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API PLAN 62 Installation of steam traps in steam quench

The object of this technical note is to draw


attention to a design of one of the most
commonly used API Plan, the Plan 62. This
document is focused on steam quench
applications, where there are possible
cases of typical arrangement that may
generate some confusion.
Reading these lines, you may think that
the case and solution proposed herein are
obvious, and indeed they are. However,
the design discussed below is present at
many facilities, commercial documenttation, projects, etc.

What does API 682 say about this Plan?

quench fluid source, as a good practice,


some additional appurtenances shall be
included for a proper operation of the
plan.
Lets focus in low-pressure steam
quenchs. In this case, and as indicated
above, it is recommended additionaly to
included:
a pressure gauge.
a pressure regulator, to adjust steam
pressure to the seal atmospheric side
chamber requirements (normally 0,2
to 0,5 barg).
And a steam trap (normally a
thermodynamic type) to drain
condensate.
Lets review how steam trap works
Basically steam trap is a device that
prevents the passage of steam through it,
and only let condensate flows
downstream. They are used to evacuate
the condensing generated in steam lines,
without a loss of steam occurs.

Source: API 682 4th Edition (Figure G.24)

The most common steam trap used in API


Plan 62 is the thermodynamic type.

<<Quench stream is brought from an


external source to the atmospheric side of
the seal faces. The quench stream can be
low-pressure steam, nitrogen, or clean
water. It is used in selected single seal
applications to exclude the presence of
oxygen to prevent coke formation (for
example, hot hydrocarbon services) and to
flush away undesirable material buildup
around the dynamic seal components (for
example, caustic and salt services).>>
As it can be seen the main accessories
indicated in API 682 are a gate valve and a
check valve. However, depending on

Thermodynamic stream trap. Source:


http://encyclopedia.che.engin.umich.edu/

Lets see some examples:

Surfing through the internet, it is easy to


find some documents, images and other
documentation with a particular
installation for the steam trap.
The following pictures shown the steam
trap assembled in the same pipe which
provides the quench to the mechanical
seal (in-line). As the steam trap prevents
the passage of steam through it, only
condensate, and not steam, will reach to
the seal.

Images of API Plan 62 steam quench from


different sources found through Google Images.

Additionally if the condensate is


introduced in the mechanical seal and
contact the seal faces, it can be
responsible of early seal failures.

Recommendations:
1. Steam trap shall be installed in a
branch line. Depending on piping seal
plan arrangement the installation can
be as indicated in the sketch bellow.
2. Steam trap shall be located as close
as possible to seal in the lowest
location.
3. It shall be agreed with end user
where steam trap outlet is
discharged and its configuration.

Images of API Plan 62 steam quench Vendor


Drawings.

Conclusion:
The conclusion can be summed up in a
simple sentence: Install the steam trap
properly.
Therefore, if the steam trap installation is
as indicated in the examples, the steam
will not reach the mechanical seal. The
Plan will not meet its purpose and its
effective prevention of coke built up,
solids deposit, crystallization, polymerrization, etc.

API Plan 62 with steam quench

Jose Luis Ayala Sarabia,


Rotating Equipment Engineer at Tecnicas Reunidas S.A.
Gonzalo Carrasco Gutierrez,
Mechanical Engineer at Sabic

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