Steam applications

Commercial and industrial companies using steam applications can benefit from our innovative sensors

Beginning with the industrial revolution, the development of steam technology has been as one of the most significant contributors to innovation. This new way of transferring and using energy led directly to whole new industries and technologies. As a result, daily life across the entire world changed with the creation of industrialisation and mass production.

Today, steam continues to be a powerful source of heat and energy used in industry for the manufacturing of food and drink, medicines, heating and sterilisation. To ensure high standards of quality control, elements like temperature and pressure need to be precise and accurate. For this reason, DCO Systems offer commercial and industrial companies using steam applications a variety of sensing options.

Steam trap monitoring

With the use of steam still widely used in industry, steam traps serve an important function of separating the condensate and non-condensable gases from the live steam. Monitoring the physical parameters of a steam trap is key to understanding its performance – both on short and long timescales. Every trap will have specified (as designed) a behaviour model and a corresponding real-world performance envelope. Therefore, detailed monitoring permits one to be mapped onto the other, building up a picture of the real-world performance of the device. Furthermore, rapid changes in performance can be indicative of localised or remote failure, whereas change over time can provide indication of degradation needing to be addressed by maintenance.

Steam system monitoring

Steam systems are energy intensive. For example, one steam trap leaking for a prolonged period of time can generate significant waste if left undetected. DCO System’s monitoring solution uses a whole system approach by monitoring individual components in relation to one another. Furthermore, monitoring of the pipework infrastructure off the boiler and steam traps within an entire system allows pinpointing and detecting leaks in real time. Steam system monitoring also helps identify areas of improvement including carbon reduction, decarbonisation, energy efficiency and cost savings.

DCO sensors monitor temperature for steam traps and steam boilers
DCO sensors monitor vibration for steam traps and steam boilers
DCO sensor monitor acoustics for steam traps and steam boilers

For steam traps, remote temperature sensing probes permit (at a minimum) the steam and condensate sides of the trap to be monitored. Furthermore, temperature monitoring provides the most immediate and easily interpreted assessment of the steam trap performance. Specifically, notifications alert engineers of traps that are either failing to pass condensate properly or are passing an unexpectedly high level of steam.

Mechanical sensing via precision vibration sensing enable monitoring of movement on fine and large scales. Our sensors can identify internal mechanical failures or external problems such as water hammer, blow-over and excessive thermal stress. Furthermore, our monitors detect trap failure due to steam locking or air binding, and alerts notify engineers of condensate, backpressure and leakage in traps.

Similarly, acoustic sensing permits identification of problems local to and adjacent to the boiler. Examples include high velocity steam and hammer in pipework. For steam traps, acoustic sensing permits identification of these same problems in pipes that may not even be directly connected to the trap being monitored.

What monitoring solutions do you need? We are happy to discuss how DCO Systems can implement or upgrade and extend your existing monitoring efforts. To get started with DCO’s affordable monitoring tools, go to our contact page or email us at

Take control of your costs while making savings on your engineer's time. Eliminate the need for costly electrical installations and battery replacements. Our affordable pricing options begin with a low-cost capital investment that can be scaled up to suit your needs.

Gain a more complete understanding of your entire plant using our whole system monitoring approach regardless of equipment age, size or complexity. Easily pinpoint and diagnose a range of problems in seconds and fix system issues more quickly than before.

We offer energy harvesting sensors as a maintenance-free and battery-free IIoT solution. Our truly wireless equipment sensors can harness power from thermal, vibration, solar and electrical induction. This ensures reliable operation in varying environmental conditions.

Our clients receive valuable data on any device at any time. Real-time alerts and notifications are sent to your smartphone, laptop or tablet in easy-to-read chart format. As the information is stored in a cloud-based dashboard, data can be viewed wherever you are, day or night.

DCO Systems can remotely monitor inaccessible steam infrastructure

Case study: 'Monitoring inaccessible steam infrastructures' details a major urban UK hospital site with an extensive steam network that is heavily used and sometimes inaccessible with steam passing through kilometres of underground pipework. Monitoring and maintaining that infrastructure is vital to the efficient and safe operation of a hospital on which patients rely, but access for manual measurement is hazardous and time-consuming. READ MORE

Steam Valve 500

Report: 'An in-depth look into monitoring for steam applications' examines common monitoring techniques for commercial and industrial steam users and reviews the issues with those traditional methods. We then explore an alternative strategy, combining those established methods with technology available through the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and facilitated by easily deployable, cost-effective sensing devices. READ MORE

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3 Global Business Park
14 Wilkinson Road
Cirencester GL7 1YZ
United Kingdom

+44 (0)1285 359059

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