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New Flender FZG gear units from Siemens Industry are helping to improve cooling tower efficiency at Connah’s Quay power station on Deeside.

A total of 40 original gear units, all Flender FZGs (size B2SV10), were fitted in 1994 for the cooling tower fan units at the power station.

Connah’s Quay is E.ON UK’s largest combined-cycle gas turbine power station, featuring four single shaft units, each with a 345MW capacity – enough to power half of the domestic power for Wales.

The power station is adjacent to a residential area, so noise levels have to be minimised and the original fans featured noise-attenuating baffles.

However, these made them very inaccessible for essential preventative maintenance – at 9.2m across and weighing 2.5 tonnes, each fan would take four to six weeks to dismantle if a gearbox needed maintenance.

A decision was therefore taken to install quieter fans and gearboxes, allowing the removal of the baffles to increase airflow and improve accessibility.

Graham Stevens, E.ON UK’s project manager for the efficiency team at Connah’s Quay, said that the improved specification units supplied from the Siemens factory in Penig, Germany, were specially enhanced to reduce noise and are significantly quieter than the original Flender units supplied in 1994.

He added: ‘It was important to us to ensure we conformed to Environment Agency requirements.

‘The new Flender units are performing to expectations and overall noise levels have decreased, despite removing the baffles,’ said Stevens.

The 20 new units were also fitted with 132kW inverters and new, quieter fans were fitted to the cooling towers.

Stress on the gearboxes was reduced thanks to the increased airflow and gantries were fitted for improved access and preventative maintenance.

The previous four- to six-week window to inspect a gearbox has been reduced to three days.

The original Flender units are being refurbished and enhanced for use as spares at the site in the future.

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