Boost productivity to new levels within the steam system

It is just as important to tackle the basics when it comes to techniques for boosting productivity.


Boosting productivity is all about getting the biggest ‘bang for your buck.’ Often, companies turn to advanced techniques such as lean manufacturing to raise productivity, but it’s just as important to tackle the basics. A well-managed steam system can be a real boost to productivity.

In the boiler house

  • Get your water treatment right: establish the right water treatment system to keep the boiler running smoothly and producing good, dry steam. It takes specialist advice to get it right, taking into account local conditions such as raw water hardness.

  • Install modern boiler controls: Maintaining correct boiler operation avoids wet steam being carried over into the distribution system, where it could affect heat transfer efficiency and cause unexpected shutdowns. Automatic level and blowdown controls are the key systems to review.

  • Coping with peak loads: Avoid productivity-killing boiler lockouts caused by high peak steam demands. Install an accumulator as a buffer to more advanced control systems between the boiler and the steam system if sudden peak loads from simultaneous start-up of several processes threaten to exceed boiler capacity.

In the steam distribution system

  • Accurate and fast steam controls: Fit high quality controls at the point of use to avoid poor quality or rejected process batches caused by inaccurate heating.

  • Achieve fast warm up: Avoid unnecessary production delays by ensuring your steam system is started properly and in good time

  • Survey and improve: Instigate regular steam surveys. A steam trap survey, for example, will identify any issues, such as incorrectly specified or poorly installed steam traps, which are easily fixed to help achieve higher productivity.

  • Keep heat exchangers running effectively: In some low demand applications, heat exchangers can waterlog due to insufficient pressure to remove condensate. Fit automatic pump traps to clear condensate under all conditions.

Plan for rapid maintenance

  • Use double isolation to isolate sections of your steam system safely for maintenance without shutting down the whole system.

  • Specify and use products that can be maintained quickly.

Content provided by Spirax Sarco, originally published in Steam News Magazine.

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