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Publication numberUS3905385 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 16, 1975
Filing dateApr 29, 1974
Priority dateApr 29, 1974
Publication numberUS 3905385 A, US 3905385A, US-A-3905385, US3905385 A, US3905385A
InventorsGreen Edwin Laurence
Original AssigneeGreen Edwin Laurence
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Steam trap
US 3905385 A
Abstract
A steam trap to be utilized on exit tubing from steam appliances to permit return of condensed water to a boiler while simultaneously preventing return of pressurized steam. The trap comprises a sealed holding tank having a steam pipe leading from the appliance into the tank, and an upright standpipe extending vertically into the tank. The lower end of the standpipe includes a bottom opening through which the water condensate is free to pass. The upper end of the standpipe includes an electrode that is situated within the standpipe adjacent the top of the tank. A portion of the standpipe extends vertically above the top of the holding tank and is connected to a drainpipe. The pipe includes a solenoid-operated valve connected in an electrical circuit with the electrode. The electrode is located within the standpipe so that buildup of condensate within the holding tank must reach a certain level before the electrode is engaged by the accumulating condensate. Once engaged, the circuit is completed and the solenoid valve is actuated to open, allowing the condensate within the holding tank to be forced vertically through the standpipe and out the drainpipe. As the tank empties, the condensate leaves engagement with the electrode and the circuit is broken. This releases the solenoid valve and the pressurized steam is prevented from leaving the confines of the holding tank.
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United States Patent [451 Sept. 16, 1975 Green 1 STEAM TRAP [76] Inventor: Edwin Laurence Green, P.O. Box

1127, Twin Falls, Idaho 83301 [22] Filed: Apr. 29, 1974 Appl. No.: 465,090

Primary ExaminerAlan Cohan Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Wells, St. John & Roberts [57] ABSTRACT A steam trap to be utilized on exit tubing from steam appliances to permit return of condensed water to a boiler while simultaneously preventing return of pressurized steam. The trap comprises a sealed holding tank having a steam pipe leading from the appliance into the tank, and an upright standpipe extending vertically into the tank. The lower end of the standpipe includes a bottom opening through which the water condensate is free to pass. The upper end of the standpipe includes an electrode that is situated within the standpipe adjacent the top of the tank. A portion of the standpipe extends vertically above the top of the holding tank and is connected to a drainpipe. The pipe includes a solenoid-operated valve connected in an electrical circuit with the electrode. The electrode is located within the standpipe so that buildup of condensate within the holding tank must reach a certain level before the electrode is engaged by the accumulating condensate. Once engaged, the circuit is completed and the solenoid valve is actuated to open, allowing the condensate within the holding tank to be forced vertically through the standpipe and out the drainpipe. As the tank empties, the condensate leaves engagement with the electrode and the circuit is broken. This releases the solenoid valve and the pressurized steam is prevented from leaving the confines of the holding tank.

2 Claims, 1 Drawing Figure L9 ,r/f

STEAM TRAP BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention is related to steam systems and more particularly condensing to mechanisms for recovering water condensate from steam systems. Such apparatus is commonly associated with steam appliances such as those used in dry cleaning operations. In such systems, a steam trap is required to enable return of condensed water to a boiler without permitting return of pressurized steam.

Most conventional steam traps utilize a mechanical float that operates a flap valve or small disc that raises in response to condensate level within a holding tank. Most conventional steam traps have very small exit orifices that prevent quick release of the collected condensate. Further, most of these devices permit steam to escape along with the condensate each time the trap opens. This is undesirable since steam pressure is sacrificed along with the heat value of the escaped steam.

A United States patent granted to Williams US. Pat. No. 2,368,509 discloses a water control discharge with an electrode contacted by collected water to operate a valve. The valve permits discharge of the collected water under steam pressure. The arrangement does not include an upright standpipe to assure discharge of a comparatively large volume of water under steam pressure and appears incapable of differentiating between escaping water condensate and steam exiting from the tank and associated steam system.

The apparatus of the present invention comprises a sealed holding tank connected to the steam system and having an upright standpipe extending downwardly into the holding tank to a bottom end adjacent the bottom of the holding tank. An upper end of this standpipe extends vertically outward from the holding tank and includes a drainpipe fixed thereto. The drainpipe includes a solenoid-operated valve that is connected in circuit to an electrode mounted within the standpipe and having an exposed tip adjacent to the top of the holding tank. As condensate reaches the level within the holding tank, the exposed electrode tip is engaged and a circuit completed to operate the solenoid valve to open the drainpipe and allow steam pressure to evacuate the holding tank of the water condensate. Once the exiting condensate leaves engagement with the exposed electrode tip, the solenoid valve automatically closes, preventing escape of steam from the holding tank and the steam system.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION A steam trap is disclosed for separating pressurized steam from water condensate. The steam trap comprises an enclosed holding tank for receiving pressurized steam and water condensate from a steam pipe leading into the tank. An upright standpipe extends into the tank and includes a bottom opening adjacent the bottom of the tank and an upper end extending outwardly from the top of the tank. Sensing means is located within the standpipe adjacent the upper end thereof for sensing a prescribed level of condensate within the standpipe. A drainpipe openly communicates with the upper end of the standpipe and includes a valve means mounted thereon responsive to the sensing means for opening the drainpipe as the condensate reaches said prescribed level and closing the drainpipe when said condensate is full or not engaging the sensing means. The condensate is thereby automatically drained by force of said pressurized steam to the level of the bottom opening of the standpipe.

It is a first object of my invention to provide a steam trap for effectively allowing evacuation of water condensate from a steam system without allowing accompanied escape of pressurized steam.

It is another object to provide such a steam trap that will facilitate evacuation of substantially large amounts of condensate from a steam system in a relatively short period of time.

It is an additional object to provide such a steam trap that is very economical to utilize in conjunction with present steam systems.

A yet further object is to provide such a steam trap that is simple in construction and substantially maintenance free.

These and other objects and advantages will become apparent upon reading the following disclosure which, taken with the accompanying drawing, disclose a preferred form of my invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING A preferred form of the present invention is illustrated in the accompanying drawing which is a substantially diagrammatic representation of a longitudinal cross section of my invention and associated circuitry.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now to the drawing in greater detail, a preferred form of my invention is shown basically comprising a holding tank 10, a steam pipe 11 leading into the holding tank 10, an upright standpipe 18 and an attached drainpipe 30 leading from the holding tank. A sensing means 23 is positioned within the standpipe l8 and is connected by a normally open electric circuit 35 to a valve means 31. The sensing means 23 and valve means 31 are operative to detect a prescribed level of water condensate within the holding tank 10 and to allow the condensate to be drained from the holding tank under pressure from steam entering through pipe 11..

The holding tank 10 is comprised of a sealed container formed with a bottom wall 13, a top wall 14, side walls 19 and end walls 15. The steam pipe 11 openly communicates with the hollow interior of tank 10 by connection through one of the end walls 15. The steam pipe 11 may be an integral portion of a steam system such as those commonly utilized in a dry cleaning operation. The attached steam system is not shown in the accompanying drawing. It may be understood however that steam and water condensate are directed under pressure from the steam system through the steam pipe 11 and into the holding tank 10.

The standpipe 18 is located adjacent the end 15 opposite that connected to the steampipe 11. Standpipe 18 is upright and extends vertically into the tank 10, leading downward to a bottom opening 20 adjacent tank bottom wall 13. Standpipe 18 further includes an upper end 21 that extends upwardly and outwardly from the top wall 14 of holding tank 10. Standpipe 18 may be provided as an integral element of the holding tank 10, as illustrated, or may be threadably engaged or otherwise attached to the holding tank in a position as illustrated in the drawing. The drainpipe 30 is similarlybonnected to the upper end 21 of standpipe 18 to openly communicate with the hollow interior thereof. Thus, any condensate evacuated from holding tank must first move upwardly from open end to the drainpipe 30. The level of opening 20 thereby determines the level of condensate after the evacuation process.

The sensing means 23 is basically comprised of an electrode 24 mounted within the upper end of standpipe 18 and extending downwardly into the holding tank 10. The electrode 24 is partially encased by an insulator 26 so that only a small portion or tip is exposed within the holding tank 10. Sensing means 23 is attached to the standpipe 18 by means of a threaded plug 27 engaged within the otherwise open top end 21 of standpipe 18. Electrode tip 25 defines a prescribed level at which the condensate is allowed to reach before the valve means 31 is operated to release the condensate through drainpipe 30 under steam pressure.

Valve means 31 may be comprised of a conventional valve plunger 32 mounted to a solenoid 33. The plunger 32 is vertically movable between an open position wherein a passage is opened to allow free movement of the condensate through drainpipe 30, and a normally closed position (illustrated in the drawing) maintained by a compression spring 34.

Solenoid 33 is operated by sensing means 23 and a power means 37 in the form of a battery or other power source connected in the circuit 35. Solenoid 33 is insulated to prevent electrical contact with drainpipe 30. Therefore, connection is made to the power means 37 and sensing means 23 solely through means of connecting wires.

A first wire 38 extends from solenoid 33 to the electrode 24, and a second wire 40 extends from the solenoid 33 to power means 37. The holding tank 10 and pipes connected thereto are utilized by the circuit as a common ground. It may be noted in the drawing that valve means 31 is normally closed since the solenoid 33 and sensing means 23 are both insulated from the com mon ground. The circuit to valve means 31 is completed, however, once the water condensate reaches the level of exposed electrode tip 25. When this occurs, the condensate becomes a conductor and solenoid 33 is operated to move plunger 32 to the open position, allowing condensate to be forced by steam pressure through drainpipe 20.

The condensate will continue to be forced by steam pressure from the holding tank so long as it remains a conductor between electrode tip 25 and ground. Further, the position of bottom opening 20 of standpipe 18 facilitates removal of almost all of the condensate within holding tank 10 since it is located adjacent the bottom wall 13. The condensate must drain to a level below the bottom opening 20 before steam is allowed to enter the standpipe 18.

Any steam or air existing within the tank, before the condensate level begins to rise, is exhausted through a small escape aperture 36 located adjacent the top wall 14 of tank 10. The escape aperture 36 extends through the standpipe and openly communicates between the hollow interior of the standpipe and the interior of holding tank 10. Any air within standpipe 18 is thereby forced into the holding tank 10 as the condensate 12 rises.

It may be understood that the escape of steam from the holding tank 10 is prevented at the instant the condensate leaves engagement with the exposed electrode tip 25. As the condensate disengages tip 25, the circuit 35 is again opened and solenoid 33 is deactivated, allowing compression spring 34 to return plunger 32 to the closed position. This step is accomplished almost instantaneously so that no steam is allowed to escape the holding tank or associated steam system.

On occasion the device is temporarily disabled by an air lock within tank 10. This can be remedied by adding an air vent 42 open to the interior of tank 10. The air vent 42 is a pressure-operated valve, normally closed. It is pre-set to open at a pressure slightly greater than the operating steam pressure. If air in the tank 10 is compressed, vent 42 will open and allow the air (and steam) to escape momentarily, thereby making room for incoming condensate. Alternately, a small air line (not shown) running to the high point of the pipe 11 can also be used to bleed trapped air within tank 11.

It may have become apparent from the above description and attached drawings that various modifications may be made therein without departing from the intended scope of this invention. It is for this reason that only the following claims are to be taken as definitions of my invention.

What I claim is:

l. A steam trap for separating pressurized steam from water condensate comprising:

an enclosed holding tank for receiving pressurized steam and water condensate from a steam pipe leading into the tank,

an upright standpipe extending into the tank and having a bottom opening adjacent the bottom of the tank;

sensing means within the standpipe and elevationally located within the tank for sensing presence of condensate at a prescribed level within the standpipe and tank;

a drainpipe openly communicating with said standpipe at a location elevationally above said prescribed level;

a relief aperture formed through said standpipe elevationally above said prescribed level for allowing escape of gas from within said standpipe as condensate raises therein:

valve means mounted on said standpipe for opening the drainpipe and closing said drainpipe; and

power supply means operatively interconnecting said sensing means and said valve means responsive to said sensing means for actuating said valve means to open said drainpipe as said condensate reaches said prescribed level and engages .said sensing means, and to actuate said valve means to close said drainpipe when said condensate passes beyond the sensing means and becomes disengaged with said sensing means.

2. The invention set out in claim 1 wherein said power supply means is comprised of an electrical circuit with a source of electrical energy; and

wherein said sensing means comprises an electrode, connected to said electrical circuit and electrically insulated from said standpipe and tank and having an exposed tip at said prescribed condensate level; and

wherein said valve means includes a solenoid operated valve connected in said circuit to said source of electrical energy and to said electrode, said source of electrical energy being connected in said circuit to said condensate, whereby engagement of said condensate with said electrode completes said circuit and disengagement of said electrode and condensate opens said circuit to thereby operate said solenoid operated valve to open and close said drainpipe.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1603092 *Jun 6, 1923Oct 12, 1926Morden Charles WhitneyCondensation-removing means
US1805064 *Aug 6, 1926May 12, 1931Yarnall Waring CoSteam trap
US1930224 *Apr 11, 1931Oct 10, 1933C A Dunham CoBucket trap
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4261382 *Nov 20, 1979Apr 14, 1981Loomhurst, LimitedCondensate drain valves
US4308889 *Apr 30, 1980Jan 5, 1982Lin Jih ShyanElectric conductive type steam trap
US4746223 *Aug 29, 1985May 24, 1988Tlv Co., Ltd.Meter for integrating the operating time of a steam trap
US4974626 *Apr 2, 1990Dec 4, 1990Berthold KochCondensate trap for systems under pressure
US5469879 *May 23, 1994Nov 28, 1995Rasmussen; JohnCondensate trap and drain for systems under pressure
US6206025Jan 7, 1998Mar 27, 2001Beko Technologies GmbhDevice and method for removing condensate from gas pressure systems
US6279593Jan 14, 2000Aug 28, 2001Hie SheppardElectric steam trap system and method of draining condensate
US7578967Feb 25, 2003Aug 25, 2009Continental Equipment Company, Inc.Steam collapsing apparatus and system
US8651126Nov 20, 2008Feb 18, 2014Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Ltd.Controllable and cleanable steam trap apparatus
US8739808 *May 18, 2010Jun 3, 2014Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Ltd.Programmable steam trap apparatus
US8851100Jan 28, 2011Oct 7, 2014Automation Tech, Inc.Sampling and rejection device
US20040166020 *Feb 25, 2003Aug 26, 2004Bell James E.Steam collapsing apparatus and system
US20050189016 *Feb 28, 2005Sep 1, 2005Bell James E.Jr.Recirculation system
US20090199907 *Nov 20, 2008Aug 13, 2009Yehoshua AloniControllable and cleanable steam trap apparatus
US20100294377 *May 18, 2010Nov 25, 2010Yehoshua AloniProgrammable steam trap apparatus
US20140130898 *Jun 20, 2012May 15, 2014Beko Technologies GmbhCondensate discharge device for compressed gas systems
US20140150891 *May 11, 2012Jun 5, 2014Beko Technologies GmbhCondensate drain for pressurized gas system
CN103717916A *May 11, 2012Apr 9, 2014贝科技术有限公司Condensate drain for pressurized gas system
DE2735284A1 *Aug 5, 1977Feb 22, 1979Gewerk Auguste VictoriaAutoclave for hardening sand-lime bricks - fitted with automatically operated drain valve for removing condensed steam
DE2920520A1 *May 21, 1979Dec 13, 1979Spirax Sarco LtdFluidstromueberwacher
DE2946848A1 *Nov 20, 1979Jun 4, 1980Loomhurst LtdElektrisch betaetigte kondensatablassventilvorrichtung
DE9007491U1 *Mar 29, 1990Jan 30, 1992Koch, Berthold, 4040 Neuss, DeTitle not available
DE19910626C2 *Mar 10, 1999Dec 6, 2001Bm Becker Mestechnik GmbhVerfahren zur Probenahme aus Abgasen
EP0081826A2 *Dec 10, 1982Jun 22, 1983Koch, BertholdApparatus for removing condensate and the like from pressure systems
WO1998045641A1 *Jan 7, 1998Oct 15, 1998Berthold KochDevice and method for removing condensate from gas pressure systems
WO2012152921A2 *May 11, 2012Nov 15, 2012Beko Technologies GmbhCondensate drain for pressurized gas system
WO2012175565A2 *Jun 20, 2012Dec 27, 2012Beko Technologies GmbhCondensate discharge device for compressed gas systems
Classifications
U.S. Classification137/187, 137/392
International ClassificationF16T1/00
Cooperative ClassificationF16T1/00
European ClassificationF16T1/00