Factors Affecting the Efficiency of a Process Heating System

Process Heating System

Process heating system give the heating energy required for diverse manufacturing processes, encompassing pre-heating, curing, and cooling. They produce this energy by using one of the four technologies available: fuel-based, electrical energy-based, mechanical energy-based and heat-transfer media (heating, steam, hot water). In addition to their energy output, they are designed to be very energy-efficient. The fuels used to come from several different resources – fossil fuels (oil, gas, coal), wood and other biomass. All process heating system have one common element – the burner.

The amount of energy produced by any given system depends on its operating costs, which can vary greatly. In some cases, the operating costs can even exceed the energy output of the equipment. For this reason, the efficiency of process heating system is a crucial issue when purchasing them. Let us take a glance at a few of the factors that affect this efficiency rating.


Factors Affecting The Process Heating System

Maintaining Temperature

The primary factor that affects efficiency is the temperature at which the processes are run. Believing the ideal operating temperature is around 100 degrees Celsius. However, this is not achievable in most events because it would be difficult to maintain the required temperatures throughout the manufacturing process. Most process heater use boilers or blowers to achieve constant temperature levels to maintain an acceptable temperature. These devices also help to minimize wastage and improve efficiency.

Temperature Sensitivity

The next factor that affects the efficiency of any heating system is its temperature sensitivity. A lower temperature will correspondingly produce less energy. A good example is that of a wood furnace. Since a wood furnace operates at high temperatures, its electrical heater must be very efficient so that the combustion does not go out of control and result in a fire.

Process furnaces are the only types of heating systems that cannot benefit from temperature sensitivity. If the temperature rises, the inherent problems caused by the blower or burner will become apparent. A blower can often cause heat losses as it operates too fast, causing it to draw away precious oxygen. Similarly, an improperly designed burner can leave gaps that allow in cool air from outside, thus reducing the effectiveness of the material-handling equipment.

Size of the heating components

Other factors that affect the efficiency of heating systems include the rate at which the systems need to be reheated and the size of the heating components used. Electric heaters are generally much more efficient than gas-fired furnaces. But the problem with electric-powered furnaces is that they have a slow rate of heating. Therefore require more time for the whole process. 

When it comes to material handling equipment, the most important measurement is the thermostat efficiency. Thermostats that work efficiently are those that provide accurate temperature control. Some of the factors that affect the efficiency of thermostats are the operational speed, the rate at which the supply of fuel or electricity is add and the level of automation or programmability provided. Automation helps to improve efficiency since it enables operators to set the temperature at which the machine should work at the right time. On the other hand, programmability enables operators to set parameters such as the rate at which the furnace will cool off once the desire temperature has been reach and when the desire temperature has been achieve.


The efficiency of a heating system also depends on the rate at which the fuel is burn. Furnaces that operate with fuel that is of good quality burn at a steady rate and result in high levels of air temperature. Those who burn flammable materials produce toxic gases that pollute the surrounding atmosphere and cause serious health hazards. Therefore, it is advisable to opt for furnaces that use clean-burning fuels capable of producing minimal amounts of harmful emissions.

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