However, not all steam is created equal. Low-grade steam carries more contaminants, meaning this heating process is a poor choice for processes in the food and beverage or pharmaceutical industries. Purer steam presents fewer microbes, making it much more appropriate for tasks like sterilization.
Today, there is a growing demand for clean steam and pure steam. Creating clean and pure steam is possible with modern electric boiler heaters, but it requires the right applications, water purity, and usage.
Plant steam is the lowest-grade of steam. It’s the most economical type of steam to produce, but it has the lowest purity. For many indirect applications, this type is sufficient. However, this steam shouldn’t come into contact with sensitive medical or pharmaceutical products as it can contaminate them.
Clean steam, or process steam, is the middle-grade in steam purity. This steam is clean enough to use in most applications that produce sterile products as it uses demineralized or osmosed water. This process is also common in the pharmaceutical, lab, healthcare, and food & beverage industries.
This is the highest-grade of steam purity. Like clean steam, it uses a stainless steel boiler. However, it also requires double osmosed water.
Pure steam has the highest production cost, but it is necessary for processes that require absolute sterile conditions. For instance, pure steam is used in autoclaves for sterilization. Pure steam is also mainly used in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries.
For all types of steam, the generation process considers quality. Even where plant steam is appropriate it’s best to keep it clean enough to avoid corrosion. In ensure cleanliness, two of the main factors are the boiler heater and the feedwater.
A boiler heater is the key component of steam generation. It applies the appropriate pressure and temperature to create the steam. For clean steam and pure steam, choosing the right heater is essential.
One of the best places to start is looking at electric boiler heaters. Not only do electric heaters show greener energy consumption, but these heaters also use a cleaner process. A combustion heater can produce more contaminants.
The steam heater elements need to be capable of achieving high-temperatures with a strong degree of accuracy. This is another area where electric heaters excel. Electric heaters provide direct heat, which can achieve high temperatures quickly, accurately, and efficiently.
Combining an electric boiler heater with sensors and digital control panels can also further boost their accuracy.
Another important consideration is the materials. Plant, or industrial, steam can afford to use a lower grade of steel than clean or pure steam processes. However, clean steam and pure steam require stainless steel boiler heaters and distribution systems.
Stainless steel also is more resistant to corrosion and contaminants. This material helps keep the steam sterile.
The boiler transforms the feedwater into steam. This means it’s no surprise that the purity of the water has a direct impact on the purity of the steam. The different types of steam use different purities of water. Although, it’s important all water is chemical-free.
Industrial steam means a need to take special precautions. The typical approach is to use softened water for plant steam generation. Softening the feedwater reduces the buildup of mineral deposits. Left unchecked, the mineral deposits can contaminate the steam and cause corrosion or microbial growth in the boiler heater.
Clean steam typically uses demineralized water to further decrease the presence of contaminants. Whereas, pure steam uses further purified water of one of two classes depending on the application.
The two types of water for pure steam are PW (purified water) and WFI (water for injection). These both have to adhere to chemical specification for:
WFI has a higher purity and stricter microbial specifications than PW. Water for injection needs to meet endotoxin specifications, as well.
PW requires no specified production method, while WFi must be produced through either distillation or reverse osmosis.
Wattco custom manufactures electric industrial process heaters. Each heater is designed based on the specifications and needs of your specific process. Custom manufacturing ensures heaters with longer lives, greater reliability, and maximum efficiency.
Contact us today for electric boiler heater quotes and information.
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