Looking for GESTRA products and services?

Making Steam Smarter

How digitalisation is transforming steam systems

Industries around the world are used to overcoming adversity, but the array of issues they currently face is daunting. Volatile energy markets, the need to remain competitive in an uncertain economic climate, and the ever-growing pressure to become more sustainable. Whilst there is no single answer to these pressures, you will often find digitalisation cited as cause for optimism.

Date published 04/08/2023
Share this story

Sustainability and Efficiency: the driving forces

This year alone, the International Energy Agency began its Versailles conference with a session that emphasised the importance of digitalisation for efficiency, resilience, and decarbonisation. And the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) expressed the view, with "high confidence", that "Digital technologies can contribute to mitigation of climate change and the achievement of several SDGs..." (Sustainable Development Goal).

There is an added advantage in adopting digitalisation too. The benefits in terms of boosting efficiencies comes with minimal investment. It is no wonder that the race to embrace digitalisation has many contestants.

"Digital technologies can contribute to mitigation of climate change and the achievement of several SDGs..." (Sustainable Development Goal).

The Diverse Nature of Steam Systems

Thanks to its unique properties as a thermal energy medium, steam is widely used by many industries globally. Whatever particular industry uses steam, the way it does so, and the intricacies of the specific steam system, varies tremendously. This means it is not simply a matter of 'going digital'; it needs steam expertise and guidance to ensure any digital project succeeds. At Gestra, with over 120 years of helping our customers get the very best from steam's potential, we're ideally placed to assist. The detailed knowledge and support you'll gain from us as a partner on your efficiency journey will overcome the commercial and technological challenges ahead.

Beyond Traditional Maintenance: a new level of efficiency

The way in which steam systems have been designed and operated is now facing the test of adopting new sources of renewable energy. Facilities and equipment are now being operated in ways they were never designed to do, adding strain on equipment, finances, and resources. Identifying ways to improve steam systems using digital solutions is a key priority.

Understanding the unique layout and stress points within your system goes beyond knowing that something is wrong and rectifying the fault. Digital solutions improve equipment performance, show where processes can be optimised, and minimises downtime. All these benefits segue into improved sustainability too.

With improved insights into a plant's performance, better decision-making surrounding operational efficiency and maintenance requirements becomes a reality. Obtaining detailed data from every part of the steam system gives maximum transparency to how it is working, and where things can be improved.

Sensors are now available to alert when steam traps have failed, safety valves are leaking, or condensate pump traps are not working optimally. Knowing exactly what needs to be done, and potentially preventing the same from happening again, is where Gestra's expertise proves invaluable.

Decoding Data: the key to superior steam systems

Accurate data collection is only part of the digital solution; its interpretation is equally vital. This analysis and interpretation marks the success of any digitalisation project, and it is particularly nuanced when it comes to steam systems. Long-term planning, smart prediction of possible issues, and recommending strategies to avoid failures all become possible when digitalisation is combined with steam system expertise. When working in tandem, there is real potential for improved efficiency, reliability, and performance.

The adoption of digitalisation by those industries who need steam is a complex and essential evolution. It's fitting that steam's special characteristics, a pivotal element of the First Industrial Revolution, is still being improved upon by embracing the latest in technological advancements. This alliance represents not merely a trend, but a necessary adaptation to the demands of sustainable industry. And, it means steam systems will continue to play a vital role in our industrial landscape.

Your local steam and condensate experts

We're here to help you find the right solutions for your industry