With this issue of Process Heating, we welcome a new regular contributor: Jay Hudson. A professional engineer, Jay is president of J.G. Hudson & Associates, Salisbury, N.C., a specialty engineering firm concentrating in process-related engineering services. With 35 years of experience in manufacturing processes, including chemical process, polymers, synthetic fibers, coatings and food products, Jay has particular experience in the specification, design and operation of thermal fluid systems, and it is in this area that he will share his expertise.

In his first installment, “Fluid Testing: It Pays to Pay Attention,” Jay explains how regular fluid testing can result in longer fluid life, more consistent system operation, decreased system maintenance and lower operating costs. In fact, periodic analysis of heat transfer fluids provides the owner with the information needed to make informed decisions regarding fluid maintenance. Turn to page 29 for the complete article.

Also in this issue, we have articles on flame scanners, immersion heaters and graphite bearings. In “Keeping an Eye on Safety,” John Devine of Fireye Inc., Derry, N.H., explains that flame scanners detect the presence or absence of a target flame on a burner, distinguishing a “real” flame from any normal background emission such as hot refractory. Flame scanners help keep your combustion system safe: in the event of a flame failure, the scanner will signal the burner management system to immediately close the fuel safety valves, preventing unburned fuel from entering the firing chamber.

Immersion heaters, as the name implies, are directly immersed in water, oils, viscous materials, solvents, process solutions, molten materials and gases. The basic types of immersion heaters are the screw plug, flange, pipe insert or bayonet, circulation or inline, booster, over-the-side and vertical loop. In “How to Use Immersion Heaters,” Robert Klein of St. Louis-based Watlow notes that knowing which immersion heater to specify and how to properly install it can make a manufacturing process more cost efficient. His article will help you understand how to select, size and specify immersion heaters.

Also, in “Bearings That Can Handle the Heat,” a case history from Graphite Metallizing Corp., Yonkers, N.Y., we look at how high-temperature bearings solved the problem of damper seizing on boilers at a power plant. Because the dampers were moved infrequently, the old bearings would dry out, but the self-lubricating, high temperature-bearings can take the heat.

Elsewhere, in this issue, “Energy Notes” columnist Dick Bennett continues his series on making the most of your energy expenditures and existing process equipment. If you've optimized your equipment and still just don't have enough heat, Dick suggests you reconsider your equipment and process in a new light: is the equipment right for the job? Can you capture that heat and use it elsewhere? He cautions, don't be constrained by what's been done, or not done, in the past. PH