Wisconsin Cheese Group, LLC., is a manufacturer and distributor of Hispanic cheeses located in Monroe, Wisconsin. Operated by more than 30 employees, the facility identified a need for process sanitizing washdown stations.
For production facilities everywhere, time is money. Lines need to keep moving, batches completed, and deadlines met. The brief pause in the choreographed movements of people, parts, and products to sanitize equipment must be minimized to stay on track. Employees cannot be waiting around for water to warm up or for routine maintenance to be completed.
Wisconsin Cheese Group chose ThermOmegaTech’s STVM® Steam & Water Washdown Station to satisfy the plant’s need for consistent availability of high-temperature water. The STVM® Washdown Station delivers a high-temperature wash at a user-defined temperature using ThermOmegaTech’s proprietary mixing valve to combine steam and water. The mixing valve’s design is self-scouring, preventing mineral buildup in tight spaces and reducing maintenance frequency.
To minimize downtime during routine maintenance, the STVM® Washdown Station has a simple cartridge design and is in-line serviceable. The operator can simply switch out the cartridge with a spare, and the unit will be operating again in minutes.
The facility installed 12 STVM® Washdown Stations and has reported positive feedback. “We needed consistent hot water for sanitation, and we really liked the cartridge technology,” Dave Treuthardt of Wisconsin Cheese Group commented. “The washdown stations were easy to install and run effectively, leading to increased production time.”
Here are a few freeze protection tips for surviving this winter with no frozen equipment, stranded cars, interrupted schedules, or schedule delays.
1. Monitor Weather Forecasts
According to a Railway Age article, the railroad industry suffers hundreds of millions of dollars in damages and lost profits every year due to weather-related incidents. Many of these occur from December through March due to winter storms bringing snow and ice that freeze pipes and blanket rails.
Consider implementing an intelligent weather monitoring platform that provides updated weather data and insights across various locations so that you can be prepared for unexpected weather extremes, no matter where your locomotives and passenger cars are.
2. Be Prepared to Clear The Rails
Implementing a snow & ice removal system throughout the winter will ensure safe and on-time rail service.
Here are some of the basics for using a system:
Inspect your grounds early on – clean switches, derails, frogs, and flangeways
Clear switch handles of any debris or snow build-up
Clear blockages from drains and gutters
Ensure railroad ties are visible
Keep a minimum depth of 1.5-inch clearance under flangeways
There are several different methods for keeping your tracks clear, including switch heaters, hot air blowers, and glycerin-based anti-freeze. Talk to a professional to determine the right one for your specific needs.
3. Winterize Locomotives & Passenger Cars with Freeze Protection Valves
Railroad tracks aren’t the only thing that needs to be winterized. Locomotives & passenger trains are at high risk of freezing during the winter months if left unprotected.
ThermOmegaTech recommends preventing fleet freeze-ups with the GURU line of thermostatic drain valves for locomotives and passenger cars.
Implementing ThermOmegaTech’s reliable thermostatic freeze protection technology into your annual winter prep procedures will ensure your rail vehicles are protected from freeze damage, lengthy repairs, and interrupted schedules all winter long.
4. Have a Plan & ACT FACT
Winter can be a challenging time for railroad operators. But with a
well-structured, comprehensive winterization plan, you can have a stress-free season knowing your equipment is protected from extreme weather damage.
Dana Logue, Rail Division Product Manager at ThermOmegaTech, suggests starting winter prep early before cold winds start blowing, as temperatures often dip sooner than people anticipate, leaving their equipment unprotected and open to freeze damage. Having a plan already in place while it’s still beach season will mitigate the winter risks often seen in the railroad industry.
It might not be the coldest December we’ve had, but the weather sure can be unpredictable. Don’t let cold weather sneak up on you – prepare your systems now with ThermOmegaTech’s freeze protection valve.
Time to double-check – are the below systems in your facility fully protected?
Water supply lines
Effects of Freezing Temperatures
If the 2020 winter taught us anything, it’s that extreme cold weather is unpredictable and can impact even those areas not accustomed to frigid winter weather.
Without a proper freeze protection solution for your cold-sensitive water-bearing systems, you are at risk of the following during the winter months:
Dangerous working conditions
Protect Your Systems with The HAT/FP Freeze Protection Valve
Safety Showers & Face/Eyewash Stations
The self-operating HAT/FP valve is designed to protect emergency equipment from freeze damage and malfunction automatically.
Installed at the lowest point on a safety station, the HAT/FP automatically monitors and bleeds cold water to prevent freezing and maintain safe working conditions for employees.
An unavoidable by-product of steam-heated processes, steam condensate, is often captured for reuse via steam condensate return lines. The HAT/FP guards these often-lengthy return lines against costly damages due to freezing temperatures.
Attention all railroad operators – the freeze season is rapidly approaching! Get your rail vehicles protected with freeze protection drain valves.
Locomotives and passenger train cars are at risk of freezing whenever temperatures drop below freezing, which will happen before you know it. To prevent expensive damage and lengthy repairs, make sure to get ahead of your winterization procedures to ensure a freeze-free winter.
Of course, no winterization procedure is complete without a reliable freeze protection drain valve, and none are more trusted to prevent freeze damage than the GURU line of thermostatic valves.
See the complete list of freeze protection drain valves here.
Freeze Protection Drain Valves For Your Railroad Vehicles
Stay ahead of cold weather and protect your fleet with a freeze protection solution that will keep your vehicles running on time all winter long.
The GURU PC® For Passenger Cars
The GURU PC® is a self-operating, thermostatic freeze protection valve specifically designed to protect passenger car potable water-bearing systems from freezing whenever the car’s heating system is turned off.
The GURU® For Locomotives
The GURU® Plug is designed to constantly monitor water temperature and automatically snap open to drain a diesel locomotive’s engine cooling system if the temperature drops close to freezing.
The Trusted Solution Since 1983
ThermOmegaTech’s tried-and-true GURU line of railroad freeze protection valves have been protecting railroad operators from freeze damage since 1983.
Trusted by all North American Class 1’s to protect their assets each winter, the GURU is the preferred choice of freeze protection valves that keep trains running on time all winter long.
ThermOmegaTech recommends getting an early start to your railroad winterization procedures as temperatures often drop quicker than anticipated, and having a freeze protection plan in place will guarantee a freeze-free winter.
Don’t wait until the last minute to prepare – contact ThermOmegaTech to get your fleet winterized today!
Lubrication oil systems are designed to reduce wear, improve performance, and extend component and overall system life in many industrial applications. However, these systems can become compromised without a proper thermostatic control solution if temperatures are not adequately controlled.
Temperatures too hot = lower viscosity
Higher internal leakage
Increased wear on bearings and seals
Thermal degradation of seals and other components
Temperatures too cold = higher viscosity
Pool fuel economy
High stress on pumps, valves, fittings, seals, etc
How to Maintain Optimal Temperature with TBV
ThermOmegaTech’s Thermal Bypass Valves (TBVs) use self-actuating thermostatic technology to constantly monitor inlet temperatures and automatically divert fluid to one of two outlet ports. The purpose is to ensure proper temperature control in lube oil systems by keeping the fluid temperature within a narrow and pre-defined range.
How TBV Thermostatic Control Valves Work
Cooler fluid will be directed through the bypass to the reservoir & recirculated through the system. Hotter fluid will be sent through the system cooler.
4 Benefits of Thermal Control
ThermOmegaTech’s Thermal Bypass Valves provide precise temperature control for lube oil systems. With a self-actuating, thermostatic design, these valves combine improved system performance with optimal reliability.
Keeps lube oil temperatures within a narrow range to ensure appropriate viscosity.
Prevents temperatures from spiking and degrading components.
Increases system availability and efficiency, improving equipment productivity.
Increases machine uptime and reduces shutdowns for service and repairs.
The STVM® Steam and Water Mixing Valve Washdown Station is designed to provide a high-temperature washdown in food processing, dairy, breweries, wineries, chemical, petrochemical, and pharmaceutical facilities.
Conventional washdown stations have multiple moving parts that generate loud and disruptive noise and have complicated maintenance procedures that slow down production.
ThermOmegaTech’s® STVM® Washdown Station remedies these pain points with 5 remarkable design features that reduce downtime, simplify maintenance, and keep operators safe.
STVM® WASHDOWN STATION TOP FEATURES
1. Silent Type Venturi Steam Water Mixing Valve Technology (STVM®)
Incorporating our unique Venturi mixing technology, the STVM® Washdown Station delivers flow at a user-defined temperature quietly and on-demand.
HOW IT WORKS
Cold water enters the mixing valve upper chamber
Steam enters the lower mixing valve chamber
The two vortices collide & mix through the Venturi diffuser
Heated water is delivered with minimal noise and vibration
2. In-line Serviceable
To simplify maintenance and minimize downtime, the STVM® Washdown Station is in-line serviceable, with a cartridge design that is quick and easy to replace and doesn’t require any special tools.
Streamline Maintenance: Simply remove the STVM® cartridge with a wrench at the point of the installation and either replace it with a spare or clean the original using a descaling solution.
3. Interlocking Handles
To keep workers safe around steam, the STVM® Washdown Station features interlocking handles to decrease the likelihood of steam-only operation while still allowing for cold water only operation.
4. Automatic Over-Temp Shut-Off
To prevent over-temperature operation, the STVM® Washdown Station is designed to reduce the flow of steam should the output temperature exceed the unit’s factory set-point (150°F/185°F) and will completely shut off 15°F above that. The valve will restore steam flow once the temperature falls below the shut-off temperature.
The station will also stop flow should cold water supply be interrupted to prevent steam-only operation.
We often talk about winter and the detrimental effects it can have on your locomotives and passenger cars if left unprotected against the season’s unrelenting wrath. ThermOmegaTech urges railroad operators to protect their rolling stock with the GURU freeze protection valve. However, there are many other freeze protection factors to consider during your winter prep.
Here are some pro tips on making it through winter while avoiding frozen equipment, malfunctioning cars, and interrupted schedules and delays.
1. Monitor Weather
Cold water can descend suddenly and unexpectedly, which is why it is often advantageous to include weather forecasting in your winter operations. According to a Railway Age article, the industry suffers from hundreds of millions of dollars due to weather-related damages each year, many of which occur throughout December – March due to snow and ice.
Railroad operators should consider implementing a weather intelligence platform that provides weather data and insights across various locations to be prepared for unexpected weather extremes.
2. Winterize Your Railroad Tracks
Just like frozen roads can be a hazard to cars, busses, and trucks, railroad tracks can have the same dangerous effect on rail cars. Implementing a snow and ice removal system is crucial for safe and on-time rail service throughout the winter season. Here are the basics for implementing a system:
Inspect your grounds early on – clean switches, derails, frogs, and flangeways
Clear switch handles of any debris or potential snow build-up
Clear drains and gutters from any blockage
Ensure railroad ties are visible
Keep a minimum depth of 1.5-inch clearance under flangeways
Many different methods can be implemented to keep your tracks winterized throughout the season, including switch heaters, hot air blowers, and glycerin-based anti-freeze. Keeping your tracks free of snow and ice will ensure timely switches and safe operation.
3. Implement Freeze Protection Valves on Your Locomotives and Passenger Trains
ThermOmegaTech recommends preventing fleet freeze-ups with the thermostatic GURU freeze protection valve.
100% mechanically operated, these valves require no source of electricity to operate and are trusted by all the Class 1’s in North American and other major railroad operators to protect their equipment each winter season.
Implementing ThermOmegaTech’s reliable thermostatic freeze protection valve technology into your annual winter prep procedures will ensure your equipment is protected from freeze damage, lengthy repairs, and interrupted schedules all winter long.
4. Have a Plan: Act Fast
Winter can be a challenging time for railroad operators; however, with a well-structured, comprehensive winterization plan, you can have a stress-free season knowing your equipment is protected from freezing.
Dana Logue, Rail Division Product Manager at ThermOmegaTech, suggests starting winter prep early before cold winds start blowing, as temperatures often dip sooner than people anticipate, leaving their equipment unprotected and open to freeze damage. Having a plan already in place while it’s still beach weather will mitigate the winter risks often seen in the railroad industry.
Federal regulations require that any facility where workers may be exposed to hazardous or corrosive materials must have immediate access to a tepid water emergency drench or flushing system to protect the eyes and body in the event of accidental exposure.
As a guide, the ANSI Z358.1-2014 standard establishes a universal minimum performance and use requirements for all Eyewash and Drench Shower equipment.
This heavy-duty water heater is constructed of a carbon steel tank with an internal 1/2″ thick Hydrastone cement lining. It is fully insulated with 3″ thick polyurethane foam to minimize standby heat loss.
HOW IT WORKS
Factory-packaged with ThermOmegaTech’s Therm-O-Mix®/WWM mixing valve, the ESS combines cold and tank-heated hot water to deliver a constant 85°F tepid water outlet temperature at the point of use.
When an emergency safety shower/drench system is activated:
Hot water from the water heater enters one port of the WWM mixing valve, as cold water from the facility supply enters the other. The water is mixed proportionately to achieve an OSHA-compliant 85°F supply to the station.
The ESS system will deliver tepid water for the recommended 15-20 minutes at 23 GPM for safety showers and 3 GPM for a face/eyewash station, even if the power goes out.
Designed to ensure employee safety, the unit incorporates a thermostatic over-temp shutoff that will prohibit overheated water from being released through the fixture and potentially scalding the user.
The below case study features the EcoFlow thermostatic double mechanical seal support valve, a major U.S. sugar producer, and a substantial amount of savings.
Install Location Profile
A major U.S. sugar producer had several hundred pumps throughout their plant. Their pumps were either using packing, which required constant maintenance or using mechanical seals, which required 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). Both setups resulted in unnecessary costly water usage.
Prior to the adoption of ThermOmegaTech’s EcoFlow Mechanical Seal Support Valve, the plant faced several challenges:
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, which required leakage and constant maintenance.
Expensive seals were damaged every year due to accidental dry running.
How The EcoFlow Helped
EcoFlow valves were placed on the seal water outlet of their pumps’ double mechanical seals to control the seal water temperature. The EcoFlow valve senses the seal water temperature and will modulate open to discharge the water if the temperature is too high, then modulate closed again once the flow cools to below the valves’ set-point.
More than 20 EcoFlow valves were initially installed at the plant. With great success and zero valve failures after two years, the plant is now planning to double its usage to a total of over 40 valves by the end of summer 2017.
Since installing EcoFlow thermostatic control valves, the plant has reduced dry running damages from four seals annually to zero. The implementation of EcoFlow valves has also reduced maintenance expenses, and provided an opportunity to use double mechanical seals in a situation which otherwise would not have been possible:
“EcoFlow allowed us to install double mechanical seals in places that we couldn’t have done so without an expensive closed loop seal water system. Now we run water to the seal and let the small amount of water the valve lets pass go to drain. We do not spec pumps with anything other than mechanical seal any longer. 100% of our replacements are now either a single or double seal, and each double gets the EcoFlow.”
By installing EcoFlow valves the plant was able to drastically decrease maintenance costs and reduce the amount of water that was sent to the drain.
“The seal manufacturer recommends 2.6 Gallons Per Minute to keep the seal below 180°F, though the 135°F, EcoFlow is putting out about 3 Gallons Per Hour.”
Assuming the seals operate 8 hours per day, 5 days per week, this equates to 2,080 hours of operation annually.
Seal Manufacturer Recommendation: 2,080 hours x 2.6GPM x 60 minutes = 324,480 gallons per year
EcoFlow: 2,080 hours x 3.0GPH = 6,240 gallons per year
This equates to a savings of roughly 318,000 gallons of water annually for every seal equipped with EcoFlow.
The EcoFlow drastically decreases seal water consumption, only establishing flow when necessary to maintain consistent seal water temperature. This increases water treatment efficiency decreases operating costs and extends overall seal life by avoid dry running and maintain the optimum seal operating environment. To get started on your EcoFlow installation, or to learn more about our line of industrial thermostatic control products, click here.
Over 95% of North American railroad operators rely on the GURU plug to protect their locomotives from freezing every winter. The tried-and-true GURU Plug monitors engine coolant water and will automatically drain the system should the water temperature drop to 35°F or 40°F, depending on the valve’s set-point. This prevents the system from freezing and causing serious damage.
After the GURU Plug has “popped” and drained the system, the water storage tank must be refilled before the locomotive can be returned to service. To shorten refill time and get your locomotives back up and running faster, ThermOmegaTech offers cold water refill accessories!
The clip at the end of the cable is inserted into the slot of the GURU plug’s resetting stem after warming the nose of the cartridge to keep the plug from “popping” as cold water is being added into the locomotive’s cooling system.
Used in conjunction with the anti-tamper domed cap, the key is inserted into the cartridge after warming its nose to keep it from “popping”. The plug’s resetting stem is not accessible, eliminating the ability to leave a penny or washer inserted.
The magnetic GURU flag with flashing light can be mounted to the side of the locomotive to serve as a visual reminder to remove the clip/key after refill.
By using one of these tools you prevent personnel from using a penny, washer or zip tie to keep the GURU Plug from “popping” and then forgetting to remove it before returning the locomotive to service thus rendering the valve ineffective in preventing freeze damage.
When it comes to system performance in mission-critical aerospace and defense applications, thermal control is a leading factor in successful operation. Having an effective flow control device to balance temperature within the system ensures a more efficient and stress-reduced operation.
There are two commonly implemented types of flow control valves for A&D applications, solenoid valves and thermostatic valves.
Solenoid valves require a complex set-up with multiple components external to the valve, as well as a source of DC power to operate which tends to increase installation expenses, space requirements, and the risk of operation failure in the case of a power outage or component failure.
ThermOmegaTech recommends thermostatic valves as the #1 thermally controlled flow solution for A&D applications. Precise, compact, and reliable, thermostatic valves are entirely self-powered and respond to narrow temperature variations to precisely control system flow, without the need for an external power source.
7 Benefits of Thermostatic Valves
Thermostatic control valves can be used for heating or cooling to effectively control temperature in various applications. Simplistically designed with paraffin wax actuator technology, these temperature control valves are versatile with a number of advantages that solenoid valves simply can not beat.
Long service life
few moving parts
Unaffected by extremes – ideal for hazardous environments
To learn more about the difference in these types of valves check out our comparison sheet.
Safety Shower & Eyewash Station ANSI Recommendations
Does your facility comply with industry standard safety recommendations for emergency safety shower and face/eyewash stations?
Any industrial facility that handles hazardous chemicals, debris, or other corrosive material must take the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of their employees. Installing a face/eyewash station that meets the appropriate flow requirements recommended by the ANSI is the first step to a safe working environment.
ANSI Z358.1-2014 Standard Flow & Temperature Recommendations:
Flow requirement for safety showers min. of 20 GPM at 30 PSI
Flow requirement for eyewash min. of 0.4 GPM at 30 PSI
Flow requirement for safety shower/eyewash station combination min. of 3.0 GPM at 30 PSI
Temperature requirement for all emergency station outputs uninterrupted tepid water (60-100°F [16-38°C]) flow for at least 15 minutes.
Failing to meet these flow and temperature recommendations can result in serious long-term damage to the users eyes, skin, limbs or other body parts due to scalding or insufficient removal of hazardous material.
To ensure an emergency fixture is able to meet the minimum-flow requirements as detailed by ANSI’s Z358.1-2014 standard, it’s important to consider plumbing line size, water quality and the tepid water delivery system being used. Click here to see what ANSI z358.1-2014 recommends.
Therm-O-Mix® Tepid Water Delivery System
Using a facilities existing steam and water supply, ThermOmegaTech®’s Therm-O-Mix® Station instantaneously delivers tepid water for safety showers and eyewash stations, while conforming to OSHA and ANSI recommendations for both flow and water temperature. Learn More.
Winter is well upon us, and it’s here to stay. While most operators complete their winterization procedures well ahead of freezing temperatures, for those experiencing freeze-ups or in need of a few extra Gurus to keep their fleet running, we invite you to visit our Locomotive Freeze Protection and Passenger Car Freeze Protection page to learn about our reliable & self-actuating railroad freeze protection products.
If you are wondering when to expect warmer weather to thaw out your corner of the country and banish the dangers of freezing temperatures, use the national climate checker tool below.
Click here and trace the blue line to learn when temperatures will drop below freezing, and when you can expect daisies to start blooming. For railroad protection, the temperature at which your locomotives and passenger trains will freeze is at 32°F, and these temperatures can last well into March in some regions.
Looking to Upgrade Your Freeze Protection?
Fit out your fleet with ThermOmegaTech’s locomotive and passenger car freeze protection drain valves. These valves are proven to perform, even in the most brisk winter weather. Trusted by all the Class 1s and major North American railroad operators, you can rest assured that your trains will be protected and on time all winter long.
Steam Valves: Improve Your Winterization Process & Your Savings
Steam tracing emptying your wallet each winter? It may be because you are using a manually controlled steam tracing system.
While manually controlled steam tracing is an effective method to eliminate the chance of freeze damage, these systems can have two common risks:
Forgetting to turn the system on due to human error – resulting in freeze damage
Not turning them off during non-freezing periods – wasting steam when unnecessary and ballooning costs
To significantly reduce steam costs over the freeze season, ThermOmegaTech recommends using a thermostatically controlled steam tracing solution. In these systems, steam is controlled by a thermostatic valve that continuously monitors temperatures, turning steam supply on only when the temperature falls towards freezing, and automatically turning it off to conserve supplies on warmer days.
Thermostatic steam valves eliminate the risks associated with human error, while ensuring the heating media is effectively used, resulting in a significant cost savings over a single freeze season.
What Your Facility Could Be Saving
A winterizing steam tracing system in a plant located in Philadelphia, PA consumes about 500 lbs. per hour of steam. This system was manually turned on in the beginning of the freeze season (mid-September) and was not turned off until the dangers of freezing temperatures passed (mid-April). Total operating hours are an estimated 5,088:
Cost of Manual Operation
When using a manually controlled system where steam is constantly on from September to April:
500 lbs. per hour x 5,088 hours x $8.00/thousand lbs. = $20,352.00 per winter season.
Cost of Thermostatic Operation
When using thermostatic control valves that turn off steam when temperature rises above 45°F:
500 lbs. per hour x 2,895 hours x $8.00/thousand lbs. = $11,580.00
per winter season.
*Based on U.S. Weather Bureau data for Philadelphia, steam will be on for only 2,895 hours each winter.
Cold weather is quickly approaching, and most locomotive operators have already begun their annual winter prep. In anticipation of freezing temperatures, we recommend evaluating your currently installed GURU Plugs and rebuilding those that have been in service for more than 18-24 months via the GURU Rebuild Program
Why Rebuild Your GURU Plugs?
As your GURU ages, there is an inherent tendency for its internal thermal actuator to lose a small amount of stroke. While this would never compromise your freeze protection, this tendency results in an upwards release temperature creed, which can cause nuisance dumping above the valve’s set-point.
To prevent this upward creep in nuisance dumping, ThermOmegaTech offers the GURU Rebuild Program, an easy and economical way to restore used GURU plugs to full functionality.
How It Works
To participate in the Rebuild Program, used GURU Plugs must first be returned to our production facility with a purchase order. We then disassemble the valve, clean the cartridge body and hex nut, and replace its interior components. After reassembly, the refurbished GURU Plug is thoroughly tested to ensure full functionality before being returned to the field.
How To Know You Are Due For A Rebuild
Each GURU’s Plug has a yearly-rotated color cap which is also laser marked with its month and year of manufacture.
If it has been at least 18-24 months since a valve’s manufacture date, you should consider a rebuild.
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