Hydro-Thermal introduces new product, application in 2015

Hydro-Thermal Corp.
400 Pilot Court, Waukesha
Industry: industrial heating
Employees: 70

After tripling its revenue over the last 12 years, Waukesha-based Hydro-Thermal Corp. expects to grow another 20 percent this year due in part to the launch of a new product and application.

The product is a smart cooking system called the Silverline that president Jim Zaiser said will revolutionize the food and beverage industry’s antiquated standard kettle cooking process.

A Hydro-Thermal Corp. employee welds a heater system. The Waukesha-based company designs and manufactures industrial heaters called Hydroheaters.

The Silverline, which won an IQ (Innovation Quotient) Award from BizTimes Media in 2014, uses a patented steam cooking design that controls and holds food temperatures at a set point, thereby decreasing heat fluctuation and burning of the food.

Aimed at replacing batch style cooking, the new equipment allows food companies to control parts of the production process that have never before been possible, giving them the ability to create new recipes, more easily manage consistency and reduce cooking times and cleanup.

The Silverline has already been released on a “light rollout,” but it will officially launch this month.

In 2015, Hydro-Thermal will also roll out a new application for the ethanol industry that was piloted in 2014 called slurry tank heating.

The typical process for heating the slurry tank in a traditional ethanol plant is a steam sparging ring that injects steam at the bottom of the slurry tank. This technology, however, often results in tank damage because steam bubbles collect and cavitate on the walls.

Hydro-Thermal’s solution is to install a recirculation loop on the slurry tank that is heated using a JetCooker. The instantaneous condensation of atomized steam bubbles prevents damage to the tank from cavitation.

2015 is a big year for innovation at Hydro-Thermal, as Zaiser said in the past it has typically launched a new product every two years. Additionally, the company, a holder of 12 active patents, expects to expand its product offering in 2016.

Hydro-Thermal, which celebrated its 80th year anniversary in 2014, is a fully integrated company that invents, designs, manufactures, markets and sells industrial heaters. Called Hydroheaters, they are exclusively designed and patented direct contact steam injection heaters.  

The patented heating system mixes steam and processes liquids in order to deliver precise and consistent temperature, instantaneous heating and no scaling or fouling of the product. Besides the food and beverage and ethanol industries, Hydro-Thermal serves the chemical, pulp and paper, and waste water treatment industries. More than 40 percent of its business is done overseas in 80 countries.

“Our product is a little bit different than our competitors in that it’s an engineered valve,” Zaiser said. “The components are specifically engineered to each customer’s needs as opposed to using a one size fits all.”

The process of making Hydroheaters, which range in cost from $3,000 per unit to half a million, begins with buying large casting from local vendors. Hydro-Thermal then machines the casting to a finished standard configuration and manufactures all the engineered internal components on its CNC machines.

Finally, the heater is assembled and built into a complete system that includes pumps, valves, instrumentation and controls. The manufacturing process typically takes eight weeks.

Hydro-Thermal employs 60 at its 36,000-square-foot Waukesha facility and another 10 worldwide. It plans to hire eight employees across all departments, including manufacturing, marketing and engineering, in 2015.

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