A Trusted
Steam Specialist

Success Story

Heat Recovery Reduces Steam Consumption in Tunnel Wash System

Today, Natural Factors is one of the largest manufacturers of nutritional products in North America.

Their origins reach back to the 1950s, and right from day one, they’ve always been fully committed to making products right. Natural Factors is not a public company with shareholders to impress. Instead, they care about impressing you. They have close to 700,000 square feet of space across nine locations in North America housing offices, manufacturing and production facilities, laboratories, distribution centres, and extensive warehouses. The head office is in Coquitlam, British Columbia.

Marc Giron, Chief Engineer at the Coquitlam plant was interested in reducing his plant steam consumption. His company’s success was taxing his boiler capacity fast and a project was being developed to add an additional boiler. In the meantime he was looking for cost effective projects with quick paybacks to assist him in his goal – reduce steam consumption but maintain factory output. Mark called Andrew Reynolds to have a conversation to discuss his options. After   walking the plant and in learning about the production processes and the various areas of steam consumption a proposal was made. Reclaim the waste heat from the tunnel and cart washers. A detailed cost analysis was made looking at the number of Btu’s that would be recaptured including the installation and equipment costs. The result was a unique energy saving heat exchanger system that was installed and reduced overall steam consumption by 50% for the washing systems. The cold water makeup was now 100% preheated during normal operation. This success was achieved by recapturing valuable heat content from the overflow rinse water.

This type of heat recovery system is now standard with many tunnel and cart washer manufacturers. Marc’s project earned a 6 month payback. Natural Factors installation of an additional boiler went ahead the next year. The heat recovery system continues to this day to save the company money with reduced steam demand for cart and tunnel washing.


Did You Know?
Deaerators in Industrial Steam Systems

Deaerators are mechanical devices that remove dissolved gases from boiler feedwater. Deaeration protects the steam system from the effects of corrosive gases. A dissolved oxygen level of 5 parts per billion (ppb) or lower is needed to prevent corrosion in most high-pressure (>200 psi) boilers. While oxygen concentrations of up to 43 ppb may be tolerated in low-pressure boilers, equipment life is extended at little or no cost by limiting the oxygen concentration to 5 ppb. Dissolved carbon dioxide is essentially completely removed by the deaerator.

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Andrew worked with me on a turnkey hot water tank replacement managing the contractor in the demolition and installation of a new instantaneous hot water heater. The project proceeded smoothly and the system worked as promised. It has been in operation for a number of years now with no complaints. Andrew has the products and knowledge I know I can trust.