ENGINEERING: Century Old Technology Still Going Strong
Recent Western Cape Business News
THE inverted bucket is as successful today as it was when launched as the latest innovation in condensate removal 100 years ago, says Mike Feldon, MD of Armstrong Steam Western Cape.
He says very little has changed in the design over the past 100 years, material of manufacturing and machining. Large volumes of inverted buckets are being spewed out of the latest CNC machines from various manufacturing facilities around the world.
Feldon points out that the inverted bucket is the most reliable steam trap operating principle known. The heart of its simple design is a unique leverage system that multiplies the force provided by the bucket to open the valve against pressure.
Since the bucket is open at the bottom, it resists damage from water hammer, and wear points are heavily reinforced for long life. The inverted bucket has only two moving parts-the valve lever assembly and the bucket. That means no fixed points, no complicated linkage. Nothing to stick, bind or clog.
Armstrong inverted bucket steam traps open and close based on the difference in density between condensate and steam-the inverted bucket principle. They open and close gently, minimizing wear. This simple fact means that inverted buckets are subject to less wear than some other types of traps.
In fact, as an Armstrong inverted bucket trap wears, its tight seal actually improves. The valve and seat of the trap provide essentially line contact-resulting in a tight seal because the entire closing force is concentrated on one narrow seating ring.
“An Armstrong inverted bucket steam trap continues to operate efficiently with use. Gradual wear slightly increases the diameter of the seat and alters the shape and diameter of the valve. But, as this occurs, a tight seal is still preserved-the ball merely seats itself more deeply,” Feldon says.
The stainless steel valve and seat of the Armstrong inverted bucket steam trap are individually ground and lapped together in matched sets. All other working parts are wear- and corrosion-resistant stainless steel.
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