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Reliability Improvement Programs in Steam Distribution and Power Generation Systems
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This paper will present alternatives to costly corrective maintenance of the steam trap and condensate return system, and the paybacks associated with instituting a program of planned maintenance management of that system. Energy costs can be reduced by 10% and maintenance costs by 20%, while achieving other tangible improvements in the reliability and efficiency of the system. Recent studies have shown that more than 40% of all installed steam traps and 20% of certain types of valves need some form of corrective action. The majority of all high backpressure problems in condensate return systems are due to poor design criteria. in expandlng or retrofitting existing return systems. By instituting a maintenance management program, a 95% reliability can be gained within two to four annual maintenance cycles. The associated operational problems can be greatly reduced. The maintenance management concept involves: 1) centralized project management; 2) diagnostic and inspection expertise; 3) system troubleshooting; 4) data analysis, reporting and recommendations; 5) maintenance repairs and follow-up; and 6) software and data base management. Several case studies, in which the concept has been successfully applied, will be presented. Energy costs, which have been on the rise for the past ten years, have now leveled off due to global supply and demand issues. But that is not true of the costs to maintain capital equipment such as steam distribution and power generation systems. Those costs continue to rise. If the basic principles of maintenance management are applied, when upgrading poorly maintained steam systems, those upgraded systems can be a fast payback of savings in energy, manpower and inventory. Three major areas where the savings can be gained are the steam traps, valve and condensate return systems. Such systems can be found in power generation, steam distribution, and in all types of durable and non-durable industrial productions.
Petto, S. (1987). Reliability Improvement Programs in Steam Distribution and Power Generation Systems. Energy Systems Laboratory (http://esl.eslwin.tamu.edu). Available electronically from