Webster-Horsfall boiler

Webster & Horsfall

One of the UK’s leading manufacturers of Wire and Strip, Webster & Horsfall, has recently converted from steam to thermal fluid heating for maximum energy savings with the help of industrial process heating specialist Babcock Wanson UK.


Carbon Reduction and Improved Efficiency

Webster & Horsfall, which created the wire for the first communication cable laid across the Atlantic Ocean in 1865, has invested an initial £1 million in new production line plant and equipment in its Birmingham premises to manufacture high-strength drawn wire. Part of a larger investment to develop the overall site, the work is being undertaken to reduce costs and carbon footprint and improve efficiency through modernising machinery and infrastructure.

A key element to the carbon reduction initiative and improved efficiency has come from Webster & Horsfall’s investment in a Babcock Wanson TPC600B thermal fluid heating system. Following a survey conducted by The Carbon Trust to identify areas where efficiency could be improved, replacing the existing inefficient steam boiler was identified as key. Webster & Horsfall selected Babcock Wanson for the task as it’s a long established company with a good reputation and a thorough understanding of the Carbon Trust requirements for the interest free loan for the new Thermal Fluid Heater.

The Solution

The TPC600B - a fully automatic coil type, multi-pass thermal fluid heater complete with integrated burner, control system and safety devices - was recommended by Babcock Wanson for the plant and has been installed in the process area. It is being used for heating tanks for metal treatment.

The new system precisely matches fuel input to plant energy requirements for high efficiency. In fact, thermal fluid heating systems can use 20-50% less energy to transfer the same amount of heat when compared to traditional steam heating systems. With a large energy user such as Webster & Horsfall, such a difference makes for considerable savings, both financially and environmentally.

The TPC600B can utilise a wide range of heat transfer fluids and, for this application, a mid-range thermal oil was selected which gives Webster & Horsfall a reasonable initial capital cost and long fluid life expectancy. The existing tank heating system was modified with Babcock Wanson’s help to ensure the best results were achieved.


What Webster & Horsfall Say

Robert Horsfall, Finance Director of family owned Webster & Horsfall, is understandably pleased with the savings made with the new system as well as its ease of operation: “The new heater is one third more efficient than our previous steam based boiler, which allows us to operate more efficiently, reduce our energy bills and have a considerable impact on reducing our Carbon footprint.

“What we hadn’t expected initially though is the level of control the new system provides us with; it’s amazing. It alerts us to any potential issues, is easy to maintain (no annual statutory inspection is required) and is quick to respond. All that and it doesn’t take up much room.”

In addition to the TPC600B, Babcock Wanson offers a complete range of products and services for boiler houses and other process heating needs, from steam boilers, thermal fluid heaters, rapid steam generators and hot water boilers to VOC and odour treatment by thermal oxidation, water treatment or process air heating solutions. The company aims to help optimise customer’s energy production with high quality products and efficient service.

Customer Testimonials

Loucas Antoniou, Engineering Manager at Bakkavor Meals London

“The Thermal Oxidiser is the most efficient way of removing any smells and it’s also very straightforward to use.  We have been a customer of Babcock Wanson for many years and have always enjoyed a good service.”

Carbon Trust Annual Report 2009/10

“A major carbon footprint reduction will be achieved when the scheme currently in progress to change the main boiler fuel from heating oil to gas is completed in summer 2010. This £900k project will reduce our carbon emissions via energy usage by around 15% by removing the need to use heavy fuel oil, as the new boiler plant will use natural gas as its main fuel source.”

Webster & Horsfall

“What we hadn’t expected initially though is the level of control the new system provides us with; it’s amazing. It alerts us to any potential issues, is easy to maintain (no annual statutory inspection is required) and is quick to respond. All that and it doesn’t take up much room.”

Peter Connolly, Production Engineer at Vacu-Lug

“The ESM 2000 installation, together with an ongoing programme of process plant lagging and steam trap maintenance, has enabled us to significantly reduce our gas usage and cushion the company against rising gas prices.”

Dave Scrivens, Facilities Manager at Plastic Omnium

“Babcock Wanson’s expertise and ability to provide a whole package made them the leading contender for this project. On further investigation, their proposal was also commercially viable, which sealed the deal.”

Denis Kelly, Engineering & Construction Manager at Stolthaven Dagenham

“The Thermal Fluid Heaters themselves were ideal for this project as they are based on mature technology and are well proven in the field. They are robust and also require very little maintenance.”

Ian McQuarrie, Engineering Manager at Puredrive

“During my three years here, the Steam Generators and Thermal Fluid Heaters have worked flawlessly. Babcock Wanson carries a good name in the business for both quality and equipment longevity. Their knowledge, company wide, is exceptional and the whole package from installation through to service is managed professionally.”

Jason Hall, J&A Young Engineering Manager

“We had estimated our steam requirements, but Babcock Wanson had the experience to understand that we had underestimated this. In fact, the erratic nature of the steam loads would have been impossible to meet under our existing spec. Babcock Wanson was able to identify this as well as provide a very energy efficient solution with a number of enhanced features”.

Lee Bullen, Corrugated Services Manager at Board24

“It’s running very well, both easy to use and efficient. The service from Babcock Wanson has also been very good.”

Peter Shrimpton, Engineering Projects Manager at Bridgnorth Aluminium Ltd

"We were unfamiliar with Babcock Wanson, but we’ve had no problems with it whatsoever; you simply switch it on and it works – simple as that! The service we have received from Babcock Wanson has also been great.”

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