Looking to Purchase an RTO?August 4, 2020
When considering purchasing a Regenerative thermal oxidizer (RTO) for industrial VOC control, you’ve got options. A lot has changed since RTOs made their debut over 35 years ago, as discussed by Kono Kogs vice president of operations, Chuck Konowalski, in an article for Process Heating magazine. However, the good news is you don’t need to purchase a new system to reap the rewards of recent advances in thermal oxidizer technology. And actually—in many cases—you’ll find a rebuilt or refurbished RTO is the better choice.
Should you Buy a New RTO, Refurbish or Rebuild?
When searching for an RTO, you have three options: buying a new OEM RTO, buying a refurbished unit, or—if you already own an RTO—rebuilding your existing unit. There are pros and cons to each option. Obviously, if you don’t already own an RTO, you take rebuilding your unit off the table. Is newer better in this case?
6 Things to Consider When Buying an RTO
- Capital Cost – Like most equipment, a new RTO will have the highest cost. Replacing with a used regenerative thermal oxidizer will typically save you 25-30%. Rebuilding your existing RTO saves you the most money because the oxidizer already exists.
- Lead time/delivery – You’ll need to plan ahead for a new unit due to long lead times on fans and media, and the time to manufacture. Most new equipment suppliers have a six-month project timeline. RTO replacement with a refurbished unit should shave more than 50% off the timeline since the manufacturing process is already complete. If Kono Kogs works on your existing RTO, we can begin as soon as materials arrive—which is definitely the quickest option.
- Downtime/disruption – The amount of disruption you experience will depend on your unique circumstances and are always addressed in the initial discussion phase of the quoting process.
- Warranty – When you purchase a new RTO or refurbish an existing one, typically a year warranty is standard. For rebuilt RTOs that includes workmanship on the refurbished portion. With a used unit, six months to a year is typically standard, with the option to purchase additional warranty time.
- Ceramic media – Due to technology changes, new has a slight edge since the media bed design is not installed until the unit is built. However, upgrades are available to improve performance on rebuilds of existing RTOs or, refurbished purchased units to increase efficiency to rival that of new units.
What About Operating, Maintenance, and Shipping Costs?
When it comes to operating costs, a new RTO may have higher efficiencies. However, Kono Kogs’ RTO refurbishing program can often bring used RTO unit to equal to new or superior operating performance and lower costs than new systems.
The maintenance costs should be similar for all three choices. Where you’ll really see a cost-savings, if you rebuild an existing RTO, is with shipping and installation. During a refurbish in place, costs will only be for parts and labor. When buying new, you also need to consider ductwork, electrical installation, concrete pads, and T/Diverter Dampers. These costs could be as low as zero with an existing unit.
Will You Miss Out on New Technology with An Existing RTO?
Most RTOs have excellent retrofit potential when it comes to advancements in industrial VOC removal. Ceramic media beds have come a long way in providing exceptional thermal efficiencies. Ceramic media upgrades, in older units, can result in fuel and electric power savings matching new RTO performance.
Remote monitoring capability can be retrofitted to existing PLCs or incorporated in an upgraded PLC. This capability allows our service technicians to check in on an RTO’s performance or assist your personnel in troubleshooting the RTO right from their computer, no need for a site visit. Temperatures, fan speeds, and sub-system performance can be accessed, and any issues identified remotely. New remote access monitoring can quickly identify problems and deliver data in real-time. Any PLC panel is a candidate for a rebuild with the latest VPN technology.
Why Buy New When You Can Buy Better?
Contact our team at Kono Kogs today to learn more about your options to purchase an RTO. We’ll share some of the feedback we’ve received from previous projects and help you explore the value proposition that works best for your manufacturing plant.