Rohde Brothers proudly played a key role in a groundbreaking project at Kohler Pottery, an AGC Build Wisconsin Award Winner. Our mission: to ingeniously recover heat from the pottery production process, a task that not only showcased our technical expertise but also significantly reduced energy costs for Kohler Company.

waste heat recoveryProject Background: Kohler Pottery’s production involves four large kilns that reach temperatures above 800°F. With a substantial need for lower-temperature heat for pottery drying and domestic hot water generation, Kohler saw an opportunity to harness this waste heat. Our challenge was to capture and repurpose the heat from both shuttle and tunnel kilns effectively.

Innovative Solution:

  1. Custom Thermal Storage Tank: Utilizing 3D modeling and Finite Element Analysis (FEA), we designed a unique thermal storage tank with a 4,000-gallon capacity, capable of handling pressures up to 400 PSIG – far exceeding typical systems.
  2. Pre-Piped Pump Skid: Assembled in our shop to minimize plant disruption, this skid included an Allen-Bradley PLC for pump and heat recovery system control.
  3. User-Friendly Control System: A web-based Honeywell controller allows easy operation and monitoring.
  4. Efficient Heat Recovery Mechanism: We installed a high-pressure hot water coil in a bypass duct for capturing kiln waste exhaust heat, complete with a damper system for optimal heat management.
  5. Closed Loop Hot Water System: This system operates between 120° to 350°F, transferring thermal energy effectively.
  6. Enhanced Domestic Hot Water Heating: A brazed heat exchanger boosts domestic water temperature, allowing for reduced storage volume.

Impact and Savings: This project enabled the recovery of 254,000 therms per year, saving Kohler Company $178,000 annually in natural gas costs. Thanks to funding from WI Focus on Energy, Kohler saw a payback period of just 2.5 years.

Conclusion: The Kohler Pottery Heat Recovery project stands as a testament to Rohde’s commitment to innovative, energy-saving solutions. Our expertise in engineering and dedication to sustainability helped Kohler Pottery transform waste into a valuable resource, setting a new standard in industrial heat recovery. If your facility is looking to turn waste heat into cost savings, Rohde Brothers is ready to make it happen.