Keeping Systems Cool in the Southern Heat

Overheated equipment is a fact of life at many large production facilities. Unfortunately, when PCs, motors and drives heat up, the result can be a costly loss of time, productivity and efficiency. Ray Amin, president of American Synthetic Fiber in Pendergrass, Georgia, had the pitfalls of overheating on his mind when he started planning the electrical and mechanical systems of his company's ne...

09/01/2003


Overheated equipment is a fact of life at many large production facilities. Unfortunately, when PCs, motors and drives heat up, the result can be a costly loss of time, productivity and efficiency. Ray Amin, president of American Synthetic Fiber in Pendergrass, Georgia, had the pitfalls of overheating on his mind when he started planning the electrical and mechanical systems of his company's new factory.

ASF's new facility is a 240,000-sq.-ft. fiber extrusion and non-woven fabric production plant. Two back-to-back direct-current bus multidrive installations en-close a total of 43 alternating-current motor drives to provide precise control for the production machinery. "We knew such a configuration—the largest of its type for any U.S. fiber manufacturer—would generate heat, and that keeping the system cool would help ensure optimal, faultless operation," said Mike Mauney, director of business development for Electric Systems Integrator of Chattanooga, Tenn., the company that constructed the multidrives.

Amin and plant manager Troy Ash solved these problems by selecting a 5,000-ton cooling unit, because estimates for a central air system, with a series of individual air-conditioning units for the cabinets, were too expensive. The specified system connects to all three drive cabinets and is currently using about half its capacity. Ash said the unit offered several benefits the other options did not. "The cost was a lot less with the big unit than the cumulative cost of smaller units," he said. "And there's built-in capacity to grow into." In addition to the cooling unit, ASF chose drive cabinets that are built on top of iron frames with vents at the top for additional cooling.

Although it was difficult to run the piping for the cooling unit 30 ft. above the ASF production floor, Ash said the system was worth it. Even on Georgia's hottest summer days there have been no faults from the drives overheating.





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