Automation: Water Tower
One of our boiler manufacturers had reached out to us about doing some work for a company that had just moved into a facility in Flemington, New Jersey. During building renovations, the company had removed a few old boilers and equipment, and they soon realized that one of the boilers they removed provided a heating loop to keep their water tower from freezing during the winter; the water tower is responsible for providing water to their fire suppression system.
Due to the location of the water tower on the property and the amount of piping that was removed with the old boiler system, it was determined that it was more appropriate to repurpose and relocate a storage shed they had on their property to the base of the tower to provide a clean, dry location to install the steam boiler system. The piping connections are located at the base of the tower, so putting the boiler there decreased the amount of piping involved to allow for a smaller steam boiler and a decreased installation cost. The customer hired a contractor to install a cement pad for the shed to sit on. We relocated the shed once the pad had cured and started the installation.
The project went further than that. We had to install a thermocouple into the base of the tower and program a PLC to monitor the water temperature. When the water temperature gets below a set threshold, the boiler will automatically turn on and build pressure. Once the boiler reaches pressure, it opens a steam valve and sends steam through the heating coil to heat the water. When the appropriate temperature is reached, the valve closes and the system shuts down. If for some reason there is a failure or the temperature in the tower gets too low, an alarm is triggered and notifies the customer as well as their alarm company if it is after hours.
To take things another step further, since their boiler room is separate from the main building, there is no heat in the boiler room; so, we installed a steam air heater with a thermostat control that will keep the room from freezing as well. This was integrated into the monitoring system and if the room itself gets too cold, an alert is sent.