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Cost-efficient heating in historical buildings

20 November 2018

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Decentralised tube heaters renovate central boiler system

For more than 50 years, Biffar GmbH & Co. KG has been constructing break-in resistant, high-quality and individual entrance doors, canopies and aluminium windows in the Edenkoben Palatinate. The medium-sized company has always manufactured in almost the same production buildings, while only the warehouse and the area of incoming goods are recent constructions. “This is not typical for traditional manufacturing companies,” reveals refurbishment expert Torsten Koopmann from Schwank GmbH. “Existing production areas often need to be refurbished during operation. Few companies have the spatial conditions to completely rebuild building sections and to move the production there. For the majority, a new construction would mean a break in production for several months.” The same is applicable for Biffar. While production machines, paint shops or electroplating areas are state-of-the-art, the building material remained untouched until a few years ago. Only the constant increase in energy costs and the increasingly frequent maintenance measures of the old system made a renovation inevitable. The production areas and the high-bay warehouse with indirectly operated air heaters would get heated. For the hot water treatment, a 750-kW boiler fuelled with the wood waste from the production was responsible. As a reversible system and to absorb peak loads, another 1,500 kW boiler fuelled by natural gas was available. The process heat was also coupled with the heating system. The complexity of controlling the heating system and process heat is self-evident. As part of the modernisation measures, Biffar began looking for an effective and cost-effective heating solution in 2014, which was also expected to simplify the control and regulation of the heating control system. It zeroed in on Schwank. The specialist for building heating and cooling took the given conditions and worked with Biffar to develop a conclusive heating concept with infrared tube heaters. 21 insulated high-performance tube heaters of the calorSchwank type were installed in the five building sections. While the areas of production, veneer and incoming goods were fully heated, emphasis was placed on the zonal heating of individual workplaces in other areas. The in-house joinery was also heated with tube heaters. You can feel the effect of radiant heating most strikingly in the areas where the dust extraction system earlier used to dissipate the hot air almost directly. Michael Erb, Purchasing Head at Biffar: “We were able to completely replace the 1.5 MW gas boiler. The tube heaters have spared 19% of energy costs in the first year itself, and the use of the new heating system was started only in March. This corresponds exactly with the information initially provided by Schwank. In addition, the simple and precise control of the heating system in our building management system has ensured significant relief. The well-being of our employees has also increased throughout.” In coordination with the production manager, the installation of the heating system, the gas line and the electrical installation were carried out during the normal production times without any restriction of the production process. Brigitte Biffar, Managing Director at Biffar: “Installation and commissioning went smoothly. What particularly pleased me, the proposal and invoice were consistent and devoid of surprises. We felt and still feel competently advised as of today.” Biffar need not worry about the heating system for the next 15 years. Upon completion of a service package, the Schwank warranty is fully and automatically extended to 15 years.

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