A Thomasville Furniture Industries facility had an application that required heating oil to heat the upper and lower platens of a veneer press. There was an existing steam plant, but steam startup time was too long and it was questionable whether steam could provide the high temperatures necessary to heat the platens. Hot oil was the only other option.

The company chose natural gas to heat the oil, although it meant running gas lines from a nearby street into the plant. Thomasville selected a gas-fired hot oil heater from Parker Boiler, Los Angeles. There were three reasons why electricity was not suitable for this application.

  • The amperage requirement would have been too much for the plant to handle.
  • The energy cost would have been extremely high.
  • The startup time for an electric heater would have taken two hours.

Thomasville, headquartered in Thomasville, N.C., needed a heater to provide extremely even heat transfer. Uneven heat transfer could cause some of the oil to heat up too fast and carbonize onto the heating element, much like food does in an overheated oven. Carbonization could have interfered with a heater's ability to meet the company's standards for startup, temperature control and maintenance.

Startup time was especially critical. Thomasville wanted the option to fire up the heater and veneer press for a half day. If there was a three-hour lull between veneer batches, the staff wanted to be able to turn the heater and press off, yet still have time to fire it back up for a second batch.

The Parker industrial thermal liquid heater met the plant's requirements because it was designed specifically for high temperature, low pressure applications. Although the unit is compact, its internal heat transfer surface is very large, so the heat transfer does not exceed 6,100 BTU per square foot of heating surface. Atmospheric low-pressure burners and a staggered tube configuration ensure uniform high velocity of the hot oil to prevent carbonization. It takes approximately 50 min from the time the heater first fires up until the veneer press is fully operable.

For more information, contact Parker Boiler at (323) 727-9800 or www.parkerboiler.com.