How Industrial Boiler Systems Work

Steam boilers

A steam boiler is a water containing vessel which transfers heat generated by a fuel source into steam, which is then piped and directed to points where it could be used while running industrial equipment. The basic idea here is to convert water to steam using a source of heat.

The working of industrial boilers is not as complex as would want to imagine because all that is involved is the basic science we all might have learnt. To help you understand all the processes involved in industrial boiler systems, here is a walkthrough with how the system works.

The mechanics of Industrial Boiler Systems

A few mechanics are involved in the working of industrial boilers. First thing you need to understand is that separate parts of the system are installed at different points, and you will find the heat source in a separate compartment along the water vessel. The vessel is connected to a heat source using metal rods.

These rods help to heat the water to convert it to steam. Once the water is converted to steam, it is collected in a section above the vessel (the dome) before it is released out of the boiler. The function of the dome is to ensure steam is condensed so as to build up pressure before the steam exits the system. Many industrial processes use pressurised steam to run machines such as turbines.

For safety, all boilers come with a safety valve that ensures excess steam is released as a way to prevent explosions. The system also contains a chimney, which is purposely fitted to ensure heat escapes while passing through the vessel.

General configurations of boiler systems

Boilers exist in different types depending on the work you intent to do. There are two known types, water tubes and fire tubes. A fire tube boiler works through a mechanism where heat is channeled through metal rods installed across the water vessel. These rods are installed in banks to ensure hear goes through them many times before it is allowed to escape through the chimney.

In a water tube configuration, the heat is channeled through metal rods that are installed near the exterior of the water vessel. Unlike fire tube boilers, fire tube boilers, these are installed vertical and can generate more steam units per hour, but their shortcoming is that they offer less storage space for water, which is an advantage the fire tube boiler system enjoys.

if your business has an industrial boiler that fails, it could end up costing you a lot of money in lost trade before it is up and running again. As industrial boilers are considerably more complex and powerful than domestic boilers, their repair and maintenance needs specialist knowledge and skills to keep them in good working order. Even with this expertise, things can still go wrong. Here are some common issues that could cause your industrial boiler to misbehave.

5 Common Problems with Industrial Boilers

1. Burner Not Functioning Correctly.
If the boiler burner fails or is faulty, then your boiler is not going to be able to generate heat efficiently, or in the worst case not at all . As industrial boilers are in almost constant use they are built to be very robust and last for decades, nevertheless they can still have problems with broken burners from time to time. Burner pumps, heads and nozzles can all cause problems but a swift replacement should limit your down time.
2. Combustion Problems.
Whether you use gas, oil, coal or any alternative in you boiler, the job of achieving a good mix of fuel and air is essential for maximum efficiency. If your boiler is not burning fuel correctly then the output will not be good and you will be wasting money on fuel when you could be burning less to generate the same amount of heat.
3. Leaks.
Any machine that operates under high pressure is susceptible to leaks, and boilers are no exception to this. A leaking tube in the combustion chamber is one example of a leak that can take your boiler out of action. Leaks like this normally need to be welded before the boiler can return to normal operation.
4.D-Patch Repair.
Non-destructive testing is carried out every 5 years to look for any defects in the boiler. Any problems, such as cracks that are found need to be dealt with as soon as possible. The defective section can be removed and a patch welded in place to return the boiler to service.
5. Control Systems.
Just like a domestic boiler, an industrial boiler has a complex control system to ensure it operates within safe limits and works effectively. A control panel is used to manage the burner and all other functions of the boiler, a problem with any control system could mean a complete shutdown. Any problems with your control system will need to be diagnosed by an engineer who may need to replace any sensors, probes or valves that are playing up.

To save on repairs and prevent breakdowns and their impact, routine checks should be carried out by a trained appointed person regularly. The boiler’s manual and contact details for the manufacturer and contact details for ST Heating Services Ltd should be accessible and kept in a designated place, along with an updated log of checks.

  • Frequent General Safety Check.

A quick but thorough safety check to carry out daily, checking lamps and wiring switches, valves and taps for faults, pipes for leaks or damage, boiler noise levels, drains and condensation levels. A general visual check should be carried out to ensure safety and that the boiler’s environment and housing is safe. Badly maintained boilers can potentially cause operational disruption or even fatalities.

  • Boiler Temperature.

An overheating boiler is dangerous and at risk of breakdown. The temperature of the boiler should be checked regularly, and a log should be kept. It is critical to spot potential problems. The normal recommended temperature should be known, and any variations noted, and an eye kept on the strength and colour of the flame of a gas boiler, gas engineers in Manchester should be contacted through ST Heating Services Ltd if there are any concerns.

  • Fuel Levels, Circulation and Pressure.

Anything wrong with the fuel could cause inefficiency, damage to the boiler, or even breakdown, leading to expensive boiler repairs. Fuel should be checked frequently and checks should be logged. The system should be checked for leaks or corrosion. Fuel strainers on oil fired boilers should be checked for sediment regularly to maintain efficiency and prevent damage. Fuels and pressure should have a correctly calibrated gauge. The water levels of a steam powered boiler should be monitored with a gage glass, and consistent low water levels would indicate a leak or inefficiency. Water condition should also be checked for sediment affecting circulation. The sump pump should be checked weekly.

  • Smoke Detector, Alarms and Valves.

For obvious safety reasons boilers should have smoke detection equipment and low pressure and low fuel shut-off alarms or valves. These should be checked regularly to ensure that they are working well. An alarm failure could put the whole system out of action or cause fatality. Smoke alarms, pressure alarms and valves to shut the system down should also be checked. Fire fighting equipment should be available in the boiler room, and well maintained.

  • Chimneys, Vents and Outlets.

It is vital that the outlets for the boiler are checked to ensure that they are flowing clearly and the boiler and room is ventilating well, otherwise the waste fuel, smoke, condensation,soot or carbon monoxide can return to the boiler system and cause damage or get into the boiler room or building,causing potential health hazard, poisoning or evacuation.

These are just a few of the issues that can crop up with industrial boilers. If you do have any problems, or just need to arrange a regular service, then our gas engineers in Manchester are always here to help get the heat back on again.

If you are in need of steam boiler repair or to find out more information on our steam boiler service, contact us at S T Heating Services Ltd on 0161 279 0137 or send an email to info@stheatingservices.co.uk with any queries.

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