In any process plant, the hassles of effective steam utilisation are invariably associated
with the performance of the process traps. The process traps play an important role in
maintaining uptime of the plant, and steam trap performance is generally a matter of
concern for operators and utility managers. Regular/ periodic checking of traps is
required to ensure smooth functioning. However, this exercise is not easy to carry out
owing to the sheer volume of traps in any process plant.
Concerns regarding steam trap performance
The exact status of steam traps across the plant can be quite ambiguous, and
personnel are often faced with concerns like
- Are all the steam traps working properly or not?
- At what frequency should the steam traps be checked?
- Is the steam trap status being determined correctly, using the right methods?
- How can status of steam traps in a closed loop be ascertained?
Several surveys and energy audits conducted by Forbes Marshall across plants in various
industry sectors indicate that inspection of the steam and condensate system is not conducted
regularly, and almost 20 to 30% of steam traps are observed to be wasting steam. Therefore,
continuous monitoring is required to maintain the uptime of the steam traps.
Steam trap failure and impact
A steam trap can fail in open condition or in closed condition, and hamper the process as