capacity. Unfortunately, Citrosuco’s cooling towers were exhibiting mechanical losses and low operational efficiency.

The towers relied on conventional ventilation systems consisting of a motor, transmission shaft and gearbox assembly. The cooling systems’ low reliability required constant interventions from maintenance engineers, particularly on the transmission and gearing systems, resulting in significant maintenance costs. 

Finding a solution
Citrosuco therefore set out to replace its existing, unreliable cooling tower systems with new technologies that would eliminate the continual need for maintenance. For a solution, the company turned to WEG, who was able to supply a Cooling Tower Direct Drive System to support consistent uptime and product quality in the production line.

As a replacement for the existing motor, transmission shaft and gearbox system, WEG recommended the installation of permanent magnet (PM) motors from its Cooling Tower Direct Drive System line, which is designed to support greater reliability and savings in cooling towers through higher efficiency, ensuring high levels of performance with high torque, even at low speeds.

Because the new system does not require a reduction system, the motor eliminates contamination of the tower water that would otherwise be created by the gearbox oil. Other advantages of the system for Citrosuco have included savings of airflow control, elimination of maintenance stoppages due to the gearbox, and noise reduction.

The cooling tower solution operates with WEG CFW11 frequency drives which control the motor’s speed and torque and prevents equipment damage caused by sudden power influxes or surges. The speed of the system’s PM motors can be modulated according to changing application requirement, providing energy savings and reducing water consumption. 

The drives are also equipped with current ramp adoption technology which limits the current rise in stringent specified current limits, not only while starting the motor, but also during operational peak loads. 

For Citrosuco, this solution has resulted in a significant reduction in maintenance costs, and engineers now only need carry out preventive maintenance.“The cooling towers used to offer low reliability, requiring constant interventions on the transmission system and gearing system, resulting in high maintenance costs. After installing WEG products, corrective interventions were eliminated, increasing the availability of the equipment and reducing the costs of corrective maintenance. We only carry out a lubrication routine every 10,000 hours of use, as recommended by WEG,” said Wanderley Garcia Cabrera, Reliability Engineer at Citrosuco’s Matão operational unit.

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