12172017Sun
Last updateFri, 15 Dec 2017 3pm

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Process Instrumentation in Oil and Gas

Process Instrumentation in Oil and Gas

Process instrumentation is an integral p...

Check Valves in LNG Cryogenic Service

Check Valves in LNG Cryogenic Service

Because natural gas is currently conside...

Will Smart Machines Obsolete Human Resources?

Will Smart Machines Obsolete Human Resources?

Is artificial intelligence (AI) going to...

Is Valve Live Loading an Option?

Is Valve Live Loading an Option?

Valves leak. There’s no getting ar...

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Construction and Mining: Is 2018 The Year for Growth?

Construction and Mining: Is 2018 The Year for Growth?

Tuesday, 12 December 2017  |  Kate Kunkel

While there is a degree of optimism in the mining industry that hasn’t been seen for some years, much uncertainty still exists in this sector. A...

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Industry Headlines

United Valve Names Jim Nelson Engineering and Production Manager

2 DAYS AGO

United Valve LP has promoted Jim Nelson to production and engineering manager. Nelson will be responsible for overseeing all production and engineering activities at United Valve.

“Jim Nelson has demonstrated consummate professionalism and shown his strong leadership skills, earning the respect ...

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Setpoint I.S. Honored by Baton Rouge Business Report

3 DAYS AGO

Setpoint Integrated Solutions (Setpoint I.S.) was honored this fall at the Baton Rouge Business Report’s Top 100 Private Companies Luncheon. Celebrating its 35th Anniversary this year, the Baton Rouge Business Report hosts many events in the community.

At the most recent event , the Top 100 Private C...

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EIA Forecasts Record U.S. Oil Output in 2018

2 DAYS AGO

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that U.S. crude oil production averaged 9.7 million barrels per day (b/d) in November, up 360,000 b/d from the October level. Most of the increase was in the Gulf of Mexico, where production was 290,000 b/d higher than in October. Higher pro...

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Chemical Industry Growth Rate Surpasses 20-Year Average

4 DAYS AGO

The U.S. chemical industry is riding a global wave of growth as the world’s major economies experience an upswing for the first time in a decade. Increased output and accelerating growth rates that surpass the previous twenty-year average will help cement the business of American chemistry as ...

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U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders Up 6.3%

4 DAYS AGO

Orders for manufacturing technology kept their momentum in October 2017, gaining 6.3% over September to a total value of $428.32 million, according to the latest U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders Report from The Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT). Year to date, orders are up 7.6% comp...

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NAM Survey: Manufacturers’ Optimism Reaches Record High

5 DAYS AGO

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) released the results of the Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey for the fourth quarter of 2017, showing manufacturers’ optimism has risen to unprecedented heights amid the legislative progress made on tax reform. With 94.6% of respondents saying ...

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The Well-Functioning Steam Trap

vmwnt09 beyond valves 1Ultrasonic instruments are used to test a thermodynamic steam trapSteam traps are the most important link between the steam and condensate system. Malfunctioning steam traps can waste tremendous amounts of money. Here is an example: A single inverted bucket steam trap (with a one-eighth-inch orifice) blowing-thru in a 150 psi, where the steam cost is $11.00 per 1,000 lbs. of steam produced, will waste 62.49 lbs. of steam per hour and cost approximately $6,022 in fuel losses per year.

 

Steam Traps Defined

For those who are not familiar with the steam trap, it is an automatic valve that, when operating properly, opens to purge a steam system of condensate and closes with the presence of steam.

There are three types of steam traps:

  • Density operated, which includes the inverted-bucket (IB) and the float and thermostatic (FT) types
  • Thermostatic (TH), specifically, the balance-pressure thermostatic (BPT) type
  • Thermodynamic (TD), either the disc or impulse type

Trap Characteristics

vmwnt09 beyond valves 2An inverted bucket steam trapFloat and thermostatic traps consist of a ball float and a thermostatic bellows element. As condensate flows through the body, the float rises or falls, opening the valve according to the flow rate. The thermostatic element discharges air from the steam lines. They are good in heavy and light loads and on high and low pressure, but are not recommended where water-hammer is a possibility.

When these traps fail, they usually fail closed. However, the ball float may become damaged and sink down, failing in the open position. The thermostatic element may also fail and cause a fail-open condition.

Thermostatic traps have, as the main operating element, a metallic corrugated bellows that is filled with an alcohol mixture that has a boiling point lower than that of water. The bellows will contract when in contact with condensate and expand when steam is present. Should a heavy condensate load occur, such as in start-up, the bellows will remain in a contracted state, allowing condensate to flow continuously. As steam builds up, the bellows will close. Therefore, there will be moments when this trap will act as a “continuous flow” type while at other times it will act intermittently as it opens and closes to condensate and steam, or it may remain totally closed.

These traps adjust automatically to variations of steam pressure but may be damaged in the presence of water-hammer. They can fail open should the bellows become damaged or due to particulates in the valve hole that will prevent adequate closing. Sometimes the trap becomes plugged and will fail closed.

Inverted bucket traps have a “bucket” that rises or falls as steam and/or condensate enters the trap body. When steam is in the body, the bucket rises, closing a valve. As condensate enters, the bucket sinks down, opening a valve and allowing the condensate to drain.

Inverted bucket traps are ideally suited for water-hammer conditions but may be subject to freezing in low temperature climates if not insulated. When an inverted bucket trap fails, it fails open due to the bucket losing its prime and sinking, or from impurities in the system that may prevent the valve from closing.

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