Make process improvement your New Year's resolution.

By the time you read this, you probably will have made -- and broken -- your New Year's resolutions. Instead of being disappointed, look at this as an opportunity to make more -- that you can keep -- about improving your process efficiency, operation and accuracy. The articles in this issue of Process Heating should help.

In “Process Improvement Through Thermal Profiling,” Ray Pearce of ECD Inc., Milwaukie, Ore., notes that the goal of thermal profiling is to always increase quality and reduce waste. All heating processes have one thing in common: the process window, or the area where time and temperature come into perfect synchronization. In electronics, it is the point when solder melts to form the perfect electrical connection. In baking, it is where bread reaches the optimum temperature to create a perfect loaf. For powder-coat curing, it is where the coating melds into a permanent seal with the base material of the product. Pearce outlines three case histories that show you how manufacturers with solder reflow, baking and powder curing operations achieved those goals.

Improving process quality also is the focus of “Beyond Quality” by Connie Wood of Datapaq Inc., Wilmington, Mass. Wood asserts that product temperature profiling offers process and profit benefits that go beyond quality assurance. Today, temperature-profiling systems can be found monitoring virtually every heating and freezing application and an extraordinary range of processes. Wood looks at several real-world examples and shows how you might put temperature profiling to work in your plant.

Temperature measurement accuracy is essential for proper process control. In “Conduction and Temperature Measurement Errors,” Daniel Nan-

igian and Jacob Nanigian of Nanmac Corp., Framingham, Mass., note that an accurate temperature does not only mean that the temperature indicated is the correct temperature. It also means that the changes in temperature indicated accurately reflect the actual temperature changes that are occurring. The authors explain how to eliminate common causes of measurement error.

In “7 Ways to Improve Temperature Uniformity,” Mike Grande of Wisconsin Oven Corp., East Troy, Wis., explains how to survey your oven for temperature uniformity and adjust it to correct the problem if it is found out of spec. While Grande notes that one or more adjustments may be necessary to get the heating profile you require, the relatively simple steps can pay dividends in lower energy costs and higher productivity.

Finally, in “Compare Fluids,” use our annual Equipment Overview on Heat Transfer Fluids to compare and contrast fluids you are considering for your thermal fluid heating application. Not all fluids are right for all uses, but this comprehensive chart will allow you to narrow the field to those that best suit your application.

So here's a New Year's resolution that's easy to keep: Read these articles and improve your process.