Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Boiler Damper Drives: Pneumatic Vane Actuators Excel

damper drive
Damper drive with pneumatic
vane actuator (Kinetrol).
Industrial and commercial boilers burn much more efficiently when the combustion air is accurately controlled. Reduced emissions and higher BTU/Fuel ratios are achieved through precise draft control. One method to control draft air is with dampers to manage volumetric airflow.  Another role of the damper in industrial boilers is to control the recirculation of flue gases for tighter emissions control. In both cases, improved combustion, through proper air/fuel mixing and controlled recirculation, greatly improves combustion efficiency and also lowers fuel cost (saves money).

Damper drive with pneumatic vane actuator
Damper drive (side mount) installed.
The mechanical devices used to open, close and modulate dampers are critical to precise control. The “motors” used to move the louvers and dampers can be electrically operated or pneumatic operated. Electrically operated damper drives have historically been favored, but the shift to retro-fit electric drives with pneumatic damper drives has been significant in the last two decades. When pneumatic vane actuators were first introduced for damper drive service, their virtues were quickly discovered. Their inherent design and operating advantages apply perfectly for precise damper control. These design and operating advantages are:
damper drive
Damper drives on round dampers.
  • Precise, smooth signal to movement response
  • 100 percent duty cycle
  • Continuous modulating service
  • No overheating
  • High speed/high-torque
  • Fast full stroke open/close
  • Very easily serviced
  • Excels in harsh, high-temperature operating environments
  • Effectively zero air consumption in resting state
Along with these performance features, pneumatic vane drives can replace electric damper drives in-place, with the same footprint and mounting dimensions, making retrofit fast and easy. Considering all of the above, one can argue it makes sense to replace all electric drives with pneumatic vane actuator drives.  In the movement toward better environmental control, and greater operating efficiencies, upgrading to pneumatic vane actuator damper drives for boiler damper control is an excellent choice.