In this issue ofProcess Heating, we bring you articles about combustion blowers, thick- and thin-film heaters, heat transfer fluids, microwave heating systems, pumps, boilers, and temperature control systems, as well as our annual Equipment Overview on heat exchangers. What does such a range of topics have in common? Each article can help spark ideas about your application and suggest ways that you may be able to improve efficiency.

Jodie McLay, a combustion market manager at Ametek Technical and Industrial Products, Kent, Ohio, kicks things off with "Way to Blow!" McLay notes industrial combustion engineers typically must strike a balance between performance requirements and operating constraints. Within the premix category, the technology behind variable-speed brushless DC (BLDC) gas blowers can deliver effective turndown ratios, reduced power consumption and lower burner emissions.

In "Through Thick and Thin," Gary Stafford, the technical director with Davidon Industries, Warwick, R.I., explains how thick- and thin-film heaters provide direct and directional heating. Stafford notes that both styles are designed with circuit layouts that provide the ability to provide specific wattage over a location, as well as the ability to vary that wattage over a surface area.

How heat transfer fluids are helping harness solar energy is the subject of "A Higher Power," a case history from Dow Chemical Co., Midland, Mich. While it will still be some time before solar power is a widely adopted and cost-effective alternative, at two major installations, high temperature thermal fluid is being used in processes to capture energy from the sun and convert it to steam for generating electricity.

In "Microwave Technology Powers Up," Dr. William J. Alton, the executive vice president of Ferrite Co. Inc., Nashua, N.H., explains how microwave drying can be carried out at a lower temperature and at a lower gross amount (in BTU/lb) of water removed than other heating methods. With microwaves, heat is generated within the product instead of being transferred from the outside surface of the product.

How effectively a pump operates depends on the system in which it is used, so improvements must focus on the system as a whole. "A Beautiful Model" by Tom Glassen, vice president, operations, of Applied Flow Technology, Woodland Park, Colo., and founder of Pump Systems Matter, describes how hydraulic modeling can improve pump system efficiency.

"Boilers Rescue Rug-Dyeing Process" describes how the variable load capacity and quick steam production of units from New York-based Miura Boiler allowed one North Carolina-based carpet producer to save $24,000 per month in fuel and labor expenses. When faced with rising fuel costs at its Wagram facility, Gulistan Carpets sought and found a way to maximize performance while minimizing operating expenses.

Finally, in "Size Really Does Matter," Jeff Mallon, sales manager at Buffalo, N.Y.-based Mokon, explains how correctly sizing a temperature control system can ensure a controller is up to the process yet not oversized.

Linda Becker
Associate Publisher & Editor