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The use of venturi orifice steam traps for Crespel & Deiters has increased the production availability of their critically important drum dryers.

A family run company, Crespel & Deiters GmbH & Co. KG, now in its sixth generation, gets the best out of wheat. On a production site of 67,000 square meters in Ibbenbüren, the company processes 920 tons of grain into wheat starch and wheat proteins every day. From this, the brands Loryma, C&D Corrugating & Paper, C&D Technical Applications, Trigea and Crespeo are produced. These wheat-based products, additives and solutions are used in food, non-food and animal feed sectors, e.g. adhesives for corrugated cardboard, paper and technical applications as well as baked goods and dry and liquid pet food.

To manufacture their range of products the company uses natural gas, and this energy amongst other applications, is used to produce steam. The company needs a lot of this, a total of around 84000 tons of steam annually. Saving energy is therefore of great interest to Crespel & Deiters.

Employees are trained to uncover and develop potential energy savings. An ISO 14001-certified environmental management system and an energy management system in accordance with ISO 50001 ensure a systematic approach. Based in Ibbenbüren, Jan-Oliver Hense is responsible for energy management in the plant. In his search for ways to reduce energy consumption, he analysed the entire steam system.

Historically, mechanical steam traps had caused problems, in particularly with critical drum dryers, resulting in a negative impact on steam and energy consumption. The drum dryers are rotating cylinders, which have steam injected into the interior, the product to be dried is then applied to the external surface. The steam condenses through heat transfer on the cylinder wall and must be discharged from the lowest point of the drum via a steam trap.

In the past, frequent defects required regular maintenance and replacement of the steam trap. Additionally, according to Mr Hense, there was repeated water hammer during start-up and shutdown conditions. The drum dryer was often saturated, with condensate collecting in the drum – for Hense a sign of poorly functioning condensate drainage. The water hammer in particular put a strain on the mechanical steam traps, which consequently had to be replaced every two years.

Process reliability improved

The problems associated with the mechanical steam traps had a particularly big impact on the drum dryers. If there were problems with one of the dryers this also affected all the others. The end result was a decrease in system availability and increased energy consumption, as a consequence of the start-up times required after maintenance of the mechanical steam traps. “In 2019, Nigel Egginton from EBE Engineering contacted us and told me about the venturi orifice steam traps.

Initially I was sceptical and wanted first to test the technology” reported Hense. For this reason, only two venturi orifice steam traps were installed at the beginning on one of the drum dryers. Due to the standardized dimensions of the venturi orifice steam traps, they could be exchanged without any problems and without adapting the pipework.

Today, Hense smiles at his initial uncertainty: “I am glad that Mr. Egginton convinced me to test this technology, which is often referred to as a special solution”. The use of the venturi orifice steam traps showed significant advantages compared to the mechanical float traps used previously. The ECOFLOW venturi orifice steam traps from EBE have no moving parts and are therefore maintenance free. In contrast to mechanical steam traps, the venturi orifice steam trap discharges continuously and not at intervals. During operation, the venturi orifice steam traps switches between the condensate flowing continuously under steam pressure and the condensate being slowed through localised flash steam. This process is self-regulating and automatically adapts based on the differential pressure. The manufacturer’s modular concept covers a wide range of different capacity requirements – from minimal condensation in line drainage to high volumes and variable loads in process applications.

Crespel & Deiters benefit from the rangeability of the venturi technology today: Since wheat starch is dried in different product compositions, the performance ranges and pressure differences in the drying processes differ accordingly. The new venturi orifice steam traps master these requirements without any problems, as they cover large performance ranges and, thanks to having no sealing faces, can control the start-up and production processes much better. Saturated running of the drum dryer is now a thing of the past due to the improved discharge of condensate. After the successfully completed test phase, more steam traps were ordered in 2020 and installed within three months – many of them on the critically important drum dryers. Thanks to the efficiency of the venturi orifice steam traps and a 10-year guarantee from the manufacturer, payback for the steam user is around 1.5 years.

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