In this issue of Process Heating, we look at heat transfer fluid standards, the integration of mobile technologies into plant automation, combustion control methodologies for air/fuel mixing, and oven design tips for effective heat transfer. What can such disparate topics have in common? In each case, mindful selection plays a critical, daily role in the effective — or ineffective, in the case of poorly specified fluids, controls or components — operation of your thermal process.

In “Using Heat Transfer Fluids Safely,” Alison Davis of Radco Industries Inc., LaFox, Ill., explains NFPA 30, Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code. Published by the National Fire Protection Association, the standard is enforceable under building and fire prevention codes in 32 states and enforceable in other jurisdictions. As Davis notes, heat transfer systems users should use it as a guide for the proper handling, storage and use of heat transfer fluids as well as to ensure that the plant inherently mitigates hazards and protects against fires and explosions.

Among the biggest changes in industrial automation are the movement toward wireless networking and the introduction of mobile technologies. Do smartphones, tablets and other portable touchscreen electronics have a place in your plant? Should you allow employees to access process equipment on your LAN using a smartphone over WiFi? In “Commercial Off-the-Shelf Mobile Devices Find a Place in Industrial Automation,” Jean Femia of Opto 22, Temecula, Calif., makes the case for mobile technologies and notes that for many plants, the choice is not if but when. Before jumping into mobile, however, you must consider four factors: environment, safety, security and connectivity.

When comparing the various fuel/air ratio control systems, how do you know which system will prove most beneficial for your operation? Off-ratio air/fuel mixtures may produce an unstable flame and can result in a variety of unsafe conditions, says Katherine Huller of CEC Combustion Safety in Cleveland. Turn to “The Impact of Combustion Controls” to learn more about combustion controls and improve the operation of your fuel-fired systems.

When filling out a request for quote for an oven manufacturer, do you always have a good reason for the items you request, or do you just repeat specifications from a previous RFQ? Small design changes can have a significant effect on oven cost and operation. For instance, changing an oven opening height by even a few inches can affect oven airflow balance and temperature uniformity. In “Proper Conveyor Oven Design Increases Manufacturing Productivity,” Byron Stokes of Hix Ovens, Pittsburg, Kan., explains how seemingly simple choices can impact your entire process.


Linda Becker, Associate Publisher and Editor,