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A Look into the Design & Safety Features of Combustion Control Systems

With over 30 years of experience, our General Manager at Pacific Combustion Engineering, Jack Valentine, is an expert when it comes to the design of combustion control systems. In the Winter 2021 edition of Today’s Boiler, Jack discusses the features and options typical of Combustion Control Systems today. Let’s take a peek at what he had to say.

Combustion equipment safety is essential for the daily operation of facilities and safety of plant personnel. Safety protocols and mechanisms in industrial plants have improved drastically in the last century, but incidents still occur far too frequently. Because boiler systems are inherently dangerous, safety must be factored into the design of not just the boiler, but also the burner, combustion control, and the overall operation of the system.  

The Combustion Control System (CCS) on a boiler, also known as the Boiler Control System (BCS), refers to the set of instrumentation and controls that modulates the firing rate of the burner in response to load demand while maintaining the proper air/fuel ratio (AFR). It works in conjunction with the Burner Management System (BMS) that provides safeguards before, during the initial light-off of the burner, and at shutdown. The BMS also provides the flame safeties and interlocks required to keep the boiler safe during continuous operation. Depending upon the complexity of the boiler, the CCS can also provide other functions such as drum level control and draft control.  With Low NOx burners, it also controls the proper amount of flue gas recirculation (FGR) to the burner.

For the sake of simplicity, the various types of CCS described below will be for boilers firing a single fuel gas only; fuel oil and solid fuel systems add an entirely new level of complexity.

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Innovative Leaders: Virtual FAT Testing

Nationwide Boiler is known as being an innovative leader in the rental boiler industry. Over fifty years ago we pioneered the mounting of a 24,000 lb/hr package watertube boiler to a highway-legal trailer, and followed with many other firsts including the world’s largest trailer-mounted saturated and superheated steam boilers (125,000 lb/hr and 110,000 lb/hr, respectively).

In this age of digital technology and pandemic isolation requirements, Nationwide Boiler’s control division, Pacific Combustion Engineering, realized the need for virtual factory acceptance testing (FAT). An FAT is an essential element of the testing and acceptance of new critical control systems. The main goal of this test is to prove and certify performance built for a specific application and ensure all design requirements are attained.

Pacific Combustion’s new test gear consists of a 19” HMI that replaces toggle switches, indicating lights, potentiometers, and analog gauges. A PLC drives relays and consists of contacts that can be configured for the voltage that is required for input simulation. Outputs are displayed via selectable 120vac and 24vdc terminals. Analog 4-20ma inputs are selectable as either loop or self-powered.

During the virtual FAT, a web portal is accessible by the client through an audio/video link to the testing, and the client can actually operate the test rig HMI screen from their location. Links are also furnished to the burner management / combustion control system PLC and HMI.

This is a truly unique innovation at a time where travel can be difficult, providing an alternative to the traditional FAT and allowing business to continue even in heightened times like a global pandemic.

For more details on our virtual FATs, be sure to check out our upcoming feature in Process Heating Magazine. We will post the direct link as soon as it's available. And be sure to give Pacific Combustion Engineering a call to assist with your next control system upgrade. 360-335-1443

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Wednesday, 27 January 2021 08:11
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