Paul Mueller Company Academy

How a Clean Steam Generator Works

A sterile and clean environment is required for many commercial applications and industries including healthcare, pharmaceuticals, animal health, biotechnology and cosmetics. When manufacturing the specialized equipment for these industries, clean steam generation systems must be in place to ensure sterilization for equipment such as autoclaves, washer-disinfectors, and pharmaceutical manufacturing equipment. Some breweries that want a completely pure final product also use clean steam generators to sterilize their kegs.

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The Different Types of Steam in Industrial Steam Generation

Commercial steam generation is a crucial function for many industries as an effective heating medium. For industrial processes, selecting the appropriate type of steam is dictated by the specific application and regulations for quality and sterilization. In the process of condensing from steam to water for industrial applications, steam gives up its heat of vaporization or latent heat. This is the amount of heat that it takes to transform a liquid into a gas at the same temperature.  At atmospheric pressure and 212°F (100°C), it takes 970 BTU/lbm to transform water into steam.  So, when steam condenses, it gives off that same heat.  If you compare the heat that it takes to raise the temperature of water from its freezing point to its boiling point (sensible heat) to the heat that it takes just to turn it from a liquid to a vapor (latent heat), the latent heat is around five times more than the sensible heat.  So, if you’ve got saturated steam being used as a heating source for your heat exchanger, it’s at the boiling point, ready to give off latent heat.

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How to Straighten Condenser Coil Fins

The likelihood condensing unit owners will encounter bent condenser coil fins from time to time is almost inevitable, as there is potential for frequent contact with humans and animals, other pieces of equipment, or harsh elements such as hail. However, it is crucial to keep these condenser coil fins straight. This bit of preventative maintenance helps maximize your equipment's energy efficiency, improve your condensing unit longevity, and avoid compressor failure.

The compressor is the workhorse of a condensing unit responsible for providing consistent cooling for your entire operation. Bent condenser coil fins can cause high pressures and increased runtimes due to improper airflow through the condenser. Without adequate airflow, temperatures rise. When heat cannot escape, there is a risk of compressor "burnout" or failure. Prompt repair of bent condenser coil fins protects against substantial compressor replacement costs.

There is an easy technique for straightening your condenser coil fins. All you need is a spray bottle with diluted dish soap, a fin comb sized to match the fins per inch of your condenser coil, and a steady hand. Spray the bent fins with your dish soap solution to help lubricate the fin comb. Then, place the fin comb above the damaged area and pull in a downward motion. This effort should straighten the fins. 

In the following Mueller® Minutes video, Mueller-Certified Service Technician Eric Schmeling demonstrates how to straighten condenser coil fins. (Note: Fin combs are available in different sizes based on fins per inch. All Mueller condensing units have 14 fins per inch.)

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About Paul Mueller Company Academy

Teaching and sharing ideas has long been part of the rich heritage at Paul Mueller Company. We have almost a century of quality craftsmanship guiding the way we apply new learnings. Paul Mueller Company Academy is a collection point for those learnings, so we can collaborate and grow more successful together. You will find articles, blogs, guides, infographics and more dedicated to furthering knowledge for all, in the world of stainless steel processing equipment solutions. We hope you enjoy!