This month, ThermOmegaTech and Grundfos announced a partnership, bringing together two industry leaders to simplify and enhance domestic plumbing systems and installations for contractors throughout the United States.
“We are excited about growing our relationship with a well-respected worldwide company like Grundfos,” said Tom Ruggierio, national business development manager at ThermOmegaTech. “Having two companies with innovative, synergistic products working together will bring optimized solutions for domestic hot water systems that will serve the plumbing community well.”
The partnership supports the companies’ shared goals of enhancing the accessibility and conservation of water, our most precious resource, by providing solutions that exceed energy and efficiency standards. “Working together allows us to save time for contractors who no longer need to source the appropriate pump style and size,” said Ruggierio. “The CircuitSolver® solution will now come with an expert-recommended pump, allowing contractors to focus their efforts on what they do best — the installation.”
“We continue to be impressed by the innovation of our ThermOmegaTech partner. Joining forces is a win-win opportunity for both companies as well as our manufacturer representatives, contractors, and the homeowners,” said Barry Nauss, Grundfos vice president of HVAC OEM. “When used together, our products greatly minimize water consumption and increase energy efficiency by optimizing the recirculating flow rate. This ensures the precise amount of water and power are utilized as water rotates through the system versus flowing down the drain. We’re proud to offer our new, sustainability-focused packaged solutions to the market.”
Grundfos and ThermOmegaTech will also offer expert training sessions together in 2022 with the goal of increasing awareness of the benefits their product portfolios bring to a domestic hot water system.
2021 was a busy year for ThermOmegaTech! Thanks to our loyal customers, supporting partners, and highly trained and dedicated staff, we met our goals while delivering on-time, quality products throughout the year! Check out our most significant accomplishments and industry highlights in 2021 in this Year In Review blog!
In 2021, we welcomed three new industrial distributors to support ThermOmegaTech in representing our industrial products.
Continued our partnership with Tubes International, our international representative in Poland, for our line of railroad freeze protection products for locomotives and passenger cars. Remained the leader in locomotive freeze protection across all the Class I’s in North America.
We had a record-breaking sales performance for the CircuitSolver product line and developed a new product to be released in early Q2 of 2022.
Attended ASPE Tech Symposium and presented cold water recirculation as part of a joint panel discussion with other industry stakeholders and BOMA (Building Owners Management Association) International Conference in Boston in October:
AEROSPACE & DEFENSE HIGHLIGHTS
Worked on custom designs of thermal control actuators and valves for:
A space application
Fuel oil heater for an aircraft engine
Hydraulic and avionics system liquid cooling programs for various aircraft
Cooling for ground-based radar systems
We presented in a Tech Briefs webinar on Thermostatic Control Valves: When Precise Thermal Management Matters Most. Missed it? No worries! Click here to watch it online. We also presented in an Aviation Week webinar on why thermal bypass & thermostatic control are critical in A&D applications. Watch the webinar below:
We developed 2 technical papers about utilizing thermostatic technology in Aerospace and Defense applications.
We relocated our sister company, TJM Electronics, to ThermOmegaTech’s headquarters in Warminster, PA, to increase efficiency and effective resource sharing while allowing us to offer PCBAs, Box Builds, and other electronic contracts manufacturing services under one roof.
Industrial Sales Manager, Alexis Rose, was featured in Safety+Health magazine addressing how a facility can plan ahead for extreme weather events to keep safety showers and face/eyewash stations supplied with tepid water.
“Alexis Rose, Sales Manager, ThermOmegaTech – Extreme weather events can be unpredictable at times, leaving businesses with little time to prepare for high winds, record precipitation, and a host of other complications. Keeping employees safe during high-risk weather events is crucial. Still, it can quickly become difficult should a power interruption cut off tepid water supplies to emergency safety showers and face/eyewash stations in part or all of a facility.”
“To avoid the risk of safety stations being rendered useless during a weather event because of a partial or total power outage, facilities should consider implementing a tepid water supply system that isn’t reliant on electricity and instead operates mechanically.”
“These systems use mixing valves to combine a facility’s current supply of steam or hot and cold water to produce an OSHA-compliant stream of tepid water. Once the emergency safety shower or face/eyewash station is activated, the resulting pressure drop opens steam and cold-water supply control valves to establish flow and combine the steam and cold water before delivering it to the connected safety station. These tepid water supply systems work quickly and have over-temperature settings for increased employee safety.”
Rose says, “By implementing a partially or fully mechanically operated tepid water delivery system, facilities are prepared for any extreme weather event that may render the local power grid inert for hours or even days at a time. Although many facilities have backup generators on hand, the crucial time it takes to switch between the two sources could be enough for a disaster to arise if not adequately planned for ahead of time.”
For over 20 years, a Georgia snack company has struggled with a number of problems when using steam-heated water hoses during their facility cleaning and sanitizing processes. The biggest issue with these systems was that steam would bore out of the inner working components, creating a steam backdraft to release through the spray nozzle.
These random bursts of steam and hot water became a huge safety risk for their associates. Their existing washdown stations also required 36 internal parts to be replaced which added time and a headache to their maintenance processes. To tackle these pain points, they knew it was time to upgrade and improve their washdown processes.
M. G. Newell Corporation, a distributor of ThermOmegaTech’s food and beverage channel partner, ACE Sanitary, presented the STVM® Steam and Water Washdown Station to the Safety Manager at the snack company.
The STVM® Washdown Station utilizes a proprietary silent type Venturi mixing valve that combines steam and water for a constant stream at the operator’s set temperature. Safety being their number one concern, they were pleased to learn about the STVM® safety feature that is designed to reduce steam flow should the temperature rise above the factory set point and automatically shuts off steam 15°F above that.
In addition to its automatic safety feature, the Safety Manager was very impressed with the ease of cleaning and switching out the cartridge. The STVM® system utilizes an interchangeable cartridge that can be easily replaced or cleaned out, while only using a wrench and a few minutes of time.
Highly impressed with the overall operation and features of the STVM® Washdown Station, this implementation will no doubt solve their safety problems, as well as minimize downtime due to maintenance.
Sister companies come home to Logue Family Holdings headquarters to facilitate inter-departmental operations and communication.
In June of 2021, Logue Family Holdings, Inc. will be consolidating all three of its independently operated business subsidiaries under one roof in Warminster, Pennsylvania.
The building is the headquarters of ThermOmegaTech, Inc., a mechanical valve manufacturer founded in 1983 that specializes in custom engineered fluid thermal control solutions, as well as BBQ Guru, home of the automatic Guru line of BBQ temperature controllers for charcoal grills and smokers.
Joining the duo will be TJM Electronics, a contract electronic manufacturer specializing in PCB assembly and electro-mechanical assembly for Aerospace & Defense, Medical, Industrial, LED lighting, and non-commodity consumer electronic products, acquired by Logue Family Holdings in 2019.
Douglas Snow, VP of Production for Logue Family Holdings, cites that the consolidation of operations under a single physical roof is expected to result in increased efficiencies, effective resource sharing, and cross-selling between relevant product lines.
“There is already quite a bit of cooperation between the companies for developing and delivering products” Snow mentions. “TJM Electronics provides both the PCBAs and final assembly of electrical components within the BBQ Guru controllers and the PCBAs for ThermOmegaTech’s passenger car railroad heaters. Getting us all under one roof can only increase efficiencies and communication.”
The facility features more than 40,000 square feet of production, R&D, engineering, and office space that is to be shared between the three companies.
Both ThermOmegaTech and TJM electronics QMS’s are certified to AS9100D standards which is based on and includes ISO 9001:2015. Due to our growth in the Aerospace and Defense industry, we have decided to pursue AS9100D as our primary Quality Management System to create standard operating procedures across all business segments, which allows us to enhance the quality of our products, while increasing efficiencies and alleviating undue price increases to customers.
TJM Electronics will be bringing to the building an impressive roster of advanced electronics manufacturing machinery including pick and place, stencil printers, multizone reflow ovens, wave solder system, and more.
To accommodate the needs of electronic manufacturing, the production space allocated to TJM Electronics has been outfitted with a specialized electrostatic discharge flooring to prevent static electricity from damaging sensitive electrical components along with a state-of-the-art humidification system.
The move will consolidate all 100+ Logue Family Holding employees under one roof and is forecasted to be completed by late June.
About ThermOmegaTech, Inc:
For over 35 years, ThermOmegaTech has been a leader in the design and manufacture of self-actuated thermostatic technology. Founded in 1983, ThermOmegaTech is a privately held certified small business with 40,000 square feet of manufacturing and office facility located near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The company provides innovative solutions for a wide range of applications including freeze & scald protection, mixing & diverting, steam traps, thermal bypass, tepid water delivery, washdown, balancing, drain tempering, and many other applications where temperature control is critical. Key industries it serves include railroad, commercial plumbing, aerospace & defense and industrial.
ThermOmegaTech specializes in manufacturing prototype/small volume and highly engineered custom products utilizing phase-change thermostatic actuator technology to satisfy individual project needs. For maximum efficiency and effective communication, ThermOmegaTech’s R&D, manufacturing, assembly, testing, inspection, sales, and customer service departments are all located in one facility. Their QMS is certified to AS9100D standards demonstrating the focus on quality its products are distributed and used worldwide.
Founded in 2003 in Warminster, PA, BBQ Guru has been making barbecuing easier, more convenient, and enjoyable with patented electronic and battery-operated temperature-control devices for charcoal and wood-burning cookers. BBQ Guru are the leaders and inventors of BBQ temperature-control devices. They were the first in the marketplace to develop and sell an entire line of high-tech cooker accessories, including the award-winning PartyQ, DigiQ, and CyberQ.
TJM Electronics has been leading the way in electronics contract manufacturing since 1989 with the emergence of Surface Mount Technology (SMT). One of the first automated SMT companies certified to MIL-STD-2000 on the east coast, TJM is recognized by major defense contractors as a “3 Star Supplier” and maintains a reputable status as a Preferred Supplier List member for electronics contract manufacturing. TJM’s capabilities include custom short or long run PCB assembly, accurate and functional prototype representations of designs, cable and mechanical assembly, product testing and evaluation to ensure Designed for Manufacturability (DFM) and final packaging. Through its brand, TemitroniK, TJM also assembles oversized LED boards of any shape and size, up to 460mm (18.11″) wide and 1200mm (47.24″) long.
TJM Electronics’ automated technology allows them to meet the most rigorous and specialized PCB requirements for industries such as aerospace and defense, medical, industrial, LED lighting, and non-commodity consumer electronic products. TJM Electronics has been ISO 9001 certified for contract electro-mechanical manufacturing for over 2 decades, and has just recently received AS9100D certification.
ThermOmegaTech was featured in the AviationWeek webinar, as Sr. Design Engineer, Glenn Quinty discusses the need for thermal bypass and thermostatic control in critical aerospace & defense applications.
As technology advancements in A&D applications continue to rapidly develop, key factors such as strength, weight, and reliability are essential when evaluating components to be integrated into your designs. During the AviationWeek webinar, peers learned the benefits of using thermostatic technology in aerospace and defense applications such as thermal bypass, electronics cooling, avionics cooling, airflow control, and scald protection.
The goal of the webinar was to educate our peers on the importance of self-powered devices in various A&D applications, how thermostatic wax valve actuators operate under different conditions, best practices of thermal management, and what customizations can be made to thermostatic valve designs.
Get To Know the Speaker
Graduating from Villanova University with a Mechanical Engineering degree in 1990, Glenn Quinty is a highly trained and technical design engineer, with 30+ years of experience.
Previously employed by Hale Products Inc., as their Product Engineer/Designer and Thermo Seatronics, as a Project Engineer, Quinty has extensive knowledge of actuators, valves, pumps, sensors, hydraulics, pneumatics, and other mechanical operations used in a multitude of applications.
Quinty has been part of the ThermOmegaTech team for 18 years and is currently the Sr. Design Engineer, developing innovative thermostatic solutions for the aerospace and defense, industrial, railroad, and commercial plumbing industries. With expertise in complex design mechanisms and new product development, Glenn oversees projects from start to finish, utilizing DFM and DFA techniques to design thermostatic, self-operating valves and devices.
CircuitSolver and thermostatic technology was featured in the PHCP Pros January issue, with three plumbing industry professionals weighing in on the future of domestic hot water recirculation system balancing technology.
Instant hot water at the turn of a tap is a luxury that many in developed countries take for granted, with little thought spared to exactly how it is available on the 50th floor.
For decades, this feat of engineering has resulted from the many hours spent manually balancing and rebalancing domestic hot water recirculation systems, often performed several times to accommodate flow as system demand evolved. While effective enough in principle, manual balancing flounders in practice, with inflated labor costs and inflexibility in the face of usage variations.
To conquer the challenges inherent to traditional manual balancing methods, ThermOmegaTech invented the CircuitSolver® thermostatic balancing valve. It automatically balances the DHWS by adjusting flow through the system to maintain a set temperature at the end of each supply branch, eliminating the need for manual balancing while ensuring instant hot water delivery to each fixture and accommodating flow to meet demand variations.
Since its debut in 2012, the CircuitSolver has been installed in thousands of domestic hot water recirculation systems throughout the United States and Canada.
ThermOmegaTech caught up with three plumbing engineers for their opinion on the valve: Joper Tupas, PE, CPD, from the Murray Co. Engineering Department, Rancho Dominguez, Calif.; Rick Sawyer from BMA Mechanical+, San Luis Obispo, Calif.; and Scott Fawkes and Michael Washburn from Architectural Resources Inc., New York, N.Y.”
“Dana Logue, Product Manager, ThermOmegaTech – Which works with all of the class I’s as well as OEM’s and class II and III carriers – agrees, and adds that any hindrance could be catastrophic when looking at the big picture.
“Railroads should start prepping before any sort of freeze weather, even it doesn’t seem like it might get that cold – the temperature can get down sooner than people anticipate,” she says. “But it really depends on where you are located. So many of our more southern clients wouldn’t really have to worry about anything until November, but in Canada and maybe even in the Northeast, they might have to worry about that in October. So I would say late summer, early fall is probably the best time to start thinking about getting ready for the upcoming year.”
Changes in Weather, Industry
“Logue says that ThermOmegaTech has been selling freeze protection products since the 1980’s. She adds that the most notable change she’s seen in winter preparedness has been the maintenance schedule.
“Some of our customers are on a one-year maintenance schedule or some customers every two years, so it kind of varies,” she says. “We’ve had some that change out our Guru Plug engine block freeze protection valve every four years. So it really kind of depends on the customer. We recommended changing out our valve annually, at the very least, every two years.”
In food processing, dairy, beverage, chemical, petrochemical, and pharmaceutical facilities maintaining a clean environment is critical. High-temperature washdown equipment is used to quickly and efficiently clean and sanitize equipment in place to keep production running on time. These washdown stations mix steam and cold water to provide hot water for facility clean-up.
Maintaining competitor washdown units can be time-consuming due to complex disassembly, special tooling requirements, and non-reusable components. ThermOmegaTech, a leader in self-actuating thermostatic valve technology, supplies an innovative solution to the challenge of difficult to maintain washdown units.
ThermOmegaTech’s STVM Washdown Station delivers a high-temperature wash at a user-defined temperature using our proprietary Silent Venturi Mixing Valve (STVM) to combine steam and water. Our mixing valve’s design is self-scouring, which prevents mineral buildup in tight spaces and reduces maintenance frequency.
To minimize downtime during routine maintenance, the STVM Washdown Station has a simple cartridge design, which is removed with a wrench and cleaned in a descaling solution before reassembly. The station is in-line serviceable, so the operator simply switches out the STVM Cartridge with a spare and the unit is operating in minutes.
Worker safety is every facility’s priority, so we built it into our washdown’s operation.
“The STVM Washdown Station has two safety features to keep your employees safe. One, the mixing valve is designed to reduce flow if the output temperature exceeds the factory set-point and will completely stop flow 15°F above that,” Nick Tallos, ThermOmegaTech’s VP of Engineering said. “Two, the unit has interlocking steam and water shut-off ball valves, so both inlets shut-off at the same time to prevent accidental steam-only, ‘hose full of steam’ operation.”
Due to the unique design of the STVM Cartridge’s water and steam mixing spool, the unit operates at around 20 decibels less than competitor washdown units. This reduces overall operator stress and improves workplace conditions.
The unit functions completely mechanically and requires no outside source of electricity to operate. Compact and reliable, the STVM Washdown Station is a beneficial addition to any facility.
Safety showers and face/eyewash stations are critical pieces of equipment in any workplace where chemical spills are a potential threat. ThermOmegaTech®, a leader in self-actuating thermostatic technology, offers an innovative solution to the challenge of supplying safety fixtures with consistently tepid water on demand.
An industrial chemical manufacturer located in Ontario, Canada recently began a $2 billion expansion of their existing production facility. Due to the presence of potentially hazardous materials in chemical manufacturing, the installation of safety showers and face/eyewash stations was a plant necessity.
The company’s other sites have had success using ThermOmegaTech®’s Therm-O-Mix® Station for instantaneous tepid water delivery, therefore the Therm-O-Mix® Station was again selected for this expansion to promote overall conformity of safety equipment and procedures. ThermOmegaTech®’s TV/SC-A valve was also chosen to control the safety station enclosure’s ambient air temperature.
The Therm-O-Mix® Station utilizes only a facility’s existing steam and water supply to instantaneously deliver tepid water to emergency safety showers and face/eyewash stations. When an emergency fixture is activated, the resulting pressure drop on a diaphragm establishes flow and opens a steam control valve, which the station uses to heat cold water. The now hot water travels through an initial tempering valve that adds cold water and reduces the water temperature to about 100°F (37.7°C), then through a second mixing valve that adds more cold water and lowers the temperature to an OSHA-approved 80°F (26.6°C), before being delivered through the emergency fixtures.
The expansion project included a mix of classified and non-classified environments. Equipment in the classified section of the plant needed to be explosion-proof due to the sensitive nature of the chemicals produced on-site and by selecting the Therm-O-Mix®, the facility avoided the need for an expensive insulation process.
“Our Therm-O-Mix® Station operates completely mechanically,” Timothy Hartung, industrial product manager at ThermOmegaTech® commented. “It doesn’t require a source of electricity to operate, so it’s the ideal tepid water delivery product for refineries and factories with explosion proof environments.”
A necessary addition to any new or existing facility to comply with ANSI Z358.1, the Therm-O-Mix® Station has a small footprint, does not require insulated tanks or expensive recirculation systems, and is self-purging so there is no need for an elaborate drainage system.
The Therm-O-Mix® Station was mounted onto the outside of a polar cubicle and plumbed to deliver tepid water to the safety showers and face/eyewash station inside of the cubicle.
To maintain the temperature inside of the cubicle at a level where users would feel comfortable disrobing for proper safety shower operation, ThermOmegaTech®’s TV/SC-A valve was selected to control the flow of steam.
A thermostatic actuator on the end of the TV/SC-A valve located inside of the polar cubicle monitors and responds to the ambient temperature inside the cubicle. When the temperature falls to the valves set point, the TV/SC-A modulates open to allow steam to flow through a radiation element, which is traced inside of the cubicle to warm it up. Once the ambient temperature has risen, the valve modulates closed again to conserve steam.
“Installation of 26 integrated units is currently underway at the facility and will be completed by the end of 2019,” Hartung commented.
Compact and reliable, the Therm-O-Mix® tepid water delivery station is an essential fixture in any facility where chemicals are being handled to ensure both worker safety and guideline compliance.
Legionnaires’ disease is arguably the hottest topic in the plumbing industry today.
First identified after an outbreak in 1976, this potentially fatal form of pneumonia is contracted by aspirating Legionella bacteria and presents with coughing, shortness of breath, fever, and pain.
Since its initial discovery, the bacteria has been found to be pervasive in large-scale water systems, leading to offices, hospitals, hotels, and other sizeable buildings to double down on their sanitization, identification, and prevention efforts.
Legionella bacteria can be found in many domestic hot and cold water systems in trace amounts but does not present a health concern until it colonizes, and the bacteria are atomized and aspirated. In warm, stagnant water, the bacteria can grow and multiply to high concentrations, which is when it becomes dangerous.
Organizations differ on the specific temperature at which the bacteria will grow, but the most common range stated for Legionella bacteria survival is 68°-122°F (20°-50°C). The bacteria are dormant below 68° (20° C) and do not survive above 140° (60° C).
The key to preventing Legionnaires’ disease is to make sure that building owners and managers follow a water management program.
Unfortunately, there is no one guideline to follow on how to reduce the risk of Legionella growth and spread. Go to any ASPE meeting and ask the members what the best way is to prevent Legionella and you are likely to get as many different answers as there are attendees.
Organizations that mandate domestic hot water systems design guidelines and recommendations are similarly scattered and contradictory in their requirements, torn between the need for energy conservation and Legionella prevention.
ASHRAE, which touts energy conservation practices, suggests that temperature maintenance systems should be automatically switched off “during extended periods when hot water is not required,” whereas OSHA states that in the interest of Legionella prevention, DHWS should be excluded from energy conservation measures and run continuously…
Being “first” often sets the bar high. As one of the first manufacturers of a thermostatic balancing valve for domestic hot water systems, ThermOmegaTech’s commitment has not just been to set the bar but also to raise the bar. Since the introduction of its CircuitSolver in 2012, the company has frequently added components, including ball valves, strainers, check valves, and ProPress ends to meet customer demand.
In April 2018, the innovation continued with the launch of the CircuitSolver Union Sanitary Flush thermostatic balancing valve for domestic hot water systems. The union is integral with the valve body, which also has an optional integral check valve. A key feature of the CircuitSolver Union Sanitary Flush is the new capability to automatically balance a domestic hot water system during a high-temperature sanitary flush procedure.
In the following Q&A with ThermOmegaTech, Plumbing Engineer explores the features of the new product, including its ability to mitigate Legionella and other bacteriological problems.
PE: What makes CircuitSolver Union Sanitary Flush different from other valves on the market?
TOT: It has all-stainless steel construction for maximum corrosion resistance and durability. It is NSF61 and NSF372 certified — even though it seems that all components in a domestic hot water system (DHWS) should be certified and most plumbing codes and specifications say they must be, not all balancing valves are certified. The valve is completely automatic, thermostatically balancing both the standard recirculation temperature as well as the high-temperature sanitary flush cycle. No power, signal, or powered actuators are required, as in some other such balancing valves.
ThermOmegaTech’s design is highly resistant to mineral buildup and the adverse effects of debris in the piping system. It is the only tamper-proof thermostatic balancing valve on the market. Other competitive devices are adjustable for several reasons: those manufacturers don’t manufacture their own thermal actuators as ThermOmegaTech does. They can not be as flexible and offer all the setpoint variations we can, so their valve is adjustable, making it prone to tampering and/or being set to a temperature other than what the designer specified.
With CircuitSolver Union Sanitary Flush, the plumbing system designer specifies the desired temperature and the valves are factory-set to that exact setting.
PE: What are the benefits or special features of the CircuitSolver Union Sanitary Flush that are specific to those designing and specifying thermostatic balancing valves for DHWS?
TOT: CircuitSolver Union Sanitary Flush brings the benefits of the standard CircuitSolver into high-temperature sanitary flush applications. There is no manual balancing required. It can simply be installed; once the system is turned on, within minutes the building’s DHWS is balanced…
With cooler weather on the way, you may not be too worried about rising oil temperatures, but the fact is, any industrial hydraulic system running higher than 140 degrees is too hot. Consider that for every 18-degree increase in temperature above 140 degrees, the life of the oil is cut in half. Systems that operate at high temperatures can produce sludge and varnish, which result in the sticking of valve spools.
Pumps and hydraulic motors bypass more oil at high temperatures, causing the machine to operate at a slower speed. In some cases, high oil temperatures can waste electrical energy by making the pump drive motor pull more current to operate the system. O-rings also harden at higher temperatures, leading to more leaks in the system. So what checks and tests should you perform if the oil temperature is higher than 140 degrees?
Causes of Heat Generation
Every hydraulic system generates a certain amount of heat. Approximately 25 percent of the input electrical horsepower will be used to overcome heat losses in the system. Whenever oil is ported back to the reservoir and no useful work is done, heat will be generated.
The tolerances inside pumps and valves are normally in the ten-thousandths of an inch. These tolerances permit a small amount of oil to continuously bypass the internal components, causing the fluid temperature to rise. When oil is flowing through the lines, a series of resistances will be encountered. For example, flow controls, proportional valves and servo valves control the oil’s flow rate by restricting flow. When oil flows through the valves, a “pressure drop” occurs. This means that a higher pressure will exist at the valve’s inlet port than the outlet port. Anytime oil flows from a higher pressure to a lower pressure, heat is generated and absorbed in the oil.
When a system is initially designed, the reservoir and heat exchangers are sized to remove the generated heat. The reservoir allows some of the heat to dissipate through the walls to the atmosphere. If properly sized, heat exchangers should remove the balance of the heat, enabling the system to operate at approximately 120 degrees F…
A lot of attention is paid to contamination of hydraulic fluid, usually viewed as dirt, water, and air. But heat is also quite detrimental to hydraulic fluid and may account as many component failures as “regular” contamination.
The inconvenient truth about hydraulic machines is they are heat-generating systems. They are not unique in this respect: Energy conversion and control with 100% efficiency remains elusive. But it’s my contention that unavoidable inefficiency, which manifests as energy contamination of the hydraulic fluid, does not command the attention it deserves.
With the exception of the reservoir, every component in a hydraulic system is a heat-generating device. The process of moving hydraulic fluid through a conductor from A to B results in pressure drop and, therefore, heat generation. Installing depth filters to control particle contamination also creates a pressure drop, which increases heat load. Pumps and motors leak internally, resulting still more heat-generating pressure drops. The charge pump on a hydrostatic transmission is 100% heat load. In open circuits, heat-generating orifices, throttles (in all their various forms), and hydrostats are installed to control direction, flow, and pressure—and loads are counterbalanced by installing hydraulic resistance.
The point is that energy wasting-pressure drops are a fact of life in hydraulic systems. They can (and should) be minimized, but they can’t be completely eliminated. So let’s stop ignoring the elephant in the room. Because if left unchecked, energy contamination is just as problematic as particle contamination, and arguably more so.
Energy Contamination Affects Lubrication
Adequate lubrication of hydraulic components and efficient power transmission both depend on appropriate oil viscosity. If hydraulic fluid temperature is allowed to exceed that required to maintain viscosity at around 20 centiStokes (cSt), the likelihood of boundary lubrication—resulting in friction and wear—increases dramatically.
The temperature at which this point is reached depends on the fluid’s viscosity grade and its viscosity index (VI). The VI is a measure of an oil’s resistance to change in viscosity with a change in temperature. An oil with a high VI is often called a multi-grade oil. Multi-grade oils are often specified for equipment that must operate in cold. The high VI helps prevent the oil’s viscosity from increasing (thickening) at low temperatures. However, a high VI also helps prevent its viscosity from decreasing (thinning) at high temperatures.
In other words, the critical temperature as far as viscosity is concerned can be relatively low or high, depending on the oil being used…
A major U.S. sugar producer has several hundred pumps throughout the plant. These pumps are either using packing, which requires constant maintenance or using mechanical seals, which require a water supply to cool and flush it. In the latter instance, the water is usually either returned to a seal water tank or dumped to drain. Any water that ends up on the floor or in a drain finds its way back to process and must be evaporated (large cost) or sent to wastewater (even larger cost). Because of this, any unnecessary water flow that can be cut from the process is beneficial.
This plant faced several challenges prior to its adoption of EcoFlow valves:
The plant could not use mechanical seals on their pumps due to the large water demand and up-front expense of a closed recirculation system.
Packing was used in all pumps instead of double mechanical seals, causing leaks and constant maintenance.
Expensive seals were damaged every year due to accidental dry running.
HOW OUR ECOFLOW VALVES HELPED
ThermOmegaTech® EcoFlow valves were placed on the seal water outlet of their pumps’ double mechanical seals to control the seal water temperature…
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