Optimizing Food and Beverage Steam Usage

by , | Dec 10, 2020 | Digital Transformation, Food & Beverage

Jim Cahill

Chief Blogger, Social Marketing Leader

At the Emerson Exchange Americas Virtual Series, Emerson’s Josh Friesz shared ways to monitor steam traps to help assure quality production in Food & Beverage applications. Here is his presentation abstract:

Steam is used throughout food and beverage manufacturing facilities for both processing and cleaning. Steam traps are placed on steam lines to collect and remove condensate in order to keep steam readily flowing. Though fairly simple apparatuses, steam traps can cause big problems for food and beverage manufacturers when not operating properly. Join us to learn potential issues with steam traps and how to prevent them from causing safety issues, increasing utility costs, and most importantly, impacting product quality.

Josh opened describing the key challenges for food & beverage manufacturers. These include seeking to maximize production, increasing reliability, ensuring quality and achieving sustainable operations. Steam trap monitoring is critical to helping address all these challenges.

Typical steam trap

Steam is used in cooking, cleaning & sterilization, drying, humification, general processing, plant steam, culinary & filtered steam, clean steam and pure steam. Improper steam management can lead to extended time to bring process to temperature, over and under coking, insufficient cleaning and energy loss. Typically steam traps do not have online, continuous monitoring.

Statistically, steam trap failure rates can range for 12.5 to 25% per year causing a 5-10% energy cost loss. Cold steam traps can cause water hammer, ruptures and out of spec products.

Steam trap with Rosemount 708 wireless acoustic monitor

Problems with steam traps include blow through where the trap valve is blocked open with a continuous stream flowing out of the trap. A cold trap is when the valve is stuck closed causing condensate to build up leading to water hammer and cooling of the steam lines.

A Rosemount 708 wireless acoustic transmitter listens for steam trap problems and monitors temperature. It’s non-intrusive and easily installed. It can detect both blow through and cold trap conditions or leaking steam traps based upon the noise created by the leak.

The data from the acoustic transmitters feed the Plantweb Insight Steam Trap analytical application which enables simple interpretation including alerts to these abnormal conditions. The Insight application provides a dashboard to give status of all the steam trap monitors, an asset summary that provides a tabular summary of the monitors to enable sorting and prioritization on maintenance. An asset detail screen provides specific information on each steam trap including maintenance notes.

Visit the Rosemount 708 Wireless Acoustic Transmitter and Plantweb Insight Applications sections for more on these and other applications to optimize your steam usage.

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The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the authors. Content published here is not read or approved by Emerson before it is posted and does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Emerson.