Fight steam waste with real-time monitoring

Wireless monitoring systems can ease the checking of steam traps.

By Seán Ottewell

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In the face of rising energy costs, steam waste is becoming even more of an issue for chemical plants. Traditional manual surveys are time consuming and expensive. Even when audits are carried out annually, up to 15% of steam traps will fail between surveys, says Emerson Process Management. A two- or three-year gap between inspections can push this figure up to 30%.

Failed steam traps can do more than waste steam. For example, a trap failing closed, instead of open, can lead to water hammer and physical damage to a facility — with potentially catastrophic results.

However, many steam traps are in hard-to-access or potentially dangerous locations that make surveying them hazardous.

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