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"We were looking to upgrade our boilers and Lipten fit it in our powerhouse and made it compatible with our existing system. It’s efficient as heck and we get better steam with less gas and water usage."

—Joseph Serra, Providence Hospital Manager of Operations, As Quoted in The Detroit News


News, quotes and Lipten at work
Reprinted From Jan-Feb 2001 Issue of Power Magazine
Small, but nimble
With Jim Spencer, Lipten Company General Manager
Small, but nimble: While competition in the EPC business is intense, not all the projects go to large, international players. Smaller and more nimble EPC contractors have been able to carve out and retain a secure position in niche markets.

Lipten Co, Wixom, Mich, for example, provides turnkey EPC services to many municipal utilities and industrial powerplants. "Big EPCs can't efficiently fill the niche for retrofit of industrial power houses," says Jim Spencer, Lipten's general manager. Judging by the company's listing of projects, that market is huge. Lipten is averaging 40 retrofits per year, as industrial clients throughout the US scramble to update their powerplants in the face of rising electricity prices, tightening environmental restrictions, and global competition.

Many of the retrofits convert coal-fired boilers to natural gas, with customized features directly matched to the client's needs. "We started converting these units to gas about eight years ago," Spencer says, "but instead of conventional sidewall or frontwall firing, we customized the burner applications to fire vertically, up through the floor." Lipten's vertical-firing design emulates the combustion pattern of the original stoker design better, says Spencer, and improves combustion, emissions, and efficiency.

A recent Lipten project is located in Marion, Ind, at General Motors' Stamping facility. The project comprised the conversion of one field-erected boiler to a vertical-firing low-NOx gas-fired unit, plus controls upgrades (fig. 8 in lower right corner of next column).

Another Lipten project is located in New Castle, Ind, at the Daimler Chrysler Machine & Forge facility. This project comprised the replacement of the entire powerhouse steaming and feedwater systems, which had been in place since 1929. Lipten replaced the original field-erected boilers with three gas/oil-fired units, and new controls for the entire plant.

Lipten's boiler-control system, which contains both a combustion control system and a burner management system, uses programmable logic controllers (PLCs) for complete plant automation-not just as a component in a distributed control system (DCS), as many competing systems do. The PLC-based system is less expensive, Spencer points out. What's more, industrial clients--such as Daimler Chrysler--already have scores of PLCs throughout their manufacturing facilities, so employees are more familiar with them and components are readily available.

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