Since the mid-1980’s, the cooling tower market has been utilizing Strongwell pultruded fiberglass products. Pultruded FRP is now recognized as the best structural material for cooling tower construction because it offers:
- Cost Competitiveness with Traditional Materials (i.e. wood, metal, concrete, etc.)
- Design Innovations
- High Strength, Lightweight
- Corrosion/Rot Resistance
- Consolidation of Parts
- Ease of Erection
Four basic types of cooling tower construction
- "Stick Built" Towers
- Modular Towers
- Reconstruction or Refurbishment of Existing Towers
- "Shop Built" Cooling Towers
“Stick Built” Towers
"Stick Built" towers follow the existing wood designs using FRP components of similar size. Products used in this design are:
- FRP structural shapes (i.e. angles, square tubes, round tubes, channels and plate)
- SAFPLANK® and SAFDECK® (for use in the fan deck and hot water basin)
- Fabricated ladders, walkways, platforms
- FRP grating
Modular towers take advantage of FRP properties to achieve quick assembly with fewer parts. Typical of these designs are custom designed FRP shapes. Far quicker field erection can be achieved by utilizing custom designed parts and connections.
Although custom pultrusions are typically used as the structural members in this type of tower, standard FRP shapes as mentioned in the "stick built" option can be used in some tower designs.
In reconstruction of existing towers, FRP products are excellent replacements for rot-prone wood beams and columns. FRP parts can be made to the exact wood dimensions if necessary.
Standard Strongwell products such as SAFPLANK® are often used to replace traditional materials. The photo at left shows SAFPLANK® replacing a rotten wood fan deck. Designing FRP to wood connections is also an important consideration in tower renovation.
A "shop built" tower is a smaller tower that is factory assembled and shipped complete - ready for use by the customer. The HVAC market is the primarily user of these types of towers. Standard or custom shapes can be used in construction of this type of tower.
Strongwell is committed to growing this market with our standard and custom products, fabrication services and design expertise. The use of FRP in the cooling tower market is growing fast. Strongwell expects this market to continue to show rapid growth for many years.