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Production Process Insights

How To Eliminate The Need For A SWAS Overnight Shift

Posted by Paul Williams on 9/28/16 1:44 PM
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The steam and water analysis system (SWAS) is the nerve center of any power plant, and any deviation from optimal operation and consistent steam and water sampling can lead to added time and expense. In some cases, that might take the form of an overnight shift to make up for a marginally functioning SWAS.

Adding a shift is a considerable commitment and, understandably, not one plant management wants to undertake. However, alleviating this concern is possible with regular, proactive SWAS panel maintenance.

Challenge: neglected SWAS

When preventing SWAS neglect, it’s important to think beyond the panel. Plant ownership transfers, management changes and retirement of long-term operators happen – all resulting in varying degrees of knowledge loss about the history and functionality of equipment. Keeping records about the SWAS panel is the easiest way to bridge any knowledge gaps and develop a proactive maintenance plan.

Lacking historical data or practical knowledge about the SWAS panel, guesswork often ensues, as does inefficient manual grab sampling and readings conducted by operators on two 12-hour shifts. This 24-hour vigilance may prevent system malfunction, but the human element could introduce inaccuracies and, ultimately, bigger problems for the plant on the whole.

Solution: SWAS maintenance

Regular maintenance is key in keeping a plant running without adding overnight shifts or, in the worst-case scenario, incurring the large and often unbudgeted capital expense of SWAS panel replacement.

Partnering with sampling equipment and process experts often gives plant management access to well-versed service technicians who come onsite to:

  • Examine the physical sampling system
  • Verify components are up to date, and replace obsolete versions
  • Clean and calibrate sampling probes, valves and cells
  • Identify and prioritize needs
  • Develop an ongoing maintenance plan that includes component repair at regular intervals and full equipment replacement over time
  • Coordinate part ordering for on-hand inventory and
  • Educate staff on sampling best practices for safety and reduced labor
  • Work with management to plan next steps and troubleshooting 


Proactive SWAS maintenance goes a long way in controlling costs – including the elimination of an overnight shift – when conducted by a fully factory-trained and authorized service team, like the one found behind Sentry ProShield Guardian service agreements. Contact us today to discuss your SWAS service goals.

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Topics: Power, Steam & Water

Written by Paul Williams

Paul Williams is Sentry Aftermarket Products and Service Manager. The aftermarket business encompasses three distinct operating units that provide technical maintenance services, installation and retrofit, product fulfillment and technical support. Williams relies on his 25-plus years of experience for strategic partnership development, market expansion and branding, with an unwavering focus on customer success.

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