Whew -- more than half the year is gone. It seems like just yesterday we were making New Year’s resolutions (and promptly breaking them, of course). And of course, it will be just a moment more before another New Year is upon us. So the years go by, but have we made any of those improvements we promised?

I kept a New Year’s promise to myself -- to compete in my first triathlon. And within hours of finishing my first in July, I made plans to continue training, with an eye toward a second event in late August. It just proves the old adage: If you want something badly enough, you’re willing to do the work to achieve it.

I was reminded of that adage while reading John Puskar’s article “Beating Dirt and Heat,” which begins on page 35. In it, Puskar, a professional engineer who is principal of combustion systems services firm CEC Combustion Service Group in Cleveland, explains how to achieve trouble-free combustion equipment operation rather than be plagued with burner flameouts, inconsistent temperatures and nuisance trips. To accomplish this, set combustion system reliability as your goal, Puskar says, and take effective, consistent action to achieve it.

If what you want is to find the source of that annoying combustion noise and eliminate it, “Combustion Pulsation and Noise” by Dan Banks, P.E., president of Banks Engineering Inc., Tulsa, Okla., will help. Banks notes that the natural flame instability in any flare or furnace produces noise. In rare cases, the noise can be loud enough to damage equipment, cause nuisance shutdowns or bother the neighbors. While simple hardware changes can eliminate the problem, finding the right fix sometimes takes time. Turn to page 30 to review the theory of combustion noise and survey five brief case histories.

Also in this issue, Jay Hudson, P.E., continues his six-part series on specifying a thermal fluid heating system with part four, “Thermal Fluid Pumps,” which begins on page 23. Hudson, who is president of J. G. Hudson & Associates, Salisbury, N.C., a specialty engineering firm concentrating in process related engineering services, cites three steps -- selecting the appropriate mechanical design, sizing the pumps to deliver the proper flow, and installing the pump correctly -- that can help ensure that this critical component operates trouble-free.

Emission control system costs can be reduced with attention to four factors, says Gerry Lanham, P.E., president of KBD/Technic Inc., Cincinnati, a company that specializes in industrial ventilation engineering. Lanham explains how minimizing flow, minimizing pressure, controlling air density and optimizing fan efficiency can affect the operation of your emission control and ventilation systems.

Finally, in “Maintain Chiller Capacity and Efficiency,” Mark Key, who is vice president of sales and marketing at Redi Controls Inc., Greenwood, Ind., notes that chillers suffer from reduced efficiency caused by refrigerant contaminated with air, oil, moisture or acid. Unaddressed, many are in danger of catastrophic failure. Key looks at the most common contaminants and some solutions.

With this lineup of articles, perhaps today is the day that you set a goal and take the steps to achieve it. The feeling when you cross your heat processing project’s “finish line” will be worth it.