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2015 was an exciting year for us at Preferred Utilities. We launched a series of new online engineering tools, we released the new Flexible System Controller (FSC), and we saw several of our engineers published in energy industry trade magazines.

To cap off the year, we attended the Power-Gen International trade show in Las Vegas, NV. The show featured a new 20×20 island booth and a never-before-seen video highlighting Preferred Special Combustion Engineering.

 

Take a look at the video below for an insight into Preferred’s many combustion capabilities:

 

 

Writing a Spec? Gotta Retrofit?

Try these tools.

Finally, there’s a better way to manage your projects thanks to Preferred Utilities’ Web Applications. We designed these free tools with engineers in mind – and they’re meant to be your shortcut to success.

Pipe Sizing Calculator

The Preferred Pipe Sizing Calculator has returned! A long-time favorite used by engineers
everywhere, we’ve repackaged this program for web and mobile use. With it, you’ll be able to calculate the pipe sizes for your customized fuel system.

If your project involves fuel systems for data centers, generators, or boilers, this tool will help you get the right results.

EnergySaver Payback Analysis

EnergySaver

EnergySaver Payback Analysis

Ever tried to justify a retrofit project? Now there’s a better way to crunch the numbers. This app will save you time and money. It analyzes your existing boiler and burner system data and compares it against a proposed modern upgrade, complete with energy savings estimates.

The calculation output in this application is extensive. It includes a fuel analysis, combustion efficiency (existing and projected), fuel consumption, electrical consumption, and C02 credit calculations. Use this tool if you are considering a boiler/burner upgrade.

Fuel Load Calculator

Tested by our proven engineers, this app calculates the total fuel tank capacity required for your emergency generator fuel system.

If you know the runtime and the number of generators in your system, you’re good to go. We’ve handled the guesswork and added our recommendations for ullage, drop tube gap, and generator testing.

Fuel Oil System Specification Configurator [Coming Soon]

What would you say if there was a program that could write fuel oil specifications for you? This app will do just that.

Just take a minute to answer our questions and we’ll create a custom specification for your fuel system job. You’ll be able to take charge of your project and adapt this specification to your needs. We’ve included recommendations for line sizes, pumps, and strainer selections. Feel free to save your project. You can come back to it at any time for an updated specification. No other tool offers this much flexibility.

We hope you’ll get comfortable with these tools and use them for your current projects. And don’t worry – you’ll be able to save all of your data and return to it whenever you like. For your convenience, we’ve optimized most of these apps for PC, tablet, and mobile viewing.

Be sure to check back for future applications, because this is just the beginning.

But enough talking – let’s get results!

P.S. – Got an idea for a future web application? We’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 
Automatic Fuel Oil Transfer Pump Set (ATPSF)

Automatic Fuel Oil Transfer Pump Set (ATPSF)

The Automatic Transfer Pump Set (ATPSF) is one of our best-selling products. Our customers love it for its reliability and rugged industrial construction. We consistently beat out our competitors because we build our products out of the highest-quality components. Behind each of our systems, you will find a team of engineers and technicians who are dedicated to getting you the best results possible. People. Products. Results.

Thanks to our new Flexible System Controller (FSC), we have added several exciting features to our  ATPS:

1. Redundant Communication

The FSC is masterless, and uses dual redundant, optically-isolated RS485 cables. RS485 cables eliminate hubs, switches, and repeater failure modes. Because both NodeNet cables communicate continuously, one cable can go down while the other continues communicating with no interruption. If any node fails, all the other nodes will continue to function.

As far as we are aware, Preferred Utilities is the only manufacturer offering this multiple failure backup system.

Sample System Diagram

Sample System Diagram

2. Faster Troubleshooting

FSC OIT Screen

FSC OIT Screen

Another feature of NodeNet communications is that it allows the operator to control or view any device, status, or alarm anywhere in the system from any touchscreen in the network. Because operators can see both digital and analog inputs and outputs from anywhere in the system, troubleshooting becomes streamlined, and much faster than it would be otherwise.

3. Distributed Controls

NodeNet communications provide the additional advantage of distributed control. The NodeNet system employs multiple distributed modular controllers, which are hard-wired to local devices. Even if both NodeNet cables are lost, local automatic control will continue. This modular aspect of NodeNet allows for maximum mission critical reliability.

4. Reduced Wiring Costs

The NodeNet communications network can reduce wiring cost significantly. The average number of wires per day tank (14 home runs) can be reduced to as little as 2 redundant communication cables in a loop between FSCs.

Distributed Controls

 

Preferred Featured in Today's Boiler

 

The Spring 2015 edition of Today’s Boiler magazine published Dr. Jianhui Hong’s article “NOx Emissions Reduction Strategies.” In the article Dr. Hong explains the importance of low NOx and provides solutions for complying with low NOx emissions regulations.

He explains that “NOx is a term used to include two important air pollutants: NO (nitric oxide) and NO₂ (nitrogen dioxide). These pollutants are sometimes called mono-nitrogen oxides…NOx is a term used to include two important air pollutants: NO (nitric oxide) and NO₂ (nitrogen dioxide). These pollutants are sometimes called mono-nitrogen oxides.”

NOx gases are harmful in a number of ways. Exposure to NOx gases is harmful to human health by irritating the mucous membranes and penetrating the lungs, “causing oxidizing damage to the tissues.”

When NOx reacts with water or water vapor, “it forms nitrous acid (HNO₂) and nitric acid (HNO₃). These acids in the rain can make ‘acid rain.’ Acid rain can damage plants and man-made structures such as buildings, bridges, and outdoor sculptures.”

In highly populated areas, “NOx emissions from combustion processes are primarily in the form of NO. In the air, NO reacts with oxygen to produce NO₂. In the presence of sunlight, NOx can react with hydrocarbons, especially VOC (volatile organic compounds) in the air to form ground-level ozone, which is an important ingredient of smog. The reddish brown color of the hazes hanging over the skies of some major cities comes from NO₂ gas… It can cause irritation to eyes, noses, throats, and lungs. It can even cause asthma and other chronic lung diseases such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis.” NOx can also combine with moisture in the air which “induces changes in phytoplankton and produces toxic brown or red algal blooms (i.e. “red tides”). The algal blooms can cause the death of other plants and marine animals in the water.

Thermal NOx, Fuel NOx, and Prompt NOx create the conditions for NOx emission.

Dr. Hong presented five solutions for the combustion community to reduce NOx emissions.

  • Flue Gas Recirculation “targets the thermal NOx by reducing the peak flame temperature and also oxygen concentration…The use of external FGR increases the requirements for the combustion fan” which “become a significant factor in the overall costs of the burners (including fixed costs and operating costs).”
  • Steam/water injection “works similarly to external FGR. It targets thermal NOx by reducing peak flame temperature and oxygen concentration.”
  • Ultra lean premixing “aims to reduce the flame temperature by staying away from stoichiometric condition. Ultra Lean Premixing, if used alone, has the downside of high oxygen level (up to 9%) in the flue gas, and the loss of fuel efficiency due to the very high excess air.”
  • Air Staging supplies combustion air in two or more stages. “The general goal is to reduce flame temperature, and create fuel rich conditions in the early stages, before the final stage of air is supplied.”
  • Fuel Staging supplies fuel in two or more stages. “The general goal again is to reduce peak flame temperature. This technique is often combined with Ultra Lean Premixing to overcome the efficiency issue of the latter.”

In conclusion, Dr. Hong cites that although NOx emissions can be controlled by the mentioned techniques, “the most cost-effective methods tend to be combustion modifications, especially using low NOx and ultra-low NOx burners.”

Dr. Hong’s greatest contribution to the combustion community is his ability to present solutions for common problems in the industry and the stringent regulations placed on emissions.

Read the full article here.

 

 

Energy Savings Calculator

The Advanced Performance Inject-Aire burner blends the best of both worlds: high efficiency and low emissions. In a day and age where manufacturers compromise quality and effectiveness, Preferred Utilities prides itself in challenging the status quo. We don’t do cheap. We don’t do flimsy. We build our equipment to last—in fact, some of our burners built in the 1960s are still in operation in New York City. That’s dependability.

When it comes to decision time, many customers find themselves struggling to pick between low emissions and high efficiency—but why should you have to choose? As an added bonus, our burners can pay for themselves in just a year’s time.

So just how much energy can your application save with an API Burner?

Download our “EnergySaver Payback v8.3” to find out.

Download: Energy Savings Calculator

 

RECAP: 2014 Power-Gen Convention 

Preferred-Utilities-Power-Gen-2014

It was an excellent year for us at Preferred Utilities Manufacturing Corporation, and Power-Gen 2014 was the perfect capstone event. We were very excited to unveil our new booth and we want to thank all of you who came by to visit us during the show.

Orlando turned out to be a great experience for us. We were encouraged to meet many people, including friends, vendors, representatives, customers, and more. It was also encouraging to see so many people interested in our wide variety of product offerings. We couldn’t have asked for a better venue, either–nothing beats Florida in the middle of December!

We look forward to seeing you all again next year at Power-Gen 2015 in Las Vegas.

From us at Preferred we would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

– Preferred Utilities MFG Corp

 

PUMC_20130213_024

Danbury, CT – A boiler system functions as a critical component to the continuous operation of a facility.  The loss of a boiler can cause disruption of operation and significant loss. Thus, it is important to maintain safe, reliable, and efficient operation while minimizing any downtime of the boiler system.

A boiler system consists of many sub-systems working in harmony, such as the boiler, the burner and its control, boiler control including feed water and draft control, fuel oil handling system (if burning oil is required), water treatment, fuel gas booster system (for areas with low supply gas pressure) etc.These sub-systems are sometimes procured from multiple sources.  In order to deliver the safe, reliable and efficient service that the end user expects, it is advantageous to adopt a “full system integration” approach.

Possible Problems

A boiler system in general could have many modes of failures.  Failures in water level control have serious implications on the longevity of the boiler and in safety (the sudden inrush of feedwater to a baked-dry boiler could lead to a steam explosion). Water treatment failures can decrease the longevity and efficiency of the boiler. Boiler operators need to understand these dangers. Among all sub-systems, the burner system is by far the most sophisticated subsystem in a boiler system. The burner system has many modes of failure that require extensive training and/or experience for the boiler operators to fully understand.

When a boiler system is not delivering satisfactory performance to the end user, it is sometimes difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of the problem. The following example is used to illustrate this difficulty. Sometimes a burner makes a low frequency noise, often called a combustion rumble. The rumble could be a nuisance or discomfort to the operators and residents nearby, or could even cause damage to property. Potential causes of the rumble include, but are not limited to:

  1. The burner has poor stability at certain firing rates; or the burner’s window of operation is too narrow. This could be related to the design or manufacturing of the burner.
  2. The air/ fuel ratio is improper due to poor commissioning or lack of maintenance.
  3. The servos used by the burner control may have poor accuracy or repeatability.
  4. The linkage between servos and dampers may be loose.
  5. The system does not have oxygen trim to ensure consistent excess air levels. Any variation in draft, ambient temperature, fuel gas composition, building ventilation (affecting building inside pressure vs. outside ambient pressure), or wind speed blowing on outlet of chimney, can affect the amount of combustion air supplied by the fan.
  6. Lack of draft control.  Severe draft variation may cause the air/fuel ratio to go out of range.  This is definitely a challenge if the system does not have an oxygen trim system; it can be a problem even with an oxygen trim if the draft variation is too severe for the oxygen trim to compensate.
  7. The “acoustic coupling” between the burner and the boiler’s fire chamber and the subsequent space the flue gas flows through.
  8. The fuel gas booster could surge and cause the gas pressure to oscillate, beyond the pressure regulator’s ability to regulate.
  9. The boiler room’s ventilation system could be improperly designed. When windows and doors are shut, a significant negative pressure can develop in the boiler room, causing a drop in combustion air supply and air/fuel ratio.
  10. Fuel gas supply pressure and composition can fluctuate, especially if the fuel gas is from an alternative fuel source, such as land fill gas or, to a lesser degree, digester gas.
  11. Burner components may not work well together. For example, the gas regulator may be over-sized for the flow rates of the burner.

Problems with the Multiple-Vendor Approach

Fully integrated custom controlsWhen the subsystems are procured from many different vendors piece-meal (by the general contractor or the end user) and no engineering firm takes responsibility for integrating these subsystems, it may be difficult to identify the party responsible for correcting the problem. This often results in blame shifting among different parties, ultimately frustration for the end user.

For example: in a piece-meal approach, the burner may be supplied by a burner company, the controls may be supplied by a company that is solely dedicated to burner controls and knows little about the combustion behaviors of the particular burner. The specifications do not call for a draft control or oxygen trim, when in reality one or both of those may be required for the site conditions and requirements. The booster, if there is one for the job, may be supplied by yet another vendor, the commissioning may be done by a contractor, the ventilation system of the boiler room may not have been designed properly to avoid high negative building pressure.  The troubleshooting process itself is further complicated by the diverging interests of the different parties involved.

Sole Source Responsibility

The most important advantage of the full system integration approach is that the integrator must accept sole source responsibility. If the burner system does not perform, the integrator is responsible for correcting the problem. There is no blame shifting among different suppliers.XPlus

A burner system supplier that adopts the full system integration approach is inclined to build a long term relationship whenever it sells a job. The supplier would look at the specific conditions and requirements of the customer, and look for the best solution tailored for the job instead of chasing the latest trendy requirement in specifications. For example, it may be tempting to ask for a 12:1 or higher turndown from the burner system, but can the non-condensing boiler operate at 12:1 or higher turndown without condensation and corrosion problems?  Is 10:1 or 8:1 turndown enough for the job? In another example, does the system require a draft control device to work? Can the burner deliver satisfactory performance without the draft system?

A supplier adopting the full system integration approach would look at total costs of ownership (the fixed costs and the operating costs) for the boiler system, instead of focusing on the fixed costs. In today’s corporate procurement practices, too often the one responsible for buying the boiler system is not the one paying the energy bill, hence there is less incentive to consider the total costs of ownership.

For example, a burner capable of operating at 1.5-2.5% oxygen during the majority of its operation time can lead to significant savings in fuel costs.  If a vendor offers a burner system without use of  oxygen trim, is the burner operating at consistent excess air levels all year round? Does the lack of oxygen trim mean conservatively high excess air levels? In another example, a fiber mesh burner may be used to meet 9 ppm NOx requirements without FGR, but the additional costs of fuel due to the very high excess air levels (typically 8-9% oxygen dry in flue gas) and the costs of replacing filters and fiber mesh combustion heads need to be factored in when purchasing a burner system. In another example, a burner constructed with flimsy, low grade sheet metals may need frequent service and replacement parts, while a burner constructed out of durable steel can provide years of service beyond the normal warranty periods.

The “full system integration” approach requires an integrator to have in-depth understanding and strong product offerings in all of the following areas:

  1. Boiler controls. The boiler controls ensure safe and smooth operation (water level control, burner firing rate based on temperature or pressure, draft control if necessary). It should have the capability to manage the lead-lag control of multiple boilers to ensure the boilers are operating at maximum efficiency.
  2. Fuel oil handling systems (main tank, day tank, pump sets, filtration, leak detection, etc.)
  3. Burners–especially those designed for both high efficiency and low emissions at the same time. The end user should not be forced to choose between high efficiency and low NOx.  High turndown (such as 10:1) helps avoid cycling of the boiler, and low excess air minimizes loss of heat to flue gas. Use of FGR is acceptable, but the incremental costs of running a larger motor due to FGR should be factored in. Advanced designs of burners can achieve mandated NOx emissions with less, little, or no FGR (depending on the NOx levels required).
  4. Burner controls.  The burner must be equipped with the latest Burner Management/ Combustion Control Systems (BMS/CCS) to assure that safety aspects are in accordance with the latest requirements of NFPA 85 and CSD-1. When high efficiency or tight emissions are required,  an oxygen trim system should be included, and parallel positioning or fully metered control should be used in lieu of jackshaft. The combustion control and the servos should be designed to modulate the controlled fluids (air, fuel, FGR etc.) in a coordinated manner.  For example, if the air servo cannot move fast enough to be in sync with the fuel servo, then the fuel servo needs to be slowed down in modulation, and vice versa.
  5. Commissioning and maintenance.  The burner system is commissioned and maintained by qualified service technicians that are knowledgeable about all the subsystems.
  6. Technical support and spare parts. These should be available from nearby locations.

Preferred Utilities Manufacturing Corporation has earned a reputation for accepting single-source responsibility. We firmly believe in the advantages of full system integration. Compared to the piece-meal approach, the benefits of full system integration make the choice clear. If you believe the same way, please contact us about your next project.

 

Danbury, CT — Preferred Utilities Manufacturing Corporation unveiled its new Advanced Performance Axial Flow burner earlier this year at the 2014 AHR Expo in New York.

Since then, the API-AF burner has piqued the interest of those looking for smaller, packaged burners that meet the challenging demands of today’s combustion industry. The API-AF’s surge hearkens back to the days when Preferred Utilities manufactured thousands of “Thermopak” inject-aire burners still found today in boiler rooms across America. Some thermopak burners have continued to operate in facilities for several decades, bearing testament to Preferred Utilities’ rugged durability

Two API-AF burners being wired.

Two API-AF burners prepped to ship.

Preferred did not sacrifice any of that rugged durability with the new API-AF. If we wanted to, we could make our burners out of the same cheap, flimsy material that our competitors like to use–but we don’t. Sacrificing quality for quantity has never been our way of doing business. When we install a burner, we want to keep it operating for decades to come. We believe in building long-term relationships with our customers, a relationship that is dependent upon a durable product that delivers dependable results.

Other companies make you choose: low emissions or high efficiency? durability or quality? We do not believe in this ultimatum approach to the boiler room, and neither should you. Make the better choice, and don’t settle for flimsy. Get the PREFERRED standard since 1920.

For more information on the API-AF, please click here to visit the product page.

Advanced Performance Axial Flow Burner

Advanced Performance Axial Flow Burner

 

Preferred-FactoryDanbury, CT – Here at Preferred Utilities, we are celebrating the independence of the United States and the freedoms we enjoy as Americans. The entrepreneurial spirit of our forefathers echoes down to us through the beautifully brave words of their fateful declaration: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That was 1776.

Founded in 1920, we’ve been living the American dream here at Preferred ever since. We were there when America’s heavy manufacturing was once a source of national pride. Remember “Rosie the Riveter”  during World War II ? Remember the the huge factories that once shaped the skylines of cities like Cleveland and Pittsburgh? Remember when America produced more manufactured goods than any other country?Rosie the Riveter

A lot has changed since then. Manufacturing in America is no longer a source of national pride. The old factories are gone, and we’ve been surpassed as the world’s leading manufacturer. Why? Because manufacturers realized that cheaper labor existed overseas.

Preferred Utilities never left. We’ve weathered the ups and the downs: depressions, world wars, economic recessions. We stay in America because we believe in America. That is why we proudly place the America flag on our products. Every time we etch those words “Made in America” on a burner or a boiler product, we rekindle the fire of the American manufacturing spirit.

It hasn’t been easy or cheap–but that never stopped our forefathers from fighting for what they believed in. This attitude is no better described than in this letter from John Adams, to his wife, dated 2 July 1776:

“I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. — Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.”

made-in-america

 

Be sure to check out Preferred Utilities’ contributing article to Today’s Boiler written by Robert Frohock, PE.

From 5 Things You Might Have Missed In NFPA-85″

“Reality isn’t always what you’d assume when it comes to boilers, their controls, and their plants. Several lesser-known aspects could prove useful, so take some time and crack the rest of the code.”

You can view the online version of the magazine by clicking this link (page 10).

Robert Frohock, P.E. is the engineering manager for Preferred Utilities Manufacturing Corp. (Danbury, CT). Find out more at www.preferred-mfg.com.