Maintenance Reliability

Steam Generators Improve Reliability

EP Editorial Staff | May 1, 2022

Steam generators used to create wallcoverings produce 99.5% dry steam and make it possible to begin production within 10 min. of startup.

Generators provide dependable ultra-dry steam to set wallcovering designs during heavy production.

Largo, FL-based Schooner Prints (schoonerprints.com) is a family-owned-and-operated business that uses non-toxic water-based ink systems and specialty Rotogravure printing techniques to create premium wallcoverings. Key to this process is the need for on-demand ultra-dry steam. 

After 28 years of using the same equipment for the steam, the owners were concerned about any sort of slow down or business interruption that might occur based on the age of the equipment. Maintenance Manager, Tim Bluett explained, “In essence we run dry steam through what you’d think of as a radiator producing heat. We need even, consistent, dry heat to dry our webs for the wall coverings.”

The design and serviceability of the company’s two 60 BHP steam generators enabled minimal interruptions to the workflow, with Bluett noting, “other than a coil replacement, [the generators] haven’t been down for a day.” Yet, with a larger number of orders coming in each week, the company could no longer rely on one of the 60 BHP generators to take over if the other went down. 

Supplying steam

When Schooner decided to incorporate Rotogravure printing into their operations in the 1990s, it launched a search for a safe and efficient method to power rotary presses and dry the ink substrates. Initially, they were looking at boilers for the job. Yet, after consulting several suppliers, the message was clear: they needed a steam generator, not a steam boiler.  

Clayton Industries, City of Industry, CA (claytonindustries.com), provided the solution. Schnooner owner Pat Bluett related, “We chose Clayton steam generators because they had a reputation for safety, reliability, and efficiency. The single-coil design of the generators has enabled a history of no industrial accidents. Clayton products are guaranteed to never have a steam explosion.”  

The steam generators’ contribution to Schooner’s printing quality is ultra-dry saturated heat. The fixed-vane steam separator produces 99.5% dry steam or vapor with a consistent absence of water or any other form of liquid. Compared with other available equipment, Schooner found Clayton to be the driest saturated steam.

Will Brozowski, Clayton senior account executive said, “The Schooner process entails running numerous custom batches during a shift; they run two shifts a day. When they leave at the end of the day, they shut the steam generators down.”  

Pat Bluett added, “Every morning we can start cold and can be ready to work in 10 minutes—significantly more efficient than a traditional (fire-tube) boiler that can take 60 to 90 minutes to start from cold. The Clayton steam generators can go from Hot Stand By (0 psi) to Full Steam Load 3,450 lb. per hr. (100 psi) in 30 seconds. This represents significant time and fuel savings.”  

Clayton Industries’ steam generators provide on-demand ultra-dry steam to dry webs for Schooner Prints’ wall coverings.

Proactive replacement 

Initially, the idea was to replace one of the 60 BHP steam generators with a new 100 BHP model. As Tim Bluett said, “We figured if the 60 went down, we could run both presses with the big steam generator.” After Schooner obtained the new steam generator in 2018, it was decided to go the extra mile and replace the other. Bluett continued, “The original installation was seamless, and the replacement went even smoother. With a larger number of orders coming in each week, we thought, let’s be proactive, let’s replace the other steam generator as well.” 

Using a counterflow design and controlled-circulation-system technology, Clayton steam generators deliver forced and circulating feed water to the combustion gases. This results in optimum heat transfer, allowing rapid start-up. In addition, the steam generator water-treatment chemicals and coil-guard technology maintain ultra-dry steam while protecting the machinery. The technology ensures longer equipment life and less downtime for maintenance and repairs.

The second generator was replaced in 2020 with no problems. Schooner has been able to meet their daily quota by running multiple custom batches during each of their two daily shifts. EP

For more generator information, visit claytonindustries.com.

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