In a triathlon training session recently, the leader codified “the secret to my success” -- and never even seemed to notice the secret he’d stumbled upon. On the dry-erase board, he had outlined his steps for success:

  • Plan.
  • Listen.
  • Ask.
  • Negotiate.
  • Be Flexible.

Now, if you approached most problems following those five steps, you would likely be successful. However, if you followed only that progression of steps: plan to listen, listen to ask, ask to negotiate, and on down the way -- you’d miss my success secret, and a good supplemental method.

Look at that list again. Do you see it? That’s right: Because even the best researched, supported and prepared plans can go awry, always have a Plan B.

The lineup in this issue of Process Heating -- our annual 10 Tips issue -- is intended to help you build that Plan B for your heat processing equipment. It starts with “See the Light,” an article on infrared heating from Fostoria Industries, Fostoria, Ohio. In it, the company suggests you specify systems that provide maximum oven efficiency. And to keep system performance at the level you expect it to be, develop and follow a maintenance schedule that includes regularly checking all heat sources for signs of dirt, dust and paint overspray buildup.

Similarly, in “Maximizing Heat Recovery from Your Oxidizer,” Mike Scholz, senior application engineer at Anguil Environmental Systems Inc., Milwaukee, Wis., offers five tips about what end-users should know about their oxidizer systems and five tips explaining potential energy-reduction projects. Scholz asserts that if end-users know how much their oxidizers are supposed to be costing to operate -- and how much they really are -- they’re in a much stronger position to make further decisions about upgrading, replacing or adding heat-recovery equipment to this essential piece of equipment.

Your oxidizer is not the only piece of equipment from which you can recover and reuse process heat. With seemingly ever-increasing energy costs, it “pays” to get as much out of each BTU as possible, says the technical team at Alstom Power Inc., Air Preheater Co., Raymond Operations, Warrenville, Ill. Rather than using your dryer as a once-through heating system, look for ways to recover, recirculate and reuse the energy invested in the drying BTUs. Among the tips the Alstom team offers are reducing losses, increasing insulation and improving controls.

Also in this issue, Jay Hudson, P.E., president of J. G. Hudson & Associates, Salisbury, N.C., a specialty engineering firm, continues his six-part series on specifying a thermal fluid heating system with a look at “The Expansion Tank.” While the expansion tank is a static piece of equipment, to ensure safe, effective system operation, it must be monitored and operated, Hudson asserts. In addition to an overview of expansion tank functions and specifications, Hudson also shows the range of controls possible on your expansion tank to provide the feedback necessary for your operation.