Thursday, October 29, 2015

Steam Heat Exchanger Stall - Eliminate It For Best Performance

Steam Heat Exchanger
Industrial Steam Heat Exchanger
Courtesy JFD Tube & Coil Products
Efficient and reliable operation is always an objective of a steam system owner or operator. If your system employs heat exchangers, an understanding of heat exchanger stall will put you on a path to efficient operation, lower maintenance, and possibly longer useful life for major parts of your system.

Heat exchanger stall occurs when low load conditions reduce the steam pressure in the heat exchanger, decreasing the pressure differential across the steam trap to a point below the back pressure in the condensate line. The resulting condition causes condensate to back up into the heat exchanger, reducing its efficiency. There are other negative effects that are illustrated in the animated video below, produced by world recognized steam system experts Spirax Sarco and presented by Mountain States Engineering, a distributor in the Western US.

The video is useful and comprehensible to a wide range of  skill and knowledge levels. It takes only four minutes to view, and will leave you with a better understanding of how you can get consistent and efficient performance from your steam system.

For a steam system survey and evaluation, contact the engineers at Mountain States Engineering. They have the technical knowledge, products, and other resources to deliver solid and positive solutions for keeping your steam systems at peak operation.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

What You Should Know About Industrial Steam

Electric power generation plant
Electric Power Generation Plant
One of many industrial and commercial uses of steam.
Steam has been an important part of industrial operations since long before your parents were born, and not just for electric power generation. The staying power of steam for commercial and industrial operations stems from its use as a delivery medium for power, heat, and moisture. Today, other than for power generation, steam is frequently used as a method of delivering heat. That, and a range of other uses throughout industry mean that your familiarity with the various elements of a steam production and delivery system are a key part of your personal knowledge base. Your understanding of the basics will serve you well in planning sessions, project discussions, and decision making throughout your industrial career. Even if you are not an engineer, do not carry a tool bag, and only wear a hardhat when you visit the plant floor, knowing about steam systems can boost your decision making skills and confidence on projects where steam is employed.

Spirax Sarco, a world class manufacturer of products and turnkey solutions for the control and efficient use of steam for industrial and commercial users, has produced a set of tutorials that allow you to learn about a wide range of topics directly related to the production and use of steam in industrial and commercial settings. The tutorials are grouped in major sections, with subtopics dividing each subject into smaller parts, making it easy to find a specific topic or break your knowledge gathering operation into more manageable pieces. Major topics include:

  • Introduction
  • Steam Engineering Principles and Heat Transfer
  • The Boiler House
  • Flow Metering
  • Basic Control Theory
  • Control Hardware: Electric/Pneumatic Actuation
  • Control Hardware: Self-acting Actuation
  • Control Applications
  • Safety Valves
  • Steam Distribution
  • Steam Traps and Steam Trapping
  • Pipeline Ancillaries
  • Condensate Removal
  • Condensate Recovery
  • Desuperheating
  • Equations
Few of us will want or need to get through all of it. This is, however, and excellent resource for stakeholders that want to have a bookmark where they can build or refresh their knowledge about the subject. You can gain access to the tutorials through contact with a sales engineer, another valuable resource you should employ in seeking industrial process control solutions.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Easy Pressure Switch Installation for Hazardous Areas

Adjustable Setpoint Pressure
Pressure Switch for Hazardous
Courtesy Custom Control Sensors
Industrial process control applications present an unending stream of challenges to designers, engineers, technicians, and other stakeholders. Because of the general nature and scale of industrial operations, there is often danger and risk involved during normal operation, as well as the potential for catastrophic impact to personnel, environment, and other assets in the the case of failure. The equipment and components we employ in our processes have three areas of consideration. Firstly, they must perform some range of functions reliably under normal operating conditions. Second, the contribution of any device to the risk of process failure must be minimized. Thirdly, there may be performance requirements for the device under abnormal process or environmental conditions.

Hazardous areas, with potentially explosive atmospheres due to the presence of certain gases or fine particulates, pose a particularly challenging set of circumstances to those of us striving to make things work properly. Everything within the hazardous area must be hardened in such a way that it poses no risk of being the source of ignition of the surrounding atmosphere. There are various effective methods for accomplishing this, most of which involve substantially increased cost and time.

Custom Control Sensors, a manufacturer that devotes a substantial portion of its product line to control devices for use in hazardous areas, has added a new development to their series of adjustable setpoint industrial pressure switches. The latest addition to the line is suitable for hazardous areas and has a unique feature that will save time, money, and a even a little space in your process area.

The newest version of the company's 6900 series industrial pressure switch features a Turck® connector that simplifies installation in Class I, Division 2 applications. Use of the connector eliminates the need for an electrical junction box at the sensor location and makes installation or removal of the device a simple operation. This improvement simplifies the deployment of pressure switches in hazardous areas.

The features and specifications for the product are included in the data sheet that I have shared below. The manufacturer sees applications for the product in:

  • Wellhead control panels
  • Chemical injection skids
  • Hydraulic control packages
  • Gas compression skids
  • Off-shore and on-shore installations
You may have your own potentially advantageous applications for this or some other CCS products. Contact a product specialist to explore product solutions to your process challenges.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Cooling Tower Corrosion Resistance - It's Easy

Corrosion resistant cooling tower installation
Corrosion resistant cooling tower
Courtesy Delta Cooling Towers
Machinery that will be continuously bathed in a spray of water throughout its operating life is certainly a good candidate for some corrosion protection. Locate this equipment outdoors, perhaps in a coastal area, and the potential to gain benefits from a corrosion resistant installation are more than clear.

Cooling towers fit my previous description admirably, and their scope of application makes them an essential element of facility operation. Every unit is exposed to combined effects of variable water chemistry, constant saturation at elevated temperatures, and aeration. Some cooling towers also are impacted by potentially harmful agents in the process water and various airborne pollutants, including sulfur oxides and acid rain.

For those not entirely familiar with how a cooling tower works, here are the very basics. Cooling towers transfer an amount of heat from one or more water-cooled machines or systems to outdoor air. Heated water from the water cooled systems enters the cooling tower, distributes over a heat transfer surface (sometimes called the fill), and is cooled by an induced air flow that is forced through the fill. The flowing air causes a portion of the water to evaporate, removing heat and lowering the temperature of the water. The cooled water is collected in a basin and returned to the system to repeat the heat transfer cycle.

Traditionally, cooling towers were fabricated of metal because of its structural strength and ability to be formed using readily available fabricating means. Differing metals were employed, at basic to premium price points, to provide increased levels of resistance to the ever present corroding nature of water and weather. Many cooling towers built today employ the same, or similar, materials and methods used decades ago. There is, and has been for quite some time now, a modern alternative to metal cooling tower construction that provides substantially increased levels of corrosion resistance at a competitive price point.

Delta Cooling Towers, Inc. manufactures cooling towers using structural and other plastics, enabling them to provide a 20 year warranty covering the basic structure of the unit. The product line provides capacity and performance range to cover almost any requirement. If you are in the business of specifying heat rejection equipment for your own facility, or one of your client's, you should get more detailed information about this equipment. Have a discussion about your application requirements, and concerns about operational longevity, with a product specialist. Good decisions come from combining the knowledge and experience of many.

As a quick reference, included below is a list of materials used in the construction of the Delta Cooling Towers unit. A quick glance by anyone familiar with the corrosion susceptibility of metals used in tower construction will see that the superior performance of the plastic materials should be given serious consideration on a cooling tower project.