Advantages of ThermaTech Masonry Cleaning System
Comparison of ThermaTech® and other Superheated Water Systems
We are sometimes asked about the difference between a ThermaTech® and other machines in the industry.
These machines use superheated water to remove a range of coatings and soilings from different substrates.
The ThermaTech® offers many advantages over other systems – and not just in terms of site safety, reliability and portability, since it also exceeds their performance.
The ThermaTech range of equipment is protected under two fully granted patents.
Portability and Ease of Assembly
ThermaTech® is modular by design. Its pump and fuel tank / jerrycan can easily be separated from the other components of the machine to keep the weight of the parts manageable when it is being transported. The boiler unit can be loaded and unloaded easily by one person. Two castor wheels take half the weight of the boiler on the vehicle bed while loading is in progress. The boiler remains on four wheels even when it is on its back. The boiler unit is on four pneumatic wheels, which are of a quick-release design for easy change or repair of tyres, or if the boiler is to be skid-mounted.
Digital temperature control
ThermaTech®’s temperature control is tightly regulated, helping to ensure an even spray shape, and temperature is fully adjustable up to 150°C according to the required applications. The boiler temperature is controlled by a digital thermostat, which checks temperature ten times a second, giving a precise output. This keeps the superheated jet ‘in focus’ and prevents overheating or undercooling. The digital thermostat increases fuel efficiency, as it is frequently ‘topping up’ the heat. It doesn’t have to ‘catch up’ with a major temperature drop and then waste fuel in an overheating episode.
Other systems are controlled by an analogue thermostat, which relies on expansion of glycerin in a probe to operate a switch at the end of a small copper pipe. This has a delay, which can cause the superheated jet to become out-of-focus steam vapor. On cooling down, the burner may not cut the heating back in before the temperature gets as low as 120°C.
High performance water flow rate
ThermaTech®’s standard 110v electric pump can achieve water flow rates of up to 9 litres per minute at 140 bar (this is user-variable from approx. 3 litres per minute upwards).
Others are limited to a flow rate in the range of 3-6 litres per minute, some achieving 6 LPM only at a pressure of 100 bar maximum.
Wide range of water pressure settings
While the standard pressure of the 110v ThermaTech® is adjustable from 20 to 140 bar, it can be used with pressure-reducing guns to attain pressures lower than 20 bar for small-scale, gentle cleaning of the most delicate substrates; and the optional 230v pump can reach 160 bar at 9.5 Litres per minute.
Other types of system can only reach a maximum pressure of 100 bar (even with smaller nozzles). So ThermaTech® has approximately 50% more performance in terms of pressure, as well as in terms of water volume from the pump.
The Standard ThermaTech® can support two operators working simultaneously from the one pump and boiler for localised masonry cleaning. The use of a splitter after the burner shares the water flow to two standard nozzles. Each operator can expect 50-55 Bar at ~130°c.
ThermaTech® uses high-pressure twin wire hoses assembled by Restorative Techniques. Each hose uses a skive-type ferrule - this ensures a ‘no rubber’ contact within the crimp that could otherwise fail once heat is applied. Every hose assembled has a unique I.D. tag. This gives traceability for testing purposes as well as asset monitoring for owners. Hoses are clearly marked blue to signify ‘cold’, and red to signify ‘hot’. Construction of an 8mm (5/16”) bore reduces the hose surface area, and increases water velocity; both of these properties reduce heat loss. This hose is made to order for Restorative Techniques at several kilometers at a time.
Choice of nozzles and spray angles
Thanks to ThermaTech®’s extra 50% performance, its standard-type nozzle is angled at 40 degrees, allowing for a faster rate of work at a similar intensity, with the 50% wider spray pattern giving a more even gentle clean. Others are limited to a 25° angle or less (this is like comparing a narrow-tip pen with a broad-tip pen, the broader tip giving faster, more even results).
Build Quality of Pump
ThermaTech® exceeds the most up-to-date electrical safety standards. All the electrics for ThermaTech® pump are within a fully sealed watertight box, including the capacitors. The use of IP67 plugs and connectors is standard to protect from water ingress. The pump uses a higher-current contactor for switching the motor load, which is much more reliable than a rocker-switch. The pump unit also has over-current and under-voltage protection. Due to the performance of the pump unit, we can attach rotary surface cleaners to the machine for large paving cleaning.
Because the cold pump unit has a second outlet, it can be used for ‘priming’ when pulling water from a barrel or tank. The ThermaTech® additionally supports the connection of a second boiler through this outlet to run two operators off separate boilers. The second pump connection can also be useful for ‘dumping’ the water pressure when disconnecting the machine, so that the operator does not have to go back to the gun.
Build Quality of Frame
In ThermaTech®, all frame tubes have 1.5mm-thick walls, and all panel work is in 1.5mm stainless steel. Its very strong construction allows for many lifting and tie-down points.
Build Quality of Couplings
On ThermaTech®, all the high-pressure couplings are m22 hand-turn threads in brass. These are guaranteed against corrosion from descaling and have no internal moving parts. Alternatives are quick-release couplings that employ bearings for latching. These can seize, and the joint can then fail under pressure.
Fuel Filtration Performance and Monitoring
ThermaTech®’s fuel system comprises 5-stage filtration to eliminate breakdowns caused by dirty fuel. A fuel filter condition gauge has ‘good’ and ‘change’ clearly visible on the control panel.
ThermaTech® INOX Advantages
So far, we have discussed the ThermaTech® ‘standard unit’ in electric. ThermaTech® is also available in another model, ‘INOX’, either with an electric pump or with a diesel-driven pump. The INOX model has all the same advantages as above, with additional features:
- Stainless steel boiler construction
- Higher heat output - it will achieve a full 150°C with up to 12lpm flow. This is particularly useful with the two-man operation, or other high-temperature-demanding jobs such as paint stripping.
- The standard diesel-driven pump has 9.5LPM flow at up to 170 Bar pressure.
- The increased performance means that a 65° spray nozzle can be used for an even faster rate of work
- There is only a 0.2°C hysteresis between boiler heat in and out.
The ThermaTech® system is designed specifically to meet or exceed the requirements for performance, portability, reliability and safety of professionals working in masonry conservation, while remaining competitive on cost.
When the ThermaTech® was being developed, many ‘off the shelf’ components did not meet requirements. Restorative Techniques approached specialist manufacturers for the production of many of these parts to their own design, all being sourced within the European area. The only components sourced from outside the EU are the pneumatic wheels.