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Author Archives: Ruth O'Donnell

 

-Luke Amory, Danbury, CT

Traditionally, when working with operationally sensitive equipment such as HMI/SCADA Systems, the established practice has been to “Air-Gap” your equipment and prevent any access from the outside world. Globalization, regulations, & the advent of AI have made this practice obsolete and costly to your bottom line. Plants that choose to be “Air-Gapped” lose out on new innovations that allow for increased oversight and efficiency optimization to plant systems. Thankfully there are options for advantageous plant engineers that want to access facilities remotely without compromising on security.

The simplest implementation of plant connectivity is accomplished by adding an Application-Aware Firewall. This device is often marketed under the moniker “Security Appliance” “SCADA Fuse” or “Secure Router”. A device such as this is would be used in a scenario where the plant network is expanded to access portions of the corporate LAN. The Firewall would sit between the corporate side and the plant side to monitor ingress and egress traffic and prevent unwanted communications by enforcing rules defined by the administrator. The flaw with this implementation is that by extending plant communications protocols outside of their normal bounds your plant becomes exposed to inherent vulnerabilities in these industrial communications protocols. Most industrial protocols were developed to be exclusively implemented in these “Air-Gapped” networks and therefore were optimized for ease of implementation and access. Lacking modern features such as encryption and mutual authentication, traffic from these protocols can be modified in transit or spoofed entirely. This creates a scenario where a party with malicious intent or “Bad Actor” on the corporate side of the network can potentially infiltrate the plant side of the network.

Alternatively, a more conservative solution to this problem is to implement what is called a protocol conversion gateway. This gateway, like a firewall, sits between the plant network and the corporate network, translating communications from each side with mappings configured by the administrator. This device allows the conversion of insecure plant protocols to be converted to more secure protocols such as BACnet or OPC-UA without exposing unsecured plant equipment to the corporate network. Unfortunately, the level of security provided by implementing a device such as this can very widely. Unless explicit specifications for a secure implementation is provided, the lowest bidder will not provide these security measures by default and forgoes these features in favor of simplicity of maintenance and configuration.

With the Preferred Cloud Platform, we have approached this problem from a different direction. The integrity of our and our customers’ networks is paramount and therefore we have designed a platform to facilitate that. From the beginning we have designed our systems to have security in mind at every step. So that even if there is a catastrophic failure in one part of our infrastructure the attacker has no means by which to proliferate their attack to our customers. By collecting data locally with our cloud gateway and ingesting data into our isolated and secured infrastructure we can provide all the benefits of a connected plant without creating an attack vector from your corporate network or burdening your team with complicated security configurations. Preferred also leverages this connectivity to supply operations teams with tools that enable you to be more aware of problems with your equipment and to assist you in optimizing your plants for peak efficiency.

View the Preferred Cloud Platform here!

 

We have reason to celebrate! Preferred successfully completed the UL testing of our 1200 HP Ultra-Low NOx Ranger burner at Johnston Boiler. We now have UL listing on the following:
API-AF : 50 HP through 600 HP
API-RF: 100 HP through 1200 HP Ranger-RF: 100 HP through 1200 HP
We also have ULB listings on the entire range of: API-AF, API-RF, and Ranger-RF.

UL LIsting is required to sell burners into New York City and to put together a UL listed boiler package.

 

A New York City Public School central heating plant and their consulting engineer made the decision to install 3 new low emissions burners with state of the art combustion control systems to meet Local Law 87 initiatives.

Compliant with Local Law 87, NO FIBER METAL MESH HEADS OR AIR FILTERS REQUIRED.

For sub 35 PPM NOx, low O2 performance without FGR and ability to go to sub 9 PPM NOx with FGR  all without fiber metal mesh heads or air filters.

If dual fuel capabilities are added they can have a sub 5-minute change over from natural gas to oil firing. Their new controls packages includes: BurnerMate Universal O2 Trim, Draft Indication & Control, Fuel Air Ratio Control, Flu Gas Temperature indication and alarm, Smoke Opacity, Flame Safeguard control, with VFDs.

These burners will reduce electricity consumption by 60% or more and allow for 8:1 turn down on oil firing. O2 ranges from sub 1.5% at 50-100% firing rate, to sub 3.5% 10-40% firing rate. The burners and controls package are made by skilled American tradesmen in our Danbury, CT, UL 508 / IBEW shop, and started up by our combustion field engineers.

Made in the U.S.A. for a Greener, more Sustainable and Fuel Efficient future for NYC.

 

Made in the U.S.A., this project demonstrated a a sustainable, safe reclamation of waste hydrogen with high efficiency and carbon foot print reduction.

An American based chemical manufacturer decided to make use of their waste hydrogen which significantly reduced their use of fossil fuel for their process steam requirements. But the customer needed the right company to deliver a controls, burner, boiler, fuel handling, blending, and a balance of plant integrated combustion package. They came to Preferred Utilities Manufacturing for a total combustion design solution which included a custom (IBEW / UL 508) PLC flame safe guard system with integrated combustion control, fuel ratio control, boiler water control and balance of plant interface. A 10″ touch screen operator interface with plant wide SCADA communications provides easy process / efficency monitoring and trouble shooting operations.

For single source responsibility, significant energy savings, and unsurpassed combustion engineering expertise, choose Preferred.

 
  1. NOx in Heating oil is significantly reduced: heating oil can contain less than 15 parts per million of sulfer. That is a 200-fold decrease in sulfer since 2014.
  2. Heating oil is a partially renewable fuel: more and more heating oils contain 2% – 5% plant derived biofuel, and likely to increase over time. Biofuel is a renewable energy source which also helps heating oil burn more completely while also helping your oil tank stay clean and free of sediment.
  3. Heating oil is safer than natural gas: on Sept. 13, 2018, old natural gas lines ruptured in an area of north of Boston, Mass, causing a series of explosions and fires damaging 40 homes and causing the death of a teenage boy. Gas service to more than 8000 homes was shut off, and some homes were without central heating more than a month later. This not an isolated incident – there are an estimated 23-26 gas explosions with 5-8 fatalities that happen across the country every year. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-massachusetts-explosions-factbox/factbox-gas-distribution-line-related-accidents-in-the-united-states-idUSKCN1LU05A)
 

Our SECOND burner and controls retrofit for Bates College on one of their existing 700 HP Cleaver-Brooks™ boilers so they can burn ENSYN Renewable Fuel Oil (100% renewable fuel source derived from trees) as their primary heating source! With our help, Bates is on the verge of reaching their 2020 emissions and carbon reduction milestones while increasing combustion efficiency and reducing electric consumption.

Read the full story here.

 

 

An innovative, low-cost combustion solution to meet sustainability goals, emission reduction requirements, and extreme efficiency improvements.

This installation is at an American college with aggressive sustainability goals. Our solution for them–a burner and controls upgrade on one of their existing 700 HP Cleaver Brooks boilers to achieve their emission and carbon reduction milestones, while increasing combustion efficiency and reducing electric consumption. This upgrade will NOT require the removal of the Cleaver Brooks front or rear doors, but acts as a direct replacement “insert” for the existing Cleaver Brooks burner, while reusing the existing Cleaver Brooks combustion fan and making no cuts or modifications in the original front door.

This specialized API-Ranger burner and controls upgrade will allow the college to burn ENSYN Renewable Fuel Oil, an 85% carbon neutral renewable fuel, along with natural gas or #2 oil.

American made and supported, our technological advancements continue to out-pace the competition.

 

Combined Heat and Power or CHP refers to using the waste heat in the exhaust of a turbine or engine to make steam or hot water. Preferred is getting active in CHP projects with Williams & Davis boilers of Dallas, TX. Their specially designed boilers can accept the exhaust from a diesel generator to make steam or hot water. For this project, Preferred supplied an API-AF burner to fire the boiler to full steam capacity when the engine isn’t running or isn’t producing enough waste heat to meet the plant’s thermal demand.

CHP projects make sense anywhere electricity is very expensive, fuel is cheap, and customers have a relatively constant demand for steam or hot water. Instead of purchasing electricity off the grid, a plant or building owner can purchase a natural gas- or diesel-fired generator, and use the hot exhaust to make steam or hot water for building heating. The Preferred burner allows the steam or hot water production to be independent of building electrical load.

Electric utilities actually encourage this practice because when customers provide their own electricity, they are peak shaving for the utility. During peak electricity usage periods, like hot Texas afternoons in August, the utilities are running all of their generating plants to meet demand, including their oldest, least efficient plants. The utilities lose money selling electricity from their oldest plants, so they incentivize customers to make their own electricity during these periods in the hopes the utility won’t have to fire up their oldest generating plants. In the aftermath of hurricane Sandy, people living in buildings with back-up power and heating became very popular for friends to come by, charge up their devices, take a hot shower, and have a hot meal.

CHP covers a lot of different ways to provide both electricity and steam or hot water to a facility. This approach with Preferred and Williams & Davis is geared towards customers that have steam or hot water loads between 200 HP and 1,000 HP, and need the flexibility to fire the boiler at any load regardless of generator load. If you have customers that may be interested in this CHP approach, contact David Eoff for more details.

 

For reliability, longevity and unmatched service, choose Preferred!

This Preferred JC-CDDF2 chief dispatcher model has been in service since the 1970’s in a Newport, RI facility. When one of the relay sockets finally broke, they called Preferred.

Although this unit has been out of production for nearly 20 years, we still had replacement parts in stock and original wiring diagrams for the installation of the new parts.

Built in the USA and built to last!

 

-Today’s Boilers


This is a Letter to the Editor written by David Eoff of Preferred Utilities to Today’s Boiler regarding an article in the Spring 2018 edition called: Warning–A Boiler Breakdown may be in your Future story.

As Geoff Halley, the author of this article stated, the low water cutout switches that prevent a boiler from dry firing are prone to failure, and require periodic maintenance and testing. Low water cutout float switches can become stuck due to accumulation of sediment on the float mechanism, or due to the float getting deformed and sticking against the side of the switch housing. Probe type low water cutouts can fail due to accumulation of sediment on the probes, broken wires, and malfunctioning relays. Both types of low water cutout devices can be wired wrong, or intentionally jumpered by boiler operators.

As a back-up to traditional, code required low water cutoff switches, Preferred Utilities recommends a high stack temperature cutoff be installed in all boilers. A high stack temperature cutoff set at 200-300 degrees F. over normal stack temperature will quickly shut the boiler down if it is dry fired, and is not likely to cause nuisance trips. The high stack temperature cutout usually consists of a thermocouple installed in the stack that reports back to the boiler flame safeguard controller. Preferred Utilities’ BurnerMate Universal and BurnerMate TS controllers have included this feature for decades. Preferred’s JC-15D stack temperature monitor will open a dry contact if the stack temperature goes above a pre-determined setpoint and can be added to virtually any flame safeguard system.

Several Preferred Utilities representatives and technicians have reported these high stack temperature cutoff devices have saved boilers from dry firing when the traditional low water cutoff switches failed. People who have experienced a close call like this insist on installing a high stack temperature cutoff on every future boiler.

A stack temperature thermocouple is inexpensive, reliable, reads constantly so you know the device is working, and requires no maintenance. It’s cheap, reliable insurance against a catastrophic dry firing event.”

–David Eoff