Steam quality and autonomous maintenance

Happy TBT. In the spirit of Throwback Thursday, I offer these two gems from the Plant Services archives. Steam quality and autonomous maintenance are timeless topics that have been on the minds of plant managers for a long time.

Here in the United States of Steam, roughly 50% of the fuel consumed by industry is used for steam production, according to the DOE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office. America’s carbon footprint is stamped by the generation of steam.

Quality measures the amount of saturated steam in the condensate of a system. With such a large dependence on steam, a very small increase in quality can have an enormous economic impact on a plant’s profitability. In 2003, Frank Rusche wrote an article on how to calculate steam quality that remains one of the most popular articles on our website. Read it here:

Additionally, world-class maintenance programs include operators. In 2004, Keith Mobley wrote an article on autonomous maintenance ( that still tops our list of most popular reads. With autonomous maintenance, operators are responsible for some of the equipment maintenance functions, and maintenance craftsmen become involved in equipment operation activities. By undertaking tasks such as cleaning, lubrication, inspection, and monitoring, operators begin to take ownership of the machinery, and the divisive wall between maintenance and operations begins to crumble, which makes for a more profitable plant.

These two articles have traditionally topped Plant Services’ list of most viewed content. In honor of Throwback Thursday, take a new read on these evergreen ideas.