Issues With Retrofitting Industrial Heating Systems, Part 1

When industrial heating systems begin to age and show signs of wear, some plant managers will consider both replacement of these parts and retrofitting. Retrofitting refers to repairing current systems or repurposing older equipment for a new task, and it may be an option worth exploring for some facilities.

At Gordo Sales, however, we’re here to tell you that there are some risks and areas you need to  consider when it comes to retrofitting process heating equipment. In many cases, new equipment, from our radiant tube heaters to our component heaters, drum heaters and various other systems, is the far more prudent choice for your facility. This two-part blog will dig into some of the potential drawbacks or issues associated with retrofitting such equipment, plus situations where new industrial heating equipment is the right way to go.

issues retrofitting industrial heating systems

Significant Planning

For starters, be aware that if you’re considering retrofitting equipment in your facility, this process will take some significant and often challenging planning. This begins with actually determining whether the equipment in question can be properly retrofitted – we can’t tell you how many stories we’ve heard about plant managers getting days or weeks into a retrofit attempt before realizing that it simply wasn’t possible given the equipment’s state.

This process may involve coordinating with third-party engineers to detail what’s required and what the costs will be. You also have to strongly consider the impact this project will have on your current operations: Will you have to shut down or limit production for any period of time? This will impact your bottom line in major ways.

Code Requirements

Another potential hold-up in the retrofitting scenario is various code requirements that might be present in your industry when changing equipment configurations. What happens if you complete a retrofit, only to realize later that it does not adhere to code, safety requirements or emissions and efficiency standards? This is an especially important area if your retrofit is an unusual setup of any kind.

Warranties and Service Issues

In addition, you have to consider warranties and any follow-up service issues that might need to be in play for your retrofit. This is particularly worrisome if you’re retrofitting another company’s equipment, in which case you may have to inquire about specific warranties or service needs.

You also have to think about whether the retrofit work you’re doing threatens to void existing warranties on the equipment. If so, who will provide a new warranty for the final product? Will the retrofit have a warranty, and who will be qualified to perform service on it? These are all questions you need answers to.

For more on the potential issues with retrofitting an industrial heating system and why new equipment is often the way to go, or to learn about any of our process heating systems, speak to the staff at Gordo Sales today.