There is an ever greater focus on energy efficiency as companies strive to cut costs and to “green” their business. As a result, companies are taking a hard look at their boiler rooms.
Earlier this year, North Carolina-based Viscotec Automotive installed six Miura LX Series boilers. According to Miura, the environmentally-friendly boilers produce 60% less nitrous oxide (NOx) emissions than conventional boilers. The company is working on technology that will reduce these emissions to zero.
Miura’s LX Series boilers are able to produce full steam output within five minutes from a cold start – compared to over an hour for standard firetube boilers. Miura boilers also require less space and feature an online maintenance system so problems can be diagnosed and corrected faster.
Automotive Industries (AI) asked Mark Utzinger, vice president of Miura Boiler’s USA operations why Viscotec Automotive Products decided on Miura boilers for its plant.
Utzinger: Viscotec knew of Miura Boilers out of Japan. They understood the concept of fuel savings and how Miura achieves this. Since this was a new plant, the size of the boilers was also a consideration. The smaller footprint requirements meant a much smaller boiler room size and associated construction cost savings.
AI: How popular have your boilers been with automotive manufacturers?
Utzinger: Miura has always been a preferred choice of automotive manufacturers. Automotive clients include Chrysler, Ford, Honda, and Toyota. In addition, many automotive parts manufacturers such as Viscotec chose the benefits that the Miura Boiler design has to offer.
AI: What is the formula behind Miura’s North American success?
Utzinger: Historically Maura’s sales were primarily due to the compact size of its boilers. These have among the smallest footprint for the output in the industry. However, energy savings now dominate sales, since fuel prices have more than tripled in the last three years. We offer the most efficient, in-service system available for the industrial and commercial markets. We back this up with cutting edge, diagnostic capabilities not offered by any other boiler manufacturer.
AI: What factors does Miura take into account when selling to automotive manufacturers?
Utzinger: Automotive plants and their suppliers have a broad range of steam requirements. Miura steam systems provide the flexibility for all these requirements, especially for sudden changes in load demand. We also provide state of the art multiple installations which insure steam is produced only when required – for maximum reliability and minimum fuel consumption.
AI: What can we expect from Miura technology in the future:
Utzinger: The best systems are simple. Eliminate thermal stress, create steam only when required, and reduce flame temperatures without finicky control apparatus. This is the Miura design. Future models will provide simple controls, with realistic, practical technology to reduce NOx emissions to almost zero – without sacrificing any efficiency.
Viscotec on Miura boilers
This is what Viscotec had to say about the Miura LX Series boilers that were installed at Viscotec’s NC facility: “We chose Miura boilers because the quick start-up time and their ease-of use. The reduced time to produce steam means that our fuel costs are lower, which is another major benefit we’ve gotten from these boilers,” said Will Fritz, plant engineer at Viscotec Automotive Products.
Miura calculates that, over the course of a year, at a price of USD 0.90/therm for natural gas, Miura’s Super LX Series boilers can save approximately USD 200,000 in fuel costs.
In a multiple installation such as Viscotec’s, Miura boilers can be turned on or off as needed, providing greater efficiency throughout the day and reducing wear and tear on the boilers.