The sound of steam traps: Using ultrasound to minimize steam loss

Jan. 19, 2016
How ultrasonic inspection is giving steam traps a voice.

During a recent energy assessment in Thailand, I had the opportunity to work with a steam trap expert at a petrochemical plant. What I saw there and the methodology and techniques used in the steam trap audit prompted me to write this column. I hope you can pick up some good ideas and best practices and implement them in your plants.

Different kinds of steam traps exist and their working principles rely on pure fundamentals of physics and thermodynamics. Knowing the trap type and understanding how it operates is imperative in testing its operating performance. The U.S. Department of Energy Steam Best Practices program advocates annual testing of all steam traps. Steam trap manufacturers and service providers estimate that 10% of steam traps fail every year. Should we care about this? Absolutely. Steam trap failures are classified generally as open and blowing; partially leaking; failed closed; and cold and plugged. Significant problems associated with these failures include energy loss, reduced operating capacity of process units, water hammer, and system reliability issues. So, the bottom line is we can’t afford to have failed steam traps in our plants!

To learn more about steam traps, read “Listen to Your Steam Traps” from Chemical Processing.

Sponsored Recommendations

Reduce engineering time by 50%

March 28, 2024
Learn how smart value chain applications are made possible by moving from manually-intensive CAD-based drafting packages to modern CAE software.

Filter Monitoring with Rittal's Blue e Air Conditioner

March 28, 2024
Steve Sullivan, Training Supervisor for Rittal North America, provides an overview of the filter monitoring capabilities of the Blue e line of industrial air conditioners.

Limitations of MERV Ratings for Dust Collector Filters

Feb. 23, 2024
It can be complicated and confusing to select the safest and most efficient dust collector filters for your facility. For the HVAC industry, MERV ratings are king. But MERV ratings...

The Importance of Air-To-Cloth Ratio when Selecting Dust Collector Filters

Feb. 23, 2024
Selecting the right filter cartridges for your application can be complicated. There are a lot of things to evaluate and consider...like air-to-cloth ratio. When your filters ...