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issue: February 2008 APPLIANCE Magazine

Commercial Appliance Burners
A Powerful Conversion


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Midco International cuts component count and keeps cost down by integrating a new control into burners for commercial foodservice appliances and HVAC applications.

The EC200 (pictured) and EC300 Economite Legacy Series of gas-fired power burners are used in commercial applications such as cooking appliances and water heaters. Midco reduced production costs by using a single Fenwal gas-ignition control with a built-in relay instead of the original two-component design.

Midco International, a Chicago-based manufacturer of power and conversion burners, recently launched the EC200 and EC300 Economite Legacy Series gas-fired power burners for use in food processing, commercial cooking, and commercial water heater applications up to 300,000 BTU. Like many similar products, the burners incorporate an automatic gas ignition control to light and monitor the flame. However, an innovative refinement of the original design specifications significantly reduced the product’s production cost.

The initial design of the new burners specified a direct spark ignition control that required a separate relay to control the blower function of the burners. “It worked, but it required us to incorporate two components into the burner: the ignition and the relay,” explains Larry Yu, senior engineer at Midco. “This took up space, and it cost more than a single control.”

“Bottom line, the two-part design added to the production cost of each burner,” says Jim Scrivner, Midco purchasing manager. “And since the Economite Series is by definition a cost-effective solution for commercial applications, we knew that we needed to find a way to streamline the product and its price tag.”

Then Evan Goldenberg of EDG Sales, a supplier of gas component products in Plainfield, IL, U.S., brought Midco’s attention to the 35-61 gas-ignition control from Fenwal Controls, a manufacturer of automatic gas-ignition and temperature controls for commercial and industrial OEMs. The control, suitable for appliances up to 400,000 BTU, incorporates a combustion blower relay. Using the control would eliminate Midco’s need for a two-part design.

“It’s the ideal two-in-one solution for an application like the EC series,” explains Goldenberg. “There’s no need for an additional component; it’s built right in.”

Goldenberg knew Fenwal products well, being a former employee of the controls company. Midco also had a history with the supplier.

“Our relationship with Fenwal began in 1968 with the 05-12-series ignition control,” says Midco COO, Stan Beinarauskas. “We’ve used their ignition controls extensively and have also purchased electrodes and other sensing elements from the company. When we realized that the original design of the EC Series could be improved upon, and that Fenwal had the solution, it was an easy decision to make.”

But Will It Fit?

The only problem left to solve was how to make the 35-61 control fit into the existing footprint of the EC-series burner. Midco was not prepared to redesign its burner to accommodate the new control.

“We had a few requirements that Fenwal would have to meet in order to earn the specification,” says Yu.

Specifically, the new gas-ignition control would have to accommodate the power requirements of the motor, mount in the allotted 4-in. square space, and match the existing connections and mounting configurations. However, the standard 35-61 has quick-connect terminals for all wiring applications, which was not consistent with the existing Midco design.

Fenwal engineers designed a custom part for the EC-series burners: the 35-615926-203. Wires now extend through the bottom of the control to mount onto the 4-in. electrical box with a direct connection to the blower. This custom solution fit the existing EC without demanding design changes, and removed the need for an additional relay component.

“Fenwal…engineers were able to modify the design of the case to meet our specifications, allowing us to meet our required price point in the marketplace,” says Beinarauskas.

“We saved burner space and we didn’t have to overspend on additional components,” adds Scrivner.

Suppliers mentioned in this article:
Fenwal Gas Ignition Controls
 

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