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Cooling Tower Design, Fabrication, and Installation Project

At GSM Industrial, our in-house technicians and on-site specialists collaborate seamlessly to complete projects like this cooling tower design on time, within budget, and with impressive results.

This particular project at Penn State University’s West Campus Chiller Building required careful collaboration and our team overcoming several challenges. Nevertheless, the outcome was a successful project that ran smoothly, from start to finish.

A Successfully Completed Cooling Tower Design for PSU

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The West Campus Chiller Building at Penn State University required a custom-fabricated, stainless steel, 3,000 ft² basin for their new cooling tower. Our customer awarded GSM Industrial the cooling tower design, build, and installation project.

Our customer tasked us with the design, fabrication, and installation of the basin, which would require careful collaboration among our shop and mechanical contracting teams. Because we know how to execute a project of this scope seamlessly, we did not hesitate to take on the challenge in three separate phases.

Phase One:  Cooling Tower Design

After receiving our customer’s structural drawings and a site visit to PSU West Campus, we provided detailed fabrication and installation drawings. Those drawings contained details regarding the pre-fabricated basin sections, including floor and walls, outlet sump drains, overflow pipes, additional steel supports, and a catwalk to span the new cooling towers.

Phase Two:  Cooling Tower Fabrication

After completing the design services, it was time to fabricate the basin floor and wall sections, supports, catwalk, and other miscellaneous items. The fabrication and weldments were completed in the shop with a constant focus on ease of installation so that GSM Industrial could meet the required deliverables. While most of the welding was done in the field, any of the welds completed in the shop during the fabrication process needed to be leak-free to minimize on-site delays.

Phase Three:  Cooling Tower Installation

The final stage of this PSU cooling tower project required GSM Industrial to install the cooling tower basin and all of the associated components. This process required Metal Inert Gas (MIG) welding of over 1,000 linear feet. Because all the welds had to be leak-free, GSM utilized backing strips to facilitate complete joint penetration.

The Challenges Associated with this Cooling Tower Design, Build, and Installation

As with most installation projects, our field technicians encountered several challenges.

  • This cooling tower project was completed on a roof with no protection overhead during the peak of the summer heat. Humidity and rain also complicated the installation for our field technicians. Weather conditions were particularly significant since heat and humidity affect metals, making stainless steel sheets prone to warping.
  • Getting the basin up to the cooling tower required a crane. While this usually wouldn’t pose a challenge, a high parapet wall around the roofline made it impossible to communicate visually with the crane operator. All communications were conducted blindly, with the help of a radio.
  • Finally, there was no lay-down area for items that came pre-fabricated from our metal fab shop. Because of this, we had to coordinate precise delivery times for trucks.

GSM Industrial does not shy away from challenges, and this project is evidence of that. Despite the installation’s difficulties, our team’s experience and flexibility saw the project succeed. The entire project was completed flawlessly, ahead of schedule, with all deliverable expectations exceeded.

Another Successful Project, from Cooling Tower Design to Installation

“Custom” is a word that the engineers, fabricators, and installers at GSM Industrial welcome. We have the capabilities and the expertise to perform any number of metal fab and mechanical contracting tasks, and we’re ready to bring that aptitude to your next project.

If it’s a cooling tower design or any other type of unique metal fabrication project, contact us. We’re ready to talk about how we can make your next project a massive success story.