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Comment Heat Transfer

Detecting steam-trap leaks gets easier

By Dorothy Lozowski |

Steam traps are designed to allow condensate, but not steam, to escape from a steam line. When they malfunction, however, numerous costly consequences can result including energy losses, insufficient heating to processes, maintenance issues and more. At its Global Users Exchange in late October, Emerson Process Management (St. Louis, Mo.; www.emersonprocess.com) introduced a new wireless device that continually monitors steam traps for leaks, making them easier to find and thus promptly repair. Currently, some leaky steam traps are only repaired when someone notices they are leaking. A better approach to steam trap monitoring is periodic manual inspections, but this also has its drawbacks. The Rosemount 708 Wireless Acoustic Transmitter combines temperature and sound measurements that can continually monitor and detect a leaky steam trap, and also analyze for other problems, such as a possible plug in the line. Each unit is strapped onto the steam pipe near the steam trap to be monitored. This same technology and device can also be used on pressure relief lines to detect when a pressure relief valve has opened.
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