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Burnham / US Boiler manufacturing delay(s)? Anyone know what is really going on?

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  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,704
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    Now come on, we're so happy to have him here, don't go and scare him away!!
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
    Robert O'Brien
  • Rusty2
    Rusty2 Member Posts: 69
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    OK sorry. 'Didn't mean to scare anybody. 'Just wondering if there's a shortage of reverse flutinary valves.
    EdTheHeaterMan
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,478
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    A lot of this is because of the just in time mindset that has been foisted on us over the last few decades. This "brain child" came about when some MBA's got their panties in a twist over inventory lying around soaking up money they could embezzle. They tried setting up near universal controls so nothing would sit around for more than a few weeks or days Inventory control is important but if carried to far it results in the tail wagging the dog. On top of this they pushed a lot of manufacturing offshore where you no longer had any control over it so delivery promises became very fluid at the worst possible times,
    All to often it results in near finished goods sitting around waiting for a part before they can be shipped and billed. When the parts do come in you have to interrupt the manufacturing line to get the old products out the door and things can snowball from there, JIT is a tool and like all tools it has to be used carefully.
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
    SlamDunkreggiMikeAmann
  • CLamb
    CLamb Member Posts: 281
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    I wondering if the problem is the same as auto manufacturers have. A shortage of integrated circuit chips. For the boiler this would be used in the controls.
    PC7060
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,700
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    Burnham wants to sell boilers

    Burnham said they're having supply chain issues and are doing the best they can. 

    Can't it just be left at that?  Do we actually need to know what part or why?

    They want to ship product.  There's literally no reason they wouldn't want to.


    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    ethicalpaulhot_rodKC_JonesGGross
  • Rusty2
    Rusty2 Member Posts: 69
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    CLamb - There are no circuit chips in a Burnham MST513 oil fired steam boiler. Electronics are in the burner (Beckett, Carlin, Riello), vaporstat, pressuretrol and VXT water feeder. All of these are available, in supply and can be had tomorrow.
    CLamb
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,704
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    It has a cyclegard on it with chips but like Chris said, why ask why, it is what it is, etc. We should be lucky that anyone is making steam boilers at all probably let alone about 5 companies
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • Rusty2
    Rusty2 Member Posts: 69
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    Hi EthicalPaul - For some reason I don't feel lucky. We're in a 1741 house that used to have steam heat. We're using a bunch of electric plug in oil filled heaters that look like little radiators on wheels and a wood stove at the other end of the house to try and make it through the Maine winter. Average temperature in some rooms is usually about 50-55F degrees. It could be worse. The LWCO's aka Cycleguards that ship with the MST's are in stock at several places if anybody wants one. The "chips" in them aren't a problem.

    By the way, I really admired the install you did with your Peerless. It's a DIY inspiration. The "sight glasses" on the take-offs are beautiful. I'm piped as much as possible and waiting maybe not so patiently anymore. (6 months and counting) for my Burnham MST.

    I'm sure ChrisJ is doing the best he can under the circumstances and that this is no fault of his. I apologize if he felt I faulted him in any way.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,700
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    Rusty2 said:
    Hi EthicalPaul - For some reason I don't feel lucky. We're in a 1741 house that used to have steam heat. We're using a bunch of electric plug in oil filled heaters that look like little radiators on wheels and a wood stove at the other end of the house to try and make it through the Maine winter. Average temperature in some rooms is usually about 50-55F degrees. It could be worse. The LWCO's aka Cycleguards that ship with the MST's are in stock at several places if anybody wants one. The "chips" in them aren't a problem. By the way, I really admired the install you did with your Peerless. It's a DIY inspiration. The "sight glasses" on the take-offs are beautiful. I'm piped as much as possible and waiting maybe not so patiently anymore. (6 months and counting) for my Burnham MST. I'm sure ChrisJ is doing the best he can under the circumstances and that this is no fault of his. I apologize if he felt I faulted him in any way.
    I don't sell or install boilers though I did install my own...

    But yes I am doing the best I can in general 😊
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    GGross
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,704
    edited January 2023
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    That's rough, Rusty, I'm sorry you're having to deal with this and I didn't mean to be flippant. It's a very weird time in supply, even now.

    The door company I used to do computer work for called me to ask me to change the scheduling software I wrote for them to let it extend the calendar out like 6 months out. When I left there 10 years ago they never were over 6 weeks lead time. This doesn't help you get heat but you're not alone.

    Some months ago here on the forum a contractor talked about sending an employee in a pickup from like Virginia way up here to NJ to get a specific boiler that was in stock up here. I hope your installer is widening out their view to other areas and maybe to other models. Or if you are installing yourself, have you tried other suppliers in other states? New Jersey has a lot of steam and good suppliers like Henry's Plumbing Supply in Hawthorne.

    I'm glad you liked my install, it was all thanks to this forum
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • reggi
    reggi Member Posts: 512
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    BobC said:
    A lot of this is because of the just in time mindset that has been foisted on us over the last few decades. This "brain child" came about when some MBA's got their panties in a twist over inventory lying around soaking up money they could embezzle. They tried setting up near universal controls so nothing would sit around for more than a few weeks or days Inventory control is important but if carried to far it results in the tail wagging the dog. On top of this they pushed a lot of manufacturing offshore where you no longer had any control over it so delivery promises became very fluid at the worst possible times, All to often it results in near finished goods sitting around waiting for a part before they can be shipped and billed. When the parts do come in you have to interrupt the manufacturing line to get the old products out the door and things can snowball from there, JIT is a tool and like all tools it has to be used carefully.
    @BobC I read about Toyota and their Just in Time production years ago best as I recall they had pretty good reasons. . not a lot of space for parts along with the benefit of quality control of receiving sometimes hours worth of parts at a time,. assembling and moving it down the line...by doing it that way if there were problems with the generators / alternators from a factory they could find out within a relatively small amount of vehicles pull them off and replace the item with a good one.. Now they didn't put all their apples in the same basket... when those alternators failed they had factory b deliver alternators.. now factory b did get a percentage of the business but they weren't the main supplier..
    Now Toyota didn't take this lightly and they sent engineers to supplier a to find why these alternators failed to begin with. They wanted it fixed and wanted to know why it failed.. Once that was accomplished Toyota would decide how to penalize the supplier depending on the reason for the failure.. the penalty would be a decrease in parts ordered for a certain amount of time.. because they delivered defective parts..
    But they were still a very highly valued partner..
    But this was a while ago and a bit foggy with specifics..one of true signs of this back in the day was ...
    Recalls were virtually unheard of back then..they caught any problems before it got out of hand and didn't send defective vehicles out. 
    That was then..a long time ago 
    So I'm not disagreeing with you 
    One way to get familiar something you know nothing about is to ask a really smart person a really stupid question
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,478
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    @reggi The Japanese were taught how important quality control was By Demming and took it to heart, everything had to be right no shortcuts. Today if you buy a car that was manufactured in Japan it will usually last a lot longer than the same model made anywhere else because of that "it has to be right" attitude. That attitude extended to parts procurement and inspection as well as you alluded to above.

    I worked for a small manufacturer for most of my life, one great thing about small companies is you get to do almost everything at one point or another and that gives you insight on what can go wrong if you don't stay on top of it. We made our own chassis, fabricated our own heatsinks, wound our own transformers so by wandering through the various departments I could spot problems and short circuit a lot of problems early. A couple of times a day I'd get up from my bench or desk and walk through every department, I'd look at what they were soind and ask if they were having any problems - they call that managing by walking around and it works. When you start to outsource things you lose control and the further away the producer is the worse it gets, what good is a great price when you get an order in and it's been mirror imaged in production - you don't have to pay for it but you know have to wait for it. That means your final test and shipping are on hold till the right parts hit your dock. if i supplier is down the street you can go down there and see whats going on but God help you if they are in China. Experience is a harsh teacher but her lessons really stick!

    Outsourcing will drive down costs but it does do at a price and we are now paying that price.

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
    Long Beach Edbburdgmcinnesreggi
  • ratio
    ratio Member Posts: 3,627
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    Efficiency in one area ALWAYS costs more in another area, usually somewhere further down the timeline. (This is one of my main beefs with the electrification fad, BTW—but some of that additional cost seems pretty obvious. At least to me.)
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,704
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    > Outsourcing will drive down costs but it does do at a price and we are now paying that price.

    I'm a bit of a contrarian but even normal people would never go back to the quality and price of goods from 30, 40, 70 years ago just because of this little hiccup.

    "outsourcing" just means finding the companies and/or countries that can provide something better than you can make it yourself (I'm not saying you don't know this). The pros have outweighed the cons many times over.
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • Long Beach Ed
    Long Beach Ed Member Posts: 1,209
    edited January 2023
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    >
    I'm a bit of a contrarian but even normal people would never go back to the quality and price of goods from 30, 40, 70 years ago just because of this little hiccup.

    I'd go back to the quality of good seventy years ago in a New York minute. I remove them every day and usually their quality is far superior to the new replacements I'm paid to install. I doubt my kids will be replacing 100-year old boilers or 60-year old controls.

    reggiCLambSuperTechMikeAmann
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,157
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    I think think the outsourcing ship has sailed. 

    The US is no longer a manufacturing economy, may never be one again. Labor rates, regulations, lack of labor force, liability, etc

    So being able to manufacturing even the simplest of product, even steel and cast products involves shopping the globe for some/ many components, in some cases the raw materials 
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    Long Beach EdMikeAmann
  • Rusty2
    Rusty2 Member Posts: 69
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    'Sent registered letters to chiefs at both Burnham Holdings and US Boiler. Received an email this morning from their Director of East Region Sales HSSC acknowledging my letter with an apology for the delay and a thank you for choosing the MST boiler. He said it was being shipped out from Lancaster, PA today and would then be delivered by my supplier. Good news!
    EdTheHeaterManIronmanSuperTechCLamb
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 7,844
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    Rusty2 said:

    'Sent registered letters to chiefs at both Burnham Holdings and US Boiler. Received an email this morning from their Director of East Region Sales HSSC acknowledging my letter with an apology for the delay and a thank you for choosing the MST boiler. He said it was being shipped out from Lancaster, PA today and would then be delivered by my supplier. Good news!

    Finally got those little red caps for the tankless coil tappings from south west Mongolia Provence. The railroad connection from the plastic factory to the molding extruder has be rebuilt. YEA!
    Edward F Young. Retired HVAC ContractorSpecialized in Residential Oil Burner and Hydronics
    Long Beach Edgmcinnes
  • Dan_NJ
    Dan_NJ Member Posts: 247
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    Rusty2 said:

    'Sent registered letters to chiefs at both Burnham Holdings and US Boiler. Received an email this morning from their Director of East Region Sales HSSC acknowledging my letter with an apology for the delay and a thank you for choosing the MST boiler. He said it was being shipped out from Lancaster, PA today and would then be delivered by my supplier. Good news!

    Aside from providing the product (albeit late and only after the prodding of a registered letter), was there anything additional on offer for your time, effort and patience apart from a hearty "Thanks for playing" ?
    gmcinnes
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,704
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    Next week we're going to get a post from some poor person saying "My MST delivery was cancelled, who can tell me what is actually going on at Burnham???" :joy:
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
    EdTheHeaterManGGross
  • yellowdog
    yellowdog Member Posts: 157
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    @Rusty2 im still baffled as to why you are still complaining about a boiler that has been in stock at fw webb almost the whole time that you have had this post up. makes no sense.
  • New England SteamWorks
    New England SteamWorks Member Posts: 1,505
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    Not sure about the MST513 at the current moment, but about 4 or 6 weeks ago we got the last MST288/396. Webb found it in NY for us. There are no more. This same thing happened last winter with MegaSteams. Over the summer they came back in. Now they are out again. We've spoken with the Burnham rep about it. Burnham won't explain to anyone why this is going on. There are no parts for the MegaSteam made in China that aren't on other boilers, all of which are still available. My guess is they lack capacity, and they have other boilers they'd rather produce. But that's only my guess.

    @Rusty2 : Burnham is going to fill all their dealer orders before filling yours. As long as there is a shortage, you will continue to wait.
    New England SteamWorks
    Service, Installation, & Restoration of Steam Heating Systems
    newenglandsteamworks.com
  • nde
    nde Member Posts: 86
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    Crazy. US Boiler has said shortages were casting related in late2021/early2022 but who know what the real problem is. Could be cash flows to suppliers etc.

    Profitability was negatively impacted by significant difficulties in hiring and retaining qualified employees, and multiple supply chain issues resulting in numerous shortages of critical materials, which negatively impacted production capacity and efficiencies, particularly at Casting Solutions, our gray iron foundry which supplies critical parts to our cast iron boiler businesses
    hot_rod
  • Long Beach Ed
    Long Beach Ed Member Posts: 1,209
    edited January 2023
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    You're forgetting the massive bad press they received with the castings rotting out. Lots of suppliers here won't even carry them any longer. People don't want to pay for a ten year boiler. It's all over the Internet too on plenty of homeowner heating sites.
    SuperTech
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,846
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    Rusty2 said:

    This is a (fancy) cast iron pot that boils water. It's forged in Pennsylvania I believe.

    Forged boilers? Wow. Where can I get me one o' them? :D

    You know how they call them "cast iron boilers"? That's because they're made out of iron and they're cast.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
    ChrisJ
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,581
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    Maybe steam is making a comeback and Burnham cant keep up with demand.
    CLambEdTheHeaterMan
  • Waher
    Waher Member Posts: 251
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    SlamDunk said:

    Maybe steam is making a comeback and Burnham cant keep up with demand.

    I think it's more likely the recent cold snap in parts of the country have led to 20-40 year old boilers held together with J.B. Weld failing and homeowners needing replacements. Exponentially rising energy prices may have also led to many oil to natural gas conversions where replacing the boiler was necessary for a variety of technical reasons.
  • Rusty2
    Rusty2 Member Posts: 69
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    Hi Yellowdog -

    @Rusty2 im still baffled as to why you are still complaining about a boiler that has been in stock at fw webb almost the whole time that you have had this post up. makes no sense.

    I went to my local Webb and told the man at the counter I heard they had some MST 513's in stock. He looked on his computer and said that those were high demand items and even though shown as being in stock were already committed. I decided that arguing with him about what you had posted on the forum was probably not going to get me a boiler. So I didn't.
    reggi
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 7,844
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    I wonder if @Rusty2 ever got his boiler installed. I would sure like to see the pictures.

    Also, were the RED caps on the tankless coil?
    Edward F Young. Retired HVAC ContractorSpecialized in Residential Oil Burner and Hydronics
  • Rusty2
    Rusty2 Member Posts: 69
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    Hi Ed - It arrived. Somehow I managed to get it down the dirt driveway and into the basement (by myself) with block & tackle, a ramp and a come-along. There were red caps and blue caps. The box with the gauge glass assembly said "Made in China" so maybe that was the hold up. I don't know. Some of these pictures are older of the drop header. Many thanks to Ryan of New England Steamworks last summer for his advise and guidance.




    WMno57SuperTechJUGHNE
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,704
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    That's a very convenient basement entrance, for sure
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • archibald tuttle
    archibald tuttle Member Posts: 1,085
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    @ethicalpaul wish they were all like that. last job i used a ramp and then chain fall over bulkhead to drop a similar weight about 7 feet.
    ethicalpaul
  • Rusty2
    Rusty2 Member Posts: 69
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    Yes ethicalpaul, it's a very convenient entrance. It's on a hill. The original house built in 1741 was a rooming house for mill workers. They walked right out the back and down the river where the mills were. I was lucky to build the shop at ground level with only 3 steps up into the basement. Tested that red chain hoist in the picture with 60 lbs and it worked OK, but jammed when I tried to raise the boiler. Took it apart. Going to plan B when time permits.
    ethicalpaul