Seasons change but the reasons for maintenance don't.

The first chilly nip of fall is in the air. While walking into the office this morning, I heard the loud honks of a Canada goose as it flew south for the winter. These signs mean it's time for my fall chores: tune up my home furnace, organize the garage so I can park my car inside again, and finish my outdoor painting. Granted, I should have finished some of these chores already, but summer fun won out over weekend chores fairly often this summer. Fall's chilly breezes are what it took to make me realize it's time to get serious about maintenance.

If you have a thermal fluid heating system, perhaps it's time for you to get serious about maintenance as well. In "Analyze It," Mark E. Smith of MultiTherm LLC, Devault, Pa., looks at thermal fluid analysis and what your hot oil can tell you about your system. Smith notes that hot oils degrade over time, and the rate of degradation can be influenced by operating procedures, equipment layout and equipment malfunctions. Regular -- at least annual -- fluid analysis will help you diagnose system operating problems.

In "Controlling Conveyor Dryer Operation," Michael Whaley of Aeroglide Corp., Raleigh, N.C., notes that the final moisture content of a dried product will have a major impact upon the yield and quality of the final product. Moreover, drying often is the largest energy consumer in the production process. The conveyor dryer must operate at its optimal level to achieve the desired product quality and minimize energy costs, but this can be difficult to achieve when the product being dried varies and the operator has a poor understanding of drying operations. Whaley highlights methods for improving operation and control of conveyor dryers with the ultimate goal of improved product quality, increased yield or lower energy consumption.

In "Motors For Pumps," Dave DeClerck of MP Pumps, Fraser, Mich., explains how to determine the horsepower requirement for pumps to ensure the equipment will operate effectively. If the application has a controlled flow rate, or a maximum flow rate is known, DeClerck notes that the horsepower rating selected should be enough to provide the power necessary for the operating condition without overloading the motor. Other factors affecting the horsepower requirement include viscosity, specific gravity, suspended solids and temperatures.

In "Standardizing Electric Process Heaters," Craig Tiras and Doug Fer- guson of Integrated Flow Solutions, Houston, assert that understanding what makes a heater suitable for process applications will help you avoid selecting one that cannot survive your process environment.

Finally, In "How To Get the Best Temperature Control," Daniel Eble of Julabo USA Inc., Allentown, Pa., explains how to optimize the operation of your temperature control system in below ambient applications. Eble offers several general and application-specific guidelines that can help ensure optimal performance.

You'll have to excuse me, I need to call my HVAC technician and schedule my furnace tuneup.

Linda Becker
Associate Publisher & Editor