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Applications of industrial steam boilers

In industry, steam generators, or steam boilers, are used to produce saturated steam that can be used for different purposes, depending on the field of application.

They are normally used when direct and indirect heating must be produced simultaneously; where heat transfer is required at a constant temperature, with high heat transfer rates; when heating large quantities of hot process water is required; and finally, where very high working pressures are required.

A steam generator is mainly applied in the following sectors:

  • Food industry

The use of steam in the food production sector is widespread.

Pasta factories are the most emblematic example because steam is used in several stages along which the pasta production process is articulated. The first is pasteurization, in which dry steam reaches a temperature of 120°C to eliminate all bacterial contamination. The second is the packaging of the finished product, in which steam is used to eliminate the moisture present on the surface, preventing the pasta from sticking to the package. The third is the sterilization of pasta-making machinery, which requires dry steam at high temperature.

Industrial steam boilers are also widely used in dairies.

Milk, in fact, needs to be treated before being processed. This is done through pasteurization and sterilization processes that aim to eliminate all microbes that alter the properties of milk. Steam is essential for both processes.

Many dairy plants use smoke tube boilers, which provide high efficiency and low consumption.

The food industry encompasses a very wide range of sectors; among many, steam is essential in alcohol-based processes such as breweries and wine cellars.

  • Hospital sector

Steam is frequently used in hospitals for sterilization purposes.

The volumes and pressures of steam that are required by hospitals do not reach high levels and, therefore, the use of industrial fire-tube boilers, which achieve high levels of efficiency, is often preferred.

  • Power generation

Steam boilers are also used in power generation.

Steam is the fluid carrier that conveys thermal energy to a turbine, which generates electricity. The water-tube steam boiler is often used for the large volumes and high pressures required.

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Other examples of industries that require the application of steam power are:

  • Chemical and petrochemical industry
  • Pharmaceutical industry
  • Engineering industry
  • Rubber and plastic processing industry (e.g., injection molds…)
  • Meat processing industry
  • Tanning industry
  • Oil mills
  • Laundries
  • Ironing factories
  • Tailors

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