Editor Linda Becker offers some smart buying advice.

As I write this, one of the hot news stories is the high cost of gasoline, particularly in the Midwest. Disgruntled consumers are threatening to boycott purchases on certain days, calling their congressmen, and swearing they're going to drive less until gas prices drop. I'm sympathetic to all the complaints, but as a person with a 120-mile roundtrip commute each day, I must buy gasoline and drive to work. So, I just try to find the best price available and keep my car well tuned to maximize my gas mileage.

Ways to optimize your processes to get the most from those things you must have are a theme in this month's issue of Process Heating. In "How to Select a Recirculating Chiller," Zarina Bhimani of Lytron Inc., Woburn, Mass., outlines a simple three-step process to selecting the chiller that will work best for your process cooling operation. As Bhimani notes, many process heating systems require cooling as well as heating. Recirculating chillers are a popular choice for temperature-critical applications because they offer stable temperature control, a constant flow rate and constant pressure control.

Bhimani recommends that you first define the basic chiller requirements such as capacity, coolant temperature, coolant and flow rate. Second, you need to determine which, if any, additional options you need such as heaters, automatic start capability, filters, alarms and communications features. Finally, you should consider other details such as noise level, size, warranty and after-sales service and support. Turn to page 28 for the full story.

If you want to maximize value when selecting temperature and process controllers, buy the best control for your overall process and make the most of its features and real estate. So says Jim Overturf of Eurotherm Controls, Leesburg, Va., in “Getting Your Money's Worth,” which begins on page 31. Overturf looks at physical size and mounting style, single vs. multi-loop, and advanced functions such as cascade control, feedforward, override, ratio control, logic functions and timers.

Plate-and-frame heat exchangers are designed to provide close temperature control of fluids where space is a prime consideration. To help heat exchanger users get a handle on heat exchanger terms, “Heat Exchanger Basics” is a glossary of heat exchanger terms compiled by ITT Standard, Buffalo, N.Y.

Find out how a circular fluid bed dryer equipped with an integral circular vibratory screener quadrupled production of a proprietary granular chemical product. “Fluid Bed Dryer Improves Granular Chemical Production” from Kason Corp., Milburn, N.J., explains how a circular fluid-bed dryer/screener system was used shorten production times and ensure consistent drying.

And if you want to tune up your system as I have my car, take a look at “An Ounce of Prevention” a new series Energy Notes columnist Dick Bennett is beginning. Bennett offers a shopping list for your own preventive maintenance starter kit, explaining what you need to tune up your combustion system and why you need it. Keeping your system in peak operating condition can help you reduce energy consumption, increase productivity and minimize production times.

Linda Becker
Editor and Associate Publisher