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!

Keeping it Safe - Gas Trains


gastrain12.jpg


Maintenance budgets are among the first to be cut when companies need to decrease costs. Unfortunately, this means that critical equipment, such as the safety of combustion equipment, may be overlooked, specifically the testing of fuel trains.

Gas trains regulate the amount and the pressure of gas to the boiler's burners and are used to eliminate gas from entering the combustion chamber. This is achieved through a series of shut-off valves that are specifically designed to close when the combustion process occurs (through safety shutoff and blocking valves). Gas trains also include a series of pressure switches that prevent gas under pressure from entering the burner. If anything should go wrong, shutdown would occur immediately.

As crucial as gas trains are for the safety of the boiler, many facilities are unable to perform the preventive maintenance and testing work on the equipment as should be necessary to help decrease combustion incidents from occurring. John Puskar (Combustion Safety Inc.) has developed the following strategies that can help any facility to be proactive in the maintenance of fuel trains and combustion equipment. Overall, the goal of any safety program is to improve the reliability and life of boiler related equipment. These guidelines not only help to achieve those goals, but more importantly they help lead to fewer unplanned outages and improve the overall safety of plant personnel.

1. Most of the explosions and fire incidents, by far, have historically been due to human error. All of the safeties and interlock equipment in the world won't help if you attempt to bypass or jumper-out safety controls. There is no possible substitute for proper training. Training has to include mock upset and hazard recognition drills. Your site needs training even if you will have contractors doing preventive maintenance work.

2. Start-up and shutdown are your biggest risks. You need clearly written procedures that everyone understands and agrees with so that consistent, safe practices are in place with every shift and every employee.

3. Make sure that you do regular and complete interlock and fuel train valve tightness testing. Jurisdictional inspectors, even where they are mandated to be around, cannot be at your facility every day. Combustion equipment safety testing needs to be part of your organization's culture regardless of what it costs and what the perceived hurdles are. You should comply with code requirements for testing even if they are not enforceable in your area.

4. Create corporate guidelines for third party combustion equipment reviews and commissioning for newly acquired equipment or for major upgrades. Now that you see how little review and attention combustion equipment may receive from the time it's specified to when its really operating, you may want a dedicated professional review of the process.

5. Upgrade equipment for safety's sake. Do not wait for a problem and let attorneys dictate when this happens.
  3456 Hits
  0 Comment
3456 Hits
0 Comment

Rental Boiler Removal: Preparing Your Unit for Pick-up

The proper removal of rental boiler equipment is a critical step when renting boilers and it ensures the safe return of equipment to the rental company's facility. It also reduces the risk of additional costs to the customer. By taking a few precautionary steps as described below, the boiler can be properly prepared for pick-up and shipment.

Drain & Flush

First, completely drain and flush all the boiler lines with clean water and open all water drain valves. This will minimize the chance of any corrosion and hard caused by unforeseen freezing conditions.

Inspect

Second, Inspect all fireside and waterside surfaces and report any visual damage, scale build-up, or refractory problems. Having photographic evidence of the boiler condition after the rental period is advisable.

Stack Removal

Next, the stack should be removed, remounted and Bolt down stub stack, non-return valve, safety valves and vent valve to trailer (same location as it was received).

  • Cover all boiler openings (stack, steam, gas, water, electrical panel, safety valve openings)

  • If trailer is disassembled, reattach wheels and gooseneck

  • Check tire pressure

  • Return all instruction and operating manuals to the rental company via the trucker or transportation company responsible for returning the unit


If you have questions about preparing your unit for pick-up, don't hesitate to call Nationwide Boiler at 800-227-1966.
  3682 Hits
  0 Comment
3682 Hits
0 Comment

Boiler Scale & How to Avoid It

All boilers are subject to damage if proper chemical treatment, water analysis and blowdown procedures are not followed. If these items are ignored, both during operation and idle periods, serious damage to the boiler will result.

When Nationwide Boiler delivers a rental unit, it is the boiler operator's responsibility to maintain and supervise the water treatment conditions of their rental boiler in order to avoid any additional charges that may result from improper operation or maintenance. It is recommended that the services of a reputable boiler chemical consultant are retained in-order to supervise the water treatment conditions on a regular basis. At least once each week, daily boiler logs, chemical treatment tests, a chemical treatment consultant's report and maintenance records should be implemented and sent to Nationwide Boiler. This ensures that the proper maintenance is being done on the equipment and provides accurate maintenance reports for Nationwide's equipment files.

As a boiler operator it is important to inspect the waterside condition of watertube boilers that may result in heavy scale or oxygen pitting or corrosion. Waterside scale can be cause for concern on the reliability of a boiler by the following:

  • If the boiler tubes contain heavy scale, tubes can overheat and/or fail leading to tube leaks

  • If the boiler has some scale but it is not heavily deposited, certain types of water treatment plans can cause the scale to quickly be removed in large flakes, plugging tubes and eventually leading to overheating and tube failures

  • Certain types of scale can be easily removed such as a conventional soft phosphate scale, while others are very difficult to remove such as silica


If scale is present, any scale greater than 1/8 inch or 0.125 inch should be removed from the boiler prior to placing it back in operation.

Oxygen corrosion is not as easily detected as scale. O2 pitting can occur under deposits and in very small areas that can escape detection by the naked eye. If O2 pitting is suspected, a tube needs to be removed from the boiler for more close examination.

Therefore, it is extremely important to assess the waterside condition of a boiler and then to determine the type of scale and the method for removing it. There are several methods for removing boiler scale including high pressure water blasting and other proprietary methods offered by water treatment representatives. Overall, with proper boiler maintenance and water treatment plans, such procedures can be avoided.

Examples of (1) Heavy Scale, (2) Medium Scale and (3) No Scale

1.
scale2.jpg
2.
scale1.jpg
3.
noscale.jpg
  4268 Hits
  0 Comment
4268 Hits
0 Comment

Simple Guidelines to Help Minimize Plant Outages

Unscheduled plant outages, no matter what the cause, result in increased costs and loss revenue. As plants continue to reduce personnel and maintenance budgets, the likeliness of an equipment failure is more and more common. Below are just a few guidelines for effectively managing your plant equipment, while utilizing limited resources:

Know your equipment's age.

Replacing or upgrading obsolete, aging or high maintenance equipment before it fails can prevent serious failures in the future. Obtain and file a record of all your major pieces of equipment. Note when the equipment was acquired, built and record any maintenance items performed. You may also want to take pictures of your equipment, including any serial numbers and nameplates. In addition, be on the lookout for new equipment models that have been re-designed with technological upgrades that may result in immediate cost savings (decreases in energy consumptions or increases in efficiencies). You may received an immediate cost savings or rebate.

Continually train your operators and plant personnel.

Human error is bound to happen, but these errors can be drastically reduced by continual training. Training comes in all forms and it does not necessarily have to be formal, classroom type lectures. Utilizing check-off lists for routine tasks is an easy and low cost method to ensure that all critical task are carried out, no matter how small. Also, promote common maintenance reminders through the use of signage.

Develop a schedule.

Scheduling major inspections and repairs at the same time helps to minimize unscheduled outages and makes the most of a schedule.  Take advantage of that time to conduct anything else that needs repaired, inspected or replaced. Overall, having a plan in place makes it easy to be proactive in your planning and scheduling of people and resources.

Do you have additional guidelines you would like to share? Let us know.
  3104 Hits
  0 Comment
3104 Hits
0 Comment