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Case Study: Steam Cogeneration and Water Level Sensing

A Potentially Corrosive Relationship Between Elements and Equipment

Download a PDF of this White Paper: Case Study: Steam Cogeneration and Water Level Sensing (1.5 MB)

Steam is Not Kind to Equipment

Steam is Not Kind to Equipment

In steam cogeneration, water level control is critical to plant operation. However, harsh operating conditions were causing a major utility provider to experience forced outages, numerous corrective action calls within their plant footprint and premature water sensor deterioration.

Learn how Madison Company and the utility worked together to solve these issues, resulting in increased customer satisfaction and a more efficiently running plant.

Challenging Conditions

Steam cogeneration, or CHP, is a highly efficient and environmentally friendly way to produce useful heat from electricity production.

However, operating conditions in a CHP plant can be challenging for the longevity of equipment and components. Water is at a constant 212˚F (100˚C) and mineral salts and dirt create a corrosive environment that shortens the useful life of equipment.

Reliable, durable steam pipe water level sensors are essential for uninterrupted service. If the sensors fail, the resulting service disruption can cause loss of revenue and dissatisfied customers. A major utility provider was experiencing forced outages and numerous corrective action calls within their plant footprint due to premature water sensor deterioration.

Utility Provider Goals

  • Minimize forced outages
  • Reduce corrective action calls within the plant footprint
  • Target component life of 2+ years before replacement

Searching for a Solution

Failure to obtain reasonable service life of level sensors from the current vendor and repeated attempts to engage the vendor in a product improvement process forced the utility provider to search for other solutions.

An engineer was tasked with finding a solutions provider. The engineer found Madison to be knowledgeable, innovative, and willing to collaborate.

In speaking to the engineer, Madison discovered that the current water level sensor was not robust enough to withstand constant exposure to the corrosive environment and high temperatures.

Analysis and Product Design

Madison met with the utility engineers and operating supervisors onsite to see the in-use sensor and conditions.

Madison conducted a thorough analysis of materials that could be used and also determined a number of product enhancements, including improvements for ease of use.

These analyses were reviewed with the utility team, and product samples were produced within a few weeks of approval by the utility provider.

The utility team tested the samples against the current water level sensor for degradation over time. Based on high-yield results, they approved a production unit.

The new Madison water level sensor was tested over a period of 6 months with no visible degradation. The utility is now placing rolling orders and looking for other areas to improve within the plant.

Moving Forward

“Madison is the ideal partner. Not purely interested in selling a product, their team works with us to improve our uptime to our customers.

“The responsiveness, innovation and quality received from Madison is impressive, and they are an obvious choice for fluid level and temperature sensing moving forward.”

Can Madison Help You?

Equipment downtime can cause lost revenue and lost customers. Madison Company has been a leader in liquid level sensing technologies since 1959. Companies look to Madison for liquid level sensing solutions in food and beverage, paints and coatings, fuel and oil, potable and non-potable water and chemical applications.