Case Studies

CSI Services

Getting to work when the heat and pressure is on

CSI Services (CSI) work is often hot, dirty and dangerous. “There are so many things that can go wrong on a job,” reveals Doug Tyger, president of the Pennsylvania-based boiler expert. “Our line of work is something a lot of people wouldn’t even try to do.” Yet, CSI has been doing it for more than 25 years.

As a full-service company, CSI delivers turnkey projects in service and installation of industrial and commercial boilers and associated parts. “We engineer, sell, install and service industrial and commercial heating and cooling equipment,” notes Tyger. “We specialize in going into our customers’ boiler rooms and performing energy audits, looking at several types of equipment to see if there is a way to reduce fuel consumption. In addition, we install and service industrial ovens, cooling towers, chillers, dust collection equipment, air filtration and air scrubbing components.”

CSI has grown into a full-service operation, leading the industry in innovative technology and applications after 58 years in business. “The company was established in 1976 by Sam Shipley Jr.,” recalls Tyger. “I purchased CSI in 1988. At the time we had just two service technicians and a helper.”

A technically-inclined team

Based in York, Pa., CSI now serves south central Pennsylvania and some areas of surrounding states with 28 employees, including eight boiler technicians and six American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) certified welders. “I started out in the industry working for York International, designing industrial refrigeration packages,” recounts Tyger. “When I purchased CSI, I didn’t even know what a boiler was. I had a lot to learn, but I’m a professional engineer and the owner thought I had the technical know-how to make it work.”

Tyger did make CSI work and has been with the company for the past 26 years, but says he couldn’t do it without the help of a talented, technical team. “A lot of what we do is about keeping up with technology,” he explains. “The boiler room of today is nothing like the boiler room of 1970. We’re constantly training and schooling our guys in controls and in return, we receive a lot of accolades for the quality of our work. We quote a fixed price and do the job. Our welders are like artists, they’re very good at what they do.”

CSI’s in-house expertise has landed the company contracts with big names, such as Frito Lay, Hershey’s, Pepsi Co. and Knouse Foods. “We regularly work with food processors because there are many in this area, but we also serve everything from paper mills to hospitals, school districts and commercial office spaces,” reveals Tyger.

Tyger goes on to note that the majority of the company’s work is pretty big. “We recently did a project for a combined heat and power plant in Dover, Del.,” he details. “We put a new burner on a 1,000-horsepower boiler. On the smaller side, we’ve also put in new 300-horsepower boilers for a brewery near Philadelphia.”

A better burner

CSI is also helping its commercial and industrial customers improve operations through burner retrofits and smaller, modular boilers. “The typical boiler pressure vessel efficiency hasn’t really improved since the 1950s,” considers Tyger. “Instead of replacing the whole boiler unit, we can take the burner off and put a new one on to reduce energy consumption anywhere from 10 to 15 percent, which has an attractive payback. We recently changed all of the burners for Central York School district in York County, Pa., and the switch has saved them a significant amount of fuel.”

From retrofits to replacements with modular units, CSI can craft a specific solution to meet any client’s need. “On the retrofitting side, we can install new burner controls or a new high performance burner,” shares Tyger. “We represent Autoflame and Limpsfield for controls and burners respectively. CSI recently retrofitted a new Limpsfield burner onto a 100-horsepower Cleaver Brooks boiler in a chemical processing plant, which significantly reduced the facility’s fuel consumption.”

The other option is to replace an old boiler with a modular set up. “We represent Miura boilers for the modular boiler concept,” reveals Tyger. “Additionally, CSI evaluates heat recovery systems to heat process water. Lastly, we look at using boiler stack economizers, blow down heat recovery stems and variable frequency drives on the motors to further reduce energy consumption.”

In addition to more affordable retrofits and modular units, CSI also offers boiler room energy audits and reports. “Our goal is to recover heat and reduce fuel consumption in the boiler room,” explains Tyger. “We generate a report showing our findings and we share the costs up front along with the estimated fuel reduction with our customers.”

In lean economic times, Tyger says customers welcome retrofits and repairs versus a major, expensive full replacement of systems. “When times were really tough, even the repairs slowed,” he admits. “Even if the payback was only six months or a year, people were still saying, ‘We know we should, but we don’t have the money’, period. But the good news is the service business is going strong and picking up the slack.”

A busy year ahead

Tyger says the outlook for 2014 is promising. “With the development of the Marcellus Shale the price of fuel has come down and people who were burning oil are converting to gas,” he notes. “We’re installing a dual fuel burner that can burn natural gas or oil and that’s been keeping us very busy.”

However, Tyger says CSI’s core business remains in the industrial boiler business. “Our competitors have let that part of their business dwindle away because it’s so difficult to find qualified technicians,” he explains. “Actually, you don’t just find them, you need to go out and train them. It takes months and even years before a technician can go out and be familiar enough with the systems to trouble shoot on his own. Our competition simply doesn’t have the skilled people we do and they’ve fallen by the wayside while we’ve remained focused on the industrial sector.”

Tyger refutes the notion that that boiler business is a dying industry. “Some people think boilers are on their way out with new geothermal heat pumps and solar rooftop units, and part of that is true, but there is no substitute for steam, especially in the food processing world,” he ensures. According to Tyger, manufacturers need steam to sterilize and clean products; therefore, the market is here to stay.

“We get to see many different facilities all over the country and learn about how different products are manufactured,” adds Tyger. “As a professional engineer, I enjoy evaluating boiler equipment to reduce fuel consumption, minimize harmful emissions and improve production and our customers’ bottom lines.”

It might not be the most glamorous work; however, the need for industrial boiler service and repair remains. CSI Services stands out with some of the most qualified technicians in the industry and the forward-thinking ability to improve the decade’s old technology.

Published on: July 21, 2014

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