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Steam Boiler for a Pickle Company

Hi, I'm the co-owner of McClure's Pickles. We make...pickles in Detroit, MI. We're undergoing some construction on a new facility and are in need of some gas steam boiler advice.

We are trying to figure out what size boiler we need for our factory and here's what we've got to heat...

We have a 300 gallon kettle that has the following information:

- B. H. Hubbert Jacketed Kettle

- 300 gallon capacity

- Top center bridge spans diameter with 1/2 top a hinged cover.

- Inside dimensions are 51" D x 42" deep.

- Outside measurements are 60" wide x 68" over all height.

- Jacket Pressure: 42 psi @ 268*F

We add vinegar, water and salt into the kettle and need to get the contents between 195F-212F. What sized gas steam boiler would we require to heat the contents to this temperature and to run it for a period of 6-8 hours at this temperature?

Additionally...we are eventually going to be getting a steam tunnel to process the jars (currently we boil the jars after we pack/seal them). The steam will also need to be at 212F and cook the jars for at least 5 minutes. The tunnel will be approximately 4' W x 20' L and need to maintain that temperature for at least 2-3 hours throughout the day.

Would this require a lo-pressure or high-pressure boiler and what BTU rating boiler would we need for both applications?

Thanks -- any advice or even a lead to an engineer would be appreciated.

-Bob McClure


  • In a pickle about boiler choices!

    Most of our heating boilers are only rated for 15 psi steam. Is the jacket pressure of 52 psi important? I suppose the mfg wants a higher temperature with the higher pressure, so as to more completely sterilize the contents.

    What sort of boiler were you using before?

    Where are your pickles sold nationally, so I may keep my eye(or tongue) out for them?--nbc
  • Sizing

    I think you have two loads to look at here.  1) How quickly does the kettle and its contents need to be warmed up and from what temperature and 2) assuming this is a process kettle, what weight of contents, at what starting temperature and ending temperature and what is the specific heat of those contents and for how long will they be placed in the kettle.  Also, what is the heat loss of the kettle when in operation.  It would be a good idea to get a boiler manufacturer's representative to run some numbers, or even better yet and engineer.  Since this sounds like it is at the heart of your processing, you really don't want mistakes that will slow or interupt your production.  I would  also consider using two boilers, one for back up, so processing at worst only slows down, but does not stop, if a boiler goes down.  Also, if you have any cooling going on (refrigeration, probably) you could potentially use the heat from this process to preheat the contents going into the kettle. 
    The Steam Whisperer (Formerly Boilerpro)

    Chicago's Steam Heating Expert

    Noisy Radiators are a Cry for Help
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