Thermal fluid heating saves on energy

Paul Boughton

UK manufacturer of wire and strip, Webster & Horsfall, has recently converted from steam to thermal fluid heating for maximum energy savings with the help of industrial process heating specialist Babcock Wanson UK.

Webster & Horsfall, which created the wire for the first communication cable laid across the Atlantic Ocean in 1865, has invested an initial £1 million in new production line plant and equipment in its Birmingham premises to manufacture high-strength drawn wire. Part of a larger investment to develop the overall site, the work is being undertaken to reduce costs and carbon footprint and improve efficiency through modernising machinery and infrastructure.

A key element to the carbon reduction initiative and improved efficiency has come from Webster & Horsfall's investment in a Babcock Wanson TPC600B thermal fluid heating system.

Following a survey conducted by The Carbon Trust to identify areas where efficiency could be improved, replacing the existing inefficient steam boiler was identified as key. Webster & Horsfall selected Babcock Wanson for the task as it's a long established company with a good reputation and a thorough understanding of the Carbon Trust requirements for the interest free loan for the new Thermal Fluid Heater.

The TPC600B - a fully automatic coil type, multi-pass thermal fluid heater complete with integrated burner, control system and safety devices - was recommended by Babcock Wanson for the plant and has been installed in the process area. It is being used for heating tanks for metal treatment.

The new system precisely matches fuel input to plant energy requirements for high efficiency. In fact, thermal fluid heating systems can use 20-50 per cent less energy to transfer the same amount of heat when compared to traditional steam heating systems. With a large energy user such as Webster & Horsfall, such a difference makes for considerable savings, both financially and environmentally.

The TPC600B can utilise a wide range of heat transfer fluids and, for this application, a mid-range thermal oil was selected which gives Webster & Horsfall a reasonable initial capital cost and long fluid life expectancy.  The existing tank heating system was modified with Babcock Wanson's help to ensure the best results were achieved.

Robert Horsfall, Finance Director of family owned Webster & Horsfall, is understandably pleased with the savings made with the new system as well as its ease of operation: "The new heater is one third more efficient than our previous steam based boiler, which allows us to operate more efficiently, reduce our energy bills and have a considerable impact on reducing our Carbon footprint.

"What we hadn't expected initially though is the level of control the new system provides us with; it's amazing. It alerts us to any potential issues, is easy to maintain (no annual statutory inspection is required) and is quick to respond. All that and it doesn't take up much room."

In addition to the TPC600B, Babcock Wanson offers a complete range of products and services for boiler houses and other process heating needs, from steam boilers, thermal fluid heaters, rapid steam generators and hot water boilers to VOC and odour treatment by thermal oxidation, water treatment or process air heating solutions.  The company aims to help optimise customer's energy production with high quality products and efficient service.

For more information, visit

Recent Issues