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Plastic towers beat the heat

Plastic towers beat the heat

Polyethylene-plastic towers from Delta Cooling Towers keep three extrusion presses cool and eliminate downtime at Aluminio del Caribe.

In the aluminum-extrusion industry, cooling-tower reliability is critical in maintaining sufficiently cool oil for hydraulic presses to operate continuously and to ensure safety and accuracy. However, high ambient temperatures, such as the 85-degree average-temperature days that Aluminio del Caribe deals with because it is located in Humacaro, Puerto Rico, can worsen the cooling challenge. To keep its three hydraulic extrusion presses — two 1,850-ton and one 1,670-ton — cool, Aluminio uses two plastic cooling towers from Delta Cooling Towers Inc.(

The hydraulic fluid, which flows through copper loops that work as heat exchangers in the presses, must stay below 130 degrees or the machines can not function. The Delta towers keep the hydraulic fluid under 125 degrees and keep the presses operating all day.

"With the towers," says Hector Bas, maintenance director at Aluminio, "I keep production rates up, and I can schedule orders without worrying about whether the presses are going to overheat."

The shop's towers rest on concrete pads, and motors and piping run cooling water to oil filters at each press. The factory-assembled, modular polyethylene-plastic towers hold as much as 2,000 tons of water for a range of metalworking applications, they do not corrode, they are light weight and essentially leak-proof, they need no exterior coatings and they are equipped with direct-drive fan systems. They are easy to install, especially on rooftops, and some models incorporate I-beam pockets that reinforce their bottoms to accommodate mounting to standard I-beams or imperfect pads.

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