When a CECON consultant specializing in chemical and process engineering presented his idea for a new design for a water-cooled furnace to the expert designers he worked with they said one word: IMPOSSIBLE. But employing his concept of “conservative innovation design,” he persisted and built a furnace that not only operated successfully, it became far more practical to maintain and repair than the traditional design.
Over the course of five years, I have built and operated a total of seven rotary induction water cooled furnaces—giant furnaces capable of processing hundreds of tons of ore per hour—in two different factories.
When No. 6 was running, my electrician, who I had been working with since No. 1, came into my office and declared: “We must get rid of this water cooling nuisance. You must make an air-cooled coil!” He had a point. Water leakages and sometimes blocked water passages, created safety risks, demanded problematic repairs and consequently caused lengthy down time of the furnaces.
I immediately responded: “Our furnaces are not the first in the world. If this were possible, the Chinese experts who supplied the equipment would have done it long ago. Forget about it! We have enough on our hands.”
He was disappointed, but he understood my point.