Paratherm in 2017: The Year of LIVE

“LIVE Fluid Analysis…At Paratherm’s Training Event”

(Subject Line of Recent Paratherm Email Invitation to Customers)

Paratherm has always understood the importance of face time and “live” time with customers and specifiers—whether at trade shows and conferences, or when visiting customers’ plants to walk through their operations. Up close and personal, we can analyze production problems related to heating/cooling performance, and offer predictive maintenance suggestions customized to the situation. Paratherm technical support and sales engineers are at their best when they can see, understand, and discuss the heat transfer fluid, the processes, and the equipment.

And this year, we’re taking “LIVE” to a new level…
  • Paratherm Live March 28 Thermal Fluid Maintenance 1-day Master Training at Paratherm HQ in King of Prussia PA
  • Paratherm Live Webinar May 17 with Globalspec “The Effects of Fluid Flow Dynamics on Thermal Fluid Performance”
  • May 3 Fluid Mfr. Roundtable by Process Heating Magazine: “Thermal Fluid Analysis Offers Peek Inside Your System”
  • December 5 Fluid Mfr. Roundtable by Process Heating Magazine: “Insider’s Guide to Fluid and System Maintenance”
  • Exhibitions at 5 Trade Events and Conferences Covering Storage Tanks, Liquid Terminals, Petroleum & Gas Processing, Oil Recycling, and Meat & Poultry Processing…

Read More About It…

Thermal Fluid Maintenance Master Training

Master HTF Training

Clockwise From Top Left: Paratherm HQ, Kinematic Viscometer, Thermal Fluid Laboratory, Conference Room, Sample Vials, Sample Kit, and Quart Samples

Full day training at Paratherm HQ in King of Prussia, PA, USA March 28, 2017. No matter your industry or application, attendees will learn the best practices to keep hot-oil system production running— and minimize unplanned downtime. Covers safety, operation, start-up, shut-down, fluid analysis, troubleshooting, and more. Includes a pump presentation by Dean Pumps.  Registration is closed for the March 28 event, but if you’d like to be alerted of future classes, register here at the overflow form.

Paratherm Live Globalspec Webinar May 17

“Care and Feeding of Heat Transfer Fluid Systems.” A one-hour online webinar presentation (by Paratherm’s Product Manager Ryan Ritz) covering the essentials of hot-oil system safety and operation.  This material efficiently and effectively reviews the best practices and “do’s and dont’s” of thermal fluids, indirect heating, and analysis for fluid and equipment maintenance.  Registration link TBA.

Fluid Manufacturer’s Roundtable by Process Heating Magazine #1

“Thermal Fluid Analysis Offers Peek Inside Your System”. May 3, 2017 2:00 PM EDT. Paratherm’s Product Manager Ryan Ritz participates/presents. More info HERE. Registration TBA.

Fluid Manufacturer’s Roundtable by Process Heating Magazine #2

“Insiders’ Guide to Fluid/System Maintenance”. December 5, 2017 2:00 PM EDT. Paratherm’s Product Manager Ryan Ritz participates/presents. More info HERE. Registration TBA

Paratherm Exhibiting at Five Trade Events and Conferences in 2017

  • NISTM National Institute For Storage Tank Management — Conference & Trade Show April 18-19 2017 Orlando FL
  • ILTA Int’l Liquid Terminals Assoc. — Annual Operating Conference & Trade Show June 11-14 2017  Houston TX
  • GPS Global Petroleum Show —  June 13-15 2017  Calgary, AB, Canada
  • CIMIE China International Meat Industry Exhibition — October 18-20 2017 Qingdao, China
  • NORA Nat’l Association of Responsible Recyclers — Conference and Trade Show November 8-11 2017 Naples Florida

 

NISTM logo

 

ILTA Logo

 

 

Paratherm Looks Toward Growth in 2017

As the market and the world around us change, we know that we need to work flexibly within all aspects of the manufacturing industry. Every year at Paratherm we embark on self-evaluation to see what we need to do in order to continue personal growth within the business for the upcoming year. Looking to 2017, our focus will be on the expanding global market, our presence in it, and tailoring our experience for the numerous markets we serve. Meanwhile improving and enhancing our service and response for our loyal North American customers.

2016 was a big year for our company. We moved to our new location, allowing us to streamline many of our operations that we will continue in the New Year. We also updated our web presence to make a sleeker, easier-to-use interface and even garnered national attention from a feature in Construction Today. As we have become known for supplying superior heat transfer fluids to the market, including high-temperature, low-temperature, and food-grade fluids, there has been a drive for extension of our brands, and global outreach. To this extent, over the course of 2017, we look to:

  • Finish our adapted website for the United Kingdom market
  • Complete new mobile-friendly websites that serve our Spanish-speaking customers, as well as the official languages of our Brazilian and Chinese customers
  • Begin to develop country-level domains for our largest markets
  • Continue to develop our presence and customer-service abilities in our newer markets
  • Cement our position as one of the premiere, forward-thinking heat transfer fluid manufacturers across the globe

With our year of extension and global outreach coming up, we invite you to follow along with us and see how everything develops. Our blog, and other numerous social media sites including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, are all excellent way to keep in touch with us and see our internal and external progress.

Whether you are a new customer or have been with us for the nearly three decades we’ve been serving various industries, one thing you can count on over the next year is our continuous commitment to providing the best in customer service and project solutions in the business. Some of the industries we serve include asphalt paving, chemical processing, industrial laundry, plastics, converting, and poultry and meat processing. We are excited for our ongoing development and look forward to new paths the coming year will present.

From the Paratherm team, we wish you a healthy and happy new year!

Another Remarkable Year at Paratherm – Recapping 2016

It’s hard to believe that we are fast approaching the end of another year. Many exciting strides and changes contributed to the past 12 months, but the one constant you can be sure to count on is our dedication to providing the best heat transfer fluids (HTF) for each of our customers.  The Paratherm team consistently delivers solutions that are precise and true to each system. As we close out 2016 here are some important and relevant topics to review from our monthly blog.

Starting off the year in our new headquarters, we’ve realized the benefits of streamlining operations and how it has fully enhanced previous procedures. Our new lab enables us to assist customers in analysis of thermal fluids to diagnose and correct any problems that arise. Alongside our new facility followed a new website! Our new, sleek, site features a redesign but still offers the in-depth information on all of our products and services.

As leaders in engineered fluids for process heating and temperature control applications, as well as related services, we emphasize safety precautions and procedures. Blogs related to food processing highlight important issues to keep both the public and professionals safe from accidents, while fire safety is always a paramount concern and focus of National Safety Month.

Because of our large span of industry knowledge, we also kept a close eye on the needs of the construction industry. Engineered wood and asphalt are two areas of construction that rely on heating equipment and HTFs. Delving into something as big as “The Evolution of Asphalt Heating” exposes our audience to how far the industry has come.

After review, it is confirmed that 2016 was a great success here at Paratherm! As we look towards 2017, we look forward to another fruitful year of providing top-quality engineered fluids and expert support to our valued customers. We wish all of you very Happy Holidays and a Healthy New Year!

How Will Children Grow Up to Be Manufacturing Professionals?

National Manufacturing Month October, 2016

Readers of a certain age will remember familiar patterns in the evolution of their childhood thinking about the inevitable “What Will I Be When I Grow Up?” question. For developing males, it went something like Cowboy-Fireman-Police-Doctor-Outfielder, while females might have followed more of a Nurse-Housewife-Model-Actress pattern.

And then, we actually grew up.

Cowboys and Housewives?  How quaint. Half a century ago well over half the popular entertainment programming featured cowboys and/or housewives. On a scant four broadcast channels, westerns and family sitcoms topped the ratings, while today those stereotypical roles have essentially become the washed-up driftwood on popular culture’s trash-strewn thousand-network beach. Some might say yesterday’s cowboys are today’s superheroes. And yesterday’s housewives have evolved into working sitcom moms. Let’s not pretend that Harriet Nelson and June Cleaver weren’t at least partially idealized.

In those not-so-distant days, in the real world, most people ended up working in manufacturing and supporting industries, so there always needed to be a coming-of-age shift from romantic fantasy to occupational reality, at least for those children maturing into members of the corporate and institutional workforce. The shifting demographic status of the housewife designation is another matter we’ll drop out of this thread, at least for the time being.

Image says October is National Manufacturing Month

And in any case, add up all the cowboys, firemen, police, doctors, outfielders, nurses, models and female actors, among those of us born in the 50s and 60s (and now in our 50s and 60s), and you may reach somewhere around 15% of the employment mix. The rest of us working stiffs—meaning most of us—are in sales, engineering, tech, healthcare, education, service and information, finance—and of course, manufacturing. Back in 1964, children didn’t put on Salesman suits, or Librarian tunics, for Halloween trick-or-treating.

It is October, and National Manufacturing Month is upon us once again in the USA. The good news is that technology, and its indivisible partnership with an exploding universe of information, is delivering to our developing workforce an amazing preview, and menu, for what to do with their lives.

Juvenile fantasies of adult vocations have shifted from old-west and domestic dreamworlds to superhero and comic-book roles, and easy and universal access to personal technology and its wide and clear window upon the world have made the transition to real-work evaluation and aspiration faster, more transparent, and way easier.

Five or six decades ago, information about working in engineering and the sciences would have been a relatively high grasp for any child younger than high-school age. That was when Choo-Choo-Charlie was an engineer, after all, and engineers drove trains.

Now, STEM programs, library services, public and private education, the internet, and popular culture have brought technical, technological, and vocational diversity to an ever-younger audience. Changes in the nature of work and industry itself are rigorously measured and predicted to bring notification of future employment trends to bear on career education and training tracks. The ensuing self-categorization lines up batches of ready workers preparing for the hot jobs of each next decade and generation. Nerds and geeks are cool now. We take our children to work once a year. Science, engineering, technical support, services, coding, and manufacturing technology are together an ever growing, ever evolving and interacting mesh of opportunities, many of which didn’t exist in their present form a generation ago.

One interesting manifestation of the parallel progress of technology and information is the Maker movement. Makers have their own events (Faires), mavens, magazines, Youtube channels, Wikis, networks, blogs, and podcasts.

In the Maker culture, information is shared, designs are traded, and creativity is celebrated. When DIY information began spreading out to millions of sites and documents and videos on the web, and useful technical instructions on how to repair, build and adapt complicated systems started the snowball rolling, it was only a matter of time before unexpected connections began to form. Innovation— integrating preconstructed modules, 3d printing, embedded software, traditional crafting, personal technology, open source sharing, and creative thinking— resulted.

Maker culture has already innovated and inspired numerous concepts and products that have been adapted for mass manufacturing, including environmental, energy, personal technology, household, transportation, and medical breakthroughs. It’s a major the new path for revitalizing American industry, and economic development for urban as well as rust-belt communities.

Who’s doing the making? Girls, boys. High school and college students. Farmers, 4H clubs, apartment dwellers, and tinkering dads in suburban mancaves.

And women. The ones already doing double duty at home and somewhere in an office. Make that triple duty, because they’re Making, too.


For more on the Maker Movement, check out the following links:

Email us or comment below—your reactions, thoughts, insights. Or, ideas about indirect heating and heat transfer in innovating new integrations as discussed above.

Paratherm Introduces Newer, Sleeker, Easier to Use Website

Since 1997, our website has offered customers a convenient platform to connect and obtain information. We are excited to announce that we have launched a newer, sleeker, easier to use website to better serve our customers. The new website is designed to be more visually appealing, while being more user friendly. The website can be conveniently accessed on a desktop computer, laptop, or smartphone.

New Web Design

New Web Design

The new Paratherm website is able to perform many of the same duties Paratherm employees do when assisting hot-oil system users, and others interested in general and specific answers to frequently asked questions about indirect heating technology. The website is useful for customers, design engineers, process managers, fluid specifiers, and maintenance professionals. It educates users on important technical details of heat transfer fluid products, including: product data, safety data, and technical and thermal properties. The website also offers technical advice on products such as hot-oils, and hot-oil system safety, maintenance, and reliability.

Paratherm’s focus is on services including heat transfer fluid analysis, including a fluid maintenance program, standard fluid analysis, and quick analysis. We also offer troubleshooting and thermal fluid system training for high temperature fluids, low temperature fluids, heating and cooling fluids, and food-grade heat transfer fluid. If you’re interested in designing a system or adding components, our professional consultants at Paratherm can help guide you with that also.

Old Web Design

Old Web Design

At Paratherm, we proudly offer timely responses to any sales or technical inquiries, and fast shipments when obtaining the product is critical such as in emergency situations. Paratherm works with industries such as: biodiesel, chemical processing, asphalt paving, engineering, gas processing, industrial laundry, plastics, food, and solar.

When you need application support, fluid analysis, or hot-oil process troubleshooting, you can contact any of the professionals on our team. We hope you enjoy the new website redesign as much as we do. Feel free to explore all of our new features and keep in mind that representatives are available 24/7 at +1 (610) 255-7910, or you can visit the new website where you’ll find a quotes/inquiries form to fill out. Soon after filling the form out, you’ll have an answer to your question or problem, allowing you to get back to the business you need. We look forward to helping you with your heat transfer fluid and temperature-control needs!

The Evolution of Asphalt Heating

Road. (n.) A wide way leading from one place to another, especially one with a specially prepared surface that vehicles can use.  “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” Lewis Carroll

The first great roadbuilders, and engineers, were the ancient Romans, and parts of their roads survive to this day, over two millennia later. In the interim, the prepared surfaces of engineered roads have been made of mud, clay, brick, stone, and even wood block. Yet, for over a century now, by far the most common durable road surface has been the familiar black cement-and-aggregate mixture known as hot-mix asphalt. Other English-speaking parts of the world know it as bitumen, or macadam.

Ancient Roman road of Tall Aqibrin

Ancient Roman road of Tall Aqibrin

This asphalt, first mined from pitch lakes on the island of Trinidad and similar deposits around the world, was originally mixed with gravel by hand labor in large metal trays placed over direct fire. Hard, hot work. As this natural asphalt became replaced over the years with an engineered formula derived from crude petroleum, both the heating process as well as the mixing technology evolved rapidly. Early mixers were adapted from the rotating drums used for cement mixing.

The earth and its inhabitants (1894) (14579852357)

Asphalt Lake, Trinidad. 19th Cent.

  And by the 1920s or 1930s, some asphalt producers, supplying material for both roadbuilding and for other uses such as roofing and pipe-dipping, had begun to use indirect heating to improve the uniformity and consistency of the end-product, as direct heat could be difficult to control. A 1931 technical article in The Journal of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry mentions steam, diphenyl vapor, and hot oil among the heating media already in use for indirectly heating asphalt tanks.

0122 Long

Hillside Roadcut, Asphalt Paved

 The evolution continues to this day. The hot oil that those pioneers used back in the 1930s to heat asphalt tanks was a lubricating-oil base stock, designed not for heating but to protect metal surfaces and extend the life and improve operation of rotating equipment. These days, modern heat-transfer fluids are engineered specifically for high temperature service, and are derived from a variety of chemical families for rugged service, long life, and resistance to thermal and oxidative deterioration.

Asphalt Plant, 1930s

Heating Asphalt , 1930s (Img. from ind.gov)

The heating equipment itself has also evolved a long way from those simple heated trays stirred by hand with long metal hoes. In the 60s producers moved beyond hot-oil heated asphalt plants, adding surge bins and storage tanks to allow more flexibility in meeting variations in demand. Innovators continued to develop other ways to extend the workability time and distance range of the product going out of the plant hot and ready for roadbuilding. Today, information systems, and advances in integrating computer systems into testing, supply, heating, environmental controls, and logistics are adding a whole new level of sophistication to asphalt plant operations.

Paratherm—Heat Transfer Fluids and the Asphalt Industry OEMs

Paratherm works together with the asphalt construction equipment OEMs to help their customers, and ours, to keep their systems maintained, up and running, especially when it counts the most.

It’s August, and in North America, the paving season is at its apex for 2016.

Among the equipment specialists in the asphalt-paving industry is Meeker Equipment Company Inc., which manufactures components to upgrade, renovate, and retrofit existing asphalt and ready-mix plants.

I spoke earlier this month with Jeff Meeker, President of Meeker Equipment, about this year’s paving season.

“We hear from our customers that generally speaking the paving season is going very well,” Meeker said. “Certain areas see a bit of trouble, usually related to political issues. New Jersey in particular needs attention to their transportation trust fund, so there’s a slowdown there at peak season.”

“We also see a lot of paving companies reinvesting in their asphalt plants,” Meeker emphasized. “Money that had been sitting on the sidelines is now going back into rebuilding their businesses.”

I asked Jeff for his opinion about of the evolving role of indirect heating, and specifically how the heat transfer fluids can be a key to preventive maintenance in the manufacturing process.

“Well, our people have become more plugged into talking to construction companies about their hot oil in these equipment discussions, and how important it can be for their operations,” Meeker explained.

“These days, when we visit our customers, our people always carry a heat-transfer-oil test kit,” Meeker said. “The plant managers and maintenance men are increasingly realizing the value of their hot-oil equipment, its impact and importance for their asphalt plants. So we can give them a test kit right there and get them started to evaluate the condition of the system based on the oil test results.”

If you’re an asphalt processor, and you’re interested in a fluid analysis kit, you can get one when the Meeker rep stops by. Or, here at Paratherm, there’s an online form you can fill out and we’ll send you one right away. Here’s the link: Fluid Analysis Kit.

 

Note: In researching the text and reviewing images for this post, I came across a very interesting article, in PennLive, about the origins
and history of the PA Turnpike, its abandoned tunnels and planned modern renewal, and the engineering feat that took it through (not across)
Pennsylvania’s Appalachian Mountains.  Here it is— Ghost Tunnels of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  Haunting photography, too.

A Stark Reminder of the Importance of Food Process Safety

A rather compelling reminder of the perils surrounding our food, our kitchens, and the entire journey of foodstuffs from field and barn to table and mealtime can be found nearly every day, while watching broadcast television.

In television production-studio kitchens, children as young as 8, and retirees in their 7th decade weave back and forth from the larders to their prep counters and pro-kitchen equipment, and from there to the ovens and stovetops, while competing to be selected as the best, by those persnickety and demanding celebrity chefs.

Vats of boiling oil, trays of broiling bacon, rotating mince blades, manual carrot chopping (fingernails in “claw” mode!), red-hot heating elements, grater surfaces, oven racks—these all can be focal points of danger and potential injury.

We watch as these intrepid and aspiring chefs, young and old, in the rush and turmoil of competing against both time and their highly skilled adversaries, inevitably back into each other while holding a hot vat or steaming kettle, or slice a digit or grate a fingertip or sear a knuckle, potentially dashing their hopes for the title of Master, Grand, or Top Chef.

On another channel in a fascinating recent documentary, about the early development of forensic science in New York City nearly a century ago, food contamination turns out to be the culprit in several very important court cases. For the first time in US history, meticulous testing and research were systematically used as legal evidence to prove accidental death, or intentional murder.

Photo of Alexander Gettler likely in the 20s or 30s

Dr. Alexander Gettler, first toxicologist and forensic chemist with the City of New York

Summer Barbecue Safety Can Be Tricky

It’s the heart of the summer, August 2016. We put wine-soaked cedar planks on our gas grills for salmon seasoning, load piles of charcoal into our Webers and Hibachis, we marinate our proteins and brush EVO on our pepper slices and zucchini filets, we make wonderful food and the aromas of char and caramelization swirl through our neighborhoods; and we, too, must be wary of the dangers. I remember an afternoon 50 years ago when my dad had a stubborn batch of charcoal and was sprinkling some grill lighter fluid on the smoking briquettes. Suddenly the tin can exploded in his hand. It was startling, but fortunately no injury resulted. Perhaps slightly wounded pride in having to explain to your son how not to use lighter fluid, as amply demonstrated. Have you seen or used those stand-alone whole turkey fryers? Check it out on Youtube, and you’ll see more examples of people breaching safety procedures when cooking outdoors. Hint: Do Not Immerse a Frozen Whole Turkey into A Vat of Boiling Oil.

These days, food manufacturers, and restaurants and chains, are very meticulous with their processes to protect the safety of their products, and their customers. And their customers’ customers. Still, accidents happen.

Indirect heating with heat transfer fluids has been common in industrial manufacturing, including food processing, for several decades now.

In 1968, a heat transfer fluid made of PCB (since banned for functional heating purposes, as well as most other uses) poisoned more than 1600 people in Japan, due to accidental contamination of edible rice oil.

We’ve Come a Long Way Since 1968

Food-grade heat transfer fluids are now very widely used in food manufacturing equipment, including high volume fryers, ovens, grills, dryers, and distillation applications; in the poultry, meat, dairy, baking and vegetable-oil processing industries.

Food-grade heat transfer fluids assure the consumer public, and the food production industry, that these crucial steps of these food-manufacturing processes are properly engineered, safe, and reliable.

Food-grade heat transfer fluids were originally registered and certified in the late 1970s by the USFDA and the USDA. Now, these certifications are maintained and managed by the NSF.

No food-grade heat transfer fluid has been more researched and more certified for safety than the Paratherm™ NF heat transfer fluid. In addition to its original certifications from the USFDA, the USDA, Canada H&W, and New Zealand MAF, Organism Laboratory Bioassay; and its current NSF registration and kosher and Halal acceptance, it’s the only product on the market that has been the subject of research into its inherent safety and toxicity after being used in a working process heating system manufacturing food products for several years.

Image of a daisy, in a flask of clear heat transfer fluid, like a vase

Paratherm NF Food-Grade Heat Transfer Fluid

In other words, not only has Paratherm NF held multiple certifications and passed toxicity standards as a brand-new, clear, unused fluid, it has also passed muster as a used, beaten up, moderately browned, yet still perfectly usable, still-within-specifications food-grade thermal oil.

We did these tests because no other food-grade fluid is used in more food plants and applications. Paratherm is the leader in this niche, in products, in service, in technical expertise, and we take the safety of the product very seriously, and intend to remain the leader.

So you can be assured, whether you’re specifying food-grade fluid for a new system, or have been using the same charge of fluid for 5 years, that it’s safe. Contamination aside, Paratherm NF continues to pass bioassay whether it’s new or used.

Paratherm also works with all its customers to maintain their systems, to test their fluids regularly, to avoid problems and prevent contamination as much as possible. Paratherm offers plenty of information on the web as well, to assist with safe handling and use of all of our products.

Paratherm has a section of its website that collects all these safety resources in a single place. View it at www.paratherm.com/safety

 

PARATHERM AND THE NATIONAL SAFETY MONTH: VANGUARDS IN HEAT TRANSFER FLUIDS AND ROBUST HOT OIL SYSTEM DESIGN

June 2016 will witness the celebration of National Safety Month in the USA. It is a tradition that focuses on the importance of pre-emptive and cautionary actions at the workplace so that employees can give their best without falling victim to practices which compromise their security and their well-being. Over four weeks of high-quality free resources are offered to businesses all over the country in an attempt to educate decision makers about the importance of worker safety so that they, in turn, can invest in the right gear, design, and equipment to avoid personal injury—and its consequences.

Fire Safety is a Big Issue: 

Every year the National Safety Month (NSM) chooses a specific focus. And even though 2016 is not about fire prevention, in factories that use hot-oil systems for heat transfer the month is a great reminder to review care of the entire system, and revisit the best maintenance practices that can minimize fire risk.

Paratherm has been a market leader in the sector of high-temperature heat transfer fluids for years, and our team of experienced engineers has evaluated hundreds of hot-oil systems and processes to come up with a few suggestions;

• Leaks. High-temperature heat transfer fluids tend to have relatively high flash points, but when they leak from a system—typically from seals, flex hoses, or piping joints—fire can result.
• Proper ventilation is a key advantage, especially if the heater is located inside the factory building. Adequate ventilation prevents build-up of the required volume of fuel vapors to allow ignition and nips the fire problem in the bud.
• Insulation. Porous insulation materials, unless properly specified and installed, can increase the risk of spontaneous combustion.
• System components. For example, in general all valves should be installed with their stems facing side-ways so that bleeds and leaks can drip away from the pipes and the system.
• See below links for detailed coverage of these advisories.

Paratherm Is an Active Advocate of Fire Prevention and National Safety Month:

Paratherm offers fluid selection advice, and system safety consulting to hot-oil heat transfer system operators and also provides intensive training to help hot-oil-system operators in process industries, asphalt batch plants, and industrial laundries turn thermal oil systems into fire-free zones. Visit the below links for more details.

User’s Guide Technical Data Sheets

Preventing Fires in Thermal Oil heat Transfer Systems (Revised May, 2016)
Flash and Fire Points in Hot Oil Systems (Revised October, 2015)

Blogs and Articles

Paratherm’s Blog Series (3-Parts) on Preventing Insulation Fires
How To Build a Reliable, Practically Leak Free Thermal Fluid System (Process Heating Magazine)

Paratherm Thermal Fluid System Training

Services: Hot Oil System Training from Paratherm

NSC

National Safety Month

Housing Construction Expected to be Strong This Year

According to a 2016 housing forecast at realtor.com, home sales this year are likely to reach the highest levels in a decade. Rises in new-home construction and existing home sales are both expected to push total home sales to the highest levels since 2006.

Building materials should be in high demand, so the industries that produce them— forestry, milling, roofing, wiring and plumbing goods, among others—should thrive as well.

But lumber isn’t just milled timber anymore. Engineered woods, made partly from natural cellulosic materials and byproducts, combined with manufactured components such as resins and adhesives, are increasingly important, with ever improving features, benefits, and performance characteristics.

Engineered wood has become popular for a multitude of reasons. Oriented strand board(OSB), medium density fiber(MDF), paneling, plywood and other types of wood-based building products increasingly help contribute to modern construction projects. Engineered wood products are often times compared to steel because of their surface quality and are even specified for jobs over traditional lumber due to enhanced strength and durability.

OSB (Oriented Strand Board)

OSB (Oriented Strand Board)

So, we’re all clear that manufactured building materials are key players when contributing to sound construction, but how do heat transfer fluids apply?

Engineered wood is simply that: engineered, or man-made. It isn’t wood that comes from chopping down a tree in your backyard. This type of pre-planned wood is designed with specifications in mind to meet the standards—stability, durability, compressibility, etc—of the specified material.

This kind of specialty wood is made by the binding of materials. Continuous or batched mats of compacted wood, strips, particles or veneers are fused together with an adhesive utilizing a thermal-oil-heated press, at a temperature of around 425ºF.

“It’s a demanding process,” says Jim Oetinger, Paratherm’s director of technology. “The hot oil can maintain those temperatures without the extreme pressures you would need with steam so virtually every engineered-wood plant is using thermal oil these days. “

“However the oil can start to degrade and cause sludge buildups in the platens” Says Oetinger. “The problem is that the operators don’t realize that this is happening until the cold spots start to affect product quality. Eventually the platens have be cleaned which requires a complete system shutdown.”

To avoid that downtime, Paratherm’s maintenance programs, using hot-oil lab analysis, comparative fluid baselines, historical data, and plant operator interviews, keep the cold spots from developing, and the process and equipment within specs. At the very least, downtime can be scheduled during regular, expected shutdowns.

Paratherm HE is a durable natural hydrocarbon-based heat transfer fluid used in applications such as the creation of the engineered wood discussed above. Because safety, upkeep, and operation are crucial components of large applications, technical support for heat thermal fluids and accompanying equipment are necessary for general plant management and maintenance.

At the beginning of April we were given the opportunity to exhibit our capabilities at the 4th Wood Bioenergy Conference and Expo, followed by the 5th Panel & Engineered Lumber International Conference and Expo (PELICE). Read more about the event here. In past years, both symposiums have attracted 300+ industry professionals to share in on industry knowledge and presentations, with 75 equipment and technology exhibitors to speak to the various kind of specialty wood and their composite breakdowns.

With this year’s Expos under our belts we are looking forward to jumping into field projects for the industry and upcoming construction season. In need of high-quality heat thermal fluids for the making of your engineered wood? Contact the professionals at Paratherm today. Staff members are on standby ready to answer any questions or help you complete any processes you may have.

Ask the Professionals: Service and Maintenance of Thermal Fluid Systems

Why should someone pick a fluid system over steam?

Thermal-fluid systems have been replacing steam in a wide range of process applications for decades. Non pressurization, simpler components, and higher efficiencies make these systems easier to run and maintain. Once you have decided to switch to a thermal-fluid system, proper service and maintenance are required to ensure that fluids and equipment stay in optimal condition. As an industry leader, Paratherm has experience and the service capabilities to keep your systems up and running. Hot-oil systems are especially attractive for new installations where steam boilers or a steam utility isn’t already present, and heating or heat removal is needed more than the unique properties of the steam itself.

What is your fluid maintenance program? Will it help me?

In short term, yes – it will help you. Paratherm’s Fluid Maintenance Program takes the guesswork out of thermal-fluid analysis. Through sample kits, we test your fluid, compare it against previous samples, and provide you with feedback on its condition. This comprehensive lab review determines if the fluid results are normal, if an equipment problem exists, or if operational issues are causing fluid to degrade. If any changes have occurred, you will be able to take corrective actions to prevent system downtime or damage. Proactive system maintenance is scheduled to meet your needs with incentives offered toward the next analysis.

Image of Laboratory

Our New Laboratory

Do you offer any other services to keep my system on track?

Thermal Fluid System Training is another service Paratherm offers to evaluate in-house maintenance and operation of the thermal-fluid system. Our qualified technical service representative arrives for a half-day or full-day site visit to inspect the system and train personnel on proper safety, operation, and operating practices. A follow-up interview and summary report are included. We also provide preventative maintenance programs, troubleshooting, and system application and design reviews.

Final Thoughts From the Experts

The experts at Paratherm are here to help you manage all aspects of thermal-fluid systems. From training personnel on new systems to maintaining existing systems, we provide the services and maintenance programs to keep your process running smoothly and effectively. In need of our systems today? Contact us here.