Boiler Blog | Nationwide Boiler Inc.

Nationwide Boiler news and events, industry updates, technical information, and more. You hear it first on The Nationwide Boiler Blog!

Preventing Catastrophe

The National Board Incident Report recently indicated that 79 percent of all reported boiler accidents were attributed to two causes: low water cutoff, and operator error/poor maintenance. A low water cutoff condition occurs when the water level in the boiler steam drum drops below a pre-set safe level (as determined by the boiler manufacturer) and, in turn, shuts off the boiler. This condition, and the subsequent cause, should be investigated and corrected immediately. Failure of this safety control may result, at a minimum, in costly tube or vessel repairs, or, in the worst cases, catastrophic boiler and building damage and personnel injury or death.

Some common causes of low water conditions include:
•    Feedwater pump failure
•    Control valve failure
•    Loss of water to the deaerator or make-up water system
•    Drum level controller failure
•    Drum level controller inadvertently left in "manual" position
•    Loss of plant air pressure to the control valve actuator
•    Safety valve lifting
•    Wide variations or sudden changes in steam load

Avoiding the above conditions is critical to ensuring safe and reliable boiler operation. Maintenance, inspection, and operational logs are recommended and required by insurance companies.  These records not only help determine boiler performance trends, but also keep operators focused on the safe performance of the boiler and auxiliary plant equipment.  To this end, unnecessary boiler downtime (together with the loss of plant production) and lost time accidents are avoided.

Our main priority is to provide customers with safe and reliable rental and new boiler and steam plant equipment.  We have many operational procedures in place that help us achieve this goal.  For instance, each piece of rental equipment is thoroughly inspected before and after a rental project.  Our inspection and maintenance checklists cover all of the mechanical and electrical systems, including feedwater systems, water softeners, chemical systems, and the trailers themselves (for mobile equipment such as our mobile boiler rooms).  In addition, critical parts, including low water cut-offs, constantly undergo inspection and testing.  If found to be faulty, they are either immediately repaired or replaced.

The only way to avoid premature downtime and accidents (in the worst cases) is to make certain that operators and plant owners are committed to an on-going operational and preventative maintenance programs.  The Hartford Steam Boiler website www.hsb.com is a good resource.  Turning a blind eye to safe boiler operations puts operators, company employees, and equipment at unnecessary risk.
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Freeze Protection Guidelines

Freezing conditions pose a huge risk to boiler equipment if it is not properly protected from the harsh elements. In order to ensure that your unit continues to operate while facing freezing conditions, Nationwide Boiler recommends the following:

    1. Enclose both the front and rear of the boiler area and use an external heat source to minimize freezing conditions.
    2. Install heat tracing with insulation to protect exposed stagnant water lines.
    3. Utilize an appropriate heat tracing method (electric or steam tracing) to all of your main lines and piping components. This includes the following lines which should be heat traced regardless if the boiler is in operation or not (in freezing conditions): sensing lines (steam drum to CMR, high steam and steam gauge), auxiliary low-water-cut-off, water column and level control blowdown. Depending on the length of piping runs, the main and continuous blowdown should also be heat traced.
    4. In addition to heat tracing on stagnant sensing lines, drain the lines and fill them with a 50/50 (water/glycol) solution, making sure to re-connect the line.
    5. When an extended boiler down time is expected, completely drain the boiler and stagnant water lines.



NOTE:

    • The above lines are considered stagnant lines and should be heat traced regardless if the boiler is in operation or not (freezing conditions).
    • Nationwide has also done the following in addition to heat tracing on the stagnant sensing lines: Drain line, fill with 50/50 (water/glycol) solution, re-connect line.
    • Depending on the length of piping runs, the main and continuous blowdown should also be heat traced.
    • For extended boiler down time, drain boiler and stagnant water lines completely.



Standard Enclosure

The above are recommendations; however, use sound engineering judgment calls when there are concerns of possible freeze damage to the equipment. Contact Nationwide Boiler if you have any further questions: 1-800-227-1967

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Rental Boilers & Mobile Feedwater Van - Voyage to the Middle East

Nationwide Boiler recently shipped two 70,000 lb/hr trailer-mounted boilers and one 140,000 lb/hr feedwater van to Qatar as part of Qatar Petroleum and Shell's Pearl GTL project.

Mignon Ship We took some incredible photographs of our units being shipped on the Mignon, measuring over 227 meters in length and with a car capacity of 7,200 units. Read the complete Press Release online.

The equipment is currently in transit where it will await initial start-up services and full time operation by Nationwide Boiler. Be sure to check back later when we discuss the logistics and planning involved in shipping the units back home!

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Tuna Fish and Boilers

Chicken of the SeaIf you love tuna then you are most likely already familiar with Chicken of the Sea. The company is opening a canning operation in Lyons, GA and they have selected Nationwide Boiler to supply a 650 hp (22,500 lbs/hr) Mobile Boiler Room for temporary steam. The new 200,000 square-foot facility will create 200 jobs around Toombs County and it is expected to be fully operational by October 2009.

Michael Medina, Nationwide Boiler's Rental Manager, shares the excitement the new plant has brought to local residents. “This new plant is a major accomplishment for Chicken of the Sea and the surrounding community. We are proud that our boiler will allow the plant to efficiently produce their tuna and quickly bring it to market throughout the United States.”

The Chicken of the Sea brand and famous Mermaid icon are among the most recognized brands in America. Nationwide Boiler is proud that we can do our part (as small as it may be) to make sure it stays that way.
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