Heatec now has electronic training aids to significantly increase hands-on training for students attending customer schools at its facility. These include joint Astec/Heatec training seminars held each year and also independent Heatec schools planned for the future.

Devices Simulate The Real Thing

The newest device is a burner management simulator. The simulator enables Heatec instructors to teach heater operation in a way that would be impractical to do with a real heater. Each classroom is set up with multiple copies of the simulator. Two students share a single simulator and safely manipulate heater controls that emulate the real components.

Company personnel designed and built the new training devices to simulate Heatec products widely used at hot-mix asphalt (HMA) plants.

The simulator contains Fireye burner controls, Yokogawa temperature controllers, and switches identical to those used on virtually all Heatec heaters for HMA plants. It also contains components that safely simulate burner flames and the heat they generate.

A series of switches simulate all of the safety devices used on a heater. A burner modulation motor is mounted on the side of the simulator and operates in conjunction with the simulator to demonstrate its movements. When a student turns on the operating controls, the simulator begins a series of events virtually identical to those of a real heater. The display of the burner management controls shows various messages that normally appear as the burner cycles through its operating states. The student can watch the modulation motor respond to the various conditions.

The safety device switches allow the students to simulate any of the abnormal operating conditions protected by limit devices in a heater’s 3–P circuit. When you manually set one of the switches to LOCKOUT, the simulator will react the same way as a real heater. Messages will appear on the display to help the students identify the abnormal condition that triggered the lockout.

Level simulator training at Heatec.
Level simulator enables students to better understand how pressure transmitters work.

Understanding Liquid Levels

Another simulator that Heatec designed and built is a device that electronically simulates liquid levels in asphalt tanks. The simulator actually includes a Siemens pressure transmitter, an electrical control panel, and a controller that displays levels. It includes a manometer with squeeze bulb that enables the students to simulate various liquid levels. Each classroom is set up with multiple copies of the simulator. Two students share a single simulator and get to actually program the transmitter and verify its settings.

For the past several years, Heatec has used a large simulator to visualize flow of hot oil at an HMA plant. It vividly demonstrates how piping affects the flow of hot oil through the heating system and the heater coil. Poor flow can have a major impact on performance and the life of the heater coil. Students are asked to touch a pipe coil on the simulator heated with a torch while liquid flows inside the coil. They are surprised that the coil is not hot. It illustrates the importance of hot oil flow in the heating system to achieve suitable heat transfer.