Interfuse specifies fulton thermal fluid system for rapid curing process

Apr 17, 2012 | Heat Transfer

Established in 1965 with plants at Syston and Gainsborough, Interfuse is a family-run business specialising in the manufacture of precast masonry blocks, which are distributed throughout the country through builders’ merchants. The company’s plants, are capable of producing around 21 million dense and lightweight blocks per year in a range of sizes; with solid, cellular and hollow formats; and with standard and close textured finishes.

The manufacturing process for the concrete and lightweight building blocks uses a press to precast the products and a series of kilns to provide heat for rapid curing. At its Gainsborough site, Interfuse has recently installed a Fulton FT-C vertical coil thermal fluid heater to replace a live steam system that was proving too expensive to operate.

Fulton’s highly-efficient FT-C thermal fluid boiler offers a compact, fuel-fired, 4-pass heater design capable of operating at temperatures up to 345°C. The system is designed to provide high-fluid velocities and low-film temperatures for improved longevity. The system’s compact footprint also means it could be skid-mounted, accommodating ancillaries such as circulating pump, expansion tank and related pipework, to minimise the floor space required for installation.

Commenting on the installation, Interfuse works manager Len Parks says: “Using live steam for the curing process at Gainsborough was costing the company in the region of £20,000 per month in fuel costs alone, so although the change to the Fulton FT-C thermal fluid boiler proved to be a significant investment, especially during the downturn in the building and construction market, the thermal fluid system’s operating costs are about a tenth of those for the steam system, so are expecting to achieve payback in three to four years.”

Whilst the decision to change to thermal fluid was based on the company’s positive experience over a number of years with a German-manufacturer boiler at its Syston facility, Interfuse decided that UK-based service and support was essential for the new boiler. “Fulton’s UK base was a big incentive when choosing the replacement.” says Len.

Highlighting other significant reasons for the change, Len confirms that thermal fluid is much cleaner than the original steam installation and the maintenance costs are significantly lower because no annual strip-down is required. In addition, there are no associated costs for mains water, water softeners or chemicals to run the system, nor are there pressure regulations to adhere to.

Each of the twelve kilns at the Gainsborough site is capable of rapidly curing approximately 2,800 100mm blocks which, during an average shift using up to ten kilns simultaneously, allows the site to produce an average of 30,000 blocks per day.

Interfuse produces up to forty different masonry products, including its Interlyte, Optilyte and Intercrete blocks and foundation units. Applications typically including retail, industrial, healthcare and educational buildings as well as newbuild and refurbished residential projects.

Commenting on the choice between steam or thermal systems, Fulton’s sales and marketing manager Carl Knight explains that the decision is determined by the requirements of the process and its temperature range.

“If the process requires a temperature above 0°C and below 180°C, steam is usually the first choice.” he says: “However, if the required process temperature is below 0°C or above 180°C, thermal fluid is often the better solution.”

For further information on its thermal fluid systems, including the FT-C vertical coil, FT-N vertical electric and FT-HC horizontal coil heaters, call Fulton on 0117 972 3322, email or visit Fulton’s new-look website at