Archive for September 2012

Employee Profile: Ryan Ritz, Chemical Engineer

Ryan Ritz began a long relationship with Paratherm in 2003, starting as an engineering intern while he was studying chemical engineering at the University of Delaware.  Upon graduating in 2006, Ryan was hired as a full-time employee.

In his time at Paratherm, Ryan has worn many different hats. He began working in the laboratory on research & development of low-temperature products. From there he worked on a myriad of special projects contributing to quality control, documentation control, development of manufacturing procedures, comparative product research, marketing, sales engineering, and service development.

One of the main technical projects that Ryan works on presently, focuses on product performance and stability comparison. How well will Paratherm products transfer heat? What is their longevity? How thermally stable is each new product going to be? When talking about high temperatures (some products go up to 650 degrees F) we need to be sure that the product is going to last a long time.  Beyond testing Paratherm’s own products, Ryan also analyzes competitive product lines. We want to be sure we have a full understanding of how competitors’ products work in comparison to ours so that when our customers ask, we can provide them with unbiased findings backed by technical data.

When the analysis begins, Ryan is looking for the way these varied products will comparatively break down. Two common ways thermal fluids degrade are through oxidation and thermal degradation (overheating).  Although we have our own internal lab for fluid monitoring and predictive analysis, Paratherm contracts accredited 3rd party laboratories to run ASTM standardized testing—with standardized temperatures and runtimes—to measure these forms of degradation on Paratherm’s fluids side by side with other products.

This type of work leads right into another project that Ryan works on, which is designing custom lab tests to compare products for thermal stability and oxidation resistance. Since the oil itself is an actual engineered product, it is imperative that the oils are designed to have an optimal ratio of physical properties that will translate to better performance and dependability. Many competitors put additives in their fluids that typically degrade well before the oil itself breaks down. The majority of Paratherm products are highly refined oils and synthetics that are engineered specifically for high-temperature heat transfer service, unlike typical lubricating or hydraulic oil. Because of that, there exists less likelihood for premature fouling and break-down due to inherent impurities.

Since Paratherm develops both natural mineral oils and synthetic fluids, we have a unique perspective. We are also able to compare our own products against each other. Ryan dedicates time to determine what the pros and cons are within our own product line. Since we have such a large product offering, many products will cover overlapping temperature ranges so we test to see how each product will perform in different systems with variables in operating conditions. Because of all this internal testing, Ryan is able to pass on this information to other sales people, who in turn are able to pass it on to fluid users and specifiers.

We take our products very seriously, and employ people like Ryan Ritz whose dedication and knowledge of the industry help to keep us ahead of the curve.