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Wireless Diagnostics for Steam Traps

By Chris Gibbs, Armstrong International, Inc. |

    Steam traps have been around for a hundred years or so, and for the most part, nothing revolutionary has come forward to change the basic way a trap functions. Any operation that uses steam to produce a high-quality, consistent product depends on a multitude of these ingenious devices to do their job day in and day out. Yet, who watches over these steam traps, which may number in the thousands, to ensure that they perform without fail? Who conducts the weekly, monthly and annual inspections recommended by the U.S. Department of Energy to make sure these traps function as they should? Let’s face it, maintenance staffs have been cut back, and even though just one blown trap can cost a plant more than $6,000 a year, "best practices" fall by the wayside when it comes to the time-consuming task of inspections. For those who do conduct trap surveys, valuable hours can be spent on manual inspections that may show a trap performing as it should one day, but failing the next. Worse yet, these surveys put workers at risk by exposing them to high elevations or hazardous plant areas. While traps may not have changed much in the last hundred years, the technology to diagnose and monitor their performance has. Wireless,…
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