Induction Heating -
The Right Blend for Esso
The Esso Petroleum Company Ltd. blends lubricating oils at a site with 120 employees in Purfleet, Essex, UK.
Two steam heated ovens were used to heat 45 gallon drums containing oil additives. This is necessary to reduce their viscosity before they are enptied into the main mixing tank.
Each oven could accommodate four drums at a time and took approximately eight hours to reach the required temperature of 60 to 70 degrees Celsius.
Esso was unhappy with this procedure because it lacked flexibility. All of the drums had to be heated to the same temperature irrespective of the individual requirements. of the different types of additive. So ovens often operated only part full with resulting loss of efficiency. There was often inconsistency in the final product because the steam ovens failed to give a complete melt. The ovens - plus the associated area for handling the barrels with fork lift trucks - also consumed valuable working space. And the whole time-consuming process encouraged corrosion, resulting in a high drum reject rate.
Esso has closed down its steam heated ovens and installed electric induction drum heaters. Because of their compactness the new heaters have been installed along a wall adjacent to the mixing tank and are serviced by a small overhead crane. The crane lifts the heater out of the way while the drum of additives is positioned beneath it.
The cost and performance benefits of Esso's new induction system can be summarized as follows:
"In addition to all these benefits the electric induction heaters have cut our previous maintenance burden down to practically zero," comments Esso's Maintenance Manager, Mr. A. Tidey. "The working environment is cleaner, cooler, quieter, and safer. Reducing running costs was not the major consideration - even so, payback should take no more than three years. The new electric drum heating system is making a major contribution to our current modernization program."
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