Archive for the Industrial Processing 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!

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.

Sampling Part 2: Where and How

Where and how you take a thermal fluid sample can make all the difference in what the test results reveal.

Where a sample should be taken is simple – any location where there is flow and the temperature is above 180°F. A blowdown valve on the pump suction strainer housing is a good bet since that’s where you’ll find the lowest pressure and temperature in most systems.  Piping drain valves will work as long as you purge several containers worth of fluid before taking the sample. Expansion tank or thermal buffer tank drain valves are tempting as a sample location because they are (usually) cool and (mostly) accessible. Don’t do it. For a long list of reasons, it’s almost the worst place to take a sample, just above scooping it off the floor near the pump.

Shows jar, tubing, safety-gloved hands, heat transfer fluid sampling

Taking the Hot Oil Sample

How to take a sample is not quite as simple. Why?  Because improper sampling practices can actually alter the physical characteristics of the sample that will be measured.

Ideally, a sample should be taken directly into a glass sample jar so any contamination or carbon in the fluid is easy to measure. The problem with glass is that it can shatter if the sample is taken too hot (above 250°F).  So if the next heater shutdown isn’t scheduled until the Phillies win the pennant, install 18-24” of ¼” copper tubing on the sample port and bend a loop or two through a bucket of water. This will knock the sample temperature down the couple hundred degrees needed to keep the glass from breaking.  Or take the sample in a clean metal can with a screw top and send that in (just remember to label it with the system name and date).  Do not take the hot sample in a metal “cooling” bucket and then transfer it to the sample container.

 

Image of Cooling Apparatus, Copper Coils in a Jar

Improvised Fluid Sampling Cooler

 


See Paratherm’s one-minute video on fluid sampling and testing here —
Heat Transfer Fluid Sampling

Employee Spotlight: Ray Klim, Food Industry Specialist

At Paratherm, our success lies not only in the quality of our products, but in the people we employ.  They are the heart and soul of our business.  Here, we’d like to spotlight one member of our team, a Food Industry Specialist who represents the passion, commitment, and expertise that makes our employees—and our company—who we are.Ray Klim

Ray Klim, an industry veteran and proud father of five adult children (and incidentally, a jazz guitarist with a particular fondness for George Benson) came to Paratherm about a year ago, and has been an illustrative example of the type of person Paratherm stands for.  It seems he, too, feels this way, as he says “It is a pleasure at Paratherm. I’ve had a long history in the industry, and this is by far the best job and the one I’ve enjoyed more than any of them.”  This shows in both his work and how he talks about it, with pride, energy, and excitement.

Ray came to us after working in the food industry his entire adult life, having been at Domino Sugars and then Newlyweds Foods, the largest producer of coating systems for the meat and poultry industry, where he spent 17 years. In short, he knows the industry as well as he knows the fingerboard of his Gibson 6-string. In addition to years of professional experience, he’s taken part in several continuing education courses over the years, including Introduction to Food Technology at RutgersUniversity.

So what is his role as Food Industry Specialist for Paratherm?  He partners with all of the country’s leading poultry processing firms to ensure their systems are running productively, runs support and training for them when necessary, evaluates their volume frying, grilling, and oven systems, and identifies and corrects any problems.  He tests and reviews their food-grade heat transfer fluids, both individually at the plant level and at a corporate level, ensuring the maximum safety and efficiency of the product and the highest level of quality to both the processor and the consumer.  When speaking about the fact that Paratherm is integrated into over 90% of the poultry further-processing market, and on the subject of our quality standards, he is passionate, and that he truly loves his job is evident.

Looking ahead, Ray says that maintaining that high standard while introducing the efficiency and uniformity of indirect heating (and Paratherm expertise) to other markets such as seafood, red meat, and snacks, broadening our approach, and being more active globally are some of his goals and focus points.

It’s clear that Ray is proud of the work he does, and we’re proud to have him as part of our team.

Paratherm’s Troubleshooting Services

At Paratherm, not only do we provide our customers with the highest quality heat transfer fluids, but we assure their continued functionality through simple, effective troubleshooting services.  Paratherm customers receive technical support as a benefit of their fluid purchase.  We sat down with Greg Jerdan, an employee who has been in technical sales with Paratherm for over eight years, to go over the process of troubleshooting.

The first step in the process, said Greg, is a phone interview, where we ask what kind of problem you are having (production problems, flow issues, heating issues, the heating process itself, or heating the oil specifically).  This can tell us where the problem exists and whether the oil itself is bad or if there may be a carbon buildup in the heater.

Sometimes we can pinpoint a problem simply from this preliminary interview.  For instance, there have been circumstances where we have been able to quickly recognize symptoms of flow restrictions and suggest possible remedies.  That’s just one example.

If the potential problem doesn’t emerge from the first conversation, we recommend a fluid analysis.  While some customers might initially turn this down, we highly recommend it as an easy—yet thorough—way to isolate and evaluate the several variables that may be causing the issue.  Without testing the oil we can’t always confirm what’s going wrong with the oil or the process.  We send the customer a fluid analysis kit that consists of everything needed to package and ship the sample, including instructions.  Then they simply box it up, send it back to us, and we run tests on the oil.

Results of the tests (for Total Acid Number, Viscosity, and Distillation Range) are compared to values for new fluid.  Differences between the new and used values, and interrelationships between those changes to the fluid, together with information from the system interview, can tell us much about what may be going wrong in the process.

 

Another troubleshooting service is a face-to-face walk-through, where we examine the system and look through all parts and equipment involved with the process itself, and make recommendations based on what we see; 9 times out of 10 we see something affecting the life of the oil.  No matter what, our experts can always help determine the problem, the cause, and the solution.

What are some possible problems that can affect production, safety, and uptime?

  • Heat uniformity: Cold spots in the system where heat transfer to the application has become compromised; most often it is because of carbon buildup.
  • Flow fluctuations: May result from contamination (including water) or fluid degradation.
  • Fouling: Due to oxidation or overheating of the oil; this is determined by the fluid analysis.
  • Leakage: Leakage can also cause oxidation.
  • Overheating:  A lack of proper flow can shut down the pump and cause overheating inside the heater.
  • Improper shutdown procedure: If the system is not shut down correctly, the fluid can get “cooked”; proper shutdown involves turning the heat off but keeping the pump on until the fluid temperature reaches below 200°F to prevent overheating.
  • Contamination: 90% of the time, water is the contaminant; other contaminants include using the wrong type of fluid, including lube, hydraulic, or improperly marked fluids.

 

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