The Silver Tsunami of U.S. Navy Boiler Techs
U.S. Navy Boiler Techs Are Leaving the Workforce and the Steam Industry is Feeling It’s Effects
In 1996, the United States Navy discontinued the Boiler Technician rating. Now, 27 years later, the boiler industry is experiencing the repercussions of this decision. For years, companies manufacturing large firetube boilers had the luxury of hiring former Navy boiler technicians for equipment maintenance roles. Unfortunately, those days are now a thing of the past. If you’re a company in search of a boiler maintenance technician, the available options are significantly different from what they were in the 90s. Yet, much of the boiler technology used in so many operations across America has remained the same.
The answers for the lack of adoption of new technologies in the boiler world are complex, but one significant reason is size. Firetube boilers, notorious for their higher fuel consumption and expensive maintenance cost compared to compact, energy-efficient boilers such as Miura’s watertube boilers, pose a considerable challenge to replace. The removal of these large outdated systems can be a costly endeavor.
Boiler technicians, or “boiler techs”, were tasked with operating and maintaining the steam cycle in a propulsion plant outside of turbines. Their responsibilities included water chemistry, combustion controls, daily operations and proper startup and shutdown procedures. Upon leaving the military service, numerous boiler technicians transitioned into roles within boiler companies. However, as the years have passed, a significant number of them are now retiring, creating a noticeable void within our industry. Indeed, over the last several decades, the boiler industry has heavily depended on Navy boiler technicians to staff crucial maintenance operations positions.
What does this signify for the boiler industry? It indicates a diminishing presence of seasoned maintenance operators, with their numbers gradually decreasing. The Navy once had a specialized program for the boiler industry, and the industry relied heavily on it.
What does this mean for Miura?
In this context, Miura emerges as a beacon of hope for the industry. Their on-demand, low-maintenance steam boilers have proven resilient in the face of industry disruption. Miura’s boilers can go from a cold start to operational in less than five minutes with the simple push of a button, and most maintenance tasks can be accomplished with basic tools like a wrench and a screwdriver.
As more Navy boiler technicians retire, Miura boilers are emerging as the preferred steam solution for operations across the country. Miura offers a world-class maintenance plan, coupled with remote boiler monitoring technology, alleviating the need for plant operators to rely solely on dedicated boiler technicians, who are becoming increasingly scarce.
While many in the industry view the discontinuation of the Navy Boiler Technician program in 1996 as a “silver tsunami” of experience leaving the workforce, Miura views it as an opportunity to help companies in streamlining their operations and enhancing efficiency. Despite the market disruption, Miura stands as a provider of low-maintenance, safe solutions, ensuring that industries across America can confidently weather the challenges and changes they face.