Using heavy machinery to crush, convert, and refine some of the most depended upon materials on earth, processing plants are the backbone of the industries they run – and Mesabi® radiators and heat exchangers are the heartbeat behind it all.
While Mesabi® heat exchangers, radiators and coolers are more widely known for their use on haul trucks, bulldozers, drills and other heavy-duty equipment, they also are used in processing plants all over the world, boosting productivity by guaranteeing unbeatable reliability for machines across industries.
You’ll find Mesabi® System Protector™ Tube and Shell Coolers protecting gearboxes in pelletizer machines on mining sites, Air-to-Oil Coolers running hydraulic machines in paper mills, Charge Air Coolers preventing overheating on air compressors in oil and gas refineries, on crushers operating at limestone mining sites and more.
“You name it, we’re on pretty much all of the mobile equipment out at a mine site, but you’ll find us in the processing plants as well,” said Gary Fairchild, OEM Sales Manager of 48 years at L&M Radiator. “We are on the generators, the crushers, the drills and more. Whatever you can think of, you’ll likely find a Mesabi® heat exchanger there.”
Among the diverse variety of applications for Mesabi® heat exchangers, one thing is universally agreed upon: If you’re not using Mesabi®, you are losing money.
“At L&M Radiator, we replace many machines that we don’t come standard on in the after-market,” said Fairchild. “Once people realize that their conventional style cooler is just not holding up, they install a Mesabi because of our longevity and durability. It’s not uncommon that our radiators outlast the lifetime of two engines or more. No other heat exchanger on the market can even compare to that kind of resilience.”
Mesabi® Equipment Saves Money, Provides Long-Term Durability
Some of the machines that you will find Mesabi® radiators on – generator sets, crushers, gearboxes and more – are so integral to a plant’s operation, that entire plants are often built around them. In this setting, durability cannot be sacrificed.
“When a machine is down due to a problem with the radiator overheating or leaking, it doesn’t only cost the plant the amount of time it takes to fix that machine,” said Fairchild. “When one machine goes down, the whole place is shut down. It’s a lifeline right there. We’re talking mission critical stuff here.”
To ensure no shutdowns occur, Mesabi® radiators are made using wider, replaceable tubes to combat debris build-up and provide ease of repair; flexible rubber seals to combat stress fractures from the shock of hefty vibration; and some even use system protectors to prevent contamination of the equipment. Mesabi System Protector™ Tube and Shell Coolers are often found in gearboxes on pelletizer machines, which typically pull water from a nearby reservoir or stream to cool the plant. More often than not, this water is dirty and harsh (maybe even containing minnows and crustaceans), which can be corrosive to the machinery that it runs through.
“Our system protector prevents that water from getting into the gearbox, potentially destroying the machine,” said Fairchild. “It has a liquid-activated sensor to detect leakage, so if any liquid gets in the equipment, the protector gives an alert that there’s a problem. That way, you can take off the contaminated portion before you contaminate the system.”
Just one gearbox can cost up to a quarter of a million dollars, meaning the difference between the cost of a Mesabi® radiator and a conventional radiator is minimal compared to what it would cost if the gearbox was contaminated – but that’s not the only advantage.
“Not only do these heat exchangers protect equipment from contamination and prevent damage to the system, but they also protect against potential environmental damage, such as a pipe breaking and spewing oil into a creek,” said Chad Mastakoski, Customer Service Representative at L&M Radiator. “We help equipment operate and perform better and also prevent other problems that can occur in a plant.”
To further prevent environmental damage, many quarries use Mesabi® Air-to-Oil Coolers to eliminate the burden of using oil altogether.
Yet another advantage of Mesabi® heat exchangers is their easy ability to be replaced in the field, saving plants not only the time and money of repairing a damaged machine but also of having to halt operations because a machine is down.
“Even if damage does occur to the tubes, the folks at the plant can take ours and simply pull it apart, clean, repair, or replace them and put it back together,” said Fairchild. “We know these environments are often filled with debris and are harsh on equipment. The inevitable cleaning process of our radiators was designed to be simple, easy and able to take place in the field.”
Mesabi® Sets the Standard Across Industries
Since Mesabi® radiators and heat exchangers have dominated the mining, oil and gas industry for more than 65 years, it comes as no surprise that other industries have begun to take notice of the unbreakable nature of Mesabi® heat exchangers. Nowadays, you’ll find Mesabi® heat exchangers cooling hydraulic oil in paper mills, on gigantic stationary generator sets powering entire remote towns in Alaska, on diesel-powered generators for the electrical utility, Minnesota Power, and much more.
“People don’t usually expect us to be on applications outside of the mining or oil and gas industries, but we actually are becoming a very prominent part of processing plants across all industries,” said Fairchild. “For example, we came up with a special tube for the machines at UPM Blandin Paper Mill in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, made out of copper-nickel to withstand the corrosion their former tubes were experiencing from the chloride in their water.”
Though not an industry standard, it is hardly uncommon for engineers at L&M Radiator to provide unique solutions to meet the specific demands of different processing plant needs.
“We work very closely with our customers to find out what their pain points are and develop custom solutions to solve their problems,” said Fairchild. “Our engineers custom design our coolers to build what you need and fit it in what you have available for space. We do whatever we can to make it work best for your needs. A lot of places won’t do that.”
In the future, engineers at L&M Radiator anticipate the use of Mesabi® heat exchangers on electrical equipment: for cooling large data centers for the technology industry, utility-scale battery systems for storing solar and wind energy and more. In fact, it’s already in the works.
“It’s becoming increasingly popular to use Mesabi® coolers on electrical equipment now. Batteries can be so large, and so much energy is drawn out of them that it takes a lot to cool them, and Mesabi® is the best way to get the job done,” said Fairchild. “There is even the potential for cooling data centers for tech companies and for generating and storing energy on utility-scale battery systems on wind or solar farms.”
With all their advantages, there is no doubt that Mesabi® products are universally trusted and depended on in processing plants across the world.
“The simple truth is you can’t beat what a Mesabi® radiator can provide,” added Fairchild. “Most of our clients come to L&M Radiator because they’ve heard how well our product has performed on other projects, and they want that for themselves. Sooner or later, everyone chooses Mesabi®.”
Experience the Mesabi® Difference in Your Plant
Mesabi® heat exchangers have been put to the test in nearly every environment possible and have proven triumphant every time. Learn more about what a Mesabi® radiator or cooler can do for you, here.