In this issue of Process Heating, we look at how to evaluate your thermal processing equipment from specification to sundowning to extend its useful life.

In “The Importance of Testing Critical Control Systems,” Jack Valentine of Pacific Combustion Engineering, a Division of Nationwide Boiler Inc., explains how functional acceptance tests — performed even before an ordered system is delivered on-site — allow the equipment manufacturer to optimize the system to meet the project specifications.

Aaron Norris of Norris Thermal Technologies tackles dryer operation and, more specifically, how conveyor-belt loading affects dryer capacity and efficiency as well as dried-product quality. If your product is suddenly being dried inconsistently, one of the first places to check is your product infeed.

Steam heating systems provide the thermal energy needed to realize optimal process heating in many applications, notes Howard Siew and Boyd Coleman of Endress+Hauser. Yet, the steam generation and distribution system may be overlooked when process and product changes are put in place. Having effective instrumentation can provide insights that allow processors to determine efficiency and identify problem areas.

After equipment has been in place for years, its performance may founder. For instance, regenerative thermal oxidizers may seem less able to meet the abatement needs. Yet, not every system needs replacing: Some can be rebuilt. Chuck Konowalski of Kono Kogs Inc. explains how a partial or full rebuild can provide up to 20 percent more airflow capacity. Even modest improvements can extend the life of a system until that next plant shutdown allows a complete swap out.