Moisture alarm testing on pipes shows promise

Mittel research finds value in testing, use of welded muff joints


Swedish energy technology company Mittel has concluded very promising tests to find at solution to a huge problem in the district energy industry: the difficulties with installing functioning, and frequent absence of, effective moisture alarm systems in cooling pipes. The tests show that it is possible to install fully functioning and durable moisture alarms in cooling pipes by dehumidifying the air in the joint muffs before insulation, and by always using welded muff joints for district cooling pipes.


Mittel Fjärrvärme AB, a Swedish energy technology company specializing in district energy, has carried out a study on the construction of moisture-free district cooling pipes together with the Swedish District Heating Association, Umeå Energi AB and Pipeguard. The results show that it is possible to use the same cost effective and proven alarm technology which is standard on insulated pipes for district heating, also for district cooling by dehumidifying the air in the muffs before insulating them. The method can give energy companies opportunities to prevent future costly leaks from pipes.


District cooling systems are often built without effective moisture alarm. The reason is that moisture often cumulates in the insulation and impairs the copper alarm wires. Without a functional moisture alarm system, the ability to detect and locate leaks is seriously impaired. District cooling pipes often suffer from costly leaks and repairs.
The new method that Mittel and its partners have now tested in Umeå in northern Sweden is based on the process of dehumidifying the air in the muffs before insulating them. The district cooling pipe case joints are dried and dehumidified before foaming, and subsequently jointed with welding sleeves using the patented Mittel TSC method. Mittel TSC is an advanced method for case jointing of pre-insulated pipes with welding sleeves that makes the joints as strong and durable as the pipes.


District cooling is a cost and energy effective, and environmentally friendly method to cool buildings with very promising growth potential in especially warmer countries. The systems are technically constructed in the same way that district heating systems are constructed – but the moisture problem is much greater. The moisture problem has led to energy companies not even bothering installing leak detection systems due to the systems inevitably and quite quickly being destroyed by the moisture.


The study by Mittel & Co shows that it is possible to install functioning alarm systems by making the joints practically completely moist free, by using standard equipment for dehumidification. As a result, energy companies could also use the same monitoring centrals for district cooling that they use for district heating.


“This is great news for heat plants and energy companies all over the world. Monitoring with alarm wires has been a huge success in district heating; now it can be used for district cooling as well”, said Lars Gunnarsson, CTO, Mittel.


“We strongly recommend to always use welded muff joints for district cooling pipes. Leaking joints can have major consequences when you deal with cold pipes.”

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
A cool solution: Collaboration, chemistry leads to foundry coat product development; See the 2015 Product of the Year Finalists
Raising the standard: What's new with NFPA 70E; A global view of manufacturing; Maintenance data; Fit bearings properly
Sister act: Building on their father's legacy, a new generation moves Bales Metal Surface Solutions forward; Meet the 2015 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Upgrading secondary control systems; Keeping enclosures conditioned; Diagnostics increase equipment uptime; Mechatronics simplifies machine design
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Building high availability into industrial computers; Of key metrics and myth busting; The truth about five common VFD myths

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.