Source Newsletter 2006 issue 3 - MnTAP
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Source Newsletter 2006 issue 3
Materials Exchange
Airport Puts Steam Trap Monitoring on
Steam trap testing and
repair are always on a
facility’s maintenance todo list, but emergencies
take precedence. A
frozen coil today means
a frozen pump that could
stop production now. So
trap maintenance gets
delayed as staff perform
triage on their projects.
Maintenance staff know
that if steam traps do
not get fixed today that
they will not be that
much worse tomorrow.
Dry Cleaning
Fiber Reinforced
Food Processing
Health Care
Machining & Metal
Metal Finishing
Painting & Wood
Vehicle Maintenance
The Metropolitan
Airports Commission
(MAC) has over 700
traps in its steam
Jamie Chatelle showed off a few of the
wireless transmitters in MAC’s steam trap
system, used for
monitoring system.
domestic hot water and
air tempering. “We’re restricted on personnel so we’ve never
had the time to monitor our steam traps as often as we’d like
to,” said Steve Shuppert, chief engineer at MAC. “We had no
way of knowing if a trap failed until there was noise in the line
or people complained about the temperature.”
Table of Contents
z Blowing Off Steam is a
Waste of Energy
z Software: Analyze Steam
z Assessing Steam Traps
z Airport Puts Steam
Trap Monitoring on
Where's Your Waste—
Summer of Solutions
Hospitals Using EtO
Dubious Defects
Low Quality Steel
DOE Energy Savings
Materials Exchange
Other Source Issues
After learning at a utility workshop about SteamEye, a steam
trap monitoring system, MAC decided to pilot the system.
Maintenance staff installed sensors on 66 steam traps in its
energy management center and tested the system for one
“It worked fantastic,” said Shuppert. MAC installed its complete
trap monitoring system in three phases.
How it works
The steam trap monitoring system uses radio frequency
wireless transmitters, threaded into the bottom of the traps, to
detect temperature and conductivity fluctuations. The
transmitters periodically send a signal to repeaters which send
the signal on to a central receiver that notifies system
operators of trap condition and instantly alerts them to failures.
MAC’s system is set up using a Web-based interface that
relates the trap number, location and when the transmitter
signal last checked in. The system uses simple, spreadsheetlike software.
Source Newsletter 2006 issue 3 - MnTAP
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“You know whether the traps are blowing through, cold or OK,”
said Jamie Chatelle, MAC assistant chief engineer. “When
there’s a problem, we get an audible alarm and we can check
the ‘failed points’ screen.”
Maintenance and boiler operators can install and reprogram the
transmitters themselves. Transmitters need to have their
batteries replaced every three to five years.
System specifications
Automated steam monitoring systems are appropriate for
facilities using high pressure steam, such as food processors,
pulp and paper mills, chemical manufacturers and facilities with
large steam distribution networks, like some hospitals and
universities. Facilities with the following characteristics may
want to evaluate an automated system:
z Industrial process and high-pressure (up to 600 psi)
z More than 100 traps
z Hard-to-reach traps, miles of steam tunnels, and traps
in unsafe, confined spaces
Shuppert estimates MAC’s system has a two-and-a-half year
payback, before the CenterPoint Energy rebate. “The rebate
was gravy on top,“ he noted.
If you decide to evaluate a steam trap monitoring system for
your facility, check with your gas utility about a custom rebate
before you begin work. Rebate eligibility requires pre-approval.
Links to utility information can be found on the Energy Web
©2006 MnTAP. Call 612/624-1300 or 800/247-0015. Site maintained by S Mellem.
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Last modified November 27, 2006
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