4 Ways To Classify Industrial Boilers

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

During the design process for a new industrial facility, the type of boiler the facility will use is likely one of the first things to be decided. There are multiple ways to classify different types of industrial boilers, which can often cause confusion. The simplest way to classify this equipment is by looking at its function, tube type, fuel type, and combustion method.

Industrial boilers by function

These machines can either produce steam or hot water. Industrial boilers are always used for steam production, which is a vital resource for several applications. The steam is necessary for turning turbines, heating kilns in cement plants, and power generation. Hot water boilers are typically used in residential or commercial settings.

Industrial boilers by tube type

This equipment is classified according to two different tube types: fire tube and water tube. Fire tube boilers take hot gas from their heating source and pass it through tubes running through a water-filled drum. This process transfers the heat from the gases into the water to generate steam.

Water tube boilers are basically the reverse of fire-tube options. This equipment routes water through its tubes and surrounds them with a drum filled with hot gasses in order to produce the steam. Water tube boilers are more thermally efficient than the previous type. However, these machines are more expensive and difficult to build.

Industrial boilers by fuel type

Boilers have a wide range of possibilities when it comes to fuel, so many are classified by their fuel type. Most boilers used for industrial applications burn pulverized coal. This type of coal is used because it burns more efficiently than coal clumps. Some options run off of biomass. This fuel includes all types of burnable plant material, such as sugar cane husks, wood chips, and wooden debris.

Boilers that burn natural gas are called gas-fired boilers. The gas can be a mix of ethane, butane, methane, propane, or pentane. Oil boilers burn diesel, gasoline, and other petroleum based liquids. Finally, hydronic industrial options use steam. The steam heats the heat exchangers, but this equipment needs to be paired with another type to function.

Industrial boilers classified by combustion method

The last classification type is by combustion method. This type of classification only applies to boilers that burn petroleum-based or solid fuels. The first type is a fluidized bed, which burns solid fuel. The fluidized bed bubbles fuel and sand together to provide an optimal fuel and air mix. The system also regulates temperatures throughout the bed and reduces emissions.

A stoker system in a boiler burns lumped coal. Typically, there are two types of stokers used known as spreaders and chain-grate stokers. The spreader stoker distributes a feed of coal onto the bed. A chain-grate stoker feeds fuel to only one area of the bed, then distributes it with a moving grate.

The last combustion type is a thermic fluid heater. These heaters use a closed system of petroleum-based liquid as a heat-transfer medium. This method allows for consistent temperature control, minimal losses, and good thermal efficiency.

If you would like help determining what type of industrial boiler you need, contact the experts at Allen’s Tri-State Mechanical Inc in Amarillo, Texas. You can reach us at (806) 376-8345 or Contact Us by email to learn more about our heavy industrial, residential, and commercial services. You can also stop by our office at 404 S. Hayden St. in Amarillo, Texas for more information.