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Don't let Steam Hammer Shut Your Facility Down

 

Is your tank and heating equipment violently shaking? You may be experiencing steam hammer.

 

What is steam hammer?

When heating a cold tank of water, the rate at which the steam condenses into the water is relatively rapid. However, as the water is heated, the tendency or rate at which the steam condenses into the water decreases. As this rate decreases, there is a tendency for the individual small steam bubbles to be introduced to recombine into larger steam bubbles. Many of these will float to the top of the tank to be lost to the atmosphere.

However, some of these large bubbles do condense into the water. The condensing of the large steam bubbles can cause many maintenance and performance problems. As these large bubbles reduce, a relatively sizeable volumetric change occurs. The volumetric change translates into a rapid uncontrolled movement of the liquid in the tank. This movement, commonly referred to as hammering, can be very violent and damage the tank and sparging components inside the tank.

 

Steam hammering not only raises safety concerns if the tank fails but also increases the likelihood of increased maintenance costs. In addition to maintenance and safety issues, the sparging process variability causes problems related to temperature control.  The uncontrolled nature of the condensing inside of the tank results in temperature variation, typically causing overheating. This variation can harm processes involving temperature-sensitive materials or methods that require temperature control.hammer1

Why is steam hammer happening?

There are multiple reasons why steam hammering issues could be occurring in your facility. For more information, go to our steam hammer webpage by clicking here.

 

Addressing the Problems and Optimizing the Process.

Steam hammering can be caused by externally modulated heating technologies such as heat exchangers or unsophisticated forms of direct steam injection, such as spargers. Spargers are a standard heating system in tank heating that relies on the facility's steam supply or boiler. A standard sparging nozzle consists of several holes that allow steam to enter the process fluid and heat it to the desired temperature. As the steam from the sparger mixes with the process fluid in the piping or tank, this action may lead to steam hammer or unit vibration. Over time, if steam hammering is unchecked, it is not only dangerous, but it also can be an expensive maintenance problem. But there is a better way of heating.  

Eliminating the problems associated with sparging will directly reduce the cost of heating and maintaining temperature in the tank. The Hydro-Thermal Hydroheater uses all available energy in the steam and transfers this energy rapidly and stably.  This efficiency reduces the energy and time required to heat the tank and eliminates hammering problems. 

Unlike sparging, Hydro-Thermal's Hydroheaters or Jetcookers utilize a single nozzle which focuses the incoming steam and accelerates it to a very high velocity (usually sonic velocity) before it comes into contact with the process fluid. This high velocity helps atomize the steam bubbles and shear the incoming process fluid, which allows for a more complete, efficient heat transfer—almost eliminating steam hammering in the unit.

 

Advantages of Heating with a Hydroheater

Installing a Hydro-Thermal Hydroheater on a recirculated loop around the tank can resolve all of the sparging issues and add the below advantages.

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Conclusion

Hydro-Thermal's patented direct steam injection heaters and skid systems are designed to eliminate steam hammer and vibration, among other benefits. Hydro-Thermal's internally modulated Jetcooker™ utilizes a single nozzle that focuses the incoming steam and accelerates it to a very high velocity (usually sonic velocity) before coming into contact with the process fluid. This high velocity helps to atomize the steam bubbles and shear the incoming process fluid, which allows for a more complete, efficient heat transfer. The result is no steam hammer, precise/uniform heating, and reduced maintenance.

Contact us at 800-952-0121 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. today to get a free evaluation from our application experts. We can provide tips on how to optimize heating systems to eliminate steam hammer. 

 

 

 

 

 

Related items

  • Why Having Spare Heater and/or Parts On Hand is a Wise Investment

    Some companies are reluctant to maintain a spare heater or parts in inventory because they fear that stocking these things is counterintuitive. Optimizing inventory is an essential element of effectively controlling operating costs. However, to operate a plant reliably, maintaining critical spare heaters and/or parts in inventory should be considered to minimize performance disruption and reduce costs.

    Process and Equipment Criticality

    Optimized plant operation requires an understanding of critical assets. If equipment fails and a production line or an important plant capability is affected, how can the disruption be minimized? And how quickly can it be remedied?

    Performance Disruption

    Imagine if something goes wrong with your facility's heating equipment. What are the consequences of not having the right part or a replacement heater? The loss of product should be on top of that list. Even more, critical temperature applications, such as food production, could result in fines from the USDA or the FDA.

    Now imagine if something goes wrong with the heating equipment and a spare heater is available. In-house maintenance can directly swap the spare heater for the problematic one most efficiently, especially if installed directly into the existing system piping. Production doesn't stop for an extended time, reducing product loss. A fuller examination can now be made of the heater. If it's a worn part, the maintenance team can change it out. If it is a more substantial repair, maintenance has time to have service called on the heater or sent to the manufacturer for refurbishment.

    On the other hand, equipment is best managed via a preventative maintenance plan throughout its life. A spare heater can be seamlessly installed in production, keeping the process running smoothly while the scheduled maintenance is taken care of on-site or at the manufacturer.

    Cost Saving

    Even the most reliable equipment needs regular maintenance or requires updates, which means it needs to be taken out of service. Taking some time to calculate the downtime risk can weigh the pros and cons of having a spare heater or parts in stock.

    To calculate that risk, what does an hour of downtime cost? Now, factor in the lead times of getting a working heater back into production - keeping in mind that rebuilding a heater (if parts are on hand) may require a day of downtime, a refurbishment might take four weeks, or ordering a new heater could take six weeks or more, as specialty materials or other customizations could increase lead times. Compare that downtime to the cost of purchasing a spare heater and/or replacement parts, and you can quickly weigh the impact of not having a spare heater or parts due to an unexpected shutdown.

    Below is an example of a meat slaughter plant: factoring in labor costs, loss of product, and other expenses yield a financial loss estimate of approximately $300 a minute. Let's expand that cost to waiting to have a new heater received and installed on-site.

     

    Down-time for one hour: $18,000

    Down-time for one day: $432,000

    Down-time for four weeks for a refurbishment: $12,960,000

    Down-time for six weeks for a new heater: $18,144,000

     

    If downtime results in a significant financial loss, it is probably a good idea to have a spare heater or at least parts on hand.

    The Hydro-Thermal Solution

    Hydro-Thermal Corporation recommends either a spare Hydro-Thermal DSI heater or spare parts be kept in your inventory at all times. While our heaters are incredibly reliable, each is customized to your specific facility, application, and process parameters, so lead times apply.

    Option #1 (Spare Hydro-Thermal DSI Heater)

    Many customers have chosen to keep a spare heater for the following reasons:

    1. Process is critical, and any downtime results in production loss and financial impact.
    2. Refurbishment program benefits

    i. One less vendor to manage during your shutdown: Your staff can swap out the units in about an hour. Then you can send the used heater to our facility for refurbishment.
    ii. Any refurbished heater receives a renewed warranty equal to a new heater.
    iii. Longer lasting parts: We can offer advice from noticing wear patterns and can reuse parts at our facility (due to our manufacturing capabilities) that would have to be replaced in the field.

    Option # 2 (Spare parts and Service)

    As each Hydro-Thermal heater is custom designed, we recommend that you maintain critical spare (internal) components on-site.

    If you don't have a spare Hydro-Thermal DSI Heater, we recommend the following maintenance to your heater:

    Regularly (no longer than annually):

    • Physically (and thoroughly) inspect the heater for any leaks and/or damage to soft goods (seals, o-rings, and packings).
    • Annually (or per established preventative maintenance schedule):

    a. Disassemble heater and check parts for wear.
    b. Replace all seals.
    c. Replace stem packing. It is recommended to have spare internals on hand before disassembling (Check your heater's manual for these internal parts).

     

     

    Conclusion

     

    Hydro-Thermal offers a range of preventive maintenance plans to prevent unintended shutdowns or the potential for extended outages. These plans range from stocking a spare heater in your plant in case of an emergency shutdown, stocking spare internal and soft parts for your heater, service technician visits and training your maintenance staff and operators, or a complete refurbishment of your unit.

    Hydro-Thermal service technicians are available for start-ups, rebuilding your heater at your facility during a shutdown, or training/trouble-shooting. If you are interested in any of these options, please contact the service team at 1-800-952-0121 or email info@hydro-thermal.com.

  • Quality Control Is a Top Priority at Hydro-Thermal

    Hydro-Thermal's commitment to product excellence extends to the quality we put into every skid, heater, and part, ensuring that all solutions meet customer needs precisely. The heart of that lives in the Quality Lab at Hydro-Thermal, including our state-of-the-art Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM). The CMM machine communicates measurements back to our Engineering staff to confirm our product's accuracy and check for imperfections in parts before being used or sent out, passing on cost savings to our customers, all while decreasing lead times.

    The CMM device measures physical objects' geometry by sensing discrete points on the item's surface with a probe. The CMM at Hydro-Thermal operates on a touch-trigger or scanning-probe style platform. The operator controls the probe to touch the object and measure from numerous touch-points to determine distances and other relationships between features. Programming these measurements can either be done manually or by using completed CAD files to compare measurements directly back to engineering, giving the most accurate measurement to confirm custom-engineered application accuracy.

    Click here to watch the CMM in action in our Quality Lab as it scans a Hydro-Thermal NOH heater.

     

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    What does this all mean for Hydro-Thermal customers?

    Our Direct Steam Injection (DSI) heating systems are the most reliable, durable solution for heating water and slurries with instant and precise temperature control. Hydro-Thermal supplies both turn-key solutions and custom engineered heating systems to the customer's process inputs, making quality control essential to ensure the end product is to specifications for a hassle-free startup of the new unit.

    Hydro-thermal's procedure of manufacturing a quality product goes beyond new equipment. Downtime is expensive in any industry, so Hydro-Thermal's Quality Lab is critical to the end-user to get up and running to continue their operation. HTC's safeguards that all measurements are accurate and that all parts meet our stringent quality standards before leaving our manufacturing floor promptly, eliminating costly downtime.

    This peace of mind that every part, heater, and skid have passed through the Quality Lab to ensure a hassle-free startup is just another layer to the Hydro-Thermal commitment to producing the best in class DSI heater on the market.

     

    Conclusion                                                                                                                

    Investing in the latest technology and ensuring dimensional accuracy are just a few of many improvements that Hydro-Thermal is making with our customers in mind. Customers can confidently work with a company that doesn't take short cuts in making quality, robust products designed to last. That is peace of mind that some companies can't give.

    Need more information about Hydro-Thermal's product offerings? Go to https://www.hydro-thermal.com/products or contact us at info@hydro-thermal.com

     

     

  • Regular Maintenance Will Extend The Life Of Direct Steam Injection (DSI) Systems

    By incorporating a recommended maintenance schedule of the Hydroheater, processing and performance issues can be a thing of the past, helping ensure peak output results.

    Hydroheater/Jetcookers need little maintenance as compared to other industrial heating systems. However, proper maintenance and adjustment of parts will extend the life of the heater, improve process efficiency, and ensure the Hydroheater performs precise heating needs. Hydro-Thermal’s specialized field technicians, machinists, engineers, and training personnel can help operate and maintain a direct steam injection heating system. To prevent unintended shutdowns or the potential for extended outages, Hydro-Thermal recommends using a schedule for preventive maintenance.

    Weekly:

    • Examine Hydroheater for any leaks of steam or water.

    Monthly:

    • Ensure all external nuts and bolts are tight. Refer to the appropriate Hydroheater IOM manual. (for a digital copy: email info@hydro-thermal.com to be upgraded to customer access in our Knowledge Center)
    • Verify the temperature control loop is working correctly and maintaining a temperature within specified requirements.
    • Look for indirect signs of wear, i.e., failure to shut off or effectively control the temperature.

    Yearly:

    Make sure to order repair and seal kits several weeks in advance of your annual maintenance shutdown to assure on-time delivery of all items.

    • Disassemble heater and check parts for wear
    • Examine discharge piping of heater for unusual scale buildup.
    • Replace all seals
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    • Replace worn components as needed

     

    These suggestions will help owners of our highly engineered DSI systems to keep them performing at ‘like new’ levels and provide a predictable maintenance schedule and budget.  

    Maintenance 01 01 01

    In a world where throw-away culture has become the norm, it is rare to say of a piece of equipment lasts longer than a decade.

    Keaton Leach, a Process and Project Engineer at an Ethanol production facility, can say this about two Hydro-Thermal K514 Hydroheaters at his facility. According to Leach, these units were installed to- “help sterilize and saccharify corn starch before the liquefaction process.”

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  • Minimize Total Cost of Ownership with Hydro-Thermal Direct Steam Injection Heaters.

     

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    Minimal Maintenance and Less Downtime 

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    What is the price of having peace of mind? Hydro-Thermal DSI heaters are not a ‘one size fits all’ solution, since each heater is created in response to the process inputs you provide. Hydro-Thermal listens to your needs and custom designs a heating solution to meet the specific requirements of your industry, your company, and your application. When choosing to work with Hydro-Thermal, you can be confident you are working with an established company with a history of making robust products designed to last, supported by an established Engineering, Production, and Service team, and backed with a 100% performance guarantee.  

     

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Hydro-Thermal is the global leader in the development and manufacturing of Hydroheaters. Through our vast global channel partners, we support hydro heating in six continents and all industrialized areas. We create heating systems for a variety of industries including: pulp, paper, chemical, ethanol, food & beverage, metal, & more!

Hydro-Thermal Corporate 

400 Pilot Court
Waukesha, WI 53188 USA
Phone: (262) 548-8900
Fax: (262) 548- 8908