Condensate discharge

The moisture content of steam is about 5%. The moisture is not condensed; it travels with saturated steam. Certain processes are not compatible with moist steam; in this case, moisture can be removed using steam separators, for example.

Condensate accumulates on the bottom surfaces of steam systems, for example, piping, which must be discharged to ensure trouble-free heat transfer in the condensate system. The reasons for industrial use of steam are discussed in the section Steam and condensate and equipment choice-related factors are covered in the section Industrial valves. This section, Condensate discharge, discusses equipment supporting the construction of trouble-free steam and condensate systems. Correct equipment choices enhanced by skilful design and pipework contracting ensure a smooth and uninterrupted process.

A steam trap for every outlet

Steam traps can be divided into four main groups:

1. Thermal-thermodynamic bi-metallic steam traps are compact steam traps that withstand superheating. Application examples include power plant line water systems.

2. Thermostatic capsule steam traps, which are suitable for saturated steam lines, for example, line water systems. Heavy-duty steam traps with a condensate discharge capacity of many thousands of kilograms constitute a subgroup of the capsule steam trap group.

3. Mechanical float steam traps, which are typically installed after a consumption point – for example, heat exchangers.

4. Thermodynamic steam traps could be specified as the fourth group. However, these suffer from insufficient air removal ability and live steam loss, for which reason we at Konwell do not recommend using them.

Equipment for problem solving

In some cases, a negative differential pressure occurs in the process, which means that the condensate does not travel in the desired direction in the system. Auxiliary energy can be provided for condensate with the help of condensate lifters, thereby allowing condensate discharge under any circumstances.

When the steam line is closed for the duration of maintenance breaks, the pressure is lost. However, condensate still forms in small amounts because of saturated steam remaining in the piping. Such condensate residues should be removed manually over a valve. The use of an automatic start-up condensate drain valve AK45 is also an option; it is started by the loss of differential pressure, in other words, conversely to the steam trap operation.

Steam distribution between several lines or condensate collection from several lines should be arranged in a co-ordinated manner. Use of steam and condensate manifolds speeds up equipment maintenance, allows structures that are more compact, and saves investment costs.

Steam traps and shut-off valves are sometimes damaged. The damaged units should be repaired as soon as possible, in order to ensure trouble-free process operation and to eliminate energy losses. The Konwell measurement service will take care of the mapping for you. The leak detector used for measurements can also be acquired by the customer for their own use.