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Boilers come in all different types, sizes, and shapes and are classified by configuration of the furnace, or firesides, and the watertubes, or water holding volume. The two main boiler types consist of firetube and watertube boilers, and deciding which of the two will best fit your process needs is not as easy as it may seem. It is like comparing apples to oranges; it’s not as simple as just comparing prices for similar nameplate steam capacity, and there are some significant differences to consider.

With firetube boilers, flue gases are directed through vertical or horizontal steel tubes that are surrounded by the water for heating, and typically go through two, three, or four passes, or changes in direction. In watertube boilers, the arrangement is reversed. Instead of the water being outside the tubes, it circulates inside the tubes and is heated externally by the combustion gases. Fuel is burned inside the furnace, which heats the water in the steam-generating tubes. The water then rises to the steam drum where saturated steam is drawn from the top of the drum. The watertube boiler has some relative advantages over the firetube boiler design, which are outlined below.

Watertube boilers are safer by design and generally considered to last much longer than the firetube boiler. They are available in much larger sizes and recover faster than firetube boilers, can handle pressures up to 5000 psig, and have the ability to reach very high temperatures with the use of superheaters. Because of their inherent design, firetube boilers are not suitable for pressures above 350 psig. Also, the steam output is less than the nameplate at actual operating conditions. Watertube boilers are rated at actual operating conditions. However, from a manufacturing standpoint, firetube boilers are typically lower in cost than a comparable sized watertube boiler, the firesides are easier to clean, and the straight firetubes are easily replaceable.

Let’s not forget that there is a tremendous difference in water volume between a firetube boiler and a watertube boiler. From a cold start, the firetube boiler, due to its larger water volume, takes longer to bring up to operating temperature or pressure vs. a similar sized watertube boiler. With less water volume, a watertube boiler can follow load swings more precisely and generally has better turndown. However, one advantage that the firetube boiler does offer is that once it is up to operating pressure, it can handle a sudden upward load surge better because of the large steam disengaging area. The drawback to this feature is once you drop pressure on the firetube, it takes longer to catch back up.

The rule of thumb is that if you have a very constant and steady load that doesn’t vary much, than the firetube boiler may work well. If you have a swing or varying load, then the watertube boiler is generally a better choice.

Click here to view Nationwide Boiler's current inventory of firetube and watertube boilers available for shipment anywhere in the world!

 

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The 29th Annual International Fuel Ethanol Workshop and Expo is planned for June 10-13th in St. Louis, MO and Nationwide Boiler will be there exhibiting at booth #433. Be a part of the largest gathering of ethanol professionals in the world including the best ethanol industry products and service suppliers. Plus there will be four tracks focused on in-depth topics that include production and operations, leadership and financial management, co-products and product diversification, and cellulosic and advanced ethanol.

Take part in the leading ethanol tradeshow event of the year and be sure to stop by the Nationwide Boiler booth to pick up a free USB literature drive that includes a library of bulletins, brochures, and case histories from Nationwide Boiler. Visit the FEW website for more details about the event. 

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Earlier this month Nationwide boiler broke yet another record, donating $40,000 to the American Boiler Manufacturer Association (ABMA) Scholarship Fund! This record amount was due to the many generous donations made by our representatives, customers, industry reps, vendors and friends in the form of cart sponsors, hole sponsors, live and silent auction items, and cash.

The 33rd Annual Charity Golf Tournament was a two-day event held in Pebble Beach, CA. This year, the group enjoyed a practice round at Spanish Bay and a sports themed Clam Bake reception on the first night of the event. Attendees supported their favorite professional or college sports teams by "wearing their colors" and even had fun with some competitive rivalries. The second day consisted of tournament round golf played at the renowned Pebble Beach Golf Links, followed by snacks and beverages overlooking the 18th hole. We ended the night with dinner, an awards banquet, and live and silent auction events. 

Overall the tournament was a major success. We were able to support the future of the boiler industry while maintaining relationships and enjoying a good time. Nationwide Boiler cannot extend enough gratitude for the help and support of our generous sponsors and attendees. We look forward to another successful tournament next year!

Check out photos from the event on Nationwide Boilers Facebook page!

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Nationwide Boiler will be attending the International District Energy Association’s 104th Annual Conference, District Energy/CHP 2013 in Miami, June 2-5, 2013. This year’s event includes a panel of distinguished city and industry leaders who will share their insight on designing, implementing and optimizing district energy facilities for more sustainable and resilient cities. In addition, this year's event will once again showcase the world's best district energy systems, innovators and scholars, with the presentations of the System of the Year Award, the brand new IDEA Innovation Award and the John Gray Scholarship.

Be sure to stop by Nationwide Boiler’s booth #56 and talk to one of our sales engineers who can provide you with immediate boiler solutions and Nationwide Boiler’s Emergency Preparedness Plan, a must-have for any steam generating facility.

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