The boiler is a closed or airtight vessel that is used to heat water or other liquid in order to produce hot water, steam, or vapor. The steam or vapor contains an enormous amount of energy that can be used for various applications such as power generation or other industrial heating applications depends on requirements and purposes. For instance, domestic boilers are used to provide hot water or power supply for daily household usage, while industrial boilers are used in the production process for power generation or various types of industrial heating purposes. Manufacturing companies will need to use the energy on large scale to run the entire production process. The use of an Industrial boiler can produce massive heat production and energy in the most efficient and cost-effective way. It also reduces the consumption of electric energy and saves costs on electricity. Natural gases, coals, or other fossil fuels are often to be used as fuel for the boiler. It is important to choose the right boiler with adequate heat produced to ensure the delivery of energy is sufficient and effective.
Types of Boilers for Industrial & Commercial Use
Basically, there are two main types of the boiler when we classify them by the method of generating the heat.
The first type is the fire-tube boiler, the most traditional & common type of boiler. It is widely used in small to medium size industries as it produces low to medium pressure steam. There are few components inside of the fire-tube boiler which are the furnace, water tank/boiler, and smokestack. The factory-made fire tube boiler usually comes with pumps and control systems. The fuel is combusted in the furnace and then produces flame and heat to the tubes immersed in the water tank. The heat generated from the furnace is running through the tubes and then transfer into the water which in turn heats the water to the boiling point. The smokestack vents the heat created by the heating process to keep the pressure maintained at the intended level. The fire-tube boiler can be divided into two main types depends on the physical location of the furnaces, it can be either external furnaces or internal furnaces. The construction of a fire-tube boiler is relatively simple and so this is the cheapest type of boiler we can consider for low to medium pressure applications.
The second type of boiler is the water-tube boiler. A Water-tube boiler is normally used in large manufacturing factories that require high steam pressure and high volume. It is also commonly used in the application where requires the change of steam quantity. Although its design is similar to the fire-tube boiler, the way of generating heat in the water-tube boiler is different from the fire-tube boiler. In the furnace of the water-tube boiler, there is a series of tubes containing water. The fuel is burned inside the furnace and then heating up the water tube until the water is boiled and steam generated. Tubes are sealed and able to withstand high pressure to transfer the heat to water inside. Because the flame is shot into a large containment area which allows the heat to be distributed more efficiently and evenly than the fire-tube boiler. It reduces the cost of fuel and is more thermally efficient than the fire-tube boiler. The operating environment is also safer since there is less water to cause a steam explosion in the event of a failure. However, the construction of a water-tube boiler is much complicated and usually being built on the site. The water used in the water-tube boiler may require the filter to make sure it can operate effectively.
What are the key differences between Fire-Tube Boiler and Water-Tube Boiler?
As we can see from above, the main difference between a fire-tube boiler and a water-tube boiler is that, in the fire-tube boiler, the water surrounds the heat source, while in the water-tube boiler, the heat surrounds the water tubes. There are a lot of differences in terms of their working pressure, physical sizes, steam production, efficiency, cost, maintenance, and operation.
- Suitable for higher pressure range
- Require less physical space
- Complex design and construction
- Higher maintenance cost
- Expertise is required to operate
- More efficient
- Suitable for low to medium pressure range
- Pre-packaged unit
- Compact and simple design
- Less expensive
- Require little or no experience to operate
- Higher possibility of drum failure
Other Common Types of Boiler
The electric boiler is a popular choice as it is highly efficient and environmentally friendly since it does not require fossil fuel to run the boiler and creates a lesser carbon footprint. It is small, requires less space, less installation cost, and less noise generated. It can produce low to high-pressure steam and is suitable for a wide range of applications. The electric boiler is common to be used in a smaller operation size such as food processing, laundries, etc. The heat generation principle of an electric boiler is similar to other traditional boilers, it also relies on water as the conductor to produce heat and steam.
The main disadvantage is, it requires electricity to operate which may increase the operating cost and not as cost-effective as other types of boilers.
The condensing boiler is the water heater fueled by gas or oil. Unlike the conventional boilers, it has two heat exchanger that extracts lost heat from the exhaust and reduces the waste gases to boost its efficiency level. It works by condensing water vapor into heat. The first heat exchanger is like the non-condensing boiler that is heated by the gas burner, the second heat exchanger captures the excess exhaust gas heat from the first exchanger and condensed into liquid water which is then collected and taken away via a drain. Condensing boiler can achieve a higher level of thermal efficiency of up to 98% depending on the conditions.
The boiler system is widely in residential, commercial, and industrial applications. Whenever there is a need for heat and steam, we can probably find the use of boiler. MecHero Malaysia provides supplies & services of a wide range of boilers for your industrial or commercial application. You can always contact us at +6011-7000 7687 or email us at email@example.com for an inquiry about the types of boilers in Malaysia. As a steel and online hardware store Malaysia, we also supply a wide range of steel materials, general hardware, or mechanical components. Tell us your requirements now and we can advise you accordingly.
Photo credit: igiantech, marineengineeringstudymaterial, naichangmashare, sentryequip, processheating, grundfos