Industrial Utility Efficiency    


The demand for advanced computing power rises year after year, but the more powerful the system, the more heat it generates. As data centers grow, they place higher demands on cooling equipment. Packing as much kilowatt and computer usage into as small a space as possible is key to reducing the cost and size of the facility. In doing this, data centers increase the power density of their systems, drawing more power, and generating more heat per unit area.
If you enjoy the occasional beverage from an aluminum can, there’s a decent chance the can was made by Ball Corporation, a container manufacturing giant with facilities across the world. The company’s facility in Saratoga Springs, New York, services beverage companies throughout the northeastern United States. The plant operates four production lines producing millions of aluminum cans per day.
The temperature of wine must be kept stable throughout its production and storage in order to ensure final product quality that is acceptable for distribution and sale, and so cooling systems are an integral component of wine production. In wineries, the entire harvest can be destroyed by a temperature fluctuation during processing or storage, leading to catastrophic consequences for wineries.
It’s no secret the craft beer market has grown dramatically in North America.  Local breweries and brewpubs are popping up across all regions of the United States as consumers seek unique, flavor-rich brews.  In fact, according to the Brewers Association, the trade association representing small and independent American craft brewers, in 2015 the number of operating breweries in the U.S. grew 15 percent, totaling 4,269 breweries – the most at any time in American history.  With more breweries than ever before, small and independent craft brewers now represent 12 percent market share of the overall beer industry*.
Process Expo 2015 was held at the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago. Co-located with InterBev Process and the International Dairy Show, this event draws significant attendance from the food and beverage industries. Show producer, the Food Processing Suppliers Association (FPSA), announced final record attendance numbers with a total combined registration of 19,670 people and a total of 914 exhibiting companies occupying 334,820 net square feet.
As with most major process plants, refineries and petrochemical plants periodically need to shut down the entire plant or major portions of it for major maintenance activities. These time periods are referred to as ‘turnarounds’ and are time periods of intense activity. Once the plant shuts down, a considerable amount of money is being spent without any revenue being generated.
A Gulf Coast chemical manufacturer of oxo derivative and intermediate products including alcohols, polyols, carboxylic acids, specialty esters, and amines experienced a failure in a critical chiller that shut down its entire Gulf Coast plant. A plant manager estimated a potential financial loss of over $1,000,000 each day the plant was down. The incident occurred over the weekend and there was great concern that locating a replacement chiller with sufficient capacity would be challenging.  
Plastics processors are looking to advanced process cooling equipment to lower operational costs, and in many cases, improve the quality of products and achieve sustainability goals. But it’s more than just a matter of finding a better mousetrap and putting systems to work. Instead, it requires a keen understanding of the processes involved, followed by the design and installation of advanced technology in combination with the right process cooling systems matched to a company’s goals.
Controlled cooling is an essential part of manufacturing polyethylene stretch film.  The process starts with granulated polyethylene raw product with very low strength, and develops thin, clear, strong film used in a variety of applications.  It does this by melting, extrusion, “casting” and winding.  See Figure 1 for a typical system diagram.  “Casting” is forming and cooling at the same time.  The extruded polymer is stretched and cooled on large, chrome-plated rollers with cooling water flowing inside.  Thinner film is for manual use, like wrapping around food products.  Thicker, stronger product is made for machine use, like automatically wrapping pallets of concrete bags.
The first and most important process unit in petrochemical processing is ethylene. It is the starting point for the vast majority of other petrochemical processes that derive their feedstocks from ethylene. If this unit is forced to reduce its throughput due to an equipment-related issue, it could spell economic disaster for a plant. Unfortunately, that is exactly what happened to a Gulf Coast petrochemical processor’s primary facility. It experienced a collapse in the cooling tower that supported the ethylene unit, which compromised the structural integrity of the equipment. Worse yet, it was estimated that it would take one month to repair the two damaged cells. The affected facility would need to reduce the feedstock to its downstream units by 20 to 40 percent to compensate for the lost cooling capacity. The economic impact of the cooling tower failure was estimated at $5,000,000 per day.