The world would be a lot different without commercial boilers. Without these systems, our schools, office buildings, stores, and hospitals would be cold and uncomfortable buildings. Thanks to commercial boilers, our buildings can be warmed and heated. These pressurized systems are incredibly resilient and efficient, but they do run into problems from time to time.
So what are some of the most common boiler problems? Let’s take a look at these issues and their solutions.
If you’re dealing with commercial boiler issues in El Paso, contact a Wisco Supply professional and get solutions today.
The Commercial Boiler and Its Functions
Commercial boilers are heavy-duty pressurized systems that utilize electricity or burn fuel to heat water and provide heating for larger buildings. Manufacturers design boilers to be efficient, as they are tasked with providing heat for entire buildings. A broken boiler spells trouble to most businesses or commercial property managers, as they must scramble to get the problem solved right away.
How Does It Work?
Commercial boilers use electric coils or burners to produce heat and transfer it to the water. This process produces hot water or steam—this varies based on the type of boiler. This hot water or steam is then sent and circulated via pipes throughout the commercial facility. The water and steam transfer to the radiators or other components that will disperse the heat.
The most common fuel for boilers is natural gas. Other types of boilers might use electric coils to produce heat from electricity. The common components of the boiler include:
- The burner
- The combustion chamber
- The heat exchanger
- System controls
Common Boiler Issues to Be Aware Of
Because a boiler operates for long periods and through difficult conditions, these systems need to be robust. It’s not uncommon, however, for boilers to experience some wear and tear and begin losing power over time. Regular maintenance and service can prevent this from happening. It stops issues from getting worse and catches problems early enough to replace parts or address concerns. Common issues in commercial boilers include:
#1 Lack of Maintenance
One of the best ways to have a boiler malfunction is by ignoring regular maintenance schedules. As many experts will tell you, irregular or bad maintenance is at the center of a lot of boiler problems. When a boiler is used regularly, it needs regularly scheduled maintenance.
How to address: Contact your local boiler servicing company to schedule maintenance. Most companies will offer a regularly scheduled check-up so that you don’t have to remember to call.
#2 Missing Insulation
When a boiler is missing insulation, your boiler’s efficiency will suffer. The boiler needs to retain heat and one way the boiler accomplishes this is through insulation. The insulation keeps the heat from dispersing in order to save fuel. When heat is released, it forces the boiler to work harder and requires more fuel to maintain proper pressure and temperature.
How to address it: Install high-quality insulation in the boiler. Use a professional to inspect the existing insulation and replace it with high-quality materials.
# 3 Water Leaks
If your commercial facility has a steam or hot water boiler, leaks are always something to keep an eye on. Some leaks are visible and easily spotted as they drip around the tank or pipes, but other leaks may not be as obvious. Air vent leaks, for example, may not always be easily spotted. A water meter can help detect some of these hidden leaks by determining where the system is losing water. If no water heater can be identified, there might be other issues such as atmosphere moisture entering the boiler system.
How to address it: Have a technician investigate the cause of the leak if it is not obvious. If there is a corroded tank, it might simply be time to replace the tank with a new one. If there is a faulty pressure valve, then this can be repaired by a professional.
#4 Pressure-Related Issues
Pressure-related issues can span a great many causes. When it comes to pressure-related boiler problems, you might be dealing with leaks, tank leaks, or on-off water feeds. If there is a lack of pressure, it can be directly related to a leak. Leaks in the exterior tanks are also common and lead to an increase in pressure. If boilers have an on-off type water feed, problems with temperature variance can cause steam production to decrease and this can cause the boiler to drop.
How to address it: Begin by checking the system pressure regularly. When changes in pressure occur, it might indicate a problem with the pump or steam trap.
#5 Buildup & Clogs
A boiler system that uses poor water quality source or hard water might experience different effects. Calcium and other minerals can accumulate on the pipes and throughout the boiler slowing the flow of steam.
How to address it: Depending on the kind of boiler, the clog may be happening throughout different components. Call an industrial boiler professional to identify the clog and unclog it using safe measures that won’t damage the system.
Need Professional Commercial Boiler Services and Maintenance?
Here at Wisco Supply, we provide industrial supplies for your commercial boiler needs. If your boiler is up for regular maintenance or needs a part change, trust an experienced supplier to point you in the right direction.
Have questions about boiler components or other industrial supplies. Call Wisco Supply in El Paso and get help from our experienced team.
Compressed air plays an important role across many industries. From the residential sphere to the commercial to the industrial world, air compressors are an essential tool for a variety of operations and applications. While the concept is the same, an industrial compressor is very different from the compressors people have at home to pump up their bicycle tires or deflated basketballs. Depending on the application, these air compressors can possess any number of settings and be either rotary, reciprocating, or any of the other commonly used rotators in the industry.
Because of the importance of this apparatus, we can never spend too much time discussing some of its main functions and the roles it plays across some of our most important industries. In the past, we’ve discussed the adventures of the air compressor during World War II and the air compressor’s role in an industrial setting. Today, we dive a little deeper into this fascinating world of the air compressor.
Most industrial facilities today use the air compressor for a variety of operations. Walk into any industrial facility, plant, or factory, and you’ll find at least one or two air compressors that are necessary for their day-to-day operations.
Industrial air compressors operate at higher pressure levels than commercial units. Industrial air compressors have a bigger engine size. They possess higher horsepower motors and heavier-duty components.
Industries that Use a Wide Variety of Air Compressors
As mentioned above, the air compressor is highly versatile. Because there are different types of air compressors and different sizes, they can accommodate any number of applications. Below are just a few examples of air compressors in specific industries.
Agriculture and farming
Compressed air is used throughout the agriculture industry. From hand tools like pneumatic staplers, spray paint guns, and nail guns to inflating flat tires in farming equipment. A flat tractor or ATV tire can derail the daily workload. Having an air compressor on hand helps the equipment get back to work quickly and efficiently. Other uses in agriculture include dairy machines, such as milking robots which use pneumatically-controlled machines that help milk cows. When it’s necessary to clean production areas, stables, warehouses, etc, using compressed air can make the process much more efficient.
The automotive industry uses compressed air for many applications as well. Air compressors are used in the assembly process. Robotic machinery powered by compressed air can lift, position, or transport vehicle components as they move through the line. The machinery doing the heavy lifting tends to be powered by compressed air. In the beginning stages of the assembly, a shell is secured on a conveyor system and then progresses through the production line. Air compressors are also used in the cleaning and painting applications of the vehicle. As it approaches its final touches, air compressors add the final layer of paint.
Petroleum and oil industry
The petroleum and oil industry needs a lot of heavy hauling as well. Compressed air is a part of the drilling process. Both onshore and offshore drilling requires the use of rigs, compressors, and other heavy-duty equipment. Drilling in high depths will require a lot more air pressure. Other necessary tasks in the industry include well testing and pipe and process services that also need compressed air as part of the operations.
Perhaps a little less talked about is the furniture industry. When it comes to furniture manufacturing, factories and sawmills use a lot of compressed air equipment to sort, cut, or transport material such as logs. Furniture manufacturing will use rotary screw compressors or reciprocating compressors, depending on how big the job is. For smaller wood-working operations reciprocating piston models can get the job done. When it comes to larger sawmills with high-volume operations, the rotary screw compressor can work better.
In metals fabrication, a reliable air compressor system is essential for the many operations. In this industry, air compressors are used to power the necessary equipment used for cutting, welding, and fastening metal projects, as well as sandblasting. Compressors are also used for powering tools, clamping, cleaning, injection molding, and more.
While the pharmaceutical industry is highly regulated and requires slightly different needs, compressed air still plays a major role in many important applications. The compression needs in this industry need to be free of certain contaminants because of the sensitive nature of the material. Oil-free air is needed in the manufacturing of medicine and similar products. The air used must meet stringent requirements of purity to ensure no contamination occurs.
Other industries that use air compressors include textiles, rubber and plastics, pulp and paper, and lumber and wood.
For Industrial Supplies, Trust a Wholesale Supplier of Quality Equipment
Here, at Wisco Supply, we provide quality equipment components and parts to the manufacturing industry and others. We carry a wide range of industrial equipment and products. From monorails, hoists, cranes, and, of course, air compressors and boilers. All of these are industrial-grade and meant to assist in the most crucial applications throughout various industries.
Want to learn more? Call Wisco Supply and connect with us today.
The construction industry is not the only one that gets to use powerful heavy-lifters. Several industrial settings, facilities, and manufacturing plants require the help of heavy-duty machines to help them move around heavy equipment or cargo. In these settings—just like in construction— safety is the utmost priority. So how do cranes and other specialized machines and vehicles play a role in power plants and other industrial settings?
Let’s take a look.
First, Let’s Talk Cranes
Cranes are reliable machines that are used widely across various industries including the construction industry, manufacturing, power plants, factories, and more. The central function of these cranes is their ability to transport heavy loads in a fraction of the time it would take human bodies to move the same load. Historically, there are several different types of cranes that are widely used including tower cranes, telescopic cranes, crawlers, and rough terrain cranes. We’ve written about the four major types of cranes in a past post as well.
In addition to their heavy-lifting capabilities, they can reach high and awkward places that would otherwise require a large team of people. Movement is critical in industrial and power plant settings, as there is always equipment, loads, and other merchandise that needs to be moved.
Industrial Equipment to Get Things Moving
The industrial world deals with a lot of heavy equipment and cargo. Cranes and hoists are used in this sector for various tasks. The advantage of a crane is its ability to move a load from one place to another while shifting directions easily. Because manufacturing plants or factories have full crews and team members, safety is critical when moving any time of equipment or load from a high altitude.
What Are Some of the Most Commonly Seen Industrial Hoists?
These hoists are utilized for lowering, lifting, and moving heavy-duty, high-capacity loads without much effort. Instead of taking an entire team and a whole day to move a heavy load, hoists and cranes do it with minimal effort and with only one or two crew members. In an industrial setting, it’s not uncommon to have manual chain hoists and trolleys, air chain hoists and trolleys, electric wire rope hoists, electric chain hoists, and more. These hoists are suitable for handling high-volume loads in machine shops, steel warehouses, and fabricating plants and mills.
Manual Chain Hoists & Trolleys
Hoists are practical devices used for lowering and lifting a load. They do so through the means of a drum or lift-wheel. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers defines overhead hoists as a standard machinery unit used for lifting or lowering a freely suspended or unguided load. These useful little units can form part of an overhead crane as well.
A variety of different types of hoists exists as well. This includes trolley hoists, chain hoists, pneumatic hoists, and air hoists.
Air Chain Hoists & Trolleys
These hoists are used for a wide range of applications and facilitate control, enhanced productivity through their efficient high-speed lifting, and more. These hoists can be used for grain handling and storage, pharmaceutical processing, and other applications in pharmaceutical or chemical processing, as well as other day-to-day operations in power plants.
Electric Chain Hoists & Trolleys
These machines are great for difficult indoor and outdoor environments. Chain hoists and trolleys lift and lower heavy-duty loads even in harsh conditions. They are particularly effective at doing repetitive tasks effectively with a high amount of control and flexibility.
Overhead Cranes Used in Power Plants
The energy-producing sector is an important sector in the United States. It handles delicate equipment and materials and often uses overhead cranes in its facilities. Many overhead cranes, for example, are used to lift and assemble stators and rotors in power plants.
How are Overhead Cranes Used Inside Power Plants?
These machines have several benefits that make them useful and necessary in the power plant setting or in power generating sites around the world. The power industry has very unique demands when it comes to reaching high altitudes and working on equipment and other infrastructure. Cranes in these settings must be able to operate in harsh or difficult environments without losing precision or compromising safety. Some of the benefits and features of this heavy machinery include:
- Reliable performance: These bad boys can take a lot of wear and tear. High-quality equipment will reduce the need for consistent maintenance and costs to service the machine.
- High performance: These cranes will have the ability to travel efficiently and at moderate speeds. The smoothness of the machines means that there is a lot less impact on the workshop or risk of damaging equipment or other infrastructure. These machines are constructed to deliver precision and reliable transportation and that’s precisely what they do.
Looking for High-Quality Industrial Equipment? Look No Further than Wisco Supply
As the leading supplier of high-quality and reliable industrial equipment and tools, Wisco Supply works across all sectors to ensure warehouses, factories, and power plants have what they need when it comes to equipment and machinery.
Have questions about what we have to offer? Call Wisco Supply today and talk with one of our knowledgeable reps about our cranes, monorails, hoists, and more.
Whether it’s mechanical, electrical, digital–your industrial equipment is going to be subject to wear and tear over time. A wearing part can reduce the efficiency of a piece of equipment or it can cause it to break down. If you are operating an industrial plant filled with equipment for air systems, boiler systems, or pumping systems, you likely know how costly equipment breakdowns can be. The key to saving lost revenue spent on new equipment, replacement parts, overtime for workers, and emergency repair technicians is to develop a sophisticated preventive maintenance plan that can help your business avoid expensive downtime.
What Is Preventive Maintenance?
Preventive maintenance, simply put, are the strategies companies take to maintain their equipment–to ensure it’s in optimum functioning condition. It typically involves routine inspections and tune-ups. During inspections, technicians look for signs of trouble such as wearing parts or leaks. If ignored, seemingly small issues can turn into big problems if they cause breakdowns, reduce operational efficiency, or cause damage to other aspects of the equipment or the company’s products.
Moreover, some equipment problems actually pose serious threats to both workers and the property. Companies must take preventive maintenance seriously in order to reduce liabilities and keep their plant running safely at all times.
How Do Equipment Problems Cost Industrial Companies?
The cost of preventive maintenance is less than the costs associated with equipment breakdowns. Why is that? One reason is replacing a part during a preventive maintenance inspection requires less downtime than if that part failed and caused significant equipment damage. Not only would the part still require replacement, but the damage would also need to be repaired–and paid for.
Additionally, longer downtimes associated with pumping systems or boiler breakdowns cost the company in terms of productivity. Time is money, as they say. Downtimes set back schedules and, certainly, frustrate customers who may also have tight schedules to maintain. While some customers may forgive an occasional lapse, most will search for other vendors or suppliers if downtime becomes a continual problem.
When industrial equipment breaks down, the company may be forced to pay its workers overtime or pay expensive rates of emergency equipment technicians. All these costs add up and are decidedly more expensive than those routine maintenance checks that help minimize downtime and reduce maintenance costs.
What Are the Benefits of Preventive Maintenance?
Developing a preventive maintenance plan is associated with numerous benefits for industrial companies. First, of course, is the money savings. Preventive maintenance allows companies to save thousands of dollars associated with breakdowns, emergency repairs, overtime pay, and associated delays. Companies that develop robust maintenance plans are also surprised less often by costly repairs. In fact, they find it easier to budget for equipment because maintenance is associated with costs that are easier to pinpoint.
For instance, maintenance plans can include the costs of replacement parts. Companies can more easily budget for system maintenance than they can for breakdowns and downtime. A maintenance plan can also include inventory of parts so that if a worn part needs replacement, the technicians can quickly make the repair. If there is no part in stock, the company must obtain it quickly or its equipment will remain inoperational.
In addition to money savings, maintenance also supports equipment longevity so that companies can get as much value as possible from the life of their machines. Breakdowns can reduce equipments’ longevity and require early replacement. Equipment is an asset; by maintaining it carefully in order to ward off serious problems, companies can get a better return on their equipment investments.
Developing a Preventive Maintenance Plan
To minimize downtime and save money, industrial companies should develop robust preventive maintenance plans that are highly specific and designed for each system and its equipment. To develop a strong plan, here are some elements to include:
Your preventative maintenance plan should have an inventory of all equipment along with specific information such as its location, specifications, make and model number and parts used. When you have your inventory, you’ll find it easier to schedule its routine maintenance as well as to track its condition or the tasks taken to maintain the unit.
It takes time and resources to inspect and maintain industrial equipment. Moreover, some measures may need to be taken after hours or at certain times in order to minimize interruption to production. Companies also have to consider how often each piece of equipment should be inspected and schedule their maintenance accordingly. Scheduling preventive maintenance for an industrial plant is a complex job. However, an effective maintenance schedule reduces downtime and supports operational success.
It takes qualified maintenance pros to maintain and repair industrial equipment. Your plan should account for these techs. While many companies hire and retain talented maintenance teams, there are times when outside help may be required. Be sure that your plan has the contact information for equipment vendors and outside equipment technicians.
Structure for Decision Making
When repairs or replacements are needed for equipment, who signs off? Your plan should denote the process for okaying equipment repairs, part replacements, and so forth. Having a detailed plan in writing is ideal as all companies experience turnover. New techs and plant employees will benefit by knowing all the details of equipment plans, including who makes decisions regarding equipment maintenance.
Short-Term and Long-Term Maintenance Tasks
Each piece of equipment is likely associated with various types of preventive maintenance tasks–some have to be completed routinely (i.e. filter changes), while others might require only annual checks. These tasks should be scheduled accordingly.
When you have a robust preventive maintenance plan, you’ll find that it’s an actionable document. Its use will be integral to caring for your machinery and equipment. Be sure that your technicians record the completion of their maintenance tasks and repairs so you have a record of work and can easily tally the costs associated with your equipment maintenance.
Common Pieces of Equipment in Industrial and Manufacturing Settings
Industrial machinery includes some of the most diverse pieces of equipment due to their ability to handle the most intricate and some of the most perilous tasks in industrial settings. Several machines are used in various settings, but for the most part, you will see about just the same in almost every industry or manufacturer. Each machine fulfills a specific purpose. As a wholesale supplier of industrial machines, we understand the importance of educating educate our clients and customers on these different kinds of machines and what they are used for. Read on to learn more about them!
These machines utilize a manufacturing method that cuts and removes materials to create smaller or pre-existing parts. These machines have been popularly used recently in many industrial settings because they are fast and efficient. They do most of the work and barely need to be operated. In fact, they are predetermined what to cut by a computer operator and then make the necessary movements.
Tanks can be found in many manufacturing settings and that is because manufacturers are constantly faced with the need to store bulk quantities of their products. Having the right storage tanks on-site guarantees having more than enough contents to work with and will not fall short of supply. Additionally, there are many tanks that are offered in several sizes depending on what they will hold and store.
Mixers are commonly used in manufacturing settings that provide to construction or civil engineering companies. Operations in some manufacturing settings will heavily depend on mixing materials properly. There are several kinds of mixers such as ribbon mixers, batch compounders, continuous mixers, disperser mixers, double arm mixers, drum tumbles, and really, the list can go on, but that’s just to name a few!
It is important that these industrial settings have generators because should a big storm hit, it will completely stop all of their operations. Having their own generators stores their own electricity which they can use should these kinds of catastrophes happen. When these settings operations come to a halt they can lose revenue and lose customer respect, so this is why these facilities are always equipped with generators.
Compressors and Pumps
Compressors and pumps are also very important to these industries and settings. These machines are often found in plants that specialize in natural gas production. Compressors and pumps are designed to help maintain the required level of pressure and to transport materials to their anticipated destination in order to complete the job successfully.
Cranes and Lifts
Cranes and lifts are necessary for almost every kind of industrial setting. Getting, receiving, or reaching large-scale products will almost always require the use of a crane or lift. Lifts and cranes are often used in warehouses, construction, mining, automotive, and aerospace sectors. They each have specific uses of lifts and cranes for their manufacturing and constructive processes.
As the name states, shredders are meant to help break down large materials into more manageable sizes whether they will be used for operations or if they need to be dumped. Shredders are often used to disintegrate pieces of plastic, rubber, and other kinds of materials. Shredders are commonly seen in almost every manufacturing facility.
These pieces of equipment are used as linear actuators to apply unidirectional force in many engineering applications. The rod within these cylinders is what transmits the power from the displacement of the pressurized hydraulic fluid through the piston inside the shell. This is used in many marine and offshore operations. These units power many engines.
Packaging and Handling Equipment
Many manufactured products, like many other products, have to be packaged accordingly before being delivered to the recipient. Almost all manufactured products will require some sort of special handling and care during the manufacturing process. This is what makes packaging and handling equipment some of the most necessary pieces of equipment in these companies because, at some point, this is a task they will have to take care of.
Choose Wisco Supply as Your Go-To Industrial Wholesale Supplier
At Wisco Supply, we are driven by not only providing customers with the equipment they need by giving the best service and guidance possible. With that, we guarantee to be the best source for industrial machinery. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you.
Human beings have gotten quite good at lifting heavy things. The manufacturing sector knows all too well the need for lifting and moving heavy cargo and materials. This would be so much more dangerous and laborious if it weren’t for the marvel of modern machines that allow for easy access and movement of shipments, equipment, tools, and more.
As one of the darlings of the Industrial Revolution, the overhead crane has improved production and efficiency—not to mention safety. So, ever wonder about this hulk of a machine? Here’s what you need to know about this awesome heavy-duty vehicle.
The Overhead Crane Arrives in Time for the Industrial Revolution
Before the age of Industrialization hit the shores of the United States, many Western European nations were experiencing their industrialization era. The first overhead cranes were steam-powered and emerged thanks to a German company called Ludwig Stuckenholz.
During England’s Industrialization, an electric overhead crane came onto the scene in a Gun Factory in London. These bad boys were first used to lift guns and ammo, as needed for the Royal Army. The capacity of this heavy-duty machine increased as added features like electrical control systems and mass-produced electric hoists were implemented. In the 1930s, the first portable electric chain hoist was presented in America.
Today, new technologies have improved the crane’s capabilities even more.
So once these vehicles arrived on the scene, the movement of construction components, steel parts, and other heavy cargo improved efficiency.
Fact #1: Named after a bird, first used by ancient civilizations
Cranes in industrial settings and construction sites are named after a bird. This is an oft-cited fact, but the real question is, “why?” This lifting device is shaped and functions similar to the beautiful omnivorous bird found throughout the world. The bird has long legs, a long neck, and long beaks. When the bird bends down to pick something off the ground, they function as a lever. The machine crane is a lifting device made up of a vertical column and a boom that points upwards at an angle with the capacity to rotate. This setup allows the crane to use force to lift heavy objects while remaining stable. The Greeks were onto this long ago and it’s why they are often credited as being responsible for early versions of the crane. They developed machines that operated with winches and pulleys in order to move heavy equipment. The Romans are often credited with perfecting the concept by adding large treadwheel drives to increase load capacity.
While a symbol of eternal youth and happiness, the crane (bird) has served as a great model for modern machinery. Although, there are no guarantees that operating a crane will keep you forever young!
Fact #2 The Overhead crane is essential for over 10 major industries
Different varieties of cranes are essential for different industries within the manufacturing sector. Bridge cranes, gantry cranes, and other overhead cranes are essential for getting important jobs done and maintaining operations. The cranes are therefore intricately tied to the overall economy! Industries like:
- Storage facilities and warehouses: Any warehouse that stores heavy equipment or cargo will need to move that stuff around.
- Automotive industry: Any major auto assembly line will have to move their product from station to station, this may include moving heavy components, other machinery, and more.
- Power plants: These large facilities are powered by generators that often need replacing. These are heavy pieces of equipment that cannot be moved so easily. The crane helps in the careful removal and replacement.
- Aviation industry: Building and repairing planes means the movement of heavy metal components. Engines, propellers, wing components, and other essential parts need to be moved carefully.
These are just a few. You can expect to find the handy dandy crane in other industries including transportation, shipbuilding, construction, and more.
Fact #3 There are over 20+ types of cranes
Not all cranes are created equal. The concept is relatively consistent among the many designs, but each type of crane serves a very specific purpose and is a specialized task. For example, once heavier steel products were produced after WWII, the cranes were installed in the back of vehicles to create the modern mobile cranes. Common crane types include:
- Mobile cranes
- Tower cranes
- Rough terrain crane
- Truck-mounted crane
- Railroad crane
- Aerial crane
Fact #4 There is a Biannual Crane Count
Cranes are so important in the construction industry and indicate the level of work being completed, that there is a biannual crane count. The counting of cranes helps people gauge the health of the construction industry and the count of new projects. For example, this report shows that a recent crane count suggested North America has fewer cranes than it did in 2017 and that the increase in cranes in Toronto is likely due to the building of high-rise condos.
New Technologies Improving the Function and Reliability of Cranes
Every other industry has been touched by the good graces of smart technology and GPS. The crane business is no different. Because some factory cranes don’t have full-time operators anymore, some industry experts argue that crane operators might not be as well trained as they once were. This shift indicates that using technology to improve the function of the cranes helps the crane operators pick up the task much more easily.
Smart features and new improvements in some newer versions of cranes include:
- Adaptable speed controls
- Anti-sway control
- Shock-load resistance
- Programmable auto-positioning that can do repetitive tasks
Get the Right Equipment and Supplies with Wisco Supply
We’re not your typical wholesaler. We carry a wide range of industrial equipment, products, and services. As far as heavy equipment, count on us for cranes and monorails, hoists, crane electrification systems, hoist electrification systems, hoists, and bridge components.
Have questions about what you need or any of our services? Connect with us today.
Power plants produce power. Power makes the world go round. In the 19th century, the world was barely beginning to grasp the immensity of electricity and the role that it would play in transforming society. The ubiquitous nature of electricity and our easy access to power might make it seem simple enough. The history of generating power is a long and winding road marked by significant milestones, discoveries, and great minds—all with their unique contributions to the diverse and robust power generation mechanisms we have today. From the light bulb to generators, to industrial boilers, the generation of power basically sustains the way of life we are so accustomed to in the modern world.
Power Plants, Generators, Boilers & Other Essential Industrial Equipment
A power plant generates electricity from a variety of sources or primary energy. They often convert mechanical energy into electrical energy to be used for manufacturing or other energy needs. According to the U.S Energy Information Administration, as of December 31st, 2019 there were 22,731 electric generators and about 10, 346 utility-scale electric power plants in the nation. That’s a lot of power! Every power plant uses at least one generator. There are different types of power plants that derive their power from a variety of sources.
From Coal to Gas to Nuclear Discoveries
From Thomas Edison to Nikola Tesla, to the less well-known names of Hippolyte Pixie, Charles Wheatstone, Charles R. Brush, the unlocking of electricity was led by many scientific minds. The discovery helped to illuminate our cities, and kickstart the industrial revolutions across the Western world. Advances in alternating current technology and hydropower had made their way to the world stage by the late 1900s. Coal power, however, had established itself as the leading means towards power generation. Steam generators were producing relatively high power by the onset of the 20th century. By the 1910s, turbines and steam generators were being used to increase coal-fired power plants. The production of coal grew various industries and helped spearhead the production boom in the early turn of the century.
Then came natural gas. Today natural gas is a powerful energy source that keeps so much of the energy supply in America up and running. American inventor Charles Curtis would offer an invention of a different turbine to General Electric Co. The breakout of World War I and later World War II would kick the production of natural gas energy to overdrive. In 1948, GE installed its first commercial gas turbine for power generation.
Then came the atom. Well, the atom had long been discovered but scientists were not quite sure how to harness its power for energy production. Throughout the early 20th century, atomic principles were a topic of deep interest. Einstein’s theory of relativity emerged in 1913 and continued to feed the study of the atom with scientists like Enrico Fermi and others that uncovered the splitting of the atom. As these different discoveries and scientific milestones turned to the evolution of better, more efficient, and cheaper energy, the world continued to grow, produce, and perfect the process and equipment.
Different Types of Power Plants
Power plants derive their power from different sources. The most common fuels are coal, natural gas, and uranium. Hydroelectricity (the use of water) is also used in some instances. Plants can also create power from wind, geothermal flows, and solar.
In the United States the percentage of power sources is broken up as follows:
- Natural gas: 31.9%
- Coal and coal products: 34.2%
- Nuclear: 19.3%
- Hydro: 5%
- Solar/wind: 5.4%
Thermal Power Plants — The Power of Heat
Heat contains energy. Thermal power uses heat sources like steam and high pressures to harness that energy.
Fossil fuel plants: These plants burn coal or oil to create the heat they then use to generate steam. This drives the turbines and creates electricity.
Nuclear power plants: The nuclear power plant uses fission processes to generate electricity. This is where the splitting of the atom comes in. When uranium nuclei are split, it creates thermal energy needed to create steam. The steam then spins a turbine and generates electricity.
Solar power plants: These plants are different, as their main source of energy is the rays of the sun. The sun’s rays create the steam needed to generate the power.
Boilers are often used in some power plants to produce the high pressured steam needed for energy production. Manufacturing plants may use a boiler to create the energy they need to power their operations. Boilers extract the energy from the source (coal, natural gas, or nuclear heat) and heat water into steam to produce power. There are also approximately 226,000 manufacturing facilities and 21,000 other facilities that have industrial boilers.
With Great Power Comes Great Equipment- Find What You Need With Wisco Supply
Today’s industrial supply chain is a complex world of creation, production, and manufacturing. In order to produce the services and products that we all enjoy, we need the power and electricity to keep operations running. We have the supplies you need at Wisco Supply.
Questions about our products or industrial supplies? Connect with us today.
Even seventy years later, stories of the war emerge to astound and astonish those for whom the war is distant history. The wars were fought on multiple fronts, in so many ways, using aircraft, ships, submarines, artillery, rifles, amphibious assaults, and countless other axillary weapons and tactics. Behind all of this, of course, was incredible tactile, strategic, engineering, and creative brainpower that coalesced to form the Allied defense against the Nazis. The war effort was not only composed of men but of machines and tools that allowed men to complete their missions. Two of those less-talked-about tools include the handy pump (used in Navy ships) and the air compressor that assisted many land missions and others.
Using Compressed Air and Imagination To Take the Enemy By Surprise
When most people think of ground operations in Nazi-occupied Germany or other parts of the Western front, they think of heavy artillery, tanks, machine guns, and all that good stuff. And yet, to win the war, the Allies had to use more than just pure military muscle.
The art of deception was a central part of inching towards victory.
Deceiving the enemy has always been part of military strategy, from the Trojan Horse in Greek mythology to Alexander the Great, to the British Q-ships in World War I, to modern warfare. The United States and Britain used their fair share of guile and cunning to get the upper hand on the Nazis.
Operation Fortitude and Inflatable Tanks
One of the most famous examples of award-winning cleverness in wartime was operation fortitude, leading up to the invasion of Normandy. The plan consisted of Fortitude North (fooling the Germans that America planned to attack Norway) and Fortitude South (fooling the Germans on the location of the France invasion area to be north-east of Normandy in Pas de Calais). Dummy tanks were lined up in corresponding areas of Britain to trick German reconnaissance planes into believing the ploy and confusing them into thinking that the advance was much larger than it was. These inflatable tanks depended on trusted air compressors to achieve the size and dimensions of a real tank.
The Ghost Army and Their Artistic Ploys to Win the War
There is a famous story that pertains to the Ghost Army: A Frenchman standing on a field somewhere in France saw a few American soldiers pick up a tank from the bottom and run with it. The Frenchman’s eyes widened and somebody told him, “The Americans are very strong.” It wasn’t until 1985 when the Smithsonian Magazine began telling the story, that the Ghost Army—not included in a lot of the official literature—began making the rounds after its missions were declassified. The Ghost Army did not consist of regular soldiers but was made up of illustrators, artists, radio people, and sound guys. Their role was to impersonate real Army units and go around Nazi-occupied France, Belgium, and Luxembourg showcasing the art of deception through inflatable tanks and airplanes, speakers, phony radio transmissions, and more.
One of these soldiers was Irwin Vanderheide, a radio communications specialist. The whole idea was these guys would—in the cover of darkness or when the Germans were not looking—replace actual units to make advancements seem larger, divert attention, or let real units take breaks. These soldiers carried their air compressors, radios, and speakers everywhere they went and had the same uniforms and insignia as the unit they mimicked. In March of 1945, they staged amassing of thousands of troops near the Rhine River as the Allies readied to storm the last lines of the German defense. This deceived the Germans into thinking that the advancement was about a month away. The real invasion, however, came much sooner and from a different location than the mock setup. The element of surprise was essential!
The Essential Pumps of the U.S Navy Ships
The war was not only fought on the ground but also through the help of the United States Navy. The Handy Billy is one of these famous tools of war that came in handy for so many Navy ships that faced enemy fire or emergency situations. This is an emergency pump that pumped 50 gallons per minute and was gasoline-powered. It was particularly useful because of its portability, which helped. In World War II, it weighed 160 pounds and would have to be carried by two sailors, one on each end. Nevertheless, it was incredibly handy in flooding situations.
These are only a few examples of how this type of equipment played a role in the war effort. There are many more, as the war effort was massive and consisted of many working parts and moving components. Air compressors and pumps were also used in medical facilities, stations, and more.
Equipment to Get You Through The Rough Day
We know that pumps, air compressors, and boilers are highly valuable to any industrial endeavor, factory, production line, or commercial space. We are dedicated to providing equipment and service that keeps these necessary tools dependable and doing their work. These tools are a part of the industrial nation’s history and advancement, although they don’t often get the credit they deserve.
Is your commercial property, factory, or industrial space in need of quality equipment? Call Wisco Supply today and talk to an equipment specialist. Find out how we can help.
First, there was the use of human lungs to stoke fires. Then, nearly 110 years ago, Atlas Copco invented the piston compressor. After that, there was a series of improvements and modifications that drove the system to the reliable mechanism it is today. The air compressor is an essential part of many industries, industrial warehouses, buildings, and many small businesses across many industries. They provide an important power supply for many commercial buildings and infrastructure.
Factory and workshop operations also use the power of the air compressor for various functions. As we covered in our last post, power tools of all sorts use air compressors to complete their tasks as well. Wisco Supply Inc specializes in providing companies with industrial-grade air compressors and many of their parts.
The Basics of Air Compression
Air compressors are an accessible tool that performs any number of essential tasks for businesses, factories, or other industrial uses. The air compressor is also a useful piece of machinery for everyday uses and other small businesses. People also use air compressors to inflate tires and power tools used in home improvement projects and other small-scale projects.
Generally, air compressors are of one of two designs: single-stage and two-stage. Each of these designs uses pistons to create pressurized air. In a single-stage design, the piston compresses the air in one stroke. The stroke refers to the full rotation of the crankshaft that drives the piston. The two-stage works with the same process but uses two pistons, which allows the compressor to generate higher pressures. Over the years, the basic concept of the air compressors and the use of pistons has not changed dramatically, but innovation has happened in sharpening the mechanism and making it more efficient and effective.
There are many designs and configurations that range from stationary, portable, rotary, and piston. The basic operating principle for most of these compressors has remained the same with only minimal design and functional improvements. For many manufacturers, the changes have been largely focused on improving reliability. Some of the improvements in reliability are related to using computers. A pump’s cylinder can now be honed and programmed to incredible exactitude. The potential for major machining errors reduces considerably with this new technology.
The pistons themselves have also been improved and often made of water-resistant materials that prevent air or oil leakage into the cylinders. The piston-sets are made of wear-resistant materials. Rods made of special materials also help protect the pump’s main component by preventing damage to the crankshaft. Some have seen the easy-access unload pins that are easily replaceable. There continue to be improvements in this field, as the needs of the industrial sector and change.
What Is Pneumatics and How Has That Played a Role?
The use of compressed air to create viable energy is a world full of possibilities. The term refers to the physical science of compressing air. The term is derived from the Greek word for “blowing.” Most people have engaged in pneumatics at some point or another. The simple act of blowing air from your lungs to blow fire or blow up a balloon falls under the concept of pneumatics; that is because you are using compressed air to perform work. It is often confused with renewable wind power, but it is not the same. Pneumatics have built-in air storage and rely on pressure. An air compressor is considered a pneumatic machine.
An air compressor is an important part of pneumatic systems. One of the benefits of pneumatic systems is that they are far less hazardous. It reduces the potential for electric fires since it mostly uses air. If there is a leak in your system, it will cause a loss of air pressure but it will not cause an accident.
For many industries, it is almost impossible to envision their day-to-day work without the wonderful help of an air compressor. For many, it is the backbone of industrial infrastructure. These machines are varied, versatile, and quite robust. Some of the industries that use air compressors include:
- Construction: The construction industry uses variable flow streams in some important tools of the trade including jackhammers, nail guns, and compactors.
- Manufacturing: From metal to plastic fabrication, the use of air compressors and pneumatics are at the core of many of its tasks.
- Agriculture: For many farming operations and other agriculture tasks, air compressors are a big part of the job. Important machines like tractors, sprayers, pumps, and crop conveyors are all powered by some kind of air compressor.
- Energy Sector: Huge industries like oil drilling make use of air compressors as well.
- Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning: Air compressors can be a major part of air-sourcing and heat pump systems of many commercial HVAC systems.
Looking for Industrial -Grade Air Compressors and Equipment?
Wisco Supply Systems, Inc provides quality industrial-grade air compressors, boiler systems, and hoist crane systems, and pumping systems.
A History of Power Tools and Their Impact on Today’s Industrial Applications
There is no garage complete without a set of dusty power tools including drills, table saws, circular saws, nail guns, compressors, or any other important part of the weekend warriors arsenal. Power tools are common usage today, especially for the growing population of Do-It-Yourselfers working on unique projects for their home and offices. Yet, power tools began as a central part of many industrial processes and became quite indispensable in heavy-duty projects. The search for effective tools is nothing new. From the beginning of human history, we have always sought better ways to increase our work capacity and enhance our labor efficiency. The incredible and sophisticated tools we use today for any number of tasks means that there is a long history of their development.
Industrial Supply: The Role of Power Tools, Compressed Air, and More
When it comes to power tools in the industrial sector, they are a big part of many important processes. Compressed air systems, for example, are an important medium for the transfer of energy in many of these tasks and are used for heavy-duty industrial power tools such as air hammers, drills, wrenches, and more. They allow for the production of much more power and “elbow grease.” Compressed air piping is a big component of many modern industrial jobs. Ensuring quality layout, installation, and maintenance of all material ensures proper operation. Aluminum piping is a good choice for optimal performance and reliability for any industrial application, whether you use air with or without oil. Aluminum pipes are anti-corrosive, lightweight, and offer quick connections. Aluminum is the primary choice of many industry leaders, as aluminum keeps compressed air clean and is non-corrosive. At Wisco Supply, we proudly carry Gardner Denver brand compressed air piping. Curious about this product’s benefits? Then give us a call!
The Path Towards Modern Power Tools
But how did we reach this point in time? The path towards modern tools and advancements such as aluminum piping finds its origins as far back as ancient Egyptian times. Some would argue that power tools begin as early as the ancient civilization of Egypt. They will cite the hand-powered lathe as one of the earliest iterations of what we might consider a power tool. The power was generated by a two-person system. One person would be in charge of turning the wood piece with a rope and the other person used a sharp tool to cut shapes into the wood.
Power tools operated in much the same way for many hundreds of years to come. It wasn’t until the world began its shift into industrialization that several key inventions led the way towards the modern power tools of today. Thomas Edison invented the incandescent lamp, which makes light by using electricity to heat a thin strip of material (filament) until it becomes hot enough to produce a glow. It took Edison and his crew plenty of tries to get it right; they worked endlessly on three thousand different theories on how to develop an efficient incandescent lamp. Once this happened, however, it opened the way for the use of this technology for other uses.
Modern Tools After Edison’s Incandescent Lamp
In 1895, a German company called C&E Fein was one of the first companies to be credited for producing the primary power tool. The company invented a revolutionary combination of the power of the manual drill with the power of the electric motor. Hence, the power tool! About a decade later, a well-known tool company today named Black and Decker took some very clever ideas from the Colt 45 automatic pistol. This became the pistol-grip, trigger-switch electric drill that we all know today. Several other companies made their way into the industry and contributed their own unique touch to the advent of power tools. In 1923, Dewalt introduced the first radial arm saw and soon thereafter the well-known tool manufacturer Dewalt was born. Bosch, another household name in tools, had a very specific aim in manufacturing: making tools convenient, easy, and safe to use for a wide mass of people. They introduced the plastic casing for proper protection and later would come to invent the cordless power drill. The 70s, in addition to bell-bottoms and great rock music, was a big decade for the tool industry as well. This included the very convenient battery-operated power tools and what became lighter, safer, and much more efficient hand-held easily operated power tools.
Finding the Right Tools for Your Industry
Today, power tools used at home and in factories and industrial plants are able to pack more power in smaller and more efficient tools. Today, it is all about advanced functionality and ergonomic design. If you’ve operated a modern hand-held power drill today, you know first-hand that they are engineered to provide considerable work power in a compact design. This goes for both industrial-grade tools and home tools that you collect in your garage.
Here at Wisco Supply, we specialize in providing the latest and best quality industrial supplies for your applications and heavy-duty jobs. Connect with us today and find out how we can help you enhance your work today.