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Process Heating: Making It More Efficient

Posted Feb 24th, 2017

Process Heating: Making It More Efficient TERESA MADALENO

Productivity is so important in the manufacturing sector and most people know this. However, there are many who may not realize the significant savings that are achievable in industrial utility systems, including process-heating systems. Experts in the industrial utility systems sector suggest the economic benefits to improved efficiency in this area can be huge.

Process heating is something that happens in the manufacturing of almost all consumer and industrial products such as metal, plastic, rubber, glass, ceramics and concrete. There is electric-based process heating, steam-based process heating, and fuel-based process heating.

The performance of the process heating system is determined by its ability to reach a certain product quality under certain constraints, such as high throughput, and low response time. Energy efficiency is determined by the costs linked to the heating system per unit produced. An efficient system will manufacture a product at the quality level you are looking for and at the lowest possible cost. An energy-efficient process heating system can create a product with less input energy to the systems per unit produced.

There are situations where process heating can be eliminated. For example, there are substances that don’t require heating, but are effective in washing systems used to clean metal parts prior to painting operations.

The U.S. Department of Energy points out that there are many ways to improve both process heating and steam systems, including improving boiler combustion, minimizing boiler blow-down, upgrading boilers with energy-efficient burners, checking burner air-to-filter ratios, reducing air filtration in furnaces, checking heat transfer surfaces, and reducing radiation loss from heating equipment.

Approaches to improving the heating operations in a company are varied and can involve multiple processes. Identifying and improving inefficiencies takes time, technology and knowledge, but it is worth the effort. As the DOE has stated, process heating accounts for about 36 percent of total energy used in industrial manufacturing applications.

Many manufacturers have discovered that by metering and using sensors they create more opportunities to understand what needs to be done to improve inefficiencies and lower energy costs. Furthermore, various rebates offered through local energy providers allow for payment of studies to qualify the savings and implement energy solutions. In some instances, those rebate programs will pay back 100 percent of the cost of the study.

Contact illumineris to request your Preliminary Engineering Study.