SAACKE Programme of Regional Conferences


The Use of Biomass - General Paper


Byworth Boilers win prestigious Award


CEA Yearbook 2016-2017


TV Crew & 'The Vital Spark' Steam Puffer Visit Cochran


'It's those damn bean counters again


Byworth expands its reach in Scotland to deliver a better customer experience


Maxecon Boilers - NDT Inspection Issue


Testimonial from Durham Conference


The Vital Importance of Good Water Treatment for Steam Boilers/Generators and Systems


The Five Levels of Manning


Fully manned

  • A competent boiler operator in the boilerhouse whilst the boilers are operating.

Local manning

  • A competent boiler operator on site whilst the boilers are operating.
  • Must be within earshot of alarms and able to attend within 7 minutes.

Unmanned (level 1)

  • A competent boiler operator must attend the boilers on a daily basis.
  • A trained person must be able to attend an alarm in the absence of a competent boiler operator to ensure that the boiler/boilers are shut down safely and be able to summon a competent boiler operator if required.

Unmanned (level 2)

  • Automation on the boilers must follow guidance and be such that the boilers shut themselves down safely in the event of an incident.
  • A competent boiler operator must attend the boilers on a daily basis.
  • The boilers must be monitored from a remote monitoring centre all the time the boilers are operating and who has the ability to summon a competent boiler operator in the event of failure.

Unmanned (level 3)

  • Automation on the boilers must follow guidance and be such that the boilers shut themselves down safely in the event of an incident.
  • A competent boiler operator must attend the boilers at least every 72 hours.
  • Increased monitoring must be incorporated and monitored from a remote monitoring centre all the time the boilers are operating and who has the ability to summon a competent boiler operator in the event of failure.
To download a PDF version click here.


SAACKE Programme of Regional Conferences

The CEA are happy to support its members, SAACKE Combustion Services, Enersol Flomar - M&M training and Torque Engineering who are hosting this Energy, Emissions and Efficiency Conference, along with SSE Enterprise looking at Micro CHP. 

Below is the SAACKE 2016 conference programme, please book directly with SAACKE using the flyer booking form or contacting via

This conference will also give you a flavour of the more detailed CEA two day conference workshops to be held at Crewe Hall, Cheshire 14 - 16th June and the Cambridge Belfry Hotel, Cambridge 12 - 14th July, covering in more depth your legal obligations when operating combustion plant and carrying out Technical Boilerhouse Risk Assessment.

For more information please contact or see our events page.

The CEA have organised a third day at each venue, Crewe Hall and the Cambridge Belfry with topics covered:

  • Crewe Hall - a mix of MCPD updates, Industrial Gas Accreditation (I-GAS) and boiler water treatment (BG04). 
  • Cambridge Belfry hotel - Biomass Health & Safety Awareness after recent boiler explosions. It is designed for Owners, Installers, Operators and Managers of biomass systems. 

See SAACKE Programme of Regional Conferences Here


The Use of Biomass - General Paper



A Summary Paper - COSHH Hazards arising with the storage of wood fuel

Author: A J Nicol BSc CEng MEI


It is appropriate to note that the comminution of aged timber will produce dust of all sizes including tiny particulate regardless of fuel specification. That dust will contain or have attached any of the residues of any chemical treatments etc and will because of its size remain airborne for long periods, post shredding and movement. Inhalation will present a COSHH risk (particularly with organo-chlorides) and will, very likely, with accumulation present an explosion risk. The risk of explosion will be most acute with enclosure e.g. above conveyors that are enclosed (reference the OSB investigation into the Imperial sugar explosion). Where wood is treated or where wood is wet and rotting wood is stored there is also the inherent risk of fungal growth and the attendant COSHH risk.

The use of Biomass has increased significantly over the last ten years. This increase is in large part due to a perception that biomass is green, clean and sustainable. These conceptions are in part driven by market pressure and in part underwritten with Government commercial interventions. The rapid development and deployment of biomass has alarmingly resulted in the un-informed design, review, installation and operation of allied storage and combustion technologies (with attendant fatality and injury)

Read the full paper here


The research and information and in particular the  formulation and execution of large scale trials for CO production from wood chip is very limited. There is sufficient evidence to show that large scale storage of any organic material but in particular soft wood lumber or chip will produce CO and generate and oxygen depleted high CO2 atmosphere. Where headspace ratio is small that will result in unacceptable CO levels.

Entry to a space storing large quantities of organic materials requires special and sensible consideration and precaution.

My consideration is based on this very limited data and analysis available for fresh wood chip. In the context of auto oxidative CO formation at least this will provide some safety margin because there is research available which suggests that the fatty content of wood reduces with age and accordingly the propensity to generate CO reduces.

Keeping the wood very dry will hamper biological degradations with attendant, CO, Methane and CO2 production, and for that reason ahigh fuel turnover and no dead spaces are preferable.

Ventilation must assure mixing or else stratification or binding may occur, creating pockets or layers of high CO concentration.

The detection systems must at least detect at the level where any human operator might be. Additional low and high level alarms might be used to provided a robust alarm system and warning of over pile CO build up and stratification.

Operational and maintenance activity that requires entry to a large store will merit special precaution. e.g. a risk assessed entry, COSHH test, extraction and evacuation procedures (written and tested) - and published emergency procedures to mitigate the effects of any Hazard being realised e.g. initial healthcare procedures for persons suspected of carbon monoxide poisoning or Oxygen deficiency.


Byworth Boilers win prestigious Award


Byworth Wins Prestigious Award at the House of Lords…

On the 22nd October, Byworth travelled down to London to attend the David Gunn Memorial Lecture & Lord Ezra Awards 2015 at the House of Lords.

The event was organised by the Combustion Engineering Association (CEA), a registered educational charity aimed at improving the understanding and development of the combustion industry. Originally formed in 1933, it advocates science and best practice of combustion and engineering, with a long history of promoting efficiency in the utilisation of all fuel types.

The event began with a fantastic lecture by Dr Stephen Payne OBE, the chief naval architect of the Queen Mary 2 (QM2) - Cunard's flagship ocean liner, which entered service in 2004. 

The entertaining anecdotes throughout the lecture included his childhood story of a single-minded determination to achieve a boyhood dream – to build a liner that would be reminiscent of the Queen Elizabeth 2 (QM2’s predecessor). What was perhaps more inspiring was his memories of a supportive teacher he had throughout his education and career. It was said teacher that persuaded Stephen to ‘follow his dreams’ which led him down his successful path. They both stayed in touch throughout Stephen’s career and unfortunately the teacher passed away just before the QM2 was first to set sail. A touching end to the story concluded when Stephen mentioned there was a plaque dedicated to his teacher hidden on the QM2 and he hopes one day it will be found and the inspirational story will be exposed.


Stephen Payne commands the attention of the audience with his entertaining lecture

The events of the afternoon turned to recognising the efforts of people within the industry. The pinnacle of which was the Lord Derek Ezra Award 2015 for achievement in areas of higher efficiency, safety and lower emissions in industrial combustion. 

It was then that Derry Carr, Chairman of the Association, announced Byworth Boilers had won this prestigious award for its Unity control system. Pete Waterman OBE, the Association’s President presented the award to Byworth which was accepted by the system’s creator, Jason Atkinson and Technical Director, Adrian Rhodes.





CEA Yearbook 2016-2017

The Combustion Engineering Association New Year book 2016/2017 is now available to read in the resource section of the website.


TV Crew & 'The Vital Spark' Steam Puffer Visit Cochran

Cochran Plays Host to 'The Vital Spark' as TV Company Documents Restoration of Famous Steam Puffer, the VIC 27 or ‘Auld Reekie’.

This vessel is possibly best known for her starring role as the Vital Spark in the 1994 TV series ‘The Tales of Para Handy’. Following her television debut, the puffer was left to rust and rot in Ardrishaig until 2008 when a team of puffer enthusiasts secured ownership of the vessel and rescued her from an imminent future on the scrapheap. From Ardrishaig, the engineless, leaky vessel was towed through the Crinan canal to Crinan Boatyard where her restoration would take place.


Since then, the restoration of the vessel has been filmed by television production company Caledonia TV and a 3-part series will be shown on the BBC later in the year. The camera crew visited Cochran along with John Dunlop, Managing Director of Crinan Boatyard, to film the latest progress on the boiler build.

The original Coal Fired Cochran Boiler, manufactured in 1943, was brought back to our factory for inspection but after thorough examination was condemned. However, Cochran have been tasked with the manufacture of a new, more efficient coal fired boiler replacement, using the old boiler as a template. The new boiler, rated at 1000kg/hr has a working pressure of 10 bar g. The boatyard will take delivery of the new boiler in the summer and thereafter, smoke will rise from the funnel of ‘Auld Reekie’ once again. 


Coal Fired Boiler positioned aboard the 'Vital Spark' Steam Puffer

Further to our news story in April 2015, the restoration of the famous Steam Puffer vessel named VIC 27 or 'Auld Reekie', (possibly best known as the 'Vital Spark' in the 1990's TV series) continues apace. Last week the Managing Director of the Crinan Boat Yard, John Dunlop along with a film crew from Caledonia TV, visited Cochran to document the Coal Fired Boiler's despatch for a 3-part BBC series following this restoration project.

The original Cochran boiler was manufactured over 70 years ago but was condemned after inspection and Cochran were tasked to manufacture a new more efficient replacement using the old shell as a template. 

The following day at the beautiful Crinan Boatyard, Lochgilphead, Argyll and Bute the boiler was expertly lifted in to position aboard the VIC27. The photos show this was a highly skilled task with extremely limited space in the old boiler house.  

Find out more about the restoration project here


'It's those damn bean counters again

Byworth’s resident bean counter, Rachel Westerman discusses why capital projects should be looked at over the longer term rather than just focusing on the initial outlay of money.



Rachel Westerman, Byworth Boilers’ Financial Director

“Recently we invested in new welding machinery for the factory. Rather than just looking at the capital costs, we based the investment on the running costs (including electricity, welding consumables and labour). Buying more efficient and up-to-date machinery can cost a substantial amount but the project payback was definitely worth the additional costs. It will only take us 3 years to recover the investment, and this does not take into account the reduced labour time which can now be put to better use making more fuel efficient boilers.

“Although looking at projects in this way takes longer and in some cases is more difficult to quantify, it does work out better for all stakeholders to calculate the overall investment before signing that purchase order.

“Our Yorkshireman 2 boiler is expensive when compared to other boilers (even our own Yorkshireman) but the savings from lower running costs should outweigh the additional capital expenditure in a relatively short space of time. Fuel is set to start rising again in the near future so this needs to be taken into account when considering your investment.

“It is disappointing when the sales team report back to me that although we are favoured by the engineers, once it gets passed on to the purchasing and accounts people, it often becomes more about  the initial capital cost than the lifetime cost.

“I urge other ‘bean counters’ like me to consider the longer term investment (and reduced operating costs) rather than just what is in the capital budget for the year.”



Byworth expands its reach in Scotland to deliver a better customer experience

Following the success of their regional office in Stourbridge, Byworth Boilers are pleased to announce the opening of a second regional office in Glasgow.

The building spans  3000 square feet including a workshop and customer training facilities.

Driven by strong demand for their products and services across Scotland, this new regional office will help them support their rapidly growing customer base.

Alex McLean, Aftersales Office Manager (based at the new office) states:

“We are committed to continuously improving and developing the service in order to deliver the best customer experience; the new office will enhance our service offering for this audience.

“We share a bright future here in Scotland and we look forward to getting better acquainted with our Scottish customers and forming new relationships in this significant market.”

For more information please contact: or call our experts on +44 (0) 141 774 5066


Maxecon Boilers - NDT Inspection Issue


Please note that this is to let you know of an issue that has recently come to light. We don’t know the size of the installed population of this type of boiler so cannot judge this in any statistical sense.

NB. One of our members who run Maxecon Boilers has failed its NDT SBG01 examination.

Defects were found between the end plate and the furnace tubes, and on subsequent inspection a crack at the toe of the weld was found on the fillet weld of the end plate to shell. The crack starts at the 4 O’clock position and finishes at the 8 O’clock positions. In some places it is 10mm deep (the parent metal thickness is 20mm) and is a finger nail thickness crack.

According to an Insurance inspector, this is the 3rd Maxecon Boiler in three years that has failed the NDT in exactly the same way. All of these boilers were built in the early 70’s so have been in service for a significant length of time, often used as auxiliary boilers.

It was commented that it is good that this has been found now (2015), as it was not found at the last inspection in 2010. Their other Maxecon Boiler failed in 2010 with defects in the furnace tube. 

We would just like to make other owners of Maxecon Boilers aware of this possible problem and to specifically look for this at the next NDT inspection.

It is alway difficult to be sure where the crack originates from and how long it has been there, but the usual NDT on the shell to end plate would be 6 O’clock, 12 O’clock and 2 other position to a total of 20% of the total circumference.

The Furnace mouth is 100% checked every 5 years so the defect in this location had occurred after the previous NDT and within the last five years, this could be as a result of a more cyclic loading than previous boiler operations.




 16-07-2015                                                                                                                   End



Testimonial from Durham Conference

I would like to thank the CEA for hosting such a useful conference on Boiler House Technical Risk Assessments. The 2 days provided exceptional input from industrial experts and allowed opportunity to practice the theory with delegates from similar backgrounds. The class of exhibitors was also a bonus as they provided a broad spectrum of products that can enhance boiler house safety/efficiency without a pushy sales pitch. The event has acted as a driver to raise awareness of the risks of boiler systems within our business and ensure compliance with aging assets.

Matthew Schofield

Utilities Engineer

Dr. Reddy's Laboratories Ltd


The Vital Importance of Good Water Treatment for Steam Boilers/Generators and Systems

Does any of the following sound familiar to you?

Boiler tubes failed due to corrosion?
Steam generator coil failed due to corrosion?
Boiler or Steam Generator scaled/hotspot failure?
Feedwater pump seals failed/split?
Tube thinning leading to rupture?
Hotwell leaking?
Blocked or failed steam traps?
Steam header or condensate system leaking?
Blocked pipework and plant?
Loss of system efficiency?
Not enough available steam out to process?
Dirty loads or product taint/contamination?
Product “spotting”?
Paying unexpectedly for a hire boiler?

If they do...

It’s very likely then, that you have been unfortunate enough to have experienced poor water treatment and control, leading to poor waterside conditions and subsequently (very expensive) equipment failure and loss of production.
It’s also very likely that before you’ve experienced this unfortunate equipment failure, that your running costs have risen and your system efficiencies have dropped off.
This will have increased your normal running cost considerably.
Eventually you will suffer unplanned breakdowns/shutdowns that will be costing you significant amounts of money in both downtime and lost production.

So… let’s be absolutely clear

It’s comparatively rare for a steam boiler or generator to suffer a failure due to a manufacturing defect or similar.


It is a well-known fact that in excess of 90% of all boiler failures are water treatment related and not mechanically related.
To be clear here, in order for a boiler or steam generator to undergo a water treatment related failure, the existing water treatment control program cannot have been suitable and sufficient to arrest all known failure mechanisms.
Hence water treatment and its control and interpretation is the single most important thing that you need to get right, when running any steam system.

The bottom line is...

If your water treatment application and control is not correct your boiler or steam generator will definitely fail at some point.
On the way to failure, it will have cost you a lot more to run your system.
There is also a requirement to log your test data/training records and service/inspection records.
vSteam®-The state of the art web based monitoring system for steam.

At Deep Water Blue Limited we don’t sell boilers, we don’t sell valves and we don’t sell boiler ancillaries.
We do sell high quality technical water treatment for steam systems.
Contact Mick Casey - 0870 460 2980.


Examples of failure mechanisms;

Pitting Corrosion Attack Due to Oxygen


Pipe Blockage due to Precipitation and Deposition


Scale Formation



©Deep Water Blue Limited - all rights reserved.

By Mick Casey - Deep Water Blue Limited
Chartered Chemist/Chartered Scientist
Fellow of The Royal Society of Chemistry

Deep Water Blue Limited
Business & Technology Centre
Bessemer Drive, Stevenage
Herts SG1 2DX

Tel: 0870 460 2980
Fax: 0870 460 2988



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