The economy is picking up, bringing increased orders and renewed optimism. The days are getting longer, with a bit more sunshine each day. And spring, or at least the vernal equinox, is little more than a month away. What better time could there be to introduce the “Best of Process Heating” than with our new 12th issue?

Yes, in 2004, Process Heating is adding an issue: February. The 12th issue coincides with our 10-year anniversary, and we're marking these two milestones by bringing you a “Best of” issue, complete with some of the best features that have appeared in the magazine in the last 10 years, plus an industry analysis and forecasting. It all adds up to what we hope you will find is an interesting and informative extra helping of the practical, how-to information Process Heating offers.

In “10 Years and Still Heating,” combustion expert Dick Bennett notes that change has been incremental in the world of fuel-fired systems, but adds that that's nothing new. He notes that this has always been a stronghold of evolutionary changes unless some crisis -- usually environmental or energy-related -- kicks the pace up a notch. Click on this article to see Bennett's take on where we were 10 years ago, where we are now, and where the trends may take us.

Developments in drying have been largely refinements of existing technology, says Darren A. Traub in “Drying Technology: The Last 10 Years.” In his article, Traub notes that these refinements are multidirectional and include refinements in design, control, materials and application. Other developments have occurred due to the emergence of new requirements.

In “Trends in Temperature Control Equipment,” controls expert Arthur Holland examines the continued slow migration from discrete instruments to supervisory control and data acquisition systems. Holland notes that if you were to walk around a few process plants, you would see some 20 years of controls evolution. Holland offers some perspective on where control technology stands now and where developments may occur.

In addition to the three forecast articles, we have three “Best of” articles. Here's another chance to read some excellent editorial you may have missed the first time around.

With “Making a Great Gumbo,” Christopher C. Lanham of Single Iteration, a division of Watlow, St. Louis, explains that like making a great gumbo stew, achieving just the right controls mix starts with selecting the right “ingredients.”

In “Maintaining a Plate Heat Exchanger,” Joe Bell of Tranter PHE Inc., Witchita Falls, Texas, looks at the advantages and disadvantages of reactive and proactive approaches to maintenance. While you must decide which method is best suited to your operation, Bell offers some tips to help you choose.

Finally, in “9 Things to Consider When Specifying a Thermal Fluid Heater,” engineers at GTS Energy, Marietta, Ga., explain how thermal fluid heaters provide an efficient means of supplying indirect heat to one or more heat users via a high temperature, low pressure system.

Linda Becker
Editor and Associate Publisher