You are on a backpack tour in the mountains with spectacular views and suddenly it starts to rain. Fortunately, you took your rain jacket along, which will bring you dry to the next mountain shelter.
Or you are standing with your family or friends at a small train station in Northern Hesse waiting for the “Hessenkurier”, a historical train with a steam locomotive. You planned to make a pleasure trip and now a dark cloud brings a rain shower. Your waterproof rain jacket protects you until you happily enter the train.
What you probably do not know is that in the old steam locomotive there is an apparatus being an invention which has significantly paved the way for producing your rain jacket.
It’s the so-called Steam Superheater, which enormously increased the efficiency factor of steam engines. It was an absolute revolution in steam engine technology, which in former times was stuck in a scientific “dead end”. The inventor of the Steam Superheater was Wilhelm Schmidt. With his invention, Schmidt founded at the beginning of 20th century the Schmidt´sche Heißdampfgesellschaft (SHG), the original company of today’s SCHMIDTSCHE SCHACK | ARVOS GmbH.
Wilhelm Schmidt was a very creative and a very practical man. He had outstanding physical expertise, innovative ideas and on top of that the necessary perseverance and skills to implement his concepts in many test set-ups. He improved and elaborated his models until they became appliances ready for production.
Schmidt brilliantly used the energy potential originating in the phase transitions from water in other aggregate states and made intelligent reconstructions inside the steam engines. He extended the tubes, through which the steam was conveyed, and routed them in tight serpentines through the waste heat of the firing systems of the steam engines. The steam absorbed even more energy and this again induced an even more powerful movement of the pistons. Thus, locomotives became faster, could transport higher loads and master steeper mountains without additional energy supply being required.
Of course, piston steam engines are nowadays history. However, Wilhelm Schmidt’s idea to superheat steam with the waste heat of firing systems and to use the recovered energy is still an absolute topic since this process is enormously resource-saving and at the same time environmentally friendly and economically efficient.
These days, this principle is applied in the energy-intensive chemical, petrochemical and metallurgical industries. A lot of today´s heat recovery systems take the energy directly from the very hot gases generated in petrochemical processes.
And to complete the cycle we now arrive again at your rain jacket. Our best-selling system the transfer line exchanger is applied in a petrochemical process in which ethylen is produced a gas and pre-product for synthetics. Most probably the molecules in your jacket have already walked through one of our Transfer Line Exchangers. So we are more linked than you think!
Would you like to see a Steam Superheater live in operation? Then why not make a pleasure trip with the “Hessenkurier”? The following locomotives are equipped with a Steam Superheater from Wilhelm Schmidt:
- HC 206 manufactured by Krauss-Maffei in 1941
- 52 4544 manufactured in Posen in 1944
- 81 004 manufactured by Hannomag in 1928
Or maybe you have the chance to make a nostalgic trip with a steam locomotive or a steamboat in your vicinity. The possibility that a Schmidt’sche Steam Superheater is inside the machine is very high - systems according to Wilhelm Schmidt´s patents were built all over the world!