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Everything listed under: Steam Education

  • Test Your Knowledge: Which Device Is It?

    Which of the following helps minimize water hammer, helps drains condensate, and minimizes temperature swings?

    1. Inverted Bucket Steam Trap
    2. Vacuum Breaker
    3. Fluid Air Coil
    4. Mechanical Condensate Pump
    5. Pilot Operated Regulating Valve

    And the answer is...

    2. Vacuum Breaker

    A Vacuum Breaker is a simple, reliable device that allows air to enter a steam piping system when a vacuum is induced. When a steam system shuts down, the remaining steam condenses into water, which takes up a much smaller volume than the original steam. This creates a vacuum, which can lead to water hammer and tube damage if not relieved of in a timely way. 

    Check out this video which shows the proper use of a vacuum breaker in a steam system.

    Here are our top 4 reasons for including a vacuum breaker in your system:

    1. It helps allow for complete condensate drainage under all operating conditions: on/off or modulating applications. 
    2. It helps minimize water hammer. 
    3. It helps minimize temperature swings and uneven temperatures. 
    4. It helps minimize product waste.

    All heat transfer components, whether shell-and-tube exchanger, plate-and-frame exchanger, air heating coil or any other device, require vacuum breakers. As the video shows, because the condensate piping after our coil is clear glass, you can watch condensate backing up into the coil without a vacuum breaker.  Once the vacuum breaker is allowed to operate, the coil can remain free of condensate under all operating conditions, which eliminates many issues that can shorten equipment service life and/or cause operation problems.

    The footage for that video was taken in our Steam Training Room located in Minnetonka, Minnesota, where we have regular training classes.  We utilize a steam boiler, glass piping, and functional glass-bodied steam traps to describe and demonstrate a variety of steam basics and advanced concepts in the 4 main areas of a steam system: Generation, Distribution, Utilization, and Condensate Return.

    Contact us for more information on the proper use of vacuum breakers or sign up for our Steam Energy Conservation seminars to learn more. 


  • What Armstrong University Courses are Specific to Your Industry?

    For equipment to operate at peak efficiency it's important that operators are well trained. That is especially true in certain industries where unique applications may apply – humidity levels, sterilization, air quality requirements, etc. 

    Armstrong University offers online courses to address the many issues industries face each day. Industry specific courses include:

    For industries not shown, Campbell-Sevey can assist with course recommendations based on your needs and equipment. Click to learn more about the wealth of insight and information is conveniently accessible through Armstrong University. 

  • Wondering Why Your Steam Piping Is Making That Funny Noise?

    Want to know why your condensate pump sounds like someone dropped a bag of marbles in it? 

    You know you need a vacuum breaker, but you don't really understand why?

    Need some training so you understand what’s really going on in your steam system? 

    C’mon over to Campbell-Sevey!  

    We talk all about all of these things in our engaging full day seminar. Campbell-Sevey's live steam training room, with glass bodied steam traps and glass piping, provides a rare inside look at how steam systems and traps really operate. 

    Plus, your boss is buying lunch since it’s included in the cost of the class. What could be better than a free lunch at Famous Dave’s? Click to learn more and register for our next session. 


  • Steam Tip 23: Automatic Blowdown-Control System

    To reduce the levels of suspended and total dissolved solids in a boiler, water is periodically discharged or blown down. High dissolved solids concentrations can lead to foaming and carryover of boiler water into the steam. This could lead to water hammer, which may damage piping, steam traps, or process equipment. Surface blowdown removes dissolved solids that accumulate near the boiler liquid surface and is often a continuous process. 

    Suspended and dissolved solids can also form sludge. Sludge must be removed because it reduces the heat-transfer capabilities of the boiler, resulting in poor fuel-to-steam efficiency and possible pressure vessel damage. Sludge is removed by mud or bottom blowdown. 

    During the surface blowdown process, a controlled amount of boiler water containing high dissolved solids concentrations is discharged into the sewer. In addition to wasting water and chemicals, the blowdown process wastes heat energy, because the blowdown liquid is at the same temperature as the steam produced—approximately 366°F for 150-pounds-per-square-inch-gauge (psig) saturated steam—and blowdown heat recovery systems, if available, are not 100% efficient. (Waste heat may be recovered through the use of a blowdown heat exchanger or a flash tank in conjunction with a heat recovery system. For more information, see Steam Tip 10, Recover Heat from Boiler Blowdown.) 

    Advantages of Automatic Control Systems 

    With manual control of surface blowdown, there is no way to determine the concentration of dissolved solids in the boiler water, nor the optimal blowdown rate. Operators do not know when to blow down the boiler, or for how long. Likewise, using a fixed rate of blowdown does not take into account changes in makeup and feedwater conditions, or variations in steam demand or condensate return. 

    An automatic blowdown-control system optimizes surface-blowdown rates by regulating the volume of water discharged from the boiler in relation to the concentration of dissolved solids present. Automatic surface-blowdown control systems maintain water chemistry within acceptable limits, while minimizing blowdown and reducing energy losses. Cost savings come from the significant reduction in the consumption, disposal, treatment, and heating of water. 

    How it Works 

    With an automatic blowdown-control system, high- or low-pressure probes are used to measure conductivity. The conductivity probes provide feedback to a blowdown controller that compares the measured conductivity with a set-point value, and then transmits an output signal that drives a modulating blowdown release valve. 

    Conductivity is a measure of the electrical current carried by positive and negative ions when a voltage is applied across electrodes in a water sample. Conductivity increases when the dissolved ion concentrations increase. 

    The measured current is directly proportional to the specific conductivity of the fluid. Total dissolved solids, silica, chloride concentrations, and/ or alkalinity contribute to conductivity measurements. These chemical species are reliable indicators of salts and other contaminants in the boiler water. 


    Boilers without a blowdown heat-recovery system and with high blowdown rates offer the greatest energy-savings potential. The optimum blowdown rate is determined by a number of factors, including boiler type, operating pressure, water treatment, and makeup-water quality. Savings also depend upon the quantity of condensate returned to the boiler. With a low percentage of condensate return, more makeup water is required and additional blowdown must occur. Boiler blowdown rates often range from 1% to 8% of the feedwater flow rate, but they can be as high as 20% to maintain silica and alkalinity limits when the makeup water has a high solids content. 

    Price and Performance Example 

    For a 100,000 pound-per-hour (lb/ hr) steam boiler, decreasing the required blowdown rate from 8% to 6% of the feedwater flow rate will reduce makeup water requirements by approximately 2,300 lb/hr. (See Steam Tip Sheet #9, Minimize Boiler Blowdown.) Annual energy, water, and chemicals savings due to blowdown rate reductions for a sample system are summarized in the table below. In many cases, these savings can provide a 1- to 3-year simple payback on the investment in an automatic blowdown-control system. 

    Purchasing and installing an automatic blowdown-control system can cost from $2,500 to $6,000. The complete system consists of a low- or high-pressure conductivity probe, temperature compensation and signal conditioning equipment, and a blowdown-modulating valve. Some systems are designed to monitor both feedwater and blowdown conductivity from multiple boilers. A continuous conductivity recording capability might also be desired. The total cost of the automatic blowdown system is dependent upon the system operating pressure and the design and performance options specified. 

    This tip is provided by the U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. For suggested actions and resources, click to download the complete US Department of Energy Tip Sheet.  


  • Campbell-Sevey Offers Continuing Education Credits

    For steam, air and water industry professionals seeking continuing education credits (CEU's) Campbell-Sevey offers some great options. 

    Campbell-Sevey Steam Seminar

    Our Steam Energy Conservation Seminar helps you make your steam system as efficient as possible. This 1-day interactive seminar helps you gain knowledge and improve your skills as textbook information is converted into practical field applications on a “live steam system” at Campbell-Sevey’s offices in Minnetonka, MN. Through the use of glass piping, glass models, and cut-away parts, you will get a live look at how a steam systems behaves across various elements. Click for complete course details, agenda and registration information.

    Armstrong University Courses

    Campbell-Sevey also collaborates with Armstrong International to offer CEU’s and college credits for professionals seeking to expand their knowledge about energy, steam, air, hot water and utility systems. The collaboration combines the extensive knowledge of Campbell-Sevey to create custom curriculum through Armstrong University – engaging online courses that spans more than 10 colleges and 100 courses of study. 

    The on-demand learning makes it easy to learn from the convenience of a desktop, tablet or smartphone. With our help in designing a curriculum you can ensure that what you are learning can be applied directly to your system. Click for more information and a complete list of all the colleges and courses offered.

    For more information about all of our education offerings, contact the team at Campbell-Sevey


  • Test Your Knowledge: Top 3 Industrial Users of Steam

    Which industries are the top 3 users of steam?

    1. Chemical Processing
    2. Mining
    3. Petroleum Production and Refining
    4. Power Generation
    5. Pulp and Paper
    6. Textile

    The answer is...

    1, 4 and 5

    Chemical Processing – Within the chemical processing industry, steam is applied to a wide array of different applications including: Automation, Dilution, Fractionation, Quenching, Mechanical Drive, and Stripping.

    Power Generation – The power generation industry is heavily reliant on steam power, with the exception of renewable sources. The use of steam condensate reduces water sourcing costs and lessens the environmental impact of power plants.

    Pulp and Paper – Pulp and paper mills require tremendous amounts of water and steam, making the industry the largest steam user aside from power generation. Steam is used in a variety of pulp cooking processes.

  • Webster Combustion College – 2 1/2 Days of Exceptional Learning

    Webster Combustion offers one of the best combustion education experiences available. The Webster Combustion College is an interactive 2 1/2 day course where each student gets to select from five of the classes below. 

    • Basic JB Burner - JB pilots, modes of operation and set-up of the burner. This will cover natural gas and pressure atomized #2 oil fuels with on-off, LHO and LHL modes of operation.
    • Advanced JB Burner - Advanced JB topics, modulation operation, rate calculations, troubleshooting, and air atomization with modulating burners.
    • Basic Controls Class - Basic flame safeguard controls and troubleshooting of those controls.
    • Advanced Control Class - VFD’s, Temp A Trim and Draft Controls.
    • Burner Overview - Overview of our Webster burners, gas and oil trains, combustion theory, emissions, safety in the boiler room and installation of burners.
    • HD Gas Class - Set-up and troubleshooting HD gas burners, including pilot.
    • HD Oil Class - Set-up and troubleshooting HD oil burners, including air atomization.
    • Low NOx Class - Start-up and troubleshooting of low NOx burners, including fiber mesh and FGR.
    • Basic Parallel Positioning Control Class - General understanding of parallel positioning controls and how they work.
    • AutoFlame Control Class - AutoFlame parallel positioning controls.
    • Fireye Control Class - Fireye parallel positioning controls.
    • Hays-Cleveland Control Class - Hays-Cleveland parallel positioning controls.
    • Honeywell Control Class - Honeywell parallel positioning controls.
    • Siemens Control Class - Siemens parallel positioning controls.

    Space for these sessions is limited and classes fill up quickly so register now. Sessions begin April 9th. Click here for more information and to get registered. 

  • Understanding Installation of Steam Tracing for Long-Term Application Success

    QMax recently released a detailed whitepaper on how HTC thickness and installation quality affect tracing performance. Here is a short segment along with a link to download the complete whitepaper.

    Qmax steam tracing by Campbell-SeveyOne of the most misunderstood and misused components of conductive steam tracing systems is heat transfer compound, or HTC. HTC is a viscous mastic designed to fill small air gaps between the tracing element and the object to be heated. Heat transfer compound is considerably more effective at transferring heat than static air, but has relatively poor thermal conductivity compared to the other components in a steam tracing system. If used in very thin layers, however, HTC helps maximize the performance of heating systems. This paper discusses and demonstrates why the performance and success of conductive steam tracing systems is highly dependent upon proper installation and use of HTC.

    Around the world, sulfur operations rely heavily on high performance steam tracing and jacketing to heat piping, equipment, and vessels. Failure to properly heat these systems can cause sulfur to freeze and ultimately shut down a processing plant or even an entire refinery. To ensure that a steam tracing system will operate as designed, especially for critical processes like liquid sulfur and vapors with sulfur compounds, proper system installation is critical for long-term success.

    To help understand how HTC thickness and installation quality affect tracing performance in critical operations like those involving sulfur, QMax Industries Inc. focused on testing two high performance steam tracing technologies: FTS (Fluid Tracing System) and CST (Carbon Steel Tracing). The systems were tested extensively with controlled HTC thicknesses for their effectiveness in melting elemental sulfur by tracing a sulfur-filled vessel in a QMax Industries Inc. facility. The outcome of improperly installing HTC, regardless of the reason or steam tracing technology used was consistent: as the HTC layer thickness between the tracing and pipe or vessel increases, the overall heat transfer rate from steam to process decreases. Increasing HTC thickness by only 1/16-inch from an optimal thickness of 1/32-inch increased the time required to melt elemental sulfur by as much as 70%.

    Click to download the complete whitepaper on "Understanding Installation of Steam Tracing for Long-Term Application Success". If you have questions about using steam tracing in your facility, contact the team at Campbell-Sevey


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952-935-2345  address15350 Minnetonka Blvd., Minnetonka, MN 55345

Products We Carry

  • Hot Water Boilers
  • Watertube Steam Boilers
  • Firetube Steam Boilers
  • Deaerators
  • Heat Recovery Steam Generators (HRSG’s)
  • Automatic Recirculation Valves
  • Economizers
  • Gas-Fired Water Heaters
  • Gas-Fired Humidifiers
  • Boiler/Generator Flue Stacks
  • Continuous Emissions Monitors (CEMS)
  • Pressure Reducing Valves
  • Safety and Relief Valves
  • Control Valves
  • Pressure Independent Control Valves
  • Expansion Joints, Guides, Anchors
  • Flash Tanks
  • Flow Meters
  • Balancing Valves
  • Check Valves
  • Separators
  • Pumps
  • Pressure Booster Systems
  • Piston Valves
  • Heating/Cooling Coils
  • Plate and Frame Heat Exchangers
  • Shell and Tube Exchangers
  • Water Heaters
  • Steam Humidifiers
  • Vacuum Systems
  • Condensers
  • Steam Traps
  • Wireless Steam Trap Monitors
  • Tube Bundles
  • Direct Gas-Fired Space Heaters
  • Direct Gas-Fired Make-Up Air Units
  • Unit Heaters
  • Strainers
  • Air Vents
  • Liquid Drainers
  • Heat Transfer Packages
  • Digital Water Mixing Valves
  • Air Cooled Condensers/Dry Coolers
  • Steam Filters
  • Electric Condensate Pumps
  • Steam/Air-Powered Condensate Pumps
  • Packaged Condensate Pump Skids