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Effective Steam Trap Selection/Maintenance - Its Payback
In oil refineries and petrochemical plants large number of steam traps are used to discharge condensate from steam mains, tracers and process equipment. Early efforts on steam traps focused almost exclusively on their selection and sizing, and it was not until the 1973 oil embargo that a need for regular maintenance became recognized. Although relatively small pieces of equipment, traps are responsible for large quantities of steam losses, decreased equipment efficiency and high maintenance costs; e.g., a steam trap leaking 100 psig steam through a 1/8 inch orifice costs at least $2k/yr if steam is valued at $5/k lb. Typically, a steam trap survey identifies 20-60% of traps malfunctioning. Therefore, establishing an effective steam trap selection/maintenance program is not simple but can be extremely profitable. This paper will show how a successful checking/maintenance program can result in high returns by using a case study at an Exxon plant. The example also shows how a central engineering organization can interact with plant technicians/ maintenance personnel to help implement an effective steam trap maintenance program at competitive costs and high returns.
Garcia, E. (1984). Effective Steam Trap Selection/Maintenance - Its Payback. Energy Systems Laboratory (http://esl.tamu.edu); Texas A&M University (http://www.tamu.edu). Available electronically from