Improving Energy Efficiency and Reliability with Wireless Measurements

At the 2018 Emerson Exchange conference, Emerson’s John Hillencamp and Brian Joe joined a specialty chemical manufacturer to share how they saved energy costs and improved reliability with wireless measurements and the Plantweb digital ecosystem.

John opened the presentation on why monitoring steam traps is important. The purpose of a trap is to remove the condensate that occurs as steam cools as it travels through the pipes. A steam trap can fail close or open.

The typical way to perform maintenance is to perform route-based manual inspections. A single trap may be inspected every 6 months or once a year. Failing open means a blow through of steam to atmosphere wasting energy. Six months of blowthrough conditions for one of these traps meant $4,500 in wasted energy for this manufacturer.

With Rosemount wireless acoustic steam trap monitors, the traps could be continuously monitored. Plantweb Insight is used to transform acoustic and temperature data into alerts that spot conditions leading to failures.

The software installation is done in a virtual machine to control the software environment and simplify the installation. When installed Plantweb Insight immediate spotted 4 traps in blowthrough conditions representing large energy losses.

The Plantweb Insight user interface provides a managerial overview on the health of the steam traps and the ability to drill down into individual traps.

The presenters then shifted to discussing pump monitoring. It included vibration, flow, differential pressure across a pump strainer, and suction and discharge pressure on the pump. Wireless devices were used to perform these measurements.

Plantweb Insight was used to monitor the health of these pumps and identify problems early before unplanned downtime might occur.