Food Manufacturer Wraps Up Piping Problem
Recurring cold-pipe condensation issues at Devro-Teepak's South Carolina facility have led facility managers to an absorbing solution.Devro-Teepak produces casings for the food industry, with the South Carolina facility manufacturing edible collagen sausage casings. In order to prevent deterioration, some materials must be cooled with a chilled-water system that operates at approximately ...
Recurring cold-pipe condensation issues at Devro-Teepak’s South Carolina facility have led facility managers to an absorbing solution.
Devro-Teepak produces casings for the food industry, with the South Carolina facility manufacturing edible collagen sausage casings. In order to prevent deterioration, some materials must be cooled with a chilled-water system that operates at approximately 44°F supply and 52°F return temperatures.
The hot South Carolina summers—which feature high temperatures typically combined with 90% relative humidity—create a perfect environment for condensation on this chilled-water piping.
“Despite the use of elastomeric pipe insulation, condensation on the chilled water pipes had been a problem since the plant was built in 1976,” says Bob McCloskey, engineer with Devro-Teepak.
Two years ago, 75 feet of a new type of piping insulation was installed on two 6-in. chilled-water lines, then covered with PVC jacketing. According to McCloskey, the difference has been obvious.
The pipe insulation makes use of a hydrophilic wicking cloth, which is designed to continuously remove above-freezing water vapor that tries to condense on cold piping. As water vapor migrates through the insulation vapor retarder and condenses, it is captured by this super-absorbent cloth. The cloth then pulls the moisture to the underside of the system where it evaporates, leaving the pipe insulation dry and its thermal qualities intact.
“Even at the height of what we call ‘drip season’ during the summer, there have been no condensation problems on these sections of the pipe,” says McCloskey. “The floor is dry under these sections, but wet under the elastomeric sections.”
After observing the success of the pipe insulation, plant managers decided the test the cloth insulation on the plant’s chiller units. Now, according to McCloskey, of the four units they have, only the one unit with insulation has no puddle of water beneath it.