Scheduled steam trap inspection is essential to reduce steam consumption and improve efficiency. Steam system inefficiency causes lost profit in areas such as
• Steam loss through leaking traps, bypass valve and failed-open trap
• Heat loss due to non-insulated or improperly installed piping and equipment.
• Reliability impact due to high failure rate of traps
• Production impact especially cold traps
• Environmental impact as high energy consumption that leads to GHG emissions
Our inspection methods can detect small leaks that is not visible. A proper maintenance program can yield up to 20% in energy savings! We have more than 30 years experience with steam traps and provide quality advice to improve your steam trap performance.
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Steam Trap Management Methodology
Steps for sustainable and successful steam trap management:
1. Survey : Our qualified technicians will inspect every steam trap in your plant with our steam trap detectors. The equipment measures the vibration and temperature of the trap.
2. Analyze : A database of the tag no., steam trap location, model/type, size and performance of all the steam traps will be created and maintained. Together with the vibration and temperature data gathered from the survey, each trap will be analyzed for leaks.
3. Replace : Reducing steam losses is our priority and we will recommend replacement of leaking steam traps. We can work out suitable schedule to replace all faulty steam traps in the plant.
Steam Trap Inspection Methods
Techmatic uses various methods to inspect a steam trap. They are:
- 1) Visual Inspection
- 2) Ultrasonic Vibration
- 3) Thermal Imaging
- 4) Stethoscope
Visual Inspection of steam trap
This is the easiest way to check the performance. Flash steam is produced when condensate at high temperature is released to a lower pressure. It is normal for to see flash steam when the condensate is being discharged.
Live steam indicates that the steam trap may be leaking.
Using Ultrasonic Vibration
Condensate flowing through a steam trap produces sound and vibration. Miyawaki’s ultrasonic vibration detector is able to measure both vibration and temperature at the same time. A high vibration is one of the indicators that the steam trap is leaking.
Additionally, there are other signs which our experienced inspectors look out for. One such sign is the temperature at the steam trap inlet and outlet. A higher than normal temperature indicates that the steam trap is leaking. Also, we observe the periodic characteristics of the vibration. This is why an experienced inspector with good knowledge of how different steam trap works is important in the diagnosis.
A thermal imager allows us to check the internal steam flow within the steam trap. Also, it is useful to check steam traps which are out of reach or not safe to approach physically. In such cases, we can observe the area around the steam trap would be significantly hotter due to the leaking steam.
It is always best to rely on your own hearing to verify that a steam trap is leaking. When we suspect a steam trap is leaking, eg. having high vibration, our standard procedure is to use the stethoscope to listen to the steam trap to confirm this.
A steam trap leaking vapor will produce a high pitched sound.
This step ensures that we do not replace a steam trap that is working fine.
After recording all the vibration and temperature data in the field, we input these data into our software. The software will evaluate the steam leak and calculate each steam loss. A wide variety of steam traps from various manufacturers is available in SurveyPro.
Our detailed report includes a defective trap list, analysis summary and historical data if the client has previously done a steam trap inspection with us. Therefore the effects of periodic surveys can be seen quickly.
Working closely with customer to replace the steam traps
Our job is not done upon submission of the steam trap inspection report. Techmatic works closely with our clients to make the replacement process a seamless experience.
Based on the list of faulty traps and changes in process requirements, we will propose a list of suitable replacements.
Working closely with the customer based on their schedule and budget, we help the customer prioritize and replace those contributing to the highest steam loss.
Steam Trap Tagging
As a large refinery can have thousands of steam traps, some of the steam traps may be forgotten. Techmatic can help to ensure that all steam traps are tracked by maintaining a database of all the steam traps and their location. Each and every steam trap will be tagged for easy reference.
For faulty traps, we will hang a label on the steam trap for easy identification. Then, our engineers will propose a suitable replacement, taking into account operational changes and installation limitations.