WIN 2017/18

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Page 20 of 38

Next generation of steam-heating applications on the rise B Y D AV E B U R G G R E N M any businesses require precise levels of heat to achieve a desired outcome. For example, in food production industries, it is important for all production to maintain consistent quality. This can be difficult to achieve with some heating technologies, such as direct fired heating. Direct fired heating requires management of extremely high temperatures that can fluctuate and scorch products to yield varying results. Steam heating, (a staple heat source for more than a century), on the other hand, generates the same large heat loads but in a more controlled form, creating greater consistency and resulting in higher product quality. Steam heating is available from high- and low-pressure steam boilers, allowing businesses to match equipment to needs. Many industries that may have traditionally opted for high-pressure steam are now realizing the benefits they can achieve with low- pressure steam applications. RISING USE OF LOW- PRESSURE STEAM The operating pressure of steam boil- ers should match the temperatures re- quired for each specific application — such as pasteurizing beer or yogurt. It is a common misconception, however, that low-pressure steam boilers are not suited for process heating. In fact, many businesses running high-pres- sure steam boilers could likely satisfy heating needs with low-pressure steam boilers and achieve the same results, while saving on both equipment pur- chases and operating costs. Low-pressure steam is limited to 15 pounds per square inch. High- pressure steam applications require more than 15 PSI. However, with high-pressure steam, complex and costly regulations set in. Owning and operating high-pressure steam systems may require staff to undergo specific training and certification, and require that staff be present 24/7 . Businesses must purchase additional, specialized insurance coverage specific to high-pressure steam. Therefore, opting for low-pressure steam when it satisfies the process requirements reduces regulatory burden, increases staffing flexibility and reduces overall insurance costs. In addition, high-pressure steam systems can be more expensive to pur- chase, install and repair. High-pressure steam systems often call for expensive, specialized welding during assembly or repairs, adding to cost of ownership. While many steam heat applica- tions can easily be accomplished with either low- or high-pressure systems, some processes are better suited for high-pressure technology. For ex- ample, high-pressure steam is ideal for extremely large facilities with high heat demands, such as hospitals with sterilization and in autoclave require- ments. These applications need much higher pressure — 60 PSI and above. MODERN DAY LOW-PRESSURE STEAM APPLICATIONS There are many growing industry ap- plications in the U.S. that embrace low- pressure steam heat for its cost-effi- ciency and versatility. These include: NEW SPIN ON OLD RESOURCE An increasing number of small craft brewers, micro-pubs and micro-distilleries are enjoying the low costs associated with low-pressure steam heat, while achieving consistent batches and reducing waste. AMMENTORP/DREAMSTIME HVACPproducts.com HVAC & Plumbing Product News \ Winter 2017/2018 18

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