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Case study - Process air heating on the upgrade
Thursday, 04 May 2006 00:00

Lanemark international has recently upgraded the process air heating at a specialist sheet metal component company in Nottingham. Finishing went along to see how it was done.

The ability and experience available from process gas burner specialist, Lanemark International Ltd, has enabled the company to build a leading position both at home and overseas in its sector of the industry.  At a time when energy prices are under such close scrutiny, the company’s ability to offer a choice of equipment operating on either natural or LPG gases for both tank and oven heating applications have enabled an increasing number of users to turn to just one source of supply to meet their process heating system needs.  With commissioning and on-going support in the shape of Lanemark’s  ‘BurnerCare’ service, the company can demonstrate high levels of heating efficiency and energy cost reductions in a wide range of user industries.

The provision of process air heating for oven and curing equipment manufacturers is a key area in which  the company works closely with OEM’s for both new build and retro-fit applications.  An excellent example can now be seen in Nottingham where a specialist sheet metal component manufacturer is enhancing its manufacturing capabilities with the benefit of Lanemark technology – enabling it to build on more than 50 years’ success in its industry.

Commercial heating

Leengate Engineering has built much of its impressive track record through the manufacture and supply of components used extensively in the domestic and commercial heating industry.  Cases, enclosures, internal fire & boiler assemblies as well as flue systems are included in the range of components supplied by the company to many of the leading and most familiar manufacturers in this sector, many of whom require either powder or wet coating finishes for both decorative and functional reasons as part of the service.

In line with this success, the company has now brought its powder and wet coating capability in-house through the take-over of its nearby long-term supplier `Caliba Surface Coatings` to create a new division of Leengate Engineering Company Ltd.- Leengate Surface Coating.  The move is seeing the construction of a new building alongside Leengate’s existing Nottingham facility which, through four application lines, will enable Leengate to satisfy its own expanding product finishing requirements while also continuing to make a significant percentage of its capacity available to meet the continuing needs of Caliba’s other customers.  Significantly, the company is delighted to note that both equipment and personnel have been able to make the move.

Curing ovens

“The fact that Leengate are using both new and refurbished curing ovens which we have now modified to operate on propane gas and which now fully comply with the latest process burner industry standards is a significant factor,” comments Lanemark International’s general manager, Adrian Langford.

“We have been able to replace existing burner systems with equipment that offers far greater control and efficiency whilst at the same time providing equipment for the new plant which is being installed alongside,” he explains.

System installation

The entire oven and curing system installation has been undertaken by I & T Projects and Installations Limited who have developed a highly focused, specialist capability as process line designers, builders and installation engineers.  Director Tim Bird draws attention to another key factor which, he says, has enabled Leengate Engineering to gain the broad benefits of gas process heating at a site where propane gas has been selected rather than the more usual natural gas supply that you would normally expect at a city location “The Lanemark burner systems are fully capable of operation with propane gas,” he says,” which has opened up the economic benefits associated with the energy medium to Leengate Engineering.  The cost that would have been associated with bringing in a new natural gas supply of sufficient capacity to this side of the site, with its requirement for 150 mm diameter pipe-work across a run of some 150 metres, would have been highly significant,” he continues.  “However, by bringing propane directly to the location from locally positioned tanks that provide a total capacity of 27,500 litres – all fed by a smaller 32 mm propane gas main – high levels of burner and, therefore, oven performance can be assured at a fraction of the alternative cost – resulting, of course, in far quicker pay-back.”  

Leengate Engineering Director, Mike Nowicki also noted that “Since the installation was initiated, natural gas prices have risen further – a risk against which Leengate Engineering are now protected via a fixed propane contract.”   He also points out that the alternative of using electricity was examined but also ruled out on cost grounds.

The largest of the four lines at Leengate is an online wet and powder booth facility using an existing oven design brought in from Caliba. This line includes two existing burners that utilise the negative pressure generated by the main oven recirculation fans to induce the required combustion air without the need for separate combustion air supply fans.  Two further online facilities for different component configurations use Lanemark FD10 burners.  A new `Dalby` clean room/wet spray facility and low cure facility together with a separate high temperature curing oven completes the four main coating installations.  Other new equipment installed include pre-treatment which incorporates degreasing, aqueous cleaning/processing and blast cleaning using both ferrous and non-ferrous media.

“We have excellent process flexibility to meet varying customer demands,” comments Leengate’s Mike Nowicki.  This need to provide maximum process flexibility is further enhanced, he explains, by a key feature of the Lanemark burner equipment –

“Each of the Lanemark burners that will be operational are fully modulating which gives us far more precise temperature control than a conventional high/low arrangement,” he says.  “Significantly, whilst it also allows us to optimise gas usage, the degree of control it creates gives us a greater ability to react to precise paint needs – especially important for decorative finishes.”

The installation is a prime example not just of Lanemark’s capability but also of the benefits associated with the use of gas as a process heating medium – demonstrated through a combination of cost control and process quality.  Upon completion, Lanemark will also introduce its BurnerCare service to provide on-going support for both I & T Projects and thus Leengate Engineering.  Lanemark BurnerCare not only supports the on-going maintenance of the system to ensure continuing optimum performance but also provides a rapid reaction source for spares and diagnostics should any difficulties occur.

“We are delighted to have been involved in the project and, indeed, to have had the opportunity to work closely with I & T Projects,” concludes Adrian Langford.  “Complementing the TX gas fired small diameter immersion tube tank heating systems, our FD oven burners satisfy the majority of process air heating application requirements and the performance and cost efficiency that can be achieved is now well demonstrated at the Nottingham site.  We are confident that the new facility will enable Leengate Engineering to continue to enhance and develop its enviable track record in the sector in the industry it serves.”

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