Steam or Thermal oil?

It is very important to know the difference between thermal oil and steam when you select the heating system. This means that
there are many advantages and disadvantages which should be absolutely known.

For an example please see also this detailed report with technical informations “Laundry Installation Technology”

We want to reach a minimum of energy use with an optimum of control and operational safety.

For decades high pressure steam is known everywhere for the heating of the machines. An example of basic significance is the selection of the appropriate heating medium. Until now, for large laundries, the high - pressure steam plant was unchallenged and adequately popular everywhere. A satisfactory heat transmission and application on all laundry machineries were the positive features of this traditional old technique.

But the following disadvantages must be taken into account and are unavoidable when using high pressure steam:


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Easy for use:
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The machine manufacturer has to pay attention to the different points, which are once known easy to do. By the decision of the right system he should not forget that the customer should profit and not the people who wants to install only the steam heating plant.

There are many Regiomat  thermal oil heating plants which are installed until today in textile, food, chemistry and packaging branches because these people has known the advantages of thermal oil and they have only made a positive experience.


The following things are not  necessary when using Thermal oil


Thermal oil has important advantages


High pressure steam compared to Thermal oil

Thermaloel Dampf mittel.jpg (30950 Byte)

Behaviour of pressure:

  • Blue: with saturated steam
  • Red: with Thermal oil pressurless

To get a steam temperature of 250°C you need
an over pressure of 39 bar, but to get the same temperature
with thermal oil you have a pressureless system.

It is not possible to notice all technical advantages and disadvantages in this report. But a very important point is that something about the heat transfer/transmission. When using steam the best heat transfer happens when steam condense but when using thermal oil the best heat transfer happens by a fast flow rate. The manufacturer which constucts the machines has to consider these different heat transfers.

An Example for a thermal oil heating system for a laundry

When once installed a thermal oil system in a laundry the advantages will be shown. All machines could be revised from steam to thermal oil so it is possible to use also the occasion machines. To use the old steam system for thermal oil is possible but it does only make sence when a revise of the whole plant has to be done.

The hotel "Grandhotel Tschuggen" in Arosa ( Switzerland ) worked for 18 years with steam and then in 1990 the whole system was prepared to work with thermal oil. The seasonal interruptions of the old system have made that the pipelines and its components were full of corrosions.

Grand Hotel Tschuggen, Arosa:
Reconstruction of a laundry from steam to thermaloil

tschuggen_thumb.jpg (13541 Byte)

This is a popular example to show how easy it is to change the system. But more important is that the owner of this system has a lot of advantages which he had not before. One most advantage is the easy use of a thermal oil heating plant and the energy savings. In the end of the season he can switch off the thermal oil heating plant and at the new beginning of a season he can switch on the heating plant. There is no danger of high pressure steam and the condensate, no energy losses, no expensive water treatment, no chemical consumption, no daily maintenance works, no inspection obligations and no corrosions. the lifetime of the thermal oil heating plant will be much more longer.

Regiomat has installed a lot of thermal oil heating plants in different hotels and hospital all over the world. Regiomat could learn of this experience which are also usefull for the machine suppliers. Today there are special pumps, valves etc. on the market which are specially built for thermal oil with a high quality.

This development was intersting for the Swiss Army which has installed until today three big laundries. A comparison between the plant in Monte Ceneri with high pressure steam and Sursee with thermal oil is significant. In the year 2000 it was built a thermal oil heating plant in Payerne. See also the reference report for the military laundry in Payerne-Switzerland.


Further Information


We recommend a thermal oil heating for all different uses in industries . The operational safety (also for unskilled personal) and a longer life time are the advantages of a modern, "no-pressure ", thermal oil heating! Due to the manifold use in the most different industrial branches it can be ascertained today that a well-planned and properly installed thermal oil plant offers specific advantages for the user. The heat consumers are directly connected to the thermal oil heating system which is suitable for freely adjustable temperatures of up to 350°C. Important units are equipped with secondary circuits, consisting of injection valve and secondary pump etc., so that the operating temperature can be optimally regulated. A centralised thermal oil heating system with closed circuit operates fully automatic, safely without supervision and can be used for general purposes. In close cooperation with machine manufacturers, Regiomat is involved in the planning and construction of entire installations, including delivery, assembly and commissioning as well as care-taking of such thermal oil heating systems.


Essential advantages of thermal oil compared to with steam:


Explanation of a Regiomat thermal oil heating system

Regiomat guarantees a controllable flow through the heater. The thermal oil has the possibility to expand over a non-turn-off pipeline between the heater and the expansion vessel. The nitrogen in the expansion vessel guarantees the necessary pressure balance and protects the thermal oil from the oxygen in the air. This is the reason why the thermal oil doesn't oxidize even when we have high temperatures. So you have a system which works for more than 15 years without any problems.

The necessary safety installations are:

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1.   Heater
2.   Burner
3.   Circulation pump
4.   Expansion vessel
5.   Nitrogen system
6.   Gas collection bottle
7.   Autom. centralized air
8.   Cock with cap
9.   Shut-off valves
10. Strainer
11. Vibration absorber
12. Manometer
13. Nitrogen
14. Safety valve
15. Vacuum breaker
16. Manometer
17. Pressostat
18. Thermostat flue gas
19. Flow control
20. Thermostat main pipe
21. Temperature controller
22. Thermostat
23. Temperature gauge
24. Level switch
25. Rupture disk
26. Level control
27. Filling pump
28. Safety valve

Download this diagram here


Mail: Regiomat AG -
Gewerbestrasse 6, CH-4105 Biel-Benken / Switzerland
Tel:   ++41-61-721'12'60
Fax:  ++41-61-722'12'66

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