Polyurethane component manufacturer Kastalon Inc. partners with engineers worldwide to create custom springs and energy control devices for a variety of high-profile projects. It's not often, though, that the project's end users are fish.
Kastalon, a second-generation family-owned company headquartered near Chicago, played a key role in the success of the Pelton Round Butte Selective Water Withdrawal project. The project used innovative engineering techniques to create a one-of-a-kind floating fish collection facility and restore natural migration to Oregon's Lake Billy Chinook. The ingenious design earned the project a prestigious national Grand Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies.
Built in the early 1960s, the Round Butte Dam changed the lake and river's temperature and flow so drastically that native salmon could no longer migrate or spawn. The dam's co-owners, Portland General Electric and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, commissioned engineering firm CH2M Hill® to develop a unique 273-foot-tall underwater tower and fish collection facility that would restore the water's temperature and current while protecting the fish from being drawn through the turbines. This had to be accomplished without disturbing the dam's hydroelectric power production.
To join the facility's floating and stationary portions, CH2M Hill needed two connectors/arrestors that provided the strength and durability the project demanded. The completed connectors/arrestors had to allow the facility's 1,316-ton floating portion a full range of three-axis motion and provide the controlled movement required to protect the structure during extreme storms and seismic events. After an international search, CH2M Hill could not find any products capable of meeting its requirements, and the company began trying to develop the device itself.
When CH2M Hill learned about Kastalon's polyurethane engineering capabilities, it asked Kastalon to conceptualize and design this crucial component for the facility. Kastalon's custom-engineered polyurethane components can provide a predictable response at temperatures ranging from -30 F (-16.7 C) to 212 F (100 C) and offer protection from vibration, shock and impact.
Drawing on its previous experience designing components for marine environments, including projects for the U.S. Navy, Kastalon recommended a type of polyurethane that could withstand extraordinarily high dynamic loads and environmental stresses and boasted a very long cycle life. The company's expert team of engineers, designers and production technicians built prototypes of the design, produced the components and thoroughly tested the product.
"Since we understand our materials so well and can integrate them into our customers' mechanical requirements, we make parts that work," Kastalon President Bruce DeMent says. "We knew we could design components to meet the project's needs."
More than a year after the connectors' installation, the collection facility is operating seamlessly. Salmon have resumed their natural migration, and Round Butte Dam continues to provide eco-friendly hydropower to the region. Kastalon's innovative connectors are key to the project's ongoing success.
"Kastalon deserves a great deal of credit for being able to deliver the required piece of equipment needed on this job," says Walter Bennett, senior project manager for CH2M Hill. "It is truly a unique product and has worked very successfully."
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