Oil and gas a key market for specialist steam trap

Cape Town-based steam system provider Delta Steam Systems (DSS) is gearing up for a large uptake of orders for its specialist steam traps, following the successful completion of several one- and two-year trial studies at oil and gas plants worldwide, including in South Africa, says DSS MD Bryan Anderson.

Initially introduced in 2006, DSS’s steam traps are unique in that they have no moving parts. The traps can remove varying loads of condensate from steam systems as efficiently as a conventional steam trap, but the lack of wearable parts results in their lasting between 10 and 20 times longer than conventional traps. The payback period for the DSS traps, which carry a ten-year guarantee, is, thus, less than a year and, in some cases, even less than six months.

SIMPLE SOLUTION Owing to the lack of wearable parts, DSS’s steam traps last between 10 and 20 times longer than conventional traps

Anderson explains that industrial factories have been using mechanical-type steam traps for longer than a century, which are basically water-collection devices with a built-in valve and seat assembly that lets them open and close depending on the amount of hot condensate present. “DSS had numerous customers using these products and they were being replaced weekly and treated as consumables. The losses in steam alone were costing industry millions of rands every year and this was not even taking into account the cost of the regular replacement of steam traps or the labour to fit them.”.

To better serve clients, DSS initiated investigations into simple orifice plate steam traps that had been developed by the US Navy and achieved success on fixed condensate loads. However, these proved unsuccessful when the condensate load fluctuated – as it does in most industrial steam systems. DSS combined the technology with a capillary orifice and a diffuser-type outlet, and created a steam trap that had no moving parts and a fixed-size orifice, which was able to discharge varying loads of condensate from steam systems without leaking steam.