Located in the Winfield Industrial Park since the early 1970s, Webster Combustion Technology LLC manufactures a wide range of industrial burners that are in everyday use all over the world. Most of the company’s products are used to fire boilers for generating steam or hot water for process energy in manufacturing plants, schools, hospitals, hotels, food processing plants, breweries and distilleries, and many other industrial applications.
Within the past few years, Webster started exploring new markets outside the boiler business and found an application in asphalt paving plants. Plants use a variety of aggregate materials such as stone, gravel and sand to make the asphalt that is loaded on trucks and laid down on roadways. Before the material is mixed, the stone must be completely dry or the final pavement won’t hold together. The aggregate is dried in a rotating drum and over a high-volume heat source with sufficient airflow to dry the material as quickly as possible.
Webster’s engineering group listened to plant operators discussing their problems and came up with a prototype solution. The first HDRA-RF model aggregate burner was installed in November 2017 at an asphalt plant in West Virginia. When the plant started up in the spring of 2018, the customer, in cooperation with a third-party testing firm, tracked performance of the new burner to compare it against the performance of the previous burner. In all respects, the new Webster burner, delivering 100 million BTUs per hour of heat, proved to be a winner.
The Webster team recently delivered new burners for two asphalt plants in the eastern U.S. The burners were built to operate on either natural gas or No. 2 fuel oil, are capable of burning 125 million BTUs per hour, and have been redesigned with many new features. One went to a plant in Hazard, Ky., and the other is in a plant in Benwood, W.Va. Both units are now installed, running as designed, and helping these plants make high quality asphalt.
A typical home furnace generates about 100,000 BTUs per hour. Before the second unit was shipped, the company staged a photo of the new burner surrounded by many Webster employees.
Webster looks forward to continuing its innovation path and expects to continue to grow and contribute to the local economy, as they have for nearly 50 years.
“We’re proud of our employees for all their hard work on this new product and look forward to continuing the diversification of our capabilities and the continued growth of our company,” national sales manager Eric Graham said.