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Steam Generator Plant

Modern boiler


Old Factory

Steam was the driving force during the days of the industrial revolution and was used to power the giant textile mills, steam trains and ocean going ships of the time.


In those days steam boilers were just like the common domestic kettle where a volume of water is heated in a container and steam is ejected through the spout.

One such steam boiler design was the famous Lancashire Boiler that was the most advanced of its time. In this boiler coal was used as fuel to heat two ‘firetubes’ which in turn heated the water that surrounded them. As the temperature of the water rose, steam bubbled off the water surface and into the steam pipe.

Lancashire Boiler Lancashire Boiler Sketch

However one of the many drawbacks of the old firetube design was the explosion hazard that caused death and serious injury with alarming frequency. These tragedies were regarded as acts of god in those days but we now know that they were a consequence of this particular method of steam production. The hot water is stored inside a firetube boiler at the same pressure as the steam and a failure of the outer casing will cause the water to expand to around 1600 times its volume in less than a second - causing a devastating explosion. This is most likely to happen when the water level in the boiler drops to a dangerously low level.

It’s not difficult to imagine the second disadvantage which is the time it takes to heat up in the first place. This is measured in hours rather than minutes because the large mass of steel and water must first be heated before the steam pressure can build up. This means that boilers had to be started well in advance of when they were needed - or had to be kept ticking over so that they were available when steam was required. The inherent lag in response also meant that the boiler had to be large enough in size to cater for varying outputs.

These old boilers are early versions of the firetube boilers that are the horizontal cylindrical shape we still recognise today. Improvements in the firetube design have, of course, been made where possible.

But why didn’t someone come up with a different method of producing steam
that does not have all of these disadvantages? - Well Someone Did!

Instead of heating a large amount of water and steel - heat a small amount of water and steel.


Clayton Steam Boiler Components

This is possible by pumping water through the inside of a small diameter heated coiled tube so that cold water goes in one end and high pressure steam comes out the other. The Clayton Steam Generator is a unique design that does just that. Instead of the familiar steam train image of a boiler we now have a compact steam making machine with staggering advantages for the world we live in today.

The Clayton Steam Generator uses only three main components. These components are a special pump, a special water tube coil and a special steam separator. Water is heated as it is pumped through the coil and it is then fed to the to the steam separator to produce very high quality dry steam.

F1 car

So all of the momentum from the heavy steel and large volume of water has been eliminated which means that the boiler is small in size and will start-up in five minutes from the flick of a switch. The response is more like a racing car than an oil tanker when it’s running because the steam flow is synchronised with the speed of the pump and the heat source - so it can ramp up and down in seconds with unrivalled fuel efficiency. And when it is not needed at the end of the working day it can be switched off with the lights to conserve energy.

The basic operating principle produces one advantage that leads to another and another. These are not limited to the quick start-up, rapid response, small size, low weight, low running cost automatic operation, and reliability.

High powered vertical Clayton Steam Boiler

Many people consider that the main advantage of the Clayton Steam Generator compared to a firetube boiler is that safety has taken a great leap forward. This is because there is no possibility of a steam explosion. It is not even necessary to check the water level – because there isn’t one. So the peril that was a constant danger once-upon-a-time has now been completely eliminated. In fact the Clayton Steam Generator can run without operator attendance even at very high steam pressures and temperatures.

Most of the world forward looking companies and institutions that use steam in their production or process already operate Clayton Steam Generators.

The traditional horizontal cylindrical boilers image that made history has now made way for high powered vertical Clayton Steam Generator of today.

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