A refurbishment or technology upgrade in an industrial furnace helps increase the efficiency and safety of the systems. There are three main areas that can be upgraded, according to the user's requirements:

  1. Insulation
  2. Combustion System
  3. Control System

These improvements can be made through a technical service, an upgrade, or total equipment replacement.

We often observe that our customers have some doubts about the maintenance needs in their combustion and control systems. This is unlike the situation with the furnace insulation, where it is usually more obvious what action is required.

Below, we will talk about those scenarios in which an upgrade, or total technology replacement is relevant.

Article content:

When is a technical service the best option?
When is an upgrade the best option?
When is total replacement necessary?
How can Nutec Bickley help you?

When is a technical service the best option?

All furnaces need to receive a preventive maintenance service once or twice a year to test the valves, detect possible gas leaks, and avoid explosions and toxic environments for operatives.

When the furnace is working inefficiently, customers often think they need to replace the combustion system. However, in many cases it is just that the equipment is not well calibrated; so, a couple of days of servicing can be enough to see it running at full capacity again.

Some signs that a furnace requires a technical service are:

  • Decrease in efficiency and increase in fuel consumption
  • Decrease in production capacity
  • Frequent burner failure
  • Gas or air leaks
  • Pressure loss or overpressure in the furnace
  • Cold spots or heat leaks
  • Abnormal motor vibration

When is an upgrade the best option?

We have seen kilns that continue to operate with outdated premix combustion systems or very old and degraded insulation, which is extremely unsafe for operatives.

In these cases, the first thing to do is to request a technical service to evaluate the situation.

Some indicators that a furnace needs an upgrade of the combustion and control systems are:

  • When it is not in compliance with current safety standards
  • Implementation or improvement of the data acquisition system is required
  • There’s a need to increase furnace capacity for faster operation, have a greater cooling capacity, etc
  • Control systems need to be replaced

Some indicators that a furnace needs an insulation replacement are:

  • The insulation is damaged or there is heat leakage
  • It’s calculated that the insulation could collapse some time in the future due to its continuous use

When is total replacement necessary?

In contrast to the two previous cases, the need for a total replacement is usually clearer to the client.

A furnace needs to be replaced when:

  • The cost of an upgrade or repair is similar to what a new furnace would cost
  • When the system is so old that it’s worth replacing it due to the great operational improvements that will be achieved
  • When there is no way to update the insulation system without undertaking other system modifications in the furnace
  • When there has been an accident and the furnace is irreparable, or the reconstruction is possible but simply too expensive
  • In very old continuous furnaces in which the brick is so damaged that it is risky to attempt a refurbishment
  • When the furnace no longer meets the requirements of the product and any refurbishment to try and meet new parameters is physically impossible; for example, when the product changes and now requires higher temperatures

How can Nutec Bickley help you?

At Nutec Bickley we are experts in technical servicing, upgrading and total replacement of technology in industrial furnaces of all types:

Technical Service

  • Evaluation service
  • Status reports on furnace equipment
  • Preventive and corrective maintenance
  • Technical consulting
  • Optimization of the operation and adjustments to correct anomalies


  • Retrofits of insulation, combustion, control
  • We offer a spare parts service
  • We have modern data acquisition systems
  • We comply with all the rules and standards currently in force
  • We have a wide variety of control systems

Total Replacement

  • Custom-built furnaces
  • Different types of furnaces for every application
  • Turnkey projects undertaken
  • State-of-the-art furnaces and control systems
  • In-house preassembly and equipment testing
  • Rapid installation and reduced downtime for customers

At Nutec Bickley we appreciate that there are often big doubts about whether it's worth investing in a technology upgrade. We stand ready to advise and evaluate your systems in order to recommend the best option.

Author: José Pablo Sánchez 

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Experts in process for metals: annealing furnaces, aluminium aging ovens, quenching systems and more.