Archive for the Unsubmerged Category

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

Conference table full of people, big screen, presenter

March 28, 2017 Paratherm Thermal Fluid Maintenance Training Attendance

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.  Register HERE.

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.

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.

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

 

The Easy Way to Sell More Fluid

The reason Paratherm, and other responsible heat-transfer fluid manufacturers, put so much value on fluid analysis is because it’s an objective and scientific evaluation.

Yes, there is a wide range of test values between brand-new fluid and fluid that has reached its end of life. And a discussion of the test results with a trusted expert allows the system operator to make informed choices in maintaining the equipment and the fluid itself.

But a useful tool like fluid analysis can be misused in some circumstances. Occasionally we hear about a competitor using hot-oil test results to sell to sell more fluid, in a questionable, even unethical, way.
 

“I’m Chris Hansen from Dateline NBC, and I Think You’re Lying to Me”

 
There’s a familiar formula for investigative television programming, routinely used on shows like 60 Minutes, Dateline, and 48 Hours, where the producers trick dishonest plumbers and car mechanics into revealing their sneak tactics for selling brand-new (but unneeded) water heaters and transmissions to the unwary.

Let’s face it, these television newsmagazine programs confirm an uncomfortable truth that we all would prefer not to believe; there are a lot of rats out there trying to rip us all off. Yes, there are good honest mechanics too, but if we’re to believe what happens on Dateline, you’ve got about a 50/50 chance of drawing a rat when you start a new relationship with a home contractor.
 

But what about industrial commerce?  Heat Transfer Fluid?  It can’t happen here, right?
 

Yes it can. Once a year or so, in fact, we hear about a customer being told to replace their total fluid volume when they don’t really have to. Sometimes it’s one of our customers, and sometimes it’s a case where we’re being asked for a second opinion.

In this blog, we try to keep our posts relatively short, so we’re not going to present a lot of detail here, but if you want the whole story with all the ugly details, give us a call.

And consider a rule of thumb; if two companies differ on an important sales recommendation, whether for fluid, equipment, or service, consider which one has the most to gain in the short-term, and evaluate accordingly.

And for that evaluation process, you don’t have to go it alone. Try thinking outside the box, or looking inside the box. These days there are online industry forums where people can ask questions and get answers; there may be competent, objective, and discerning pros on your own staff (or sister plants) that could weigh in; and there are seasoned, experienced engineers out there editing professional journals and running LinkedIn groups who would probably be happy to evaluate a real-life, real-time puzzler.

And one other thing… notice the single glaring circumstance all those televised scam examples seem to have in common; the victim in every case has no pre-existing relationship with the contractor scam artist.

Bottom line: Develop a network of suppliers and servicers that you can trust, and stay with them.
And if you think any supplier is trying to sell you something the easy way, slow it down. Ask questions. Make ‘em work for it.
 
Keep calm and I'm Chris Hanson from Dateline and I think you're lying to me

A Few Frequent Questions…With Answers

In Depth Answers to a few Frequently Asked Questions about Heat Transfer Fluids

Heat Transfer Fluid FAQ

 

The technology of heat transfer fluids is not extremely complicated. It involves liquids, heaters, pumps, flow rates, thermal and physical properties, and a few basic engineering principles.

Still, some of the more curious aspects of the fluids themselves fit with common-sense expectations, while at the same time, some other behaviors of these rascals fit into the non-intuitive category.

As one of the leading publishers of online content and information about the technology and use of heat transfer fluids in the process industries, we get a fair number of questions…

Questions that we are happy to help answer for you and questions that reach both ends of a very broad spectrum. That being said, we have found that there are just a few questions that we hear more than others. In an effort to help guide our customers to the best understanding possible of our products, we have put together a list of the top questions that we receive as well as providing our answers.

Here are three of them, in no particular order. In future blog postings, we’ll add to this list.

If we did not cover a question that you have, please call us! We would love to hear from you.

 

Q1.    If I can use water why would I want to use HTF?

A1. You probably wouldn’t. We often tell people that they’re better off with water, or water with freeze protection There are, however exceptions:

  • Once you get above 212°F, water boils and thus creates pressure in the system.  Get up to 400° and that pressure becomes substantial.  Non-aqueous heat transfer fluids don’t reach their boiling ranges until above 600°F.  High pressures (think steam) require different equipment, oversight, and maintenance practices for application and process management.
  • Water also freezes at 32°F.  Non-aqueous HTFs will remain liquid down to 0, -10, -35 and lower.
  • Water is also corrosive unless carefully treated and maintained. Not HTF.

 

Q2. What presentations do you offer?

A2. 5-gallon poly pails, 55-gallon steel drums, 1000-liter skidded totes, 330-gallon totes, and bulk by the gallon in trailer tankwagons or lined ocean 20- and 40-foot containers.

 

Q3.    Do you have local stock in Silverville?

A3. Paratherm has North American stock in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arkansas, Indiana, Nevada, and Ontario.  Internationally, in Europe and with distributors in Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, China and Thailand. Not all products are stocked in all locations. Call for specific availability.


Q4.    Do you have a fluid for a) 800 degrees F?  b) 1200°F? c) -100°C?

A4. a) 800°F – We don’t but we know manufacturers that do. This is the limit for commonly used chemistries. Paratherm’s highest temperature product will withstand a film-temperature of 750°F

  1. b) 1200°F – Nobody does.  Rarely used molten salts have performed over 900°F, but they’re quite a challenge to handle and utilize.  We can recommend firms who provide these products, and engineer these systems.
  2. c) -100°C – Paratherm’s lowest goes to -88°C.  For lower temperatures, other technologies such as liquid nitrogen and helium are used.

Was your question answered above? If not, reach out to us by clicking here.

Successes of 2013 Move into 2014!

We are excited to see the old year winding down and the New Year quickly approaching.  It has been a busy 2013 and thanks to our customers, it was a great one too!

Here’s a look ahead for 2014:

  • We are working on a possible new transfer fluid product for the asphalt paving industry. Its special properties will be oriented towards oxidation resistance and high thermal stability.  We plan on introducing it at an economical price.
  • In addition to this new transfer fluid, we will be developing new products that will target a new set of applications that should be of interest to many of our customers.
  • We are working on a realignment of our sales force in the New Year.  In particular, we will have an increased focus on international opportunities.
  • Gabriel Melo will be helping out on these new international deals.  His new title is International Business Development Manager.  He has international responsibilities beyond South America, which had been his main focus.
  • Two new domestic sales engineers were also added to our sales/service team in late 2013: Jim Walzer, handling liaison with Engineering Companies, Oil & Gas, Biodiesel and Bioenergy; and  Mike DiGiacomo, handling existing accounts and new inquiries in the western USA and Canada.  Great capabilities and experience, welcome additions to the Paratherm effort.
  • Paratherm director of technology Jim Oetinger will be speaking at the AICHE Spring Meeting in New Orleans, March/April 2014.  Stay tuned, we will update soon with details.

These are just a few of the many exciting things that will be taking place at Paratherm.  We hope that you and your families have a healthy and happy holiday season and New Year.  See you again in 2014!

Happy Holidays!!

Heat Transfer Fluids: A Driving Force of the Asphalt Industry

In the summer of 1970, my first summer job was working on a paving crew.

Back then, the equipment, and the labor used for layering the prep, the screenings, and the asphalt surfacing, was much less specialized than it is today.  We were laying country roads, and an occasional driveway, in rural Chester County, Pennsylvania.  The crew consisted of a foreman, a crew leader, 2 or three drivers  and equipment operators, and around ten laborers.  There was no project engineer as such.  The owner of the company occasionally showed up (he had several working crews at the time) and grabbed a shovel himself.  At 14, I was the youngest, and smallest, and pretty much the least of them, in terms of responsibility and capability. Certainly in terms of experience.  This was a rough-edged, but good humored bunch, and included all sizes, races and ages.

When a stretch of road was prepped and ready, and a dump truck showed up full of hot black asphalt mix, everybody grabbed a tool and pitched in.  It was a controlled, cooperative frenzy to properly, carefully tilt the dump bed, deposit part of the load, shovel, rake and smooth the mix, then steamroll it and move along to the next section.  For twenty minutes, we’d sweat in the summer heat.  Then, until the next load arrived, the pace slowed while screenings were raked and other prep was done, and the fellows chafed each other about their weekend conquests down the shore in Wildwood while chugging ice water from the water jugs the foreman brought along.  If the saltiness of the language was lightened for a 14 year old, it was still a pretty spicy stew.  Sometimes they’d send me off to clean the shovels of the encrusted asphalt cement, with kerosene.

Most Americans don’t think about the roads they are riding on while driving from point A to point B. What they may not realize is that asphalt is literally paving the way for almost every single one of us to get where we need to go. Remarkably, of the 2.4 million miles of paved roads throughout the U.S., 2.3 million of them are paved with hot mix asphalt (HMA).

As of 2009, there were 3,900 asphalt plants producing 360 million tons of HMA, valued at $24 billion.  It’s an industry that’s huge and imperative—over the next 50 years, it’s estimated that it will cost $185 billion to maintain our country’s aging infrastructure, and HMA is going to be a very large part of it. As such an important aspect of our lives, these 3,900 asphalt plants in operation need to be functioning at their best at all times—any delay can be detrimental.

I didn’t know it at the time of course, but around the time when I had my first summer job, hot-oil systems, which indirectly heat varied equipment at asphalt plants, were rapidly replacing inefficient and emissive direct-fired heating, and helping enable plants to lengthen the viable storage time of prepared hot-mix asphalt.  Nowadays, virtually every plant has a hot oil system which heats the asphalt cement—hundreds of thousands of tons of it across North America. Using low-cost oils can cause long-term, serious problems to a system, as well as delays. Such multi-purpose oils are not designed to perform the continuous heating functions HMA plants require. Engineered heat transfer fluids, on the other hand, are specifically designed for continuous high-temperature systems, and will not break down the way multi-purpose lubricating or hydraulic oils can.

This is an industry where calculations, limitations and specifications have become increasingly important.  The practical limit for distance from the plant to the job is around 50 miles, because the insulated trucks will only keep the mix hot and workable for so long. This is why those 3900 asphalt plants are literally peppered all across the country. Which means that those average Americans moving from point A to point B have seen  asphalt plants hundreds of times, and may in fact see them every day without knowing it.  Asphalt plants have a distinctive look with a few telltale visible characteristics; pyramid-like piles of gravel (the aggregate) a slanted conveyor to move the aggregate, and tall cylindrical structures which are either asphalt cement tanks or storage silos.  In 1970, when I worked briefly on a paving crew, you could also see the smoke from the plant’s stacks.  These days, emissions are very well controlled and regulated.

Drawing silhoette of asphalt plant with silos, heater, piles of aggregate

As anyone in the industry knows, this is a seasonal business—in cold weather climates, operation and paving runs from the spring through the late fall, as paving can’t efficiently be done below 40 degrees. This off-season is a great time to maintain the heat transfer fluids and keep them working optimally whereas, during the season, time is of the essence. Keeping a program of routine checks, including a fluid analysis, cleaning equipment, checking insulation, and practicing shut down procedures will ensure that come spring, everything is working perfectly.

Chemical analysis of the heat transfer fluid (usually referred to as “the hot oil” in this industry) is particularly important as the cold season approaches.  If a hot-oil system has been running continuously for several months, and the fluid has significantly degraded due to oxidation or overheating, the heat transfer fluid could actually solidify when the system is finally shut down.   And dismantling a hot oil system is an expensive way to change the oil.  If a cooled sample of hot oil won’t pour, proceed with caution; keep the circuit hot until you consult with the heater or fluid manufacturer.

When our nation’s entire road transportation system depends on the performance of HMA plants, the right kind of heating is essential.