Natural Gas Pricing Fuels Efforts to Create a More Efficient Burner

The recent dramatic increase in natural gas pricing has lead to several industry suppliers working to develop a more fuel efficient burner for gas fired furnaces. At least 3 suppliers that we know of have developed new products which are now either in testing or on the market, one of these is Ipsen as you can see in the press release below. Interestingly enough the testing is taking place at a company “The Monty Heat Treat News” is very familiar with, oil and gas industry supplier Centek. Read below the Centek press release and below that our summary of the heat treat department at the Centek, UK facility-Centek also has a very similar heat treatment facility in Oklahoma City, OK, USA.

“We are delighted to have been asked by Ipsen International GmbH to take part in the trial of a new burner unit. This is the first time this highly efficient burner has been installed anywhere in the world and is an excellent addition to our high performance heat treatment plant in the UK, providing advanced starting performance, a long usage lifetime and 11% energy saving. The Recon IV will be just one of 22 Recon burners used in our Newton Abbot, Devon facility. This is the home of one of the largest pusher furnaces in Europe – providing Centek with the high volume of products we need to meet demand, all with the consistent strength and flexibility required to perform downhole. We are proud to have been selected by Ipsen to test pilot this advanced technology. The Recon IV is installed and already working its magic.”

“APRIL 2021 NEWTON ABBOT, UK; Centek Group-In House Heat Treatment of Oil & Gas Components. This is how Centek Group, a manufacturer and captive heat treater describes themselves; “Founded in 2001, Centek Group specializes in the development of engineering solutions for casing running environments. Our focus has always been to reduce risk and rig time. We design and manufacture a range of revolutionary centralizers which provide unprecedented stand-off: giving optimum pipe centralization, aiding pipe rotation and easing the string to total depth without issue.

To a layman such as myself this means the company designs, manufactures and supplies centralizers, a product used when drilling for oil or gas. This is done in two manufacturing locations, the first in Newton Abbot, Devon UK, the second in Oklahoma City, OK, USA. “The Monty Heat Treat News” team was able to get a half day tour of the location in the UK and this is what we can report.

This location has always been a firm believer in keeping the entire manufacturing process in house and this includes heat treatment. In approximately 2014 the decision was made to update the entire heat treatment department and the end result was an Ipsen 2 row gas fired “pusher” style furnace, using endothermic atmosphere provided by a single retort Ipsen generator.

In overall concept this would be considered a fairly typical “U” shaped pusher design with loading and unloading in the same area, high heat, oil quench, wash, temper and a feature we always like to see-an automated “tray flipper” to provide longer life to the cast base trays. The entire system is controlled by an up to date PLC system with datalogging, with atmosphere controlled by oxygen probes.

What is rather unusual though is the cleanliness of the entire operation, not a breath of smoke or a hint of quench oil to be found in the entire department. Originally this was a family run, employee owned company and while this is no longer the case the family “feeling” and pride lives on.

While this entire project is very much a family affair we have to mention that the fellow in charge of the heat treatment department, Mr. Phil Hayes is a lifelong heat treater who takes his job seriously and he perhaps more than anybody else is responsible for the fact that the department runs so smoothly. Vacuum & Atmosphere Services provides help as required.

While we have not personally seen the location in Oklahoma City, USA our understanding is that it is largely a mirror image of the UK facility although the furnace was provided by AFC-Holcroft, a US manufacturer. These photos will give you a very clear view of the entire facility. Our thanks go out to the entire Centek Group who were so incredibly hospitable during our visit.”

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