Apr 26

Can the successful management of thermal fluid systems really provide improved process performance, efficiency and safety?

Thermal fluid systems are an integral part of many manufacturing organisations, providing the process heat required in manufacturing processes.

Thermal fluid systems are bought as a utility and as such treated as a constant. But thermal fluid does change and if left, over time can deteriorate. The successful management of these systems can truly provide a meaningful return in uptime, efficiency and even increased asset life and performance.

So, let’s consider some questions:

How can I guarantee improved efficiency and performance from my thermal oil utility and why?

The reality is, if we don’t know what’s going on with our fluid and recognise how it’s changing, how can we expect our systems to perform at optimum efficiency and performance?

Organisations need to make sure they understand what their fluid is doing, watching it, and maintaining it, so that there is a baseline from which we can work against to deliver the efficiency and performance that we expect.

If we can get a constant fluid characteristic and constant primary delivery of energy, we’ll start to ensure the performance and efficiency the system needs.

It’s important to look at the relationship between your primary system, secondary circuits and the thermal fluid itself. If we get this balance right, we can operate a cooler system with increased flow and hence a more efficient and safe system, with less changes and less thermal stress. In turn, the cooler temperature also has less impact on the fluid, meaning it will degrade slower. Furthermore, in the event of a leak, the amount of flammable vapour will be lesser and the likelihood of fire and explosion will be reduced.

The fluid, how we generate it and how we apply it the manufacturing process are all intrinsically linked to the success of your operation, uptime, reliability and performance.

How can I guarantee improved operational safety and why?

Thermal fluid systems operate as a closed loop system and during normal operation, the risks are quite low. Even with the best installed systems, there are times when safety is a concern.

For thermal fluid sampling and maintenance, you need a dynamic ‘line breaking procedure’ as it is a highly dangerous procedure, as you are in effect, opening the loop. But it can be done safely.

You can start to see component failures, so it is important to ensure the highest standards of installation throughout to maintain safety. If you are inspecting and maintaining your thermal oil system, you are running your process safely and maintaining operations.

How can I guarantee compliance and why?

Thermal fluid systems are not generally highly regulated, however it does impact regulations for:

  • Pressure
  • Flammable atmospheres
  • Manufacturing and equipment

The implications of systems or integrity failure can impact on these and other regulations. Operating systems that are maintained safely ensures you are operating safely and improves performance.

How can knowledge building help with an invisible utility and why even bother?

95% of incidents start off as a minor fault and escalate very quickly. If you understand the behaviour of the fluid inside your system, it will help to inform of any potential problems. By being proactive you can see if anything is starting to go wrong and how to respond to mitigate risks. Knowledge helps companies to be better prepared and to keep maximum uptime, performance and recue risks.



Managing thermal oil systems to guarantee compliance, increase efficiency and improve safety’ was the subject of a recent webinar delivered by our managing director, Richard Franklin.

It can be viewed here, along with others in the series.  New webinars will be taking place at regular intervals and are easily accessible by registering here, where you will also be able to see details of forthcoming events.

For further details, call 44(0)1298 815862 (UK)  or +1 713 253 3272 (US)