Plant & Works Engineering

Costly steam quality problem solved

Published:  16 March, 2007

Spirax Sarco has solved a costly steam quality problem that persistently dogged the Centre for Life in Newcastle. The Centre's water treatment regime has been overhauled by Spirax Sarco to eliminate rapid corrosion of the steam system, which had caused the boiler feed-tank to be replaced twice in four years. Frequent emergency repairs to pipework, valves, humidifiers and other steam plant components have also been eradicated.

Spirax Sarco also replaced the existing mild steel boiler feed-tank, which was suffering severe corrosion, with a stainless steel version.
The Centre uses steam for humidification, washing and sterilisation. Spirax found the problems stemmed from the previous water treatment procedure. By analysing the water quality as it passed through the steam system, the company was able to recommend an improved mix of treatment chemicals and processes that has reduced corrosion in the boiler. A full audit of the steam distribution system, including steam traps, was also undertaken to identify and rectify blocked components.

"Before calling Spirax Sarco in to look at the problems, we had tried various solutions, but nothing had worked”, explains Albert Baxter, facilities supervisor, Centre for Life. “We suffered regular breakdowns, blocked valves, hot water supply interruptions and even water coming through the humidification system.”
Since Spirax Sarco"s involvement, unplanned maintenance work on the steam system has been eliminated, according to Baxter. “We now have better quality steam, are consistently getting the right temperature hot water, and we are using less water treatment chemicals, saving further costs. We have also moved from manual to automatic boiler blow-down, which is also saving us time and money.”

In addition, the company supplied a water quality test kit that Baxter uses daily to measure pH and Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) levels.
Spirax Sarco now has an ongoing water treatment contract with the Centre for Life and regularly visits the site to monitor and adjust the system.

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Spirax Sarco’s water treatment knowledge can help improve the performance of complete steam systems
Spirax Sarco’s water treatment knowledge can help improve the performance of complete steam systems