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Last updateThu, 19 Oct 2017 5pm

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Market Outlook 2018: A Sunnier Mood with a Few Caveats

Market Outlook 2018: A Sunnier Mood with a Few Caveats

The atmosphere at VMA’s 2018 Marke...

Is it Time to Toss Those Commissions?

Is it Time to Toss Those Commissions?

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Young Valve Professionals: Megan Johnston

Young Valve Professionals: Megan Johnston

In 2014, VMA's leadership created the Val...

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Industry Headlines

Crude Oil, Petroleum Product Exports Reach Record Levels

Thursday, 19 October 2017  |  Chris Guy

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration ( EIA ), crude oil exports in the first half of 2017 increased by more than 300,000 barrels per ...

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Industry Headlines

Emerson Agrees to Acquire Paradigm

3 DAYS AGO

Emerson has agreed to acquire Paradigm for a purchase price of $510 million, reflecting a multiple of 13 times expected 2017 EBITDA. Paradigm will be joined with Emerson’s existing Roxar automation software. The acquisition is expected to close within the next 60 days, subject to various regulat...

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ValvTechnologies Receives ISO 15848 Certification

4 DAYS AGO

ValvTechnologies’ EcoPack technology has received ISO 15848-1:2015 certification from Odin Heavy Industries. To earn ISO 15848 certification, ValvTechnologies underwent a stringent evaluation process that included a series of 17 helium leak tests and eight thermal cycles on a fully assembled v...

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Crude Oil, Petroleum Product Exports Reach Record Levels

2 DAYS AGO

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration ( EIA ), crude oil exports in the first half of 2017 increased by more than 300,000 barrels per day (b/d) from the first half of 2016, reaching a record high of 0.9 million b/d. Petroleum product exports also grew over the same period with propan...

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Energy Intensity in U.S. Manufacturing Decreased

2 DAYS AGO

Energy intensity in manufacturing in the U.S. decreased from 2010 to 2014. U.S. manufacturing overall fuel intensity decreased by 4.4% from 3.016 thousand British thermal units (Btu) per dollar of output in 2010 to 2.882 thousand Btu in 2014. According to the Manufacturing Energy Consumption Survey (M...

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Fed Reports Economy Growth in September, Early October

2 DAYS AGO

Reports from all 12 Federal Reserve Districts indicated that economic activity increased in September through early October, with the pace of growth split between modest and moderate. The Richmond, Atlanta, and Dallas Districts reported major disruptions from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in some areas a...

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Industrial Production Up 0.3% in September

3 DAYS AGO

Industrial production rose 0.3% in September. The rates of change for July and August were notably revised; the current estimate for July, a decrease of 0.1%, was 0.5% lower than previously reported, while the estimate for August, a decrease of 0.7%, was 0.2% higher than before. Manufacturing output...

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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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