A number of steam raising methods and manufacturers were considered in the original tender, but, with a requirement for an energy-efficient boiler with a small footprint, the company subsequently placed an order for a skid-mounted, two x VSRT-60 gas-fired steam boiler solution from heat transfer specialist Fulton, which was packaged with ancillary items including automatic blowdown, water treatment and a TDS energy recovery system. Commenting, the company’s senior engineer says: “The old facility was capable of processing 60,000 to 70,000 items a day but, with Fulton’s skid-mounted VSRT vertical steam boiler solution and the new line in place, we are currently processing approximately 90,000 items with the ability to double throughput as required.” It takes little imagination to see how during the COVID-19 crisis this leap in processed items was vital.
The skid-mounted solution features two 600kW (960kg/h) VSRT-60 steam boilers, which boast ultra-low NOx emissions of less than 20ppm, achieve up to 10:1 turndown capabilities and industry-leading performance of 86 per cent gross thermal efficiency and 99.75 per cent steam quality at eight bar. It features a multi-award-design design that is durable, long-lasting, enhances heat transfer rates and improves steam quality. Additionally, for applications where contaminated air can reduce boiler uptime – such as laundry and drycleaning facilities – the VSRT’s cyclonic air filter effectively separates debris and damaging particles from the combustion air and, because it won’t clog over time, eliminates the need for replacement filters.
To protect its investment and ensure the steam boiler installation continues to operate efficiently, the laundry operator also opted for a number of solutions from Fulton’s aftercare portfolio, including a service contract, water treatment package and boiler operator training, a requirement of the company’s insurance provider. Jeff Byrne, Fulton’s aftercare and business development manager says: “Considerable investment has gone into this new super-laundry and the customer is keen to ensure that their return-on-investment is improved as much as possible, hence supporting the installation with manufacturer-backed service contracts and training.”
The service contract consists of two service visits per boiler per year, with one visit coinciding with the annual insurance inspection. As well as providing discounts on any spares and the regular chemicals orders, the contract also ensures 24h phone-based technical assistance from a dedicated boiler/ service engineer and a 48h call-out response where required.
The water treatment package consists of monthly feedwater quality inspections and an annual system inspection and report. The VSRT is the first range to emerge from the Fulton’s new ‘PURE Technology’ approach – the result of a clean-slate design approach that combines new people with new skills bringing a new approach to the design and optimisation of heat transfer solutions. Fulton believe it’s the most radical change to vertical steam boiler design since they pioneered the vertical tubeless boiler in 1949 and, for the right application, a worthy successor to the company’s renowned J Series. Fulton’s Leigh Bryan says: “To meet ever-more stringent industry and environmental standards, our PURE Technology approach looks to enhance heat transfer, provide class-leading efficiencies, improve steam quality and reduce NOx emissions. So rather than improve existing products to achieve these goals, PURE Technology radically challenges conventional boiler design by engineering solutions that are fit-for-purpose and applications.”
With over 15 patents pending in three continents, the VSRT’s spiral-rib heat exchanger is a world first. It attains industry-leading heat transfer rates thanks to its unique spiral design, which achieves low stack temperatures by passing the flue gases through a spiral-wound heat exchanger that is fully immersed in water. The groundbreaking spiral rib heat exchanger design not only allows Fulton to improve boiler efficiency but, with virtually zero thermal stress, a thick-walled construction and featuring vertical tubeless design architecture, the VSRT is set to be one of the most durable steam boilers available.
The tubeless design has enabled Fulton to create a compact boiler with minimal footprint. No refractory also means significantly lower weight (compared to traditional vertical steam boilers) for ease of installation and easy maintenance and operation. For applications where contaminated air can reduce boiler uptime – such as laundry and drycleaning – the VSRT’s cyclonic air filter effectively separates debris and damaging particles from the combustion air and, because it won’t clog over time, eliminates the need for replacement filters. Fulton’s one-day boiler operator training courses – accredited by the globally-recognised City & Guilds of London – has satisfied the boiler operational training requirements of hundreds of clients and bridges the gap between straightforward ‘toolbox’ training and the more expensive courses that can cost thousands per employee. Carried out onsite and supporting both BG01 (SAFed) and INDG-436 (HSE) guidelines, the course looks at the practical operation of controls and test equipment using a customer’s own boiler, introduces the principles of steam and boiler operation in the form of a presentation and includes both theory and practical assessments.