Ensuring Safety and Efficiency in Burner Management Systems

August 30, 2022
Sonia Gossai

Burner management systems ensure the safe operation and control of combustion equipment. The systems help prevent explosions and other undesirable events. A crucial part of burn management systems is flame detection. It is the first line of defense.

Jeff Lorfing has spent 32 years in the process control industry. He started as a technician, worked as a control systems designer, spent some time in sales, and is now the Combustion Business Manager for Relevant Solutions.

Flame detection is code driven. It simply detects if there is one in the chamber and ensures that whatever is going into the burner will be positively combusted. It provides vital insights on the burner. “Flame detection starts to tell us a bit about the health of the burner,” said Lorfing. If there is a mechanical issue with the burner, the flame detector will be one of the first things that signal a problem.

“What I’ve seen when it comes to flame detection… is that it gets the most attention when it shuts down,” said Lorfing. Many issues with flame detection start with misapplication. Products must be built specifically to work with the system it’s applied to. Today, flame detection is very robust and tunable. Correctly tuning it is crucial. There is a spectrum of systems they’ll work with, and as long as they coincide with the fuel, the flame detection will work great.

Issues arise when flame detectors are “misapplied with the technology and the fuel, or they haven’t been configured properly for the application,” said Lorfing on “Your Relevant Solution.” Those two components should be checked first if there is any issue with the application. Knowing what the system requires and why is essential to the overall reliability of the burner. When flame detectors are applied correctly, it increases safety, cost, and efficiency.

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