In this issue ofProcess Heating, we offer a lineup of articles that look at ways to approach potential obstacles.

As an amateur psychologist (I know just enough to be dangerous, my friends say), I am infinitely fascinated by the different ways people approach potential obstacles. In this issue ofProcess Heating, we offer a lineup of articles that look at ways to be prepared.

Due to the energy-intensive nature of process heating, energy costs can take a huge bite out of your bottom line. In “Ways to Reduce Your Oven Operating Costs,” Mike Grande of Wisconsin Oven Corp., East Troy, Wis., outlines 13 simple things to consider when specifying, operating and maintaining an oven.

In “Managing Energy Consumption in Oxidizers,” Paul H. Stibbe of Megtec Systems, DePere, Wis., explains how effective heat recovery can help processors meet their goals to increase quality, increase productivity and decrease costs. Heat recovery is the process of utilizing the heat generated but not consumed by a process.

In “Crunch Time?” Energy Notes columnist Dick Bennett notes that historically, energy prices have tended to follow the economy in general -- low demand, low prices. Bennett cautions that changes in the world economy could mean that energy costs will continue to increase while supplies are curtailed, and offers ways to prepare now for these potential market drivers.

Drying Files columnist Darren Traub also weighs in on the energy issue with “Energy: Let’s Be Honest.” Investing in technology that improves existing system operating efficiencies can have a very short return on investment period. To reduce energy costs, one must minimize the system losses.

Safety is another theme of the articles in this issue. If a valve in your thermal fluid heating system fails, catastrophe could result. In “Think About the Valves in Your Hot Oil System,” Bob Baker of Ari Valve Corp., Marietta, Ga., explains the important role of valves in thermal fluid heaters.

Ensuring the safety of personnel tasked with maintaining and troubleshooting process equipment in potentially explosive atmospheres is the focus of the European Union’s ATEX standard. “Playing It Intrinsically Safe” by Jim Shields of Fluke Corp., Everett, Wash., explains the new intrinsic safety standard, which went into effect July 1. Devices that are certified as “intrinsically safe” are designed to be unable to release sufficient energy, by either thermal or electrical means, to cause ignition of flammable material.

Finally, in “Do Not Overlook Watt Density,” Gordon Hollander of Ogden Manufacturing, Arlington Heights, Ill., explains why the watt density rating of the heat source is so important when designing or troubleshooting a thermal system. Too high a watt density can result in heater failure, damage to the material being heated, and damage to the equipment or other components.

How does your company face its challenges? We hope that this month’s lineup helps you be prepared.

Linda Becker
Editor & Associate Publisher