One best practice action is to carry out periodic checks on industrial furnaces to avoid combustion and control problems, poor operating performance, use of discontinued components, and non-compliance with safety regulations.
In addition, failure to carry out these inspections stops you taking advantage of the latest industry technologies and being able to obtain data about your operation in order to improve processes and to schedule predictive maintenance.
That is why in this article we would like to discuss what is involved in a furnace audit, and the various problems it can help you resolve.
What’s involved in an audit?
When conducting an audit you can benefit from the following:
- Review of your system’s compliance with the NFPA 86 safety standard.
- Energy efficiency and fuel use surveys.
- Inspection of the current physical state of your equipment and combustion system components.
- We implement best practice in your combustion system’s safety logic.
- Measurement of flue gas emissions.
- Reports of our findings, plus safety or improvement recommendations.
- On-site quotations for the provision of new components to optimize your furnaces.
Problems you can solve with an audit
1.- Low productivity or low quality production
The first thing to check would be the physical and operational state of furnace components, such as control valves, burners, turbofans, temperature controllers, thermocouples, etc.
Afterwards, carry out a survey to validate that the improvement sought was achieved, and problems associated with combustion/control components were resolved.
2.- Poor heating uniformity in the load, resulting in low quality and productivity
The solution will depend on the type of furnace in question:
Low temperature furnace: recirculation air flow and velocity must be measured. Review how the air is being recirculated, focusing on the issue of injection and recirculation.
High temperature furnace: with these furnaces, it is typically a matter of hot and cold spots. Surveys must be carried out and thermocouples used in the furnace to locate hot/cold spots and – according to the findings – you will need to adjust the firing regime, rearrange the load, all to improve uniformity.
3.- Sub-optimal gas consumption in your furnaces
In the case of intermittent furnaces, we can simulate the heating processes based on the following data:
- Furnace dimensions
- Type of product to be heated
- Number of burners
- Installed thermal capacity
We have CFD software (Computational Fluid Dynamics) that allows us to model the process and run computational cycles to analyze possible adjustments that could help us optimize the operation.
We also check if the burner is properly calibrated, review the state of the combustion equipment, and we check for possible air leaks.
4.- Evaluate your furnace’s currently installed technology, in order to recommend updates
For those who have furnaces from 15 or 20 years ago, it is most likely that in that time new control equipment, PLCs, insulation systems, control valves, heat recovery units, regenerative burners, etc., have come onto the market.
Technology advances every year, and it will always be advisable to install updates, in order to maintain or raise your efficiency levels.
At Nutec Bickley we are specialists in industrial furnaces and their diverse components. Contact our expert advisers so they can let you know about all the solutions that we have for you.
Author: Luis García, Services & Spare Parts Manager