The bearing oil coolers allow cooling of the oil used in the guide and thrust bearings of the turbine and generator; oil which heats up due to the friction of the various moving parts. Through years of hands-on experience and the development with its partners of unique custom made solutions, Thermofin has been able to establish itself as a market leader in the design and manufacture of bearing coolers. Whether the heat exchange needs to be forced or natural convection, through single or double tube arranged to fit you specific geometrical requirements, Thermofin holds profound understanding of the heat transfer mechanisms insuring adequate sizing and efficient cooling. It will fit and it will cool. The Thermofin team can also refurbish your bearing oil cooler for easy maintenance by changing the configuration (number of sections) of your cooler. There are two families of bearing coolers : internal and external.
INTERNAL BEARING OIL COOLERS
Hydrocool exchangers usually have a circular shape for installation in bearing oil tanks. The bearing coolers ensure the cooling of the oil which circulates outside the tubes using river water which circulates inside the tubes. The thermal design of Hydrocool heat exchangers is generally based on free convection on the oil side, as oil velocities are often difficult to quantify accurately. Hydrocool bearings can be designed with or without fins, depending on the space requirement. When using fins, Powerfin extruded aluminum fins are used which ensures a robust and durable design of your cooler. Internal bearing coolers can be designed in different configurations :
CIRCULAR IN A 360° SINGLE PIECE
This configuration has the advantage of offering fewer connections and therefore less risk of leaks, but has the disadvantage of making the maintenance of the bearing cooler more complex, since the cover of the tank must absolutely be disassembled in order to access the cooler.
DOUBLE TUBE DESIGN FOR LEAK DETECTION
For maximum safety, Thermofin is able to offer a design of its double tube HYDROCOOL coolers to avoid any mixing of water and oil in the event of a leak, thus eliminating the risk of cross contamination. This configuration consists in inserting a first tube into a second tube of larger diameter. In the case of leakage of the inner tube, in which the fluid circulates, grooves situated between the two tubes make it possible to convey the liquid to a detection chamber. There, it is quickly detected, either by a sensor or by a spill into a drip pan provided for this purpose. Projection of water onto surrounding equipment is avoided.
EXTERNAL BEARING OIL COOLERS
Two technologies are often used for the external cooling of guide or thrust bearing oils : shell and tube heat exchangers or gasketed plate and frame heat exchangers. For these two cooler technologies, the oil no longer circulates in natural convection as in the case of the HYDROCOOL coolers, but in forced convection. The circulation of the oil is often ensured by the use of a pump. Since the bearing oil circulates in forced convection, the efficiency of the external bearing oil coolers is much higher than for internal bearing oil coolers and thus their footprint is considerably reduced. Due to the fact that these coolers are not immersed in the bearing tank, their maintenance is greatly facilitated.
ITEX GASKETED PLATE AND FRAME HEAT EXCHANGER
Water and oil circulate alternately in each channel of the plate and frame heat exchanger. ITEX-type external bearing oil coolers are extremely efficient and offer the smallest footprint. The gasketed plate and frame technology also allows for easy cleaning and provides a modular cooling capacity that can be increased by adding plates. On the other hand, this exchanger technology requires a more elaborate filtration system in order to avoid clogging the heat exchanger.
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