Cooling tower customers want product innovations that can give them a greater amount of cooling for the energy used. In this age of shrinking operational budgets, they also seek ways to reduce installation and maintenance costs. These customer needs cut across industry lines, whether for light industrial or heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) applications, or for power and process cooling operations.
To address these needs and develop the next generation of innovative evaporative cooling tower products, SPX Cooling Technologies focuses on voice-of-the-customer input, trade organization activities, and validation of new concepts through product testing.
Voice-of-the-customer information is a vital part of new product development. Product managers and design engineers are charged with translating and analyzing it, testing concepts and ultimately turning them into viable products.
Innovative Designs Driven By Voice Of Customer
It’s not always easy to interpret what the market is signaling. At SPX, product managers regularly collect voice-of-the-customer information, analyze it, and translate it into new concepts that can ultimately turn into product specifications. Additionally, innovative ideas can emanate from industry organizations that monitor trends and regulations, such as the Cooling Technology Institute (CTI), Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), and American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).
One example of an innovation that emerged directly from specific customer input is the Marley® LW Fluid Cooler, an induced-draft counterflow closed-circuit fluid cooler. The design incorporates an innovative new heat transfer technology and a closed-circuit design that keeps the process fluid in a clean closed loop. In light of shrinking budgets and skilled labor pools, the LW Fluid Cooler is a response to market demand for products that offer installation and maintenance advantages.
According to a contractor who installed the LW Fluid Cooler in a Columbus, Ohio office building, the arrival of the product at the job site fully assembled and factory wired makes a substantial difference and reduces total installation time to about one day. Electrical subcontracting costs are also minimized due to factory-wired controls. In addition, the LW Fluid Cooler utilizes electronically commutated (EC) direct drive fans that eliminate the need for a separate variable frequency drive and require virtually no maintenance.
The new Fluid Cooler design was also installed at a Virginia Beach, Virginia hotel, where low sound was another deciding factor. The hotel operator especially appreciated that business could continue as usual during installation. While some fluid coolers can require four or five days to install, the LW Fluid Cooler was installed in one day.
Another example of innovation driven by customers is the Marley® NC® Everest Cooling Tower, developed to address the need for higher cooling efficiency and quiet tower operation. The factory-assembled, crossflow tower design offers 50 percent more cooling capacity per cell and uses up to 35 percent less fan power per ton of cooling compared with other single-cell, factory-assembled cooling towers.
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