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The importance of implementing plant safety measures is undeniable, especially when exposed to heat processing equipment. Accidents and injuries in industrial plants are common but can be easily avoided if the right precautions are taken.

According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), injuries caused by hazardous energy account for 10 percent of accidents in many industries. Hazardous energy is found in electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, thermal or other sources in machines and equipment. OSHA’s “lockout/tagout” (LOTO) procedures provide guidelines for controlling this hazardous energy when servicing or maintaining equipment.

LOTO requires that prior to any routine maintenance or service on equipment, an authorized employee must follow certain procedures to ensure safety. After the equipment is turned off and disconnected from its energy source, to prevent the release of hazardous energy a lockout or tagout device must be applied to the energy-isolating device and it must be verified that the energy has been isolated effectively.

If the correct safety measures are not taken, the release of this stored energy could cause serious injury. It is highly recommended that employers create a procedure for employees to follow when dealing with potentially hazardous energy.

For more information on LOTO, procedure requirements and sample procedures, visit OSHA’s Control of Hazardous Energy webpage.

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Boiler operators know that one of the most critical aspects of operating a boiler is well balanced water chemistry.  To ensure a well balance mix involves continually monitoring makeup water, condensate, feedwater and boiler water qualities.  

ABB Inc’s Jon Penn recently published an article in Power Engineering that lists four major contaminants that jeopardize power plant operation and maintenance:  dissolved oxygen, hydrazine, sodium and silica.  As mentioned in the article, “The absence of adequate monitoring and control will almost certainly lead to both increased costs and more frequent component failures. Evidence shows that allowing boiler chemistry to vary from specified limits can result in expensive plant outages, potentially incurring costs of more than $1 million per day.”

This is an important subject for all boiler owners and proper water treatment will increase the life of your equipment.  You can read the entire article at:

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A boiler log provides a written record of the boiler operating conditions on a given day and at a given time. The log can be used for both hot water and low and high pressure steam boilers. The purpose is akin to that of a patient’s hospital chart. The log provides a clear historical record of the boiler’s conditions, which enables the boiler operator or service technician to evaluate and correct problems before they become serious.

The following paragraph is from an Engineering Bulletin entitled “Boiler Log Program”, published by the Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company:

“Not every accident is preventable. The results of accident investigations show, however, that by far the great majority of accidents to boilers are preventable. The number of such accidents can be effectively reduced through the proper application of operating and maintenance logs.”

The need to regularly check water level controls and the waterside of the pressure vessel cannot be overemphasized. Most instances of major boiler damages are the result of operating with low water or the use of untreated or incorrectly treated feed water.

Here’s an example of how a boiler log can also help increase uptime and reduce fuel costs:

After taking readings for one week, you notice that the boiler stack temperature has been climbing. By reviewing your log sheets, you also determine that the gas pressure has increased a couple of inches of water column per day. Looking at the two pieces of information, you might conclude that the problem lies in a faulty gas pressure regulator, producing possible sooting and causing a reduction in heat transfer.

Maintaining a boiler log sheet allows you to make an intelligent, informed decision based upon historical data, not a guess based on a spur of the moment reaction. It can save companies a substantial amount of time and money, and potentially save lives in a high risk situation.

Contact Nationwide Boiler for a sample log sheet by emailing us at

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When plants have to make major changes to boilers in order to meet regulations, things have to be completed with little or no interruption to ongoing production operations. This includes fuel conversion projects, when boilers are changed from one fuel source to another. 

Over the last forty-five years Nationwide Boiler has supplied rental boilers for conversion projects throughout the United States.  One project in particular, involved Louisiana Pacific Corporation.  This plant operated a hardboard and multi-density fiberboard (MDF) mill in Oroville, California and ran 24 hours per day producing a wide range of hardboard products. The company had to comply with more stringent air quality regulations, making it necessary for the company to reduce NOx emissions from their boilers and change from wood-firing to natural gas-firing.

Modifications were made to the facility’s piping system to quickly accommodate a temporary, low NOx, 70,000 lb/hr, trailer-mounted rental boiler. Delivery of the trailer-mounted boiler was timed carefully to insure minimum impact on production operations.

Overall, the modified boiler system was converted from wood to natural gas and met the plant's steam demand, as well as NOx emission limits. All of the objectives for supporting production operations during the changeover of the primary boiler were successfully accomplished.

Nationwide Boiler is here to help through any conversion project.  Whether the need is a temporary rental boiler or a new or reconditioned boiler system, we have a solution that can help.  Call today to speak to one of our Sales Engineer and find more about how we can be your single source supplier for your fuel conversion project. 1-800-227-1977.

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