Managing Industrial Boiler Safety

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

Personal safety is always a first priority when it comes to the design, operation, construction, and maintenance of an industrial facility. Serious or fatal injuries can occur due to equipment failure stemming from years of neglect and poor maintenance practices. The industrial boiler is typically the most expensive, largest, and potentially the most dangerous equipment if not maintained and operated properly. There are several things that can go wrong with an industrial boiler, but there are also ways to prevent potentially catastrophic events. These events include fuel explosions, low-water incidence, and improper blowdown.

Fuel explosions

A fuel explosion in the industrial boiler’s furnace is one of the most dangerous situations that can occur. Usually, fuel explosions can be traced to an operation or maintenance problem. If a steam boiler is properly maintained, the likelihood of an explosion is almost eliminated.

Low-water incidence

Severe damage to an industrial boiler is likely to happen as a result of low-water conditions. Furnace temperatures exceed 1800 degrees Fahrenheit and the physical properties of a carbon steel furnace can change at temperatures above 850 F. Boilers can only withstand these high furnace temperatures because of the presence of water in the tubes of the furnace, which must be there at all times. Steel boiler tubes will melt if the industrial boiler fires during conditions with low water.

Sufficient water levels are critical and most modern boilers are equipped with automatic low-water trip switches. However, some older boilers do not have these inexpensive devices. If your industrial boiler does not have one of these trip switches, you can have one installed by a technician. The low-water trips will protect boiler pressure components by shutting off the fuel combustion process.

Improper blowdown

Maintaining high quality feedwater is done by following proper blowdown practices. Undesirable solids in the water are reduced through a continuous purge or blowdown system. Blowdowns are used to keep the solid concentration of the water at an acceptable limit.

Determining the blowdown rate can be done by looking at factors such as dissolved solids, silica, alkalinity, and suspended solids. The continuous blowdown rate should be set to control the water within acceptable limits. If the industrial boiler water exceeds recommended limits, various problems can potentially occur. These problems include the formation of sludge and scale, moisture carryover, and corrosion.

Regular inspections should be performed to ensure the safety of your employees and the efficiency of your boiler system. To have a proper industrial boiler inspection, you should hire the best plumbing company in your area. Call the professional plumbers at Allen’s Tri-State Mechanical in Amarillo, Texas if you need help with heavy industrial, residential, and commercial services. You can reach us at (806) 376-8345 or Contact Us by email to learn more. You can also stop by our office at 404 S. Hayden St. in Amarillo.