Radiant Heat Warms Up Manufacturing Plant

The new Bonide Chemical facility near Oriskany, N.Y., serves as proof that radiant heating can meet the most challenging heating requirements. This 150,000-square-foot building-with 2,900 cubic yards of concrete flooring and 40-foot-tall ceilings-will eventually house manufacturing, warehousing and office areas.


The new Bonide Chemical facility near Oriskany, N.Y., serves as proof that radiant heating can meet the most challenging heating requirements. This 150,000-square-foot building-with 2,900 cubic yards of concrete flooring and 40-foot-tall ceilings-will eventually house manufacturing, warehousing and office areas. Combined with the plant's location-upstate New York, with its harsh winters-this multifaceted environment posed some tricky heating obstacles.

Working together, the manufacturer's representative, the construction manager and the system engineer successfully designed and implemented a radiant-heating solution that incorporates 21 miles of radiant pipe and copper-finned, high-efficiency boilers. Now finished, the facility's heating arsenal includes a wealth of engineering expertise.

Heating people, not ceilings

The building's plans originally called for the installation of hanging unit heaters in the manufacturing area, with radiant floors only in the office areas. This solution proved impractical for several reasons. Hanging unit heaters must be installed near the ceiling-in this case, almost 40 feet above the floor. This would make maintenance difficult, not to mention dangerous. Also, because heat rises, the ceiling-rather than the building's occupants would be warmed, resulting in uncomfortable working conditions. Additionally, warehouse doors would be opened and shut frequently, leading to a constant cycle of hot air escaping with the heating system trying to compensate accordingly. As a result, energy costs would have been astronomical.

The project team decided that a radiant heating solution throughout the immense facility was the best solution. Because of thermal mass storage, a properly controlled radiant slab remains at the proper temperature despite changing ambient air temperatures. Installation and maintenance is safe and easy when compared with climbing 40-foot scaffolding. And while the hanging unit heaters would have required copper piping as large as six inches, the radiant solution featured tubing that did not exceed two inches, providing substantial cost savings in a facility of this size, as well as simplifying installation.

Bring on the hardware

The Bonide facility contains a total of 237 circuits of 3/4-inch-barrier PEXc tubing. Rated at 750,000 Btuh each, four gas-fired boilers are connected to the six-inch copper tube primary heating loop as individual secondary circuits. To minimize heat loss, each boiler is on line only when fired.

When engineering the radiant heating system, the building was divided into 14 zones based on function and location. Since the function and location of each zone results in different temperature conditions, one of the requirements of the heating system was that it provide separate zone control for each area. To accomplish this, a pump-injection control system was installed in each zone. Then, a mini-tube system was installed to connect each area efficiently from a cost and space perspective.

Featuring useful space-management and consistency features, minitube systems use variable-speed pumps to mix hot boiler water with cooler return water at manifold stations, rather than in the mechanical room. In addition to providing more even temperatures throughout the facility, the minitube system provides an orderly way of delivering water to each zone via small-between 1 inch and 1.25 inches-copper tubes, simplifying and reducing the cost of the tubing.

When Bonide's employees show up for work in the spring of 2001, office and plant personnel alike will experience the luxury of working in a building that was designed for comfort throughout every one of its 150,000 square feet.

For more information on PEXc piping and Thermal Solutions boilers from Burnham, circle 103 on the Reader Service Card.

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
2015 Top Plant: Phoenix Contact, Middletown, Pa.; 2015 Best Practices: Automation, Electrical Safety, Electrical Systems, Pneumatics, Material Handling, Mechanical Systems
A cool solution: Collaboration, chemistry leads to foundry coat product development; See the 2015 Product of the Year Finalists
Raising the standard: What's new with NFPA 70E; A global view of manufacturing; Maintenance data; Fit bearings properly
Special report: U.S. natural gas; LNG transport technologies evolve to meet market demand; Understanding new methane regulations; Predictive maintenance for gas pipeline compressors
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Migrating industrial networks; Tracking HMI advances; Making the right automation changes
Understanding transfer switch operation; Coordinating protective devices; Analyzing NEC 2014 changes; Cooling data centers
Upgrading secondary control systems; Keeping enclosures conditioned; Diagnostics increase equipment uptime; Mechatronics simplifies machine design

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role that compressed air plays in manufacturing plants.