Showing posts with label steam system. Show all posts
Showing posts with label steam system. Show all posts

Monday, July 16, 2018

Why Is Monitoring the Amount of Moisture in a Steam System So Critically Important?

Wet steam is a costly problem across many industries. It causes product quality issues with batch rejection, wet packs and wet loads in sterilizers. Wet culinary steam can make food grade quality of product impossible. Carbon dioxide in a system with wet steam creates carbonic acid that damages pipes. A slug of water causes water hammering, which is destructive and can be deadly. Wet steam causes many flowmeters to be inaccurate, so that if you buy steam from a third party, you may be paying for water rather than steam. Water abrades like sand in a steam pipe and will erode pipes, elbows, valves and other components. Wet steam reduces heat transfer. Wet steam can damage turbines. And wet steam causes thermal stress as condensate cools down.

In fact, steam quality typically refers to the amount of water in the steam, which is also known as dryness fraction. Saturated steam is a mixture of steam and water. The water is often in the form of un-vaporized micro droplets. Dryness fraction is a ratio. The mass of the steam to the mass of the biphasic mixture of water and steam. Part of the difficulty in measuring the steam dryness fraction is that steam systems are dynamic. The steams is moving through the components and conditions change second-by-second. Within this complex system there are many things that contribute to water in the steam. For example, the bursting bubbles from the surface of the boiling water expels small droplets into the flow of steam. Or if there is a sudden increase in demand for steam that reduces pressure above the water, lowering the boiling point and increasing the violence of bubbling. This is sometimes called priming or carryover. Other forms of carryover include water in the system, because the water level in the boiler is too high. Or high concentrations of impurities in the boiler water that reduce the surface tension and so increase the agitation of the water surface. Impurities can also cause the formation of a stable foam above the water surface. This foam causes slugs of water to be intermittently discharged from the boiler along with the steam. Even poor insulation in pipes and valves leads to water in the steam as heat is lost and steam condenses. A steam trap might fail closed, particularly at the bottom of a separator, increasing the amount of condensate in the pipes. The design of steam pipe work and steam traps may be inadequate to handle condensate, or a steam separator may be defective.
Steam QM-1
Armstrong Steam QM-1

Any of these things individually or in combination can cause a problem with dryness fraction. Monitoring the dryness fraction of steam has long been a manual process, time-consuming, inconsistent, unreliable, and presents inherent safety and accuracy risks. Control of your steam quality depends on having consistent, accurate, timely information, and that's where the Armstrong Steam QM-1 comes in.

The Armstrong steam quality monitor steam QM1 provides you with data logging and remote monitoring capabilities. The Steam QM-1 monitors and measures dryness fraction and alerts you of steam quality problems. The video below explains how.

With monitoring by the Steam QM-1 you can:
  • Manage process quality when injecting steam 
  • Ensure foodgrade quality of steam when producing culinary steam 
  • Check dryness of outsource steam 
  • Avoid water hammer 
  • Oversee traps and separators effectiveness 
  • Monitor boiler carryover 
  • Avoid erosion in valves regulators etc 
  • Protect turbine low pressure saturated steam stages 
For more information contact Mead O'Brien by visiting https://meadobrien.com or by calling (800) 892-2769.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Mead O'Brien: Problem Solver, Innovator, and Best Total Cost Provider

Mead O’Brien specializes in valves & valve automation, steam & hot water products and systems, instrumentation products, skid designs, field services, surveys, assessments, and consulting. The extensive product and application knowledge possessed by the Mead O'Brien sales force projects to all or part of ten states in the Midwest which includes Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas Panhandle, Southern Illinois, Western Kentucky, and Southwest Indiana.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Steam Boiler Water Level Control

Steam boiler level control diagram.
Steam boiler level control diagram.
Click on image for larger view.
Steam boilers are very common in industry, principally because steam power is so useful. Common uses for steam in industry include doing mechanical work (e.g. a steam engine moving some sort of machine), heating, producing vacuums (through the use of “steam ejectors”), and augmenting chemical processes (e.g. reforming of natural gas into hydrogen and carbon dioxide).

The process of converting water into steam is quite simple: heat up the water until it boils. Anyone who has ever boiled a pot of water for cooking knows how this process works. Making steam continuously, however, is a little more complicated. An important variable to measure and control in a continuous boiler is the level of water in the “steam drum” (the upper vessel in a water-tube boiler). In order to safely and efficiently produce a continuous flow of steam, we must ensure the steam drum never runs too low on water, or too high. If there is not enough water in the drum, the water tubes may run dry and burn through from the heat of the fire. If there is too much water in the drum, liquid water may be carried along with the flow of steam, causing problems downstream.

The first instrument in this control system is the level transmitter, or “LT”. The purpose of this device is to sense the water level in the steam drum and report (“transmit”) that measurement to the controller in the form of a signal. In this case, the type of signal is pneumatic: a variable air pressure sent through metal or plastic tubes. The greater the water level in the drum, the more air pressure output by the level transmitter. Since the transmitter is pneumatic, it must be supplied with a source of clean, compressed air on which to operate. This is the meaning of the “A.S.” tube (Air Supply) entering the top of the transmitter.

This pneumatic signal is sent to the next instrument in the control system, the level indicating controller, or “LIC”. The purpose of this instrument is to compare the level transmitter’s signal against a setpoint value entered by a human operator representing the desired water level in the steam drum. The controller then generates an output signal telling the control valve to either introduce more or less water into the boiler to maintain the steam drum water level at setpoint. As with the transmitter, the controller in this system is pneumatic, operating entirely on compressed air. This means the output of the controller is also a variable air pressure signal, just like the signal output by the level transmitter. Naturally, the controller requires a constant supply of clean, compressed air on which to run, which explains the “A.S.” (Air Supply) tube connecting to it.

The last instrument in this control system is the control valve, operated directly by the air pressure signal output by the controller. Its purpose is to influence the flow rate of water into the boiler, “throttling” the water flow more or less as determined by controller. This particular type of control valve uses a large diaphragm and a large spring to move the valve further open with more signal pressure and further closed with less signal pressure.

When the controller is placed in the “automatic” mode, it will move the control valve to whatever position necessary to maintain a constant steam drum water level. The phrase “whatever position necessary” suggests the relationship between the controller output signal, the process variable signal (PV), and the setpoint (SP) is complex. If the controller senses a water level above setpoint, it will close off the valve as far as necessary to decrease the water level down to setpoint. Conversely, if the controller senses a water level below setpoint, it will open up the valve as far as necessary to raise the water level up to setpoint.

What this means in a practical sense is that the controller’s output signal (equating to valve position) in automatic mode is just as much a function of process load (i.e. how much steam is being used from the boiler) as it is a function of setpoint (i.e. where we wish the water level to be). Consider a situation where the steam demand from the boiler is very low. If there isn’t much steam being drawn off the boiler, this means there will be little water boiled into steam and therefore little need for additional feedwater to be pumped into the boiler. Therefore, in this situation, one would expect the control valve to hover near the fully-closed position, allowing just enough water into the boiler to keep the steam drum water level at setpoint. If, however, there is a high demand for steam from this boiler, the rate of evaporation will be much greater. This means the control system must add feedwater to the boiler at a much greater flow rate in order to maintain the steam drum water level at setpoint. In this situation we would expect to see the control valve much closer to being fully-open as the control system “works harder” to maintain a constant water level in the steam drum. Thus, we see how the controller automatically positions the control valve to react to different boiler operating conditions even when the setpoint is fixed.

A human operator supervising this boiler has the option of placing the controller into “manual” mode. In this mode the control valve position is under direct control of the human operator, with the controller essentially ignoring the signal sent from the water level transmitter. Being an indicating controller, the controller faceplate will still show how much water is in the steam drum, but it is now the human operator’s sole responsibility to move the control valve to the appropriate position to hold water level at setpoint – in manual mode the controller takes no corrective action of its own. Manual mode is useful to human operators during start-up and shut-down conditions. It is also useful to instrument technicians for troubleshooting misbehaving control systems. Placing a controller into manual mode is akin to disengaging the cruise control in an automobile, transferring control of engine power from the car’s computer back to the human driver. One can easily imagine an automobile mechanic needing to throttle a car’s engine “manually” (i.e. with the cruise control turned off) in order to properly diagnose an engine or drivetrain problem. This is true for industrial processes as well, where instrument technicians may need to place a controller into manual mode in order to properly diagnose transmitter or control valve problems.

Reprinted from Lessons In Industrial Instrumentation by Tony R. Kuphaldt – under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Direct Steam Injection Humidifier Replacement in Large Hospital

Direct Steam Injection Humidifier Replacement in Large Hospital
Direct Steam Injection Humidifier Replacement
at St. Louis Children's Hospital
The St. Louis Children’s Hospital is one of the premier children’s hospitals in the United States. It serves not just the children of St. Louis, but children and their families from across the world. The hospital provides a full range of pediatric services to the St. Louis metropolitan area and primary service region covering six states. As the pediatric teaching hospital for Washington University School of Medicine, the hospital offers nationally recognized programs for physician training and research. The hospital employees 3,000 people as well as 800 medical staff members. There are also 1,300 auxiliary members and volunteers on-site.

St. Louis Children’s Hospital was undergoing a significant renovation and determined that the original direct steam injection humidifiers that were installed over 30 years ago needed to be replaced. Within 30 years, they had only experienced minor issues due to the age and use of the humidifiers. Most issues were labeled as manifold o-ring leaks or actuator leakage (either seal kits or diaphragms).

St. Louis Children’s Hospital consulted with their local Armstrong representative, Mead O’Brien, and looked at using direct steam injection humidifiers with electric actuators versus the atmospheric steam generating humidifier. Due to the maintenance, space concerns, and, most importantly, the controllability, Mead O’Brien suggested direct steam injection humidifiers.

When replacing humidifiers during a renovation it is important to analyze the absorption distance. There are many different variables that can affect the absorption distance and, in this case, guidelines and regulations have changed over 30 years since original installation. The amount of outside air brought into the space directly affects the RH levels, and in the healthcare industry, the minimum requirement of fresh air has changed multiple times in the past 30 years. Because of this, some installations required the use of multiple manifolds to shorten the absorption distance.

During this first phase of the renovation, thirty-nine (39) new steam humidifiers were installed. Thirty-four more we supplied the following year..

In addition, the following Armstrong products were also installed:
  • Six Pressure Reducing Valves 
  • Three Electric Condensate Pumps 
  • One Armstrong Flo-Rite
  • Five VERIS Flow Meters
Because of the customer’s relationship with their local Armstrong representative, St. Louis Children’s Hospital received a quality solution that was designed to meet all of their needs and will be supported by Armstrong for many years to come.

Click this link to download the PDF version of this steam injection humidifier application note.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Mead O'Brien: Experts in Valves, Valve Automation, Steam & Hot Water Systems, Process Instruments

Mead O’Brien specializes in valves & valve automation, steam & hot water products and systems, instrumentation products, skid designs, field services, surveys, assessments, and consulting.

Product Focus:
  • Valves, valve automation and control
  • Steam and hot water products and systems
  • Instrumentation and controls
For more information, visit http://www.meadobrien.com or call  (800) 892-2769.

Please pardon our little shameless self-promotion. Thanks for watching this short video highlighting Mead O'Brien products.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Steam Conservation Guidelines for Condensate Drainage

Any company that is energy conscious is also environmentally conscious. Less energy consumed means less waste, fewer emissions and a healthier environment.

In short, bringing energy and environment together lowers the cost industry must pay for both. By helping companies manage energy, Armstrong and Mead O'Brien products and services are also help protect the environment.

Steam is an invisible gas generated by adding heat energy to water in a boiler. Enough energy must be added to raise the temperature of the water to the boiling point. Then additional energy—without any further increase in temperature—changes the water to steam.

Steam is a very efficient and easily controlled heat transfer medium. It is most often used for transporting energy from a central location (the boiler) to any number of locations in the plant where it is used to heat air, water or process applications.

As noted, additional Btu are required to make boiling water change to steam. These Btu are not lost but stored in the steam ready to be released to heat air, cook tomatoes, press pants or dry a roll of paper.

The heat required to change boiling water into steam is called the heat of vaporization or latent heat. The quantity is different for every pressure/temperature combination, as shown in the steam tables.

Heat flows from a higher temperature level to a lower temperature level in a process known as heat transfer. Starting in the combustion chamber of the boiler, heat flows through the boiler tubes to the water. When the higher pressure in the boiler pushes steam out, it heats the pipes of the distribution system. Heat flows from the steam through the walls of the pipes into the cooler surrounding air. This heat transfer changes some of the steam back into water. That’s why distribution lines are usually insulated to minimize this wasteful and undesirable heat transfer.

When steam reaches the heat exchangers in the system, the story is different. Here the transfer of heat from the steam is desirable. Heat flows to the air in an air heater, to the water in a water heater or to food in a cooking kettle. Nothing should interfere with this heat transfer.

Condensate Drainage - Why It’s Necessary


Condensate is the by-product of heat transfer in a steam system. It forms in the distribution system due to unavoidable radiation. It also forms in heating and process equipment as a result of desirable heat transfer from the steam to the substance heated. Once the steam has condensed and given up its valuable latent heat, the hot condensate must be removed immediately. Although the available heat in a pound of condensate is negligible as compared to a pound of steam, condensate is still valuable hot water and should be returned to the boiler.

The document below provides and excellent reference for understanding the properties of steam and the importance of condensate drainage for an efficient system. You may also download your own copy of the Steam Conservation Guidelines for Condensate Drainage here.


Thursday, April 27, 2017

Condensate Drainage ... Why It’s Necessary in Industrial Steam Systems

condensate drain
Condensate drain
(Armstrong).
Abstracted with permission from Armstrong International

Condensate is the by-product of heat transfer in a steam system. It forms in the distribution system due to unavoidable radiation. It also forms in heating and process equipment as a result of desirable heat transfer from the steam to the substance heated. Once the steam has condensed and given up its valuable latent heat, the hot condensate must be removed immediately. Although the available heat in a pound of condensate is negligible as compared to a pound of steam, condensate is still valuable hot water and should be returned to the boiler.

The need to drain the distribution system.
Condensate Drainage
Figure 1: Condensate allowed to collect in pipes or tubes
is blown into waves by steam passing over it until it blocks
steam flow at point A. Condensate in area B causes a pressure
differential that allows steam pressure to push the slug
of condensate along like a battering ram.

Condensate lying in the bottom of steam lines can be the cause of one kind of water hammer. Steam traveling at up to 100 miles per hour makes “waves” as it passes over this condensate (Fig. 1). If enough condensate forms, high-speed steam pushes it along, creating a dangerous slug that grows larger and larger as it picks up liquid in front of it. Anything that changes the direction—pipe fittings, regulating valves, tees, elbows, blind flanges—can be destroyed. In addition to damage from this “battering ram,” high-velocity water may erode fittings by chipping away at metal surfaces.

The need to drain the heat transfer unit. 

Condensate Drainage
Figure 2: Coil half full of condensate can’t
work at full capacity.
When steam comes in contact with condensate cooled below the temperature of steam, it can produce another kind of water hammer known as thermal shock. Steam occupies a much greater volume than condensate, and when it collapses suddenly, it can send shock waves throughout the system. This form of water hammer can damage equipment, and it signals that condensate is not being drained from the system. Obviously, condensate in the heat transfer unit takes up space and reduces the physical size and capacity of the equipment. Removing it quickly keeps the unit full of steam (Fig. 2). As steam condenses, it forms a film of water on the inside of the heat exchanger. Non-condensable gases do not change into liquid and flow away by gravity. Instead, they accumulate as a thin film on the surface of the heat exchanger—along with dirt and scale. All are potential barriers to heat transfer (Fig. 3).

The need to remove air and CO2. 

Air is always present during equipment start-up and in the boiler feedwater. Feedwater may also contain dissolved carbonates, which release carbon dioxide gas. The steam velocity pushes the gases to the walls of the heat exchangers, where they may block heat transfer. This compounds the condensate drainage problem, because these gases must be removed along with the condensate.

Fig 3: Potential barriers to heat transfer: steam heat and temperature
 must penetrate these potential barriers to do their work.


For more information about any industrial steam or hot water system, contact Mead O'Brien by visiting www.meadobrien.com or call (800) 892-2769.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Vent Management on Large Cavity Steam Heat Exchange Equipment Commonly Found in the Brewing Industries: Thermostatic Air Vents (TAV) and Vacuum Breakers (VB)

brewery
The following represents a primer on vent management devices on steam heat exchange equipment: TAVs, VBs, and the combination device, model TAVB-3. In order to do that, we will review the purpose and proper application of the devices to establish clarity.

What are Vacuum Breakers and why do we need them?

Vacuum breakers are spring-loaded valve and seat devices that are mounted on or near the steam space of a heat exchanger allowing steam pressurization of the space, but during throttling down or shut off of steam supply also allow the valve to overcome the spring force and open when vacuum is present. The vacuum is formed when steam, with its much higher specific volume than water, condenses to water with heat exchange and is not replaced in the heat exchange space with an equivalent volume of steam, i.e. when the control valve is throttling down from its process design maximum flow, or when steam is being shut off after completion of the process step. By “breaking” the sub-atmospheric condition which occurs in those situations by allowing air into what was the steam space through the open vacuum breaker device; condensate drainage from the heat exchanger by gravity is enabled. This prevents water hammer, internal corrosion, gasket or joint leakage, and potential damage to the heat exchanger and other equipment. Without this device, a reverse pressure differential is formed in the steam space due to vacuum which will suck available condensate from the return system into the calandria, coil, or other large cavity heat exchanger.
Thermostatic  Air Vent/Vacuum Breaker
Stainless Steel Thermostatic
Air Vent/Vacuum
Breaker (TAVB)

What are Thermostatic Air Vents and why do we need them?

Thermostatic air vents (TAV) are also valve and seat devices that are actuated by temperature, typically a “balanced” bellows. The bellows has an alcohol and water charge inside that evaporates and expands on temperature increase approaching the steam saturation curve for the particular steam pressure. The expanding bellows drives the valve into the seat and closes the device. On steam start-up of the heat exchanger, cool air is expelled quickly by using this device until steam reaches it which quickly closes the valve. Similarly, on decreasing temperature, at some point a few degrees lower than the steam saturation curve, the mixture in the bellows condenses and contracts the bellows which pulls the valve plug away from the seat and thus opens the vent. This signifies that non-condensable gases have accumulated and the temperature has depressed enough to allow the valve to open and expel them from the steam space. Pressure is inconsequential up to the TAV design pressure since the alcohol charge is designed to follow the steam saturation curve, offset but parallel, always activating a few degrees below saturation temperature for any given pressure (including vacuum).

Doesn’t the Steam Trap do this as one of its functions?

It is true that one of the three primary functions of the steam trap is to remove non-condensable gases. By virtue of the modularization of steam supply and condensate removal equipment at some distance away from the internal heat exchangers of kettles and cookers for example due to floor space restrictions in the brew house, size, configuration, and internal area of heat transfer equipment in modern breweries and the demands of production, it is imperative that these supplemental devices be used to remove these gases as close and as quickly as possible to the area where they would be entrapped: opposite the steam supply connection of the exchanger.

Why is it so important that air be removed?

There are several reasons, but most importantly, air is an excellent insulator and, without removal, serves to insulate internal heat transfer surfaces from the steam trying to transfer its latent heat. Surface temperature drops of 20-30% are not uncommon with systems unable to effectively remove non-condensable gases. From a secondary standpoint, air and other gases create internal oxidation and corrosion that corrode the system from the inside out. As we already know, a major source of air in the system comes from the vacuum breakers which contribute to piping oxidation if the air is not removed. CO2 entrained in steam turn condensate into carbonic acid (H2CO3) when turned into solution if not removed.

These two devices, TAVs and VBs, are frequently confused as to their function. Remember that TAVs primarily expel non-condensable gases and air on startup; and VBs primarily allow air in on shutdown. Their mounting is critical to their successful operation. Observe the following rules for mounting:
  • As close to the exchanger as possible on a line with a vertical accumulator, if not on the exchanger itself, opposite the steam supply. 
  • Condensate line must be large enough to allow disengagement if horizontal or a vertical accumulator will be needed. If not, the TAV will discharge condensate which means it is not discharging air. The vacuum breaker will spit and leak over time as well. 
  • The vertical accumulator is used to provide an accumulation area for non-condensables. It is typically 2” or larger pipe, approximately 2 ft. high if space allows. An isolation valve should be used between the accumulator and the TAV to isolate for maintenance or system air testing. Note that these devices should be excluded from any air test boundaries since the bellows is “balanced,” meaning that steam pressure has a corresponding saturation temperature to “balance” internal pressure of the bellows against external pressure caused by the steam pressure. Air would not allow this balance to take place and would either not close the valve on the air test, or would rupture the bellows if the isolation valve were downstream. 
Since mounting preferences are similar for both vacuum breakers and air vents, a new device has been developed which accomplishes both functions in one device. This is the TAVB-3 which has become standard at a large brewing company.

Article written by Steve Huffman, Mead O'Brien, Inc.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Part 3: What Steam Is, How Steam is Used, and the Properties of Steam

Mead O'Brien Steam Experts
Mead O'Brien Steam Experts
Steam is the gaseous phase (state) of water and has many domestic, commercial, and industrial uses. There are two categories of steam - wet steam and dry steam. In dry steam, all the water molecules stay in the gaseous state. In wet steam, some of the water molecules have released their energy (latent heat) and begin condensing into water droplets.

Steam, usually created by a boiler burning coal or other fuels, became the primary source of energy for mechanical movement during the industrial revolution, ultimately being replaced by fossil fuels and electricity.

Steam has many commercial and industrial uses. In agricultural, steam is used to remediate and sterilize soil. In power generation, approximately 90% of our electricity is created using steam as the working fluid to spin turbines. Autoclaves use steam for sterilization in microbiology labs, research, and healthcare facilities. Many commercial and industrial pieces of equipment are cleaned with steam. Finally, commercial complexes, campuses and military buildings use steam for heat and humidification.

The following video, the FINAL part of a three part series titled “What Steam Is, How Steam is Used, and the Properties of Steam” provides the viewer with an exceptional basis to build from. Special thanks to Armstrong International who created the original work.



For more information on any industrial or commercial steam application, contact:

Mead O'Brien, Inc.
(800) 892-2769

Monday, April 11, 2016

Part 2: What Steam Is, How Steam is Used, and the Properties of Steam

Use of Steam
Steam is the gaseous phase (state) of water and has many domestic, commercial, and industrial uses. There are two categories of steam - wet steam and dry steam. In dry steam, all the water molecules stay in the gaseous state. In wet steam, some of the water molecules have released their energy (latent heat) and begin condensing into water droplets.

Steam, usually created by a boiler burning coal or other fuels, became the primary source of energy for mechanical movement during the industrial revolution, ultimately being replaced by fossil fuels and electricity.

Steam has many commercial and industrial uses. In agricultural, steam is used to remediate and sterilize soil. In power generation, approximately 90% of our electricity is created using steam as the working fluid to spin turbines. Autoclaves use steam for sterilization in microbiology labs, research, and healthcare facilities. Many commercial and industrial pieces of equipment are cleaned with steam. Finally, commercial complexes, campuses and military buildings use steam for heat and humidification.

The following video, the second part of a three part series titled “What Steam Is, How Steam is Used, and the Properties of Steam” provides the viewer with an exceptional basis to build from. Special thanks to Armstrong International who created the original work.



For more information on any industrial or commercial steam application, contact:

Mead O'Brien, Inc.
(800) 892-2769

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Part 1: What Steam Is, How Steam is Used, and the Properties of Steam

Steam is the gaseous phase (state) of water and has many domestic, commercial, and industrial uses. There are two categories of steam - wet steam and dry steam. In dry steam, all the water molecules stay in the gaseous state. In wet steam, some of the water molecules have released their energy (latent heat) and begin condensing into water droplets.

Steam, usually created by a boiler burning coal or other fuels, became the primary source of energy for mechanical movement during the industrial revolution, ultimately being replaced by fossil fuels and electricity.

Steam has many commercial and industrial uses. In agricultural, steam is used to remediate and sterilize soil. In power generation, approximately 90% of our electricity is created using steam as the working fluid to spin turbines. Autoclaves use steam for sterilization in microbiology labs, research, and healthcare facilities. Many commercial and industrial pieces of equipment are cleaned with steam. Finally, commercial complexes, campuses and military buildings use steam for heat and humidification.

The following video, the first part of a three part series titled “What Steam Is, How Steam is Used, and the Properties of Steam” provides the viewer with an exceptional basis to build from. Special thanks to Armstrong International who created the original work.


For more information on any industrial or commercial steam application, contact:

Mead O'Brien, Inc.
www.meadobrien.com
(800) 892-2769

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Mead O'Brien: Steam and Hot Water System Experts


Let Mead O’Brien help you create a sustainable Steam Trap Management Process!
  • Trained Survey Technicians 
  • Traps located and identified, tagged with SS tag #, and data logged with up to 27 fields of useful data per trap 
  • Executive summary, Failed trap report with steam & dollar losses, detailed Log sheets, and Recommendations are all provided in a professional report. 
  • Monitoring options presented for critical service applications 
  • Steam flow measurement design 
  • Heat recovery potential 
  • Training options in a live steam lab 
Realize the Savings Now!
  • Reduce steam & condensate losses 
  • Reduce loss of boiler chemicals 
  • Improve heat transfer performance 
  • Prevent coil and heat exchanger damage 
  • Minimize water hammer hazards 


Mead O’Brien and Armstrong, more than 85 years of Steam & Hot Water System Optimization

  • Steam Distribution
  • Process Heat Transfer and Control
  • Condensate Return
  • Heat Recovery Opportunities
  • Process, Ambient & Combustion Air
  • Steam Trap Surveys & Database Creation 
  • Humidification Assessment
  • Application issues
    • - Coil Freezing Issues
    • - Poor Heat Transfer & Steam Control - Water Hammer Issues
    • - High Backpressure
  • Steam & Condensate Measurements, Control & Monitoring

Learning Systems:

  • Armstrong University
  • Over 125 web-based courses 
  • Mead O’Brien Live Steam Lab
  • Content Tailored for Plant Need

Friday, January 15, 2016

Steam Trap Testing Guide for Energy Conservation

steam trap testing schedule
Annual steam trap testing schedule

Below is a steam trap testing guide (courtesy of Armstrong International) to maximize efficiency and conserve energy. This guide discusses:
  • Steam Trap Testing Procedure 
  • Tips On Listening 
  • Inverted Bucket 
  • Float & Thermostatic Trap 
  • Disc Trap 
  • Thermostatic Trap 
  • Sub-Cooling Trap 
  • Traps on Superheated Steam
CAUTION: Valves in steam lines should be opened or closed by authorized personnel only, following the correct procedure for specific system conditions. Always isolate steam trap from pressurized supply and return lines before opening for inspection or repair. Isolate strainer from pressurized system before opening to clean. Failure to follow correct procedures can result in system damage and possible bodily injury.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Steam System Condensate - Save Big by Managing its Proper Return

Recover condensate
Recover/return steam condensate
An often overlooked place to find savings in the operation of a manufacturing plant is the steam condensate return system. Returning condensate to the boiler feedwater system saves energy by returning pre-heated water, thus requiring less energy to maintain the feed water temperature. Furthermore, condensate is pre-treated, eliminating the need for additional expensive treatment.

Steam use in modern plants is everywhere. The condensate derived from its use is an asset that needs to be recycled. Older steam systems may have poor condensate return piping, or none at all. For these situations, creating or extending return lines should be considered. Steam traps in older systems are also suspect. Older traps are not as efficient or reliable as newer designs.

According to Armstrong International’s Senior Utility Systems Engineer Novena Iordanova, steam traps are very important in the condensate return/feedwater cycle. She believes the first purpose of a steam system is to deliver steam to a users defined area of need, and second, to return the resulting condensate back to the boiler. Unfortunately, in many cases the second goal is overlooked.

In older plants, a complete steam system evaluation, and many times an overhaul, is required. Professionals should be called in as plant maintenance staff typically doesn’t have the expertise required. The reasons for steam system degradation are common in the life cycle of plant operation. Over time, plant upgrades, new lines, expansion, and new equipment can have a significant detrimental effect on condensate return systems. The focus usually goes to the main headers and distribution, but condensate return doesn’t receive the same attention. The result can be a steam system that is no longer efficient - meaning high back pressures, water hammer, broken or freezing pipes, and leaks. At that point, the plant needs professional help for a complete system review.

steam trap
Steam trap
(courtesy of Armstrong)
The most important player in condensate recovery is the steam trap. Steam traps play the critical role of separating steam and condensate at the moment its formed. Traps discharge the condensate downstream to the boiler for reuse. Proper sizing, installation, and maintenance from the start will save huge amounts of money in terms of energy savings and maintenance time.

Frequent and regular inspections of steam traps are essential, but in reality they are many times postponed or rescheduled. Steam trap inspection is tough work. Traps are usually located in hard to see, hot, and tight areas. Over time, the difficulty (combined with the perceived low priority) degenerates to spotty inspection routines, higher trap fail rates and higher steam costs.

The good news is that steam trap monitoring systems now exist that can monitor the performance of steam traps and alert maintenance when things start to deteriorate. Steam trap monitoring systems report conditions that point to filature, and also alarm when things break down. Accordingly, maintenance is in a position to take preventive action, or make swift repairs. Any plant with a considerable number of stream traps should strongly consider deploying a steam trap monitoring system.

Steam trap monitoring systems monitor the thermal and acoustic characteristic of the trap and report any significant changes. Today many monitoring systems are wireless, and many operate on common plant communication systems such as WirelessHART, a communication protocol gaining worldwide acceptance.

Its important to mention here though, the on the most common mistake plant personnel make when it comes to their system is also one of  the most obvious - insulation. The use of high quality, well maintained insulation, installed to allow access to steam components is critical. The energy savings alone from well insulated pipes and traps is argument enough for making the initial time and dollar investment for proper insulating.

If you’re a plant manager and are looking for significant measurable and meaningful ways to lower energy costs, you must consider a well planned and well executed steam trap management program.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Suggestions for An Efficient Industrial Steam System


(image courtesy of OSHA.gov)
Here is a video, courtesy of Armstrong International, which provides a broad overview, and suggestions for proper use, of the key components of a well designed steam system.  Covered in this video are:
  • 4 basic components of a steam system
  • Water-side care
  • Steam mains
  • Drip legs and drip traps
  • Branch piping, or runouts
  • Non-condensible gases
  • Proper selection of trap type and size
  • Thermostatic and thermodynamic traps
  • Thermostatic air vents
  • Vacuum breakers
  • Condensate management
  • Heat exchangers
  • Return lines

For more information on any steam or hot water system, contact:

Mead O'Brien
(800) 892-2769
www.meadobrien.com