Steam Traps

In a number of industries such as mining and manufacturing, steam is used for heating as well as mechanical power.

Steam Traps South Africa

Steam traps play a critical role in these environments as they act as a filter that allows gases to escape while keeping the valuable condensed steam for other applications.

Why Steam?

Steam is capable of holding a lot of energy and can travel down a pipe on its own while transferring heat in a uniform fashion. These excellent properties make it a critical resource in industrial applications.

What is a Steam Trap and how does it work?

A steam trap is a device, usually in the form of an automatic valve, that can filter condensate (i.e condensed steam) and non-condensate gases (e.g. air) while minimising the loss of valuable steam.

The industry defines a steam trap as a:

“Self-contained valve which automatically drains the condensate from a steam containing enclosure while remaining tight to live steam, or if necessary, allowing steam to flow at a controlled or adjusted rate. Most steam traps will also pass non-condensable gases while remaining tight to live steam.” – ANSI/FCI 69-1-1989

Steam traps have three main functions:

  • Prevent steam from escaping
  • Allowing the condensate to pass through
  • To discharge air and other gasses.

Types of Steam Traps

There are three major types of stream traps. Below we briefly highlight each of them.

Mechanical Steam Traps

Floats and inverted buckets are types of mechanical steam traps. These traps have a direct relation to the levels of condensate in the systems so when the condensate levels rise it pushes the float up and then a mechanical linkage opens the steam trap so that it can be filtered.

Read more: Steam Trap Applications | Steam traps and systems


Thermostatic Steam Traps

These traps, also known as temperature traps, use the variation in temperature between steam and condensate at the same pressure.  A sensing element determines when to release the valve in response to changes in the condensates temperature and pressure.

Thermodynamic Traps

Thermodynamic traps rely on the fact that condensate moves slower than steam and as a result can be discharged through a free floating disk valve. When this high velocity steam reaches the valve it is released and then creates a pressure drop causing the valve to shut. The cycle then repeats itself.

Application Areas

Steam traps are mainly used within the mining, manufacturing and industrial markets but can be used anywhere that there is a need to discharge condensate.

Steam traps can be used in oil and gas applications such as bulk storage tanks and process heaters. While in the industrial market steam traps are used in process equipment such as boiling pans, digesters and evaporators.

Steam Trap Brands in South Africa

TLV produces dependable, long lasting TLV steam traps with strict adherence to its two fundamental policies – quality first and incomparable originality second. TLV has expanded its product line and services to become a steam specialist company and a recognized leader in the steam engineering field. TLV’s benchmark products, the J3X (TLV’s unique free float steam trap), the QuickTrap F46 connector unit with a free float, thermodynamic or thermostatic steam trap unit and the P46SRN thermodynamic steam trap along with others in the comprehensive range are available through Heaton Valves Africa.

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