View Full Version : school equipment efficiency?

Eli Zilke
05-25-2012, 02:29 PM
Hello I help manage a small school in southwest Michigan and we are starting to move in the ways of more efficient equipment And wanted to know if anyone had input on obvious things that could be done to increase efficiency in a heavily student abused studio? We run a natural gas furnace with an invested 150lb pot. We do a lot of casting so I don't know if freestanding is really an option is recuperation feasible option? our glory holes are brick but need rebuilding so I am hoping to switch to frax to cut down on the light up time. Theyare also natural gas with giberson burner set up. Our anealers are brick and take about 3 and a half hours come up to temp I would also like to rebuild those with frax also. Is that a safe option with students we have ventilation?any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

Wes Hunting
05-25-2012, 03:05 PM
Call up Dudley some time and give him your proplems. friber in my opion is the best way to go. if dust is your concern,as it should be, face coat all exposed frax areas with colloidal silica.
I find all your ovens to be really underpowerd. this is why they take so long to come up ti temp. I design al my ovens to reach 1500 with esae.
also mount your glory whole burners way up front and 2 layers of soft brick 20s or 26s in the back, The bricks once heated will hold a lot heat back there while your hot spot will remain right up front. good doors are also important.

Hugh Jenkins
05-25-2012, 04:13 PM
Eli, will you be at GAS? I would be willing to talk over your shop with you. Having had probably more time than anyone dealing with a school studio for your age group, and now being very efficiency oriented, I might be able to help.
Send a PM for contact info.

Steve Stadelman
05-25-2012, 04:30 PM
Take Hugh up on his offer!

Pete VanderLaan
05-25-2012, 04:59 PM
Meanwhile figure on about 1700 watts per cubic foot of annealer if you want it to get hot faster.

Invested pots and efficiency are not two words that happily go together in my opinion. Add students and you have a recipe for spending money. Go with Hugh.

Josh Bernbaum
05-25-2012, 08:14 PM
All frax GH may lite up to temp quick, but all the heat spills out each time
door is opened. To re-gain and/or maintain temp with all those
door openings needs higher input (more gas) going thru burner.
2800 soft brick lining with at least 3" frax behind that may be
a bit more cash up front but will last much longer, not expose anyone
to the airborne frax dust, and soak up heat that you wont
have to reclaim as quickly and therefore allow for lower flame settings when fully heated up, leading to..wait for it..greater efficiency. Also dont skimp on retaining ring.

Josh Bernbaum
05-25-2012, 08:18 PM
PS, fiber board insulation in annealer is the way to go for sure.

Jordan Kube
05-25-2012, 10:48 PM
1700 watts per cubic foot for an annealer is way overkill. How thick are the walls and what is their makeup? How thick is the brick and how thick is the backup insulation? I also like fiberboard annealers.

Pete VanderLaan
05-26-2012, 05:23 AM
I said 1700 so it would come up to temp instantly. It doesn't need that load applied constantly but three hours to temp is silly. If the annealers remain brick, they need the power.

Eben Horton
05-26-2012, 12:09 PM
Get the students to use a 3rd pipe bucket for clear and recycle it. That is instant savings right there.

Hugh Jenkins
05-26-2012, 04:41 PM
My annealer calculates out at about 1/2 of your suggested 1700 watts per cubic foot. It heats up in 45 minutes which is plenty fast for me. I do like an annealer to have soaked at full temp for a little while before I start loading.

Pete VanderLaan
05-26-2012, 05:11 PM
My annealer calculates out at about 1/2 of your suggested 1700 watts per cubic foot. It heats up in 45 minutes which is plenty fast for me. I do like an annealer to have soaked at full temp for a little while before I start loading.u
Is it brick? I only suggest that if it is going to remain brick. It has just always seemed to me that time is the enemy in these public type shops. Another aspect of that is that students tend to want to admire what they are making too much. Opened doors on annealers are a problem and I like to see fast recovery.. I just like to overpower things when I'm in doubt. three hours is too long simply put. I am sure you can watt load a lehr for half of it if you have the luxury of time.

Eli Zilke
05-26-2012, 09:20 PM
Thanks for all the reply's, im Looking forward to the opertunity to talk to Hugh at the gas conference and anyone else who will be there. I feel like I may need to be a little more clear on the wants of the studio. Our anealers take three hours to come up to temp and our glory holes take almost that long also during that time we are paying a tech to be there( me) as much as I love getting paid I sure would like to see that money going to different areas in the studio. Does anyone have objections to a cast floor to a frax glory? So that there is still som heat retention when the door is open but the heat up time is cut? I would love to build all of the anealers in board but the school is not for profit and it may be tough to fit that in the budget. What about recuperation ? Does anybody do it in a school setting? And how in the maintenance ? Again thank you everyone

Hugh Jenkins
05-27-2012, 12:52 AM
Eli, we can cover all that and more.

Everyone keep the suggestions coming. If you have actually operated a school studio, your suggestions will be even more valid, but we all have learned things that help cut costs.

John Riepma
05-27-2012, 06:13 AM
Eli, I sent you a PM with some questions for you to think about and we can talk at GAS. The point that I think you need to consider is knowing where your costs are going, i.e. not being pennywise and pound foolish. For instance, a glory hole that takes 3 hours to heat up is using energy all during that time that is not usable to the owner for the process. All during that time, the flue is open and all those BTU's are going up the stack. At the end of the day the mass of the device takes the same amount of energy to reach the desired temperature and the inefficiency of the device during the time that it's on is wasted money. Also at some point your time has to be worth something as you have mentioned. I'd suggest that the first step is getting the best handle you can on where your existing costs are going and then you can make informed decisions about what you want to change. I do have some numbers and history from our studio that I can share with you at GAS that may help you with your decisions.

Pete VanderLaan
05-27-2012, 08:41 AM
John, what you just said is my basis for using overkill. I want to see it all get hot fast. In schools or public shops, time lost is money lost. It's even worse when you have to (gasp) pay the tech.

If you in fact use high wattage on an annealer, not only is it responsive, you can also slump in it. I do. I would not want a fiber gloryhole personally for reasons already stated about heat loss but I can see a cast floor in it in the lower 1/3rd with fiber pleats above with a bigger burner so it gets there faster and you can pour heat at it when the big door is open. Everything just sounds underpowered and it's hard to make glass that way.

Steve Stadelman
05-27-2012, 09:02 AM
The only counterpoint that I have to Pete's supercharged annealer idea is that at high wattages per cubic foot it gets easy to use up existing electrical services.

If you have enough electrical service available then by all means build ferraris'.

Pete VanderLaan
05-27-2012, 09:40 AM
I think what steve said is true, but you need to have the basic tools of the trade to play. just sayin. 100AMP services just suck.

Hugh Jenkins
05-27-2012, 04:38 PM
Time is very much a factor when school starts at 8 am and students can't use the equipment until two or three hours later. Power supersedes efficiency at that point. Having an extra element for heat up, that can be switched off, can help solve that. Burners that have a wide turn down range can push hard when needed and then be cut way back.

6:30 start ups were a norm for me when I was teaching. Now they actually have a school maintenance staff person lighting up. Why didn't I think of that? Labs or demos started at 7:30.

Designing equipment for school situations can be very different than just having more of what you would use in a personal studio. A lot depends on how the shop is to be used in the school program and schedule and what the longer term goals are. One of the easiest mistakes is to build everything way too big.

It is good have any and all topics and suggestions to consider. We will keep some notes and this conversation may help others as well.

Lawrence Duckworth
05-27-2012, 06:00 PM
How about plugging the glory hole hole up when done for the day to try and retain some of that heat for the next dayz startup, or maybe try a small pilot light size flame in the gh overnight to see if that would keep a temperature good enough to be $ worthwhile on startup. Seems to me that all the energy used to fire things up in the morning.....at least some of it could be saved with a well insulated casting or brick gh.....10 days after I shut my furnace off it was still 150 degrees in there.

Patrick Casanova
05-27-2012, 08:40 PM
When I first built my Glory Hole I made it completely from frax and when the doors were fully open it lost heat too quickly, so I removed the frax from the floor and cast it with Mazo. I have been happy with it ever sense. I just paint it with kiln wash and keep it clean.

Sky Campbell
05-27-2012, 10:18 PM
I lay a piece of plastic in the bottom of the glory then mix mizzou to pour on top. This can be easily broken up and removed then replaced. I now slant the floor to the front and have a slot where drips and melted mistakes can drain out naturally. Before that after a year of use it would be a pool of glass that had to go for the ride on every heat up. No glass to heat makes for a much quicker heat up. A good retaintion ring and good doors go a long way. I have both pleated fiber top brick bottom and complete brick glory holes. The all brick glory is much friendlier to work out of IMO.

Tom Fuhrman
05-28-2012, 08:34 AM
for a beginning or moderate intermediate teaching facility, I question how much or often the students will be making things that require the doors to be open for any length of time. IMO Students should also get used to working with another who controls the opening and closing of the doors so the GH retains most of it's heat. If this were a facility where there were a large number of advanced students and grad students it would be a different situation as they are paying major $ for the education and use of the facility. Here again, the equipment and the construction of it must meet the individual needs of that particular facility and keep in mind the economics of running and creating it. Each place is unique and what works well at one may not work as well at another. It's similiar to having different kitchen and equipment layouts for different restaurants and food serving facilities. Subways are totally different from fine restaurants but they still feed the hungry and in the end make $.

Glenn Randle
05-30-2012, 07:09 AM
I recall Ed Skeels said he used a torch or gas burner to help preheat his annealers quickly. That might be a cheap fix to think about.

Shawn Watt
05-31-2012, 09:50 PM
Hey Eli ,
A suggestion I have for the studio would be get rid of the 2 big top loader annealers and build 4 front loaders half the size. Its much easier to manage annealer space as well as you can use all the vertical space with use of furniture. Everybody there tends to make work 10" or shorter. And if you know that you might be going bigger, just pull some racks out. I think your biggest hog is defiantly the furnace door and crown though. I always wanted to make a steel shell for jerrys furnaces. It would make it easier to pack frax not to mention make it look cleaner in the shop.

Eli Zilke
06-01-2012, 06:44 AM
Shawn you and I think the same about the furnace you can bet there will be a heavier door and a shell. The front loaders though don't you loose a ton of heat when opening and putting away? I think students might take too long and we would end up cracking a ton of pieces? Hope you are loving the new house!

Josh Bernbaum
06-01-2012, 07:46 AM
The front loaders though don't you loose a ton of heat when opening and putting away? I think students might take too long and we would end up cracking a ton of pieces?

Seems to me that if hot air rises, more heat loss happens upon opening the doors to a top-loader. More comfortable to load a front-loader too, and can be a better use of space (especially if you put shelves in there).
What do others think?

Shawn Watt
06-01-2012, 08:51 AM
Yes I think Josh is right. You lose more heat when you open a top loader opposed to a front loader. But students do mostly use that little hatch on top of those annealers to crack off so......
My main thought was that you wouldn't have soooo much dead space in a smaller sized front loader being able to use shelves. It would take some student training and some time to get use to(using gloves and tongs to move the glass) It would save lots of energy in the long run. Annealing the same amount of glass in half the cubic footage is a great thing. When is the rebuild happeneing? This summer?

Pete VanderLaan
06-01-2012, 09:09 AM
I currently have a top loader and am planning to convert it to a front loader. I too think Josh is right.

David Palmer
06-19-2012, 05:37 AM
I would love to see one of my unit in a school, I get the most fun from taking students. Plans for my"avatar" on Pozible link.

John Van Koningsveld
06-19-2012, 05:44 PM

Virgil Jones
06-20-2012, 06:19 AM

nicely put!

John Riepma
06-20-2012, 06:33 AM
But wait!!! There's MORE!!!

Pete VanderLaan
06-20-2012, 06:41 AM
Apparently I'm not alone in my feelings about this. It's a HOBBY.... one I think that needs to move to the classified ads if it keeps up. (Excellent use of the Caps Lock key there John).

Mark Rosenbaum
06-20-2012, 09:54 AM
Can't we get a like button for some of these posts? ;)
I agree, that unit would never survive any school situation that I have ever seen. I also wonder about the capacity of the pot and the gathering angle...it might be OK for beads/ornaments/tumblers as a hobby, but not much more IMHO

Pete VanderLaan
06-20-2012, 12:04 PM
well, Mark, I prefer your un-erring firm grasp of the English language instead. Don't try to turn this puppy in to facebook.