Dedicated to improving manufacturing efficiency

Thermal fluid system facilitates heating and cooling of press

AIM Composites has installed a Babcock Wanson Thermal Fluid System into its facility in Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire to heat and control the cooling of its new press producing lightweight panels and mouldings for the transport sector.

AIM uses the latest advanced composite materials for optimum weight saving and structural performance.  Its products are used across the transport market, with the main focus in the aviation sector.  In order to produce larger components with repeatable high quality for this market, AIM Composites made the decision to install a new, larger press.  

The existing presses at the site were steam fed and water cooled but the company found the system to lack the precise controllability and flexibility it required.  Based on extensive experience in this field, specialist process heating company Babcock Wanson advised the use of a Thermal Fluid Heating system instead.  

A Babcock Wanson TPC1500B Thermal Fluid Heater was chosen to provide the heating, coupled to a purpose designed control loop to cool the system against a pre determined profile.  A single fluid is used throughout the system for ease of operation and maximum efficiency.

Control of the complete heat / cool cycle is achieved using a bespoke Temperature Control Unit and dedicated software, also designed and installed by Babcock Wanson.  The unique menu driven software allows for up 50 heating/cooling profiles to be uploaded and stored in its memory, with each profile offering up to six temperature ramp and dwell stages.  A simple menu driven selection then allows the process to run completely automatically.  Not only does this provide AIM Composites with exceptional flexibility but the minimal need for operator involvement allows for greater speed and repeatability of the process.  All data is stored in the controller for download and review as required thereby also providing an accurate and simple record of the heat treatment process – a useful tool to help AIM Composites meet its customer requirements.

David Drewry, Technical Director for AIM Composites, is very pleased with the results: “Converting to thermal fluid heating and cooling has resulted in a reduction in process cycle time by up to 30%.  This significant improvement in efficiency is obviously a key benefit to us.  Other benefits include reduced maintenance costs, reduced energy costs (replacing three steam boilers by one thermal heater) and an increase in available floor area (removal of the boiler house and old cooling system).

“We have not worked with Babcock and Wanson before but I have found the service provided to be of a very high standard.”

The TPC1500B Thermal Fluid System not only heats and cools the current presses at AIM, but also has the capacity to support a second press, should future production rates demand.

The TPC Series of Thermal Fluid Heaters are fully automatic coil type, multi-pass thermal fluid heaters complete with integrated burner, control system and safety devices.  They provide optimal distribution of the heat exchange, high fluid velocity and specialist flow control for long fluid life and the highest safety; all this coupled to very low emissions and low running costs.

Babcock Wanson offers a complete range of products and services for boiler houses and other process heating needs, from steam boilers, thermal fluid heaters, rapid steam generators and hot water boilers to VOC and odour treatment by thermal oxidation, water treatment or process air heating solutions.  The company aims to help optimise customer’s energy production with high quality products and efficient service.

For more information, please contact Babcock Wanson on 020 89537111 or go to

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