Steam traps are a significant source of water and energy use, and proactively addressing potential leaks can create more sustainable operations. Conagra Brands’ facility in Imlay City, Mich.—known primarily for its Vlasic pickles brand—set out to review and optimize its steam traps to reduce steam and water loss, which has the additional benefit of carbon emissions reduction associated with that process.
After an initial analysis by a third-party, the Imlay City facility identified 12 trap assemblies with improvement opportunities. With new steam traps, the independent assessment determined that nearly 139,000 gallons of usable boiler feeder water could be saved each year and carbon emissions associated with the 12 steam traps have the potential to be reduced by 78 tons per year.
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“Steam has become the new green source for power and heating if controlled and utilized properly,” says Raju Markose, Conagra’s environmental manager in Imlay City. “Keeping a consistent record of the performance of steam traps can increase the system’s reliability and functionality.”
With this in mind, the Imlay City facility installed hardware that gives maintenance the ability to change a steam trap on the system without having to take the system out of production. “The new pipeline connector has a block and bleed function that allows the team to isolate the trap and bleed off the pressure, change the trap, and reenable the system with full functionality,” Markose says. “This will shorten the time needed to replace traps in the future and also is an increase in the safety factor when servicing the steam system in general.”