Process, energy, and maintenance managers looking to maximise safety, efficiency, and productivity, are being urged to take a proactive approach to plant management by including wireless steam trap monitoring within their proactive maintenance regime.
Wireless steam trap monitoring systems, such as Spirax Total Acoustic Performance Solutions (STAPS), complement an existing steam trap programme by providing real-time data on trap performance and condition: a sure-fire way to lower costs, boost productivity and use resource more strategically.
“Plant managers are already likely to have strong systems in place to keep their steam traps working,” said Mike Griffin, Spirax Sarco’s Emerging & Innovative Technologies Manager. “They could be doing annual surveys, regular inspections, maintenance programmes, or even a combination of these three.”
While effective, however, these methods are also reactive. Any problems that occur in the intervals, therefore, could go unnoticed for weeks, leading to lost savings, wasted energy and even safety compromises.
“Traps can leak, seize or go cold,” said Mike. “What’s more, with budgets and resources stretched, plant managers often don’t have the in-house capability to keep on top of their entire steam trap population. Even one day of steam trap failure could result in losses or safety breaches that today’s ultra-competitive businesses can ill afford.”
Wireless monitoring systems, like STAPS, are a quick and easy way to implement continuous condition monitoring of every steam trap so that failures are spotted and sorted before they become major problems for production. STAPS will identify steam leaks from traps instantaneously which, if left undetected, are a missed opportunity to save money and reduce environmental impact. The purpose built software is ideal for performance monitoring and reporting.
“They’re also easy to install,” Mike added. “You simply clamp the head unit onto the upstream side of a steam trap. The unit then transmits the data from the head unit back to the receiver. As STAPS are wireless, it’s also easier to include remote, harder-to-access areas of your plant, such as at a high level”.
Those plant managers who already rely on several contracted businesses to manage their steam traps can consolidate their existing relationships into one, integrated package, for added security and peace of mind.
“Plant managers are busy people, which is why one point of contact is always preferred,” Mike said. “That’s why Spirax Sarco offers total steam trap monitoring as an integrated package that includes surveys, maintenance and inspections.”
As purse strings are tightened and legislation gets stricter, the role of steam traps and their condensate recovery capabilities will become vital. By combining proactive and reactive methods as part of an integrated service package, those at the frontline of plant and energy management can confidently leave the steam traps to do their job, so they can focus on other areas of critical plant requiring hands-on action.
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