US20040025466A1 - Modular frame method and apparatus - Google Patents

Modular frame method and apparatus Download PDF

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Publication number
US20040025466A1
US20040025466A1 US10/244,547 US24454702A US2004025466A1 US 20040025466 A1 US20040025466 A1 US 20040025466A1 US 24454702 A US24454702 A US 24454702A US 2004025466 A1 US2004025466 A1 US 2004025466A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
support frame
plurality
modules
transverse
longitudinal
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Abandoned
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US10/244,547
Inventor
Paul Hink
Michael Cushing
Mark Muder
Eldon Mockry
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Marley Cooling Tower Co
Marley Cooling Technologies Inc
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Marley Cooling Tower Co
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Priority to US10/244,547 priority patent/US20040025466A1/en
Assigned to MARLEY COOLING TECHNOLOGIES, INC. reassignment MARLEY COOLING TECHNOLOGIES, INC. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: CUSHING, MICHAEL P. JR., MOCKRY, ELDON F., MUDER, MARK A., HINK, PAUL W.
Publication of US20040025466A1 publication Critical patent/US20040025466A1/en
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    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04HBUILDINGS OR LIKE STRUCTURES FOR PARTICULAR PURPOSES; SWIMMING OR SPLASH BATHS OR POOLS; MASTS; FENCING; TENTS OR CANOPIES, IN GENERAL
    • E04H5/00Buildings or groups of buildings for industrial or agricultural purposes
    • E04H5/10Buildings forming part of cooling plants
    • E04H5/12Cooling towers

Abstract

A cooling tower support frame having a plurality of modules. Each module includes at least two vertical columns and at least two horizontal girts that are connected to the vertical columns. The horizontal girts extend between the vertical columns preferably at separate vertical levels.

Description

    PRIORITY
  • This application claims priority to the provisional U.S. patent application entitled, MODULAR FRAME AND APPARATUS, filed Aug. 6, 2002, having a Ser. No. 60/401,015, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference.[0001]
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention relates to a method and apparatus for the erection of cooling towers. More particularly, the present invention relates to a method and apparatus for designing, processing manufacturing and constructing cooling towers. [0002]
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Cooling towers are widely used in many applications where it is necessary to cool or condense fluid and/or gas that must be maintained out of contact with the heat exchange medium to which the heat is transferred. For example, air conditioning systems for large buildings employ cooling towers for carrying out a portion of the heat exchange that is essential to the cooling process. In these systems, air inside the building is forced passed coils containing a cooled refrigerant gas thereby transferring heat from inside the building into the refrigerant gas. The warmed refrigerant is then piped outside the building where the excess heat must be removed from the refrigerant so that the refrigerant gas can be re-cooled and the cooling process continued. [0003]
  • In addition, industrial processes such as chemical production, metals production, plastics production, food processing, electricity generation, etc., generate heat that must be dissipated and/or disposed of, often by the use of cooling towers. In all of the foregoing processes and numerous other processes that require the step of dissipating or disposing of heat, cooling towers have been employed. [0004]
  • Cooling towers are used to cool liquid flowing therethrough by contact with air. Many cooling towers are of the counter-flow type, where the warm liquid is allowed to flow downwardly through the tower and a counter current flow of air is drawn by an air generator, usually a fan, upward through the falling liquid to cool the liquid. Alternatively, many cooling towers are of the cross-flow type where the warm liquid is again allowed to flow downwardly through the tower, but a cross current flow of air is drawn by an air generator, usually a fan, across, through the falling liquid to cool the liquid. [0005]
  • Most cooling towers include a tower structure. This structural assembly is provided to support dead and live loads, including air moving equipment such as a fan, motor, gearbox, drive shaft, liquid distribution equipment including distribution headers and spray nozzles along with heat transfer media such as a fill assembly. To withstand the above described loads, cooling tower framing parts are generally constructed from wood, concrete, metals and/or plastics such as fiber reinforced plastic (FRP). [0006]
  • The current methods for designing, constructing and erecting cooling tower frames involve contract processing wherein the tower frame is designed and manufactured specifically for the that individual cooling tower. Current methods for erecting cooling tower frames include the “stick built method” and the “bent method.” The stick built method is the erection of the tower framing in situ one frame member at a time while the bent method of erection consists of assembling transverse bents on the ground, placing them in frame position, and securing the bents with longitudinal frame portions along frame support portions. [0007]
  • As a result of the wide range applications for which cooling towers are utilized, the cooling towers vary in size and shape. Due to this variation, the tower frames are oftentimes individually designed and manufactured for each individual cooling tower. This results in the requirement of many hours of design and design modification along with utilization of the multiple parts in order for the tower frames to be constructed, increasing tower construction cost and time. In addition, once the framing components are manufactured in the factory, they then must be shipped to the job site where labor costs are often higher than factory labor costs, also increasing cooling tower cost. [0008]
  • Accordingly, it is desirable to provide a method and apparatus for effectuating lower cost cooling towers by providing modular frame subassemblies which result in the reduction of frame design time, the amount parts required for frame assembly and the on site labor costs. It is also desirable to provide pre-assembled frame subassemblies that can fold into compact configurations for shipping and unfold into their operational configuration at the job site, reducing frame construction time and labor costs. [0009]
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The foregoing needs are met, at least in part, by the present invention where, in one embodiment, a cooling tower support frame is provided having a plurality of modules. Each module includes at least two vertical columns that have a first end and a second end and at least two horizontal girts that are connected to the vertical columns. The horizontal girts extend between the vertical columns preferably at separate vertical levels between the first and second ends. [0010]
  • In accordance with another embodiment of the present invention, a cooling tower support frame is provided having a plurality of transverse bents and each bent has a plurality of modules connected to one another. The cooling tower support frame additionally has at least one longitudinal bent extending between and connecting the transverse bents together. The longitudinal bent includes a plurality of longitudinal modules. [0011]
  • In accordance with yet another embodiment of the invention, a method for constructing a cooling tower support frame is provided, providing the steps of: assembling at least one transverse bent comprising the steps of: providing at least one modular frame components having a plurality of vertical columns and horizontal girts that intersect forming window portions; and supporting at least one transverse bent by attaching at least one modular longitudinal girt to the at least one modular subassembly. [0012]
  • In yet another embodiment of the present invention, a method for constructing a cooling tower support frame is provided, comprising the steps of: assembling a plurality transverse bents comprising the steps of: attaching a plurality of modular components having a plurality of vertical columns and horizontal girts that intersect forming window portions to one another; and supporting the plurality of transverse bents by attaching a first modular longitudinal girt to the plurality of transverse bents and attaching a second modular longitudinal girt to the plurality of transverse bents, wherein the first and the second modular longitudinal bents include a plurality of modular longitudinal components connected to one another. [0013]
  • In accordance with yet a further embodiment of the invention, a method for constructing a cooling tower support frame, comprising the steps of: assembling at least one three-dimensional framing portion comprising: assembling adjacent transverse bent modules supporting the modules by connecting at least one longitudinal girt to the adjacent transverse modules; and transporting the module into position. [0014]
  • In this respect, before explaining at least one embodiment of the invention in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and to the arrangements of the components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein, as well as the abstract, are for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting. [0015]
  • As such, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the conception upon which this disclosure is based may readily be utilized as a basis for the designing of other structures, methods and systems for carrying out the several purposes of the present invention. It is important, therefore, that the claims be regarded as including such equivalent constructions insofar as they do not depart from the spirit and scope of the present invention.[0016]
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a front view of a modular subassembly in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. [0017]
  • FIG. 2 is a front view of a fully assembled transverse bent having varying sizes and configurations of the modular subassembly illustrated in FIG. 1. [0018]
  • FIG. 3 is a partial perspective view of the modular subassembly depicted in FIG. 1. [0019]
  • FIG. 4 is a plan view of a multiple cell cooling tower depicting the longitudinal modular framing in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. [0020]
  • FIG. 5 is a front view of a modular subassembly in the folded position in accordance with an alternative embodiment of the present invention.[0021]
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION
  • Referring now to the figures wherein like reference numerals indicate like elements, FIGS. [0022] 1-5 illustrate presently preferred embodiments of a modular cooling tower frame apparatus. While in the embodiments depicted the modular frame is used in combination with a cooling tower, it should be understood that the present invention is not limited in its application to water cooling tower frame assemblies.
  • Referring now to FIG. 1, a frame module for a cooling tower frame, generally designated [0023] 10, is illustrated. The module 10 illustrated in FIG. 1 is an incomplete example with components removed for clarity to illustrate the typical overall structure of the frame modules 10. The module 10 is a pre-defined component that preferably may be utilized in a multiplicity of cooling tower frames. The module 10 combines with other module components to form transverse bents 20 (see FIG. 2) and longitudinal bents 22 (See FIG. 4). As depicted in FIG. 1, the modular component 10 includes a plurality of vertical column portions 12 and horizontal girt portions 14. The column portions 12 and girt portions 14 intersect one another to provide the module 10 with a tic-tac-toe configuration. The column and girt portions 12, 14 are connected at their intersections preferably by mechanical attachment, such as a single bolt 16. The columns 12 and girts 14 may alternatively be connected by non-mechanical attachment however.
  • The column and girt portions [0024] 12, 14 are preferably manufactured from wood and wood derivatives and/or material containing glass fibers or some other reinforcing fiber, for example, fiber reinforced plastic (FRP). The column and girt portions 12, 14 are preferably square, rectangular or C shaped, each portion having substantially uniform cross-sectional shape along its length. The column and girt portions 12, 14 may alternatively be manufactured from other materials such as metals and/or concrete, depending upon the frame application.
  • The column portions [0025] 12 and girt portions 14 are preferably formed from pultrusion processes when manufacturing the portions from FRP. Pultrusion is a continuous molding process which utilizes glass or fibrous reinforcement in a polyester or other thermosetting resin. The reinforcing material is drawn through a resin bath, and the resin impregnated reinforcing material is pulled through a heated steel die. The reinforcement/resin laminate solidifies in the shape of the cavity of the die as it is pulled by the pultrusion machine, forming the desired uniform cross-section column and girt portions 12, 14.
  • In addition, the modular members produced from FRP can be manufactured to lengths longer than their wood counterparts because they are not limited to the height of the available trees. In fact, the FRP components can be virtually any size with their only limitation being their handling characteristics. [0026]
  • As depicted in FIG. 1, the vertical column portions [0027] 12 are spaced apart preferably at a distance of approximately six feet providing bays 18, each bay 18 having a width of about six feet. This spacing enables the preferred standard framing modules 10 to be manufactured at preferred standard lengths. Preferably four standard modules 10 are manufactured having a length equal to 3x, 4x, 5x and/or 6x, wherein x is preferably equal to 3. This enables transverse lengths of 9′, 12′, 15′ and 18 feet to be easily manufactured. The aforementioned modular transverse lengths are not limited to the specified lengths, for example, the bay 18 spacing within a particular cooling tower may vary and not be a constant integer multiple. These above-referenced however lengths do minimize the number of different modules 10 required to define a cooling tower product line, reducing erection time and cost. The vertical column 12 spacing alternatively can be more than six feet or less than six feet depending on frame design and application.
  • The horizontal girt portions [0028] 14 are spaced apart or have a lift of approximately 6′, providing the modules 10 with multiple tiers or levels. As illustrated in FIG. 1, the module 10 includes two horizontal girts 14, resulting in two levels or tiers. Depending upon cooling tower dimensions, each individual module component 10 may include additional or fewer horizontal girts 14. It is preferable that each module have at least two horizontal girts 14 for stability however at least two girts 14 are not required. In addition, the horizontal girts 14 alternatively may have spacing that varies to accommodate varying cooling tower dimensions.
  • Referring now to FIG. 2, a transverse bent [0029] 20 in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention is depicted. It should be understood that the structures shown throughout the remainder of the figures and described herein are representative examples of embodiments in accordance with the present invention, and the invention is not limited to the structures shown and described. By transverse bent 20 it is understood that the bent 20 is a cooling tower framing structure that extends a specified distance across the width of a cooling tower. For example, the bent 20 depicted in FIG. 2 is utilized in a cooling tower having a width of 42′ and preferably positioned in the interior of the cooling tower and extends the entire 42′ width of the cooling tower.
  • The transverse bent [0030] 20 as depicted in FIG. 2, has nine distinct modules 10, three modules 10 high and three modules 10 wide. Each individual module 10 is designated by the horizontal dashed lines A, B, C and the vertical dashed lines D and E.
  • The composition of the transverse bent [0031] 20 may vary with cooling tower width. For example, a cooling tower having a width of 60′ may employ transverse bents 20 comprised of 9′, 18′, 18′ and 15′. In the same respect, depending upon the cooling tower height, the transverse bent may comprise three levels of modules 10 as depicted in FIG. 2 or may contain more or less levels.
  • In the embodiment depicted in FIG. 2, there are three vertical levels of modules [0032] 10 generally indicated by the dashed lines A, B and C. As previously, described, each bay 18 is approximately 6′ in width by 6′ in height with these dimensions varying with cooling tower design and size. The lower level of the transverse bent 20, generally designated between lines B and C, is aligned with the air inlet portions of the cooling tower and is comprised of a first standard module 28 having a 9′ width and an approximate 15′ height. The first standard module 28 is attached to a second standard module 30 having a 18′ width and an approximate 15′ height. The second module 30 is attached to a third standard module 32 having a 15′ width and an approximate 15′ height. The modules 10 are preferably connected to one another by mechanical attachment 34.
  • Similarly, the middle level of the bent [0033] 20, generally designated between lines A and B, is aligned with the fill material portions of the cooling tower and the bays 18 function to support and carry the fill material and are generally called fill modules. These modules 10 additionally function to support the cooling tower spray system above the tower fill and a portion of the air inlet below the fill. The middle level is comprised of additional standard modules and like their counterparts on the lower level, they have widths of 9′, 18′ and 15′ respectfully. However, where the lower level modules have a height of approximately 15′, the middle level modules in the embodiment depicted, have a height of approximately 12′ or extend vertically 2 bays 18. In a preferred embodiment, the fill module heights are typically 12′ and 13′-1″ for wood and FRP frames respectively and these heights can accommodate a fill height from approximately 3′ to approximately 6′. These modules, for example are positioned to fill with heights between 3′ to 4′ feet. Again, these modules are connected to one another and their upper and lower counterparts by mechanical attachment 34.
  • The upper level of the transverse bent [0034] 20, generally designated above line A, is aligned with the plenum portions of the cooling tower and the bays 18 function to support the air intake equipment of the cooling tower. This level is comprised of additional standard modules 42, 44, 46 and like their counterparts on the lower two levels, they have widths of 9′, 18′ and 15′ respectfully. Plenum heights vary from cell to cell of a cooling tower. Oftentimes each cell size has a distinct plenum height. Therefore, multiple plenum heights for each cell size is certainly possible and oftentimes desirable, e.g., to draw air more uniformly for different size fans or to elevate the discharge. This being said, a single plenum height is-convenient and generally practical and therefore generally preferred. Thus, the modular framing components utilized in the top row of the various bents may vary in size and dimensions from one cell of the cooling tower to the other. Again, as discussed with the lower and middle level modules, these modules are connected to one another and their lower counterparts preferably by mechanical attachment 34.
  • Due to the previously described column [0035] 12 and girt 14 spacing of the modules 10, the standard 9′ modules transversely extend approximately 1.5 bays 18, the standard 15′ modules transversely extend approximately 2.5 bays 18 and the standard 18′ modules transversely extend approximately 3 bays 18. In the embodiments depicted, the maximum height for the wood modules is approximately 20′ and the maximum height for the FRP modules is approximately 31′. As a result of this orientation, the modules extend into approximately the middle of the bays where they may be spliced or attached to the adjacent modules that combine to form a transverse bent. In many of the embodiments, the aforementioned splices are not necessarily at exactly the middle of the bay height, but are located somewhere between the girts 14.
  • As depicted in FIG. 2, the individual modules [0036] 10 are spliced together preferably at the centerline of the bays 18 by mechanical attachment 34. The individual modules 10 are spliced together utilizing bracket attachment 34 (see FIG. 3), but other attachment means known in the art, such as bolt attachment and/or screw attachment, can be used. Alternatively, the individual modules may be spliced together or connected to one another by adhesive attachment.
  • Girt splices can include a splice block that is placed between girts [0037] 14 and bolted with two bolts through each adjacent module girt 14. The column splices are similar except the adjacent module columns 12 are “butted” together and a pair of side plates bolted to the adjacent columns 12. For symmetry purposes, it is preferred that the splices occur at the centerline of the bays 18, however this is not a requirement and splicing may occur at various locations within the bays 18.
  • As depicted in FIG. 1, the modules [0038] 10 are originally not configured with diagonal portions 48 as illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3. The utilization of the diagonal portions 48 is dependent upon load requirements of the cooling tower due to wind, seismic conditions and general stability conditions. Each individual module 10 is designed to accept or be fitted with a diagonal in any bay 18. The diagonals 48 can extend from the top left of the bay 18 to the bottom right or from the bottom left of the bay 18 to the upper right. In addition, the diagonals 48 are preferably collinear and intersect the columns 12 at regular intervals. This allows the same diagonal 48 to be used in a multiplicity of locations. The aforementioned diagonal design enables the cooling tower designer to have the freedom to call for any diagonal 48 arrangement that satisfies the lateral load demand determined from the structural analysis of the cooling tower design.
  • As illustrated in FIG. 2, typically two diagonal member lines [0039] 50 are placed in each transverse bent 20 forming an “X” configuration. The diagonal member lines 50 are comprised of individual diagonal portions 48 placed in individual bays 18. The diagonals 48 are connected to the bays 18 by mechanical attachment 52, as illustrated in FIG. 3. This attachment is preferably bracketed attachment 52, however other attachment means known in the art, such as bolt attachment and/or screw attachment, can be used.
  • The upper level of modules, [0040] 42, 44 and 46 may have diagonals 48 located near the mechanical equipment of the cooling tower. This placement is preferable to suppress vibrations introduced to the transverse bent 20 by operation of the mechanical equipment. The top level diagonals 48 are often not aligned with the lower level diagonals 48 that combine to form the “X” configuration.
  • The transverse bent [0041] 20 depicted in FIG. 3 illustrates a bent that employs a double girt 14 arrangement. This arrangement is preferable for load carrying purposes and is preferably utilized with the interior transverse bent assemblies. The double girt 14 arrangement is not required however and transverse bents 20 may function properly using only a single girt 14 arrangement.
  • In some instances two diagonals [0042] 48 may intersect the same bay 18. In this case, a special assembly is required where one of the diagonals 48 is separated into two pieces and connected together with the diagonal straps 52 while allowing the other diagonal 48 to pass through between the straps 52.
  • As depicted in FIG. 4, the transverse bents [0043] 20 are “tied” or connected together by individual longitudinal modular components 53 that combine to make up the longitudinal bents, generally designated 22. Since all the columns 12 are defined in the transverse bents 20, only longitudinal girts are required for the longitudinal framing 22. Diagonals 48 (not shown) are also employed to offer lateral support. The diagonals 48 that are employed in the longitudinal bents 22 are typically the same diagonals 48 that are employed in the transverse bents 20.
  • FIG. 4 is a plan view of cooling tower framing for a cooling tower employing four cells [0044] 54, 55, 56 and 57 respectively. Cells 54 and 57 are end cells while cells 55 and 56 are designated as middle cells. Each cell 54, 55, 56, 57 is approximately eight bays 18 long or 48′. In the embodiment depicted, the cells' width comprises of seven bays 18 or 42′ in the transverse direction, generally designated Y. The dashed lines 59 extending between the longitudinal bents 22 represent vertical planes intersecting the longitudinal modules 53 at designated splice locations where the modular longitudinal components 53 are connected to one another. These planes 59 (dashed lines), also delineate the boundaries between the individual longitudinal modules 53.
  • The longitudinal modules are similar in concept to the to transverse framing previously described. The longitudinal bays [0045] 18, like the transverse bays 18, are approximately 6′ in length however the length may vary from approximately 3′ to 12′ or more. The longitudinal bents 22 like the transverse bents 20 preferably have standard longitudinal bent pieces in longitudinal modules 53, each having a length of 3x, 4x, 5x or 6x. In addition, as previously mentioned, each module preferably includes 2, 3 or more lifts depending upon the height of the cooling tower. In the embodiment depicted, x is preferably equal to 3 and therefore the pieces are approximately 9′ in length, 12′ in length, 15′ in length and 18′ in length. The aforementioned dimensions are preferred because this allows for only a minimal number of longitudinal pieces to be needed to define an entire cooling tower product line. However, again, the bay 18 spacing within a particular cooling tower may vary and not be a constant integer multiple. In addition, similar to the transverse modules 10, the longitudinal modules 53 are necessarily spliced in the middle of the longitudinal bays 18 to minimize the number pieces required to define multiple cooling tower frame assemblies.
  • The longitudinal framing [0046] 22 may span across cooling towers comprised of one cell or as many as ten or more cooling tower cells. When the longitudinal bents 22 are employed in multi-cell cooling towers, as depicted in FIG. 4, they are typically categorized into three categories: long end cell modules 58, middle cell modules 60 and short end cell modules 62.
  • Long end cell modules [0047] 58, as the name suggests, are the modules 53 employed at a designated cooling tower end that combine to extend the longest distance. These modules preferably come in standard lengths of 9′, 12′, 15′ and 18′. For example, as depicted in FIG. 4, a 9′ module 53, a 12′ module 53, an 18′ module 53 and a 12′ module combine to extend 8.5 bays 18 or 51′ and connect the transverse bents located in the cell 54 to one another. As illustrated, the modules 53 extend into the middle cell 55 of the cooling tower, and are spliced with the middle cell modules preferably at the middle of the first bay 18 of the cell 55.
  • The middle cell modules [0048] 60, as the name suggests, are the modules 53 employed in the interior middle cells 55, 56 of the cooling tower. These modules preferably come in standard lengths of 12′ and 18′. For example, as depicted in FIG. 4, a 18′ module 53, a 12′ module 53 and a 18′ module combine to extend 8 bays 18 or 48′ in each middle cell 55, 56. Because the long end cell modules 53 extend a half bay 18 into the second cell, the first interior cell 55 modules 60 extend a half bay or 3′ into the second interior cell 56, causing the cell modules 60 to extend a half bay or 3′ into the short end cell 57.
  • The short end cell modules [0049] 62, as the name suggests, are the modules 53 employed at a designated cooling tower end that combine to extend the shortest distance. These modules preferably come in standard lengths of 9′, 12′, 15′ and 18′. For example, as depicted in FIG. 4, an 18′ module 62, a 12′ module 62 and a 15′ module 62 combine to extend only 7.5 bays 18 or 45′ and connect the transverse bents located in the cell 57 to one another. As illustrated, the modules 62 extend one half bay 18 or 3′ less than the middle cell modules 60, a one bay or 6′ less than the long end cell modules. The modules 62 are spliced with the middle cell modules preferably at the middle of the first bay 18 of the cell 57.
  • Simply described, the composition of longitudinal modules needed for a specified cooling tower may be determined by the formula: Modules=(Long End Modules)+(N−2)(Middle Modules)+(Short End Modules), where N is the number cells and N is greater than or equal to 2. Furthermore, except for a cell having a length equal to three bays, the sum of the long end cell modules' [0050] 58 length is the cooling tower cell length plus one-half bay length and the sum of the short end cell modules' 62 is the cooling tower cell length minus one-half bay length. This orientation is not true for a three bay cell because interior modules in the embodiment described are 4x and 6x, 12′ and 18′ for six feet column spacing, and for the formula to apply, a 2x interior module, 6′, would be required. This is not desired because it would require additional longitudinal modules to define a product line, increasing cooling tower manufacturing cost, thus 3x end cell modules, 9′, and 6x interior cell modules, 18′, are preferred to minimize the number of modules.
  • The individual longitudinal modules [0051] 58, 60 and 62 are likewise spliced together preferably at the centerline of the bays 18 by mechanical attachment 34. Preferably, the individual modules are spliced together utilizing bracket attachment 34, but other attachment means known in the art, such as bolt attachment, pin attachment, and/or screw attachment, can be used. For the above referenced formula to apply, it assumes that the splices occur at the centerline of the bays 18. This is not a requirement however and splicing may occur at various locations within the bays 18.
  • Likewise, the longitudinal modules are initially constructed without diagonals [0052] 50. This allows the cooling tower designer to have the freedom to require any diagonal 50 arrangement that satisfies the lateral load demand of the tower. Typically, a minimum of two diagonal member lines are placed in each longitudinal frame. If the tower only has a single cell, the diagonals will usually form a large “X”, similar to the transverse diagonals 50. The top level of the longitudinal bent 22 may also have diagonals 50 that are located near the mechanical equipment support assembly. The placement is to assist in suppressing the vibrations introduced to the cooling tower frame by the mechanical equipment. Again, the top level diagonals are often not aligned with the lower level diagonals 50 and in a preferred embodiment, they are collinear with and intersect the columns 12 at regular intervals similar to the transverse diagonals 50. This allows for the same diagonal 50 to be used in a multiplicity of locations. And again, in some instances, two diagonals 50 may intersect the same bay 18 and this is preferably addressed similarly to the transverse frame 20 instances previously described.
  • FIG. 5 depicts an alternative embodiment of the present invention wherein the transverse modules [0053] 10 illustrated in FIG. 1 are assembled such that they can fold into relatively compact arrangements for shipping and handling. In the embodiment depicted, the column and girt portions 12, 14 along with the diagonal straps 52 (not shown in FIG. 5) are preferably connected with a single bolt 16 at their respected intersections. The bolts 16 are left loose to permit rotation of the columns 12 relative to the girts 14. Thus, the column portions 12 and girt portions 14 form a linkage of orthogonal members which preferably hinge at their respective intersections.
  • The above described embodiment is applicable to modules constructed from both wood and fiber reinforced products. Wood modules may be assembled and folded prior to preservative treatment without compromising the treatment's effectiveness, therefore allowing the treatment process to occur post-assembly. [0054]
  • Cooling tower frame construction may be further expedited by the creation of three-dimensional framing portions or blocks on the ground prior to tower installation. These portions include assembling adjacent transverse bent modules, like the ones described previously, with diagonals (if any) connected with their respective longitudinal modules and diagonals (if any), which results in a three-dimensional module that can be hoisted into place. These framing portions reduce the demand for hoisting individual frame subassemblies when constructing a tower, which is time consuming. Alternatively, the three-dimensional portions are assembled on the ground with some or all of the cooling components installed in advance of erecting the tower and then the completed portions are assembled together to form the cooling tower, significantly reducing time required to erect a cooling tower. Economic benefit may be gained for cooling tower replacement or other applications by minimizing the erection time for which a revenue generating process may be inoperable. [0055]
  • The many features and advantages of the invention are apparent from the detailed specification, and thus, it is intended by the appended claims to cover all such features and advantages of the invention which fall within the true spirits and scope of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and variations will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation illustrated and described, and accordingly, all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the invention. [0056]

Claims (27)

What is claimed is:
1. A cooling tower support frame, comprising:
a plurality of modules, each module comprising:
at least two vertical columns each having a first end and a second end; and
at least two horizontal girts connected to said vertical columns,
wherein said horizontal girts extend between said vertical columns at separate vertical levels between said first and second ends.
2. The support frame according to claim 1, wherein said vertical columns and horizontal girts are attached to one another by mechanical attachment.
3. The support frame according to claim 2, wherein said vertical columns and horizontal girts are attached to one another by a bolt.
4. The support frame according to claim 2, wherein said attachment is a hinged attachment allowing said columns to rotate relative to said girts.
5. The support frame according to claim 1, wherein said vertical columns and said horizontal girts have an orthogonal arrangement.
6. The support frame according to claim 1, wherein the distance between said vertical columns is approximately 3′ to approximately 12′.
7. The support frame according to claim 6, wherein said distance is 6′.
8. The support frame according to claim 1, wherein said distance between horizontal girts is approximately 3′ to approximately 12′.
9. The support frame according to claim 8, wherein said distance is 6′.
10. The support frame according to claim 1, wherein said modules have a length of L that is an integer multiple.
11. The support frame according to claim 1, wherein said modules have a length of L that is a non-integer multiple.
12. The support frame according to claim 10, wherein L is 9′, 15′ and 18′.
13. The support frame according to claim 1, further comprising a third vertical column having a first and a second end.
14. The support frame according to claim 1, further comprising a plurality of diagonal support members.
15. The support frame according to claim 1, wherein horizontally adjacent modules are attached to one another by mechanical attachment and vertically adjacent modules are attached to one another by mechanical attachment.
16. The support frame according to claim 1, wherein horizontally adjacent modules are attached to one another by adhesive attachment and vertically adjacent modules are attached to one another by adhesive attachment.
17. The support frame according to claim 15, wherein said mechanical attachment is bracket attachment, bolt attachment, pin attachment, and/or screw attachment.
18. A cooling tower support frame, comprising:
a plurality of transverse bents, each bent comprising a plurality of modules connected to one another; and
at least one longitudinal bent extending between and connecting said transverse bents together, said at least one longitudinal bent comprising a plurality of longitudinal modules.
19. The cooling tower support frame according to claim 18, wherein said longitudinal modules have a length that is 9′, 12′, 15′ or 18′.
20. A method for constructing a cooling tower support frame, comprising:
assembling at least one transverse bent using, at least one modular frame component having a plurality of vertical columns and horizontal girts that intersect to form window portions; and supporting the at least one transverse bent by attaching at least one modular longitudinal girt to the at least one modular subassembly.
21. The method according to claim 20, further comprising the step of attaching a diagonal portion within at least one window portion.
22. A method for constructing a cooling tower support frame, comprising:
assembling a plurality of transverse bents by, attaching a plurality of modular components having a plurality of vertical columns and horizontal girts that intersect to form window portions to one another; and supporting the plurality of transverse bents by attaching a first modular longitudinal girt to the plurality of transverse bents and attaching a second modular longitudinal girt to the plurality of transverse bents,
wherein the first and the second modular longitudinal bents include a plurality of modular longitudinal components connected to one another.
23. The method according to claim 22, further comprising attaching a diagonal portion within at least one window portion.
24. The method according to claim 22, further comprising attaching at least one diagonal portion to the first longitudinal girt and the second longitudinal girt so that it extends between the first girt and the second girt.
25. A method for constructing a cooling tower support frame, comprising:
assembling at least one three-dimensional framing portion by assembling adjacent transverse bent modules and supporting the modules by connecting at least one longitudinal girt to the adjacent transverse modules; and placing the module into position on the cooling tower support frame.
26. A cooling tower support frame, comprising:
assembling a plurality transverse bents by, attaching a plurality of modular components having a plurality of vertical columns and horizontal girts that intersect form window portions to one another; and supporting the plurality of transverse bents by attaching a first modular longitudinal girt to the plurality of transverse bents and attaching a second modular longitudinal girt to the plurality of transverse bents,
wherein the first and the second modular longitudinal bents include a plurality of modular longitudinal components connected to one another.
27. A cooling tower support frame, comprising:
modular means for assembling a plurality transverse bents; and
modular means for supporting the plurality of transverse bents that is connected to the plurality of transverse bents.
US10/244,547 2002-08-06 2002-09-17 Modular frame method and apparatus Abandoned US20040025466A1 (en)

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US9303663B2 (en) 2013-04-11 2016-04-05 Northern States Metals Company Locking rail alignment system
US9903111B1 (en) * 2017-02-14 2018-02-27 Orial Nir Construction assembly and method for laying blocks

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