Dave Dyer, technical sales engineer at heat transfer specialist, Global Heat Transfer, discusses how a detailed understanding of a heat transfer fluid system can help manufacturers maintain efficiency and prevent downtime

the plant efficiently, but more components are needed to ensure the system is safe and stable to use. One of the most overlooked pieces of


hermal fluid systems are used to provide indirect heat in production in

a number of industry sectors, including pharmaceuticals, food and chemical processing. Thermal fluid systems transport thermal fluid through a production line to perform actions such as processing chemicals, deriving electricity or cooking food. Manufacturers must ensure their plants run safely and efficiently to meet equipment regulations. However, in many ways, regulatory compliance is only a minimum in terms of safety checks and maintenance. Plant managers can inspect their systems to prevent issues with early maintenance. In order to do so, manufacturers can draw from their understanding of the system. The better the operator’s understanding of the system, the more able they are to spot issues early. To avoid problems that cause safety hazards and system failure, everyone in a manufacturing plant should know the specifics of the systems they work with. Starting up and shutting down a heat transfer system are fundamental skills needed to ensure efficient production.

THE INS AND OUTS The main function of a heat transfer system is to distribute heat around a facility. The heating process begins at the main heater, which is comprised of a burner and coil which is cited inside the heater. The burner heats the coil containing the heat transfer fluid. A pump circulates the fluid through the system and controls the pressure. An expansion tank holds any excess oil so the correct amount of oil is in the system at any one time. This main circuit of the system allows the fluid to travel around


equipment is the gasket, which connects flanges that seal the system containing the fluid. At any sign of gasket failure, the heat transfer system must be shut down to prevent hazards and to isolate the issue.

Dave Dyer, technical sales engineer for Global Heat Transfer

SYSTEM INSTALLATION When the system is first installed, manufacturers must consider that some components are designed to perform functions specific to a new system. During installation, a strainer is added to catch debris, as anything from metal shavings to bolts can get into the system during construction. General practice for engineers is to remove the strainer after the system has been up and running for around five working days. When the strainer is not removed, problems can arise if there is a carbon build up in the system.

SAFETY A clean working environment aids productivity and keeps workers safe. In some cases, there is a lack of general housekeeping of heat transfer systems. Manufacturers can improve plant efficiency by cleaning and fixing leakages immediately, as well as using the correct equipment based on temperature and other environmental factors. Leaving oil spills unattended or using plastic equipment can be a health and safety hazard. As well as protecting workers through

cleanliness, purchasing and maintaining safety equipment can improve the efficiency of the heat transfer system. Spray guards are used around flanges and known potential leak points, causing the oil to coalesce back to a liquid and rendering it non-hazardous. This makes the leak safe but visible so it can be fixed. Maintaining insulation across the heat transfer system is important, as any

human contact with exposed equipment may cause serious injury. Using a range of safety protocols can benefit the system operator, meaning they are more equipped to operate the system and manage the risks in the long term.

RISK MANAGEMENT Plant managers have a lot to gain from proactive maintenance and checks. Maintenance staff should proactively check the system as frequently as possible to look for wear and tear or leaks. In order to know what to look for

during visual checks, staff should be aware of which parts of the system will need the most maintenance. Workers should moniter the heater fluid daily to ensure it works efficiently. Checking gauges is the principal way to

monitor efficiency and discover problems within the system. Another visual cue of a problem in the system would be pipes shaking or slower systems from dust build-up in the vents. Noticing these problems early on can reduce the risk of downtime as parts can be cleaned, fixed or replaced accordingly. A lack of representative routine testing and analysis of oil and proactive maintenance can lead to the fluid degrading and carbon forming in the system. Implementation of a continuous maintenance programme for thermal fluid, such as Global Heat Transfer’s Thermocare, can reassure manufacturers that it is not the fluid that has caused production issues. Looking at a heat transfer system alone does not always tell manufacturers how the system in their plant works. With knowledgeable, trained staff and a preventative maintenance plan, such as Global Heat Transfer’s Thermocare, manufacturers can optimise productivity of their heat transfer system, creating satisfaction for workers.

Global Heat Transfer T: 01785 760 444


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