Steam systems

Monitoring targeted to the components of steam systems

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.
There is a need for affordable and reliable monitoring solutions in steam powered industries. Solutions originating in the computing world are often difficult to adapt for smaller engineering teams. Mechanical engineering and IT often feel like two separate worlds. DCO bridges the gap and delivers practical innovations that engineers can immediately use.

The entire steam system vs individual components

Steam systems are energy intensive and made up of several components which are interconnected. That's why it's important to monitor the individual components AND the system as a whole. For example, one steam trap leaking for a prolonged period of time can generate significant waste if left undetected and impact overall water quality. 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.

To learn further details about monitoring for steam traps, please click here.

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

DCO Systems can remotely monitor inaccessible steam infrastructures and steam systems

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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