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A series of cooling tower for the cooling of tunnel drilling machines


Background for the installation project of a series of cooling towers for cooling tunnel drilling machines

China Railways, China's giant railroad company, has brought four tunnel-diameter tunnel-boring machine (TBM) to Tel Aviv, for a simultaneous excavation mission on the subway’s red line, including engineers, procurement personnel and workers. The six-foot-long TBM is controlled from the backend by an entire 50-meter-long train, which is responsible for its operation, installation of concrete reinforcement parts, excavating soil, and more. The train harbors a frontal command crew of about 10 members, who work many hours deep inside the interior of the earth. The intense drilling activity generates high levels of heat that cannot be discharged from the cramped tunnel.

The objective

To design, produce and install off-tunnel cooling towers, that will pump cool water into a pair of central heat exchangers installed on the drilling train, which in turn receive heat from the many heat exchangers embedded in the tunnel’s heat generating focal points. [An interesting Fact: It turned out that the main heat exchangers on the drilling train were made by TRANTER whose products we license and we represent since 1985].

The challenge

The creation of effective communication and bridging over cultural gaps, are essential prerequisites for successful collaboration.

Our many years of experience working with Chinese companies, have assisted us in developing the ability to work with them in a multicultural setting and to consider the practices and habits of our Chinese counterparts, creating efficiencies that ensured a preplanned outcome by both parties. The design required many technical clarifications. We have found ways to enable our Chinese customers the understanding of every little detail of our proposal, including a joint analysis of many design alternatives and various work regimes of such a complex facility as a TBM machine. The main challenge was to provide reliable and durable equipment, that would critically ensure the cooling and functioning of a facility worth tens of millions of dollars, which each operating hour exceeds the cost of one cooling tower by itself.

The Project’s Solution

We have conducted a series of personal engineering meetings that were conducted without any problems in understanding all of the engineering aspects. We have offered them a series of EVAPCO cooling towers, a recognized global corporation that Krashin-Shalev represents in Israel since 1998. EVAPCO's cooling towers have international credentials, which are a necessary threshold for insuring such a significant infrastructure activity, in a tight schedule that entails hundreds of millions of dollars in damage potential. EVAPCO provided us with on-hand inventories of their cooling towers servicing TBMs in mining tunnels in the Alps and subways in many European cities. The thing that convinced the Chinese to adopt the principle of reciprocity, was the travel tickets at their train company that we have been buying during our negotiation period in China. When we presented them to them at the closing meeting, they signed the supply contract with us in no time.

The outcome

A unique series of EVAPCO's cooling towers was purchased. The cooling towers have been operating for several years without being subject to any servicing calls or having to provide them with any spare parts. To this astonishing extent were our planning and execution perfect in the face of this complex task. As a by-product, the TBMs were equipped with TRANTER’s asymmetrical plate heat exchangers which we produce in our factory and are experts in servicing them. Our team’s on-site servicing provision for this equipment was accepted, due to the Ultraflex Asymmetric Plate Technology, which enables exceptionally long operation without mechanical cleaning and eliminating the customer's need to maintain spare parts inventory and the needs for holding emergency heat exchanger spare parts and the headache to prepare for a situation requiring emergency heat exchanger maintenance intervention – which represents critical equipment performance in mining operations.

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