Steam traps are an integral part of steam systems in the chemical process industries (CPI). Steam is commonly used to add energy into a process through its latent heat (steam heat), while the resultant sensible heat (hot condensate) drains through steam traps. The operation of these traps influences the entire steam system’s function and reliability.
Steam trap operation has a bearing on the following:
• Process controllability
• Production capacity
• Cycle time
• Energy consumption
• Emissions (carbon footprint)
There are three possible types of steam traps in process facilities: drip traps, tracer traps and process traps. Drip traps help ensure that high quality steam serves the processes through the effective draining of the mains. They also protect the distribution system by reducing the chance of water hammer. Tracer traps keep process fluids flowing properly in the transmission pipelines connecting the processes, around the process and to and from storage tanks. Process traps ensure that the process is operating both effectively and efficiently by removing the condensate as it forms without the loss of live steam. It is important that the steam trap be the right type…