Industries ➭ Steam

The steam industry and its importance in industrial processes.
What is the importance of using steam?

Industrial steam is of great importance in many manufacturing processes.
Industrial steam is the most efficient, clean, reliable and sterile form of steam to transfer heat to the equipment and different applications needed for industrial processes.

Thanks to its multiple characteristics, excellent results are obtained in sterilisation, heating, motor applications (impulse and movement), atomisation, cleaning, hydration, drying and humidification applications.

At ZAES, as a manufacturer of safety relief valves, needle valves and instrumentation accessories, we offer a wide range of solutions to ensure the highest efficiency in industrial steam applications.


 Click here for more information on the most common uses of steam.

The most common uses of steam in manufacturing are:

Steam for applications

Sometimes steam is used to achieve hydration while providing heat.

Examples include hydration in the manufacture of paper, so that it does not break while moving at high speed in the rolls, or the hydration of foodstuffs to achieve firmer shapes that do not break in the process.

Steam used as
motive fluid

As a "motive" force, steam performs well in moving liquid and gaseous fluids in pipelines.

Other applications include vacuum generation in process equipment such as distillation equipment for purification and separation of process fluids.

Steam for applications
of momentum and movement

Steam is widely used in steam turbines (essential for electricity generation) to improve efficiency, at pressures to 250 bar abs (3625 psia), 610°C (1130°F), and prevent damage.

It is also commonly used in gas compressors, pumps for cooling towers, etc.

Steam for applications

In surface cleaning, steam is a great ally and in industrial applications it is useful in cyclic cleaning processes such as those required in industrial furnaces and combustion tanks.

Steam for applications

In colder climate zones, many industrial applications use saturated steam at low pressures as the predominant heat source for heating and humidification in heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.

Steam for applications

By means of the process called steam atomisation we achieve the mechanical separation of fluids. For example, in oil-fired boilers and steam generators, we use this process to separate viscous oil into small droplets, thus enabling more efficient combustion.

What is steam used for? in the industry:

Steam in the food industry:

Heat processes are a constant in food processing and the industry has to control energy costs in order to produce at competitive prices.

The food industry cooks, fries, sterilises, blanches, ferments using heat to turn food into food.
It is common for heat production to be carried out by combustion boilers, gas, oil, biomass, producing steam, hot water, thermal fluid.

Steam in the textile industry:

The textile industry uses steam for a wide range of applications. In practically all textile processes, from textile finishing to solvent distillation. Amongst others, the following clarifications are worth mentioning:

  • Drying, cleaning and washing of fabrics
  • Ironing of textile garments
  • Firming of textiles and/or shrinkage of textiles
  • Industrial fabric dyes

Steam in the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industry:

Within the pharmaceutical industry there are applications in which the use of steam is essential to ensure effective results.

The manufacture of medicines, the manufacture of cosmetic and oleochemical products and the manufacture of other more complex products such as rubber polymers, paints etc. are often planned with large batch operations which can lead to large heat changes (from the large heat requirements at batch start-up to the processes to maintain temperature throughout the process).

Of course, steam is a great ally in the cleaning and sterilisation of glass elements and in achieving the optimum humidity conditions required in the manufacturing environment.

Steam in the paper industry:

In the paper industry, the use of steam and hot water are essential for the manufacture of pulp. In addition, we also need a process that uses steam for the processing of the pulp and its correct thermal management. Once the pulp is in perfect condition, we need to heat the conveyor cylinders that will press the paper and dry it until the desired result is achieved.

Thanks to the gaseous state of the steam, a complete and uniform heat distribution over the entire surface of the drying cylinders and drums is achieved.

Steam in the timber industry:

The wood industry also has a great ally in steam.

A clear example is the manufacture of particleboard and wood fibre panels which demand a large amount of energy generated mainly with biomass generated in the factories themselves using heat recovery boilers supported by steam generators for those occasions when the steam requirement is higher.

Steam in the automotive industry:

Among the many components needed to produce an automobile, there are many that require steam processes to create them.

Examples such as metal coatings, retreading of pneumatic tyres, processes within the assembly line that require large amounts of heat as an aid to cleaning and heating of presses are some of the examples of applications for which steam is of great use.

Quality of the steam

Why is it important to use quality steam in industrial processes?

It has been proven that steam transports heat very efficiently. When it is produced in the boiler and transported to the various processes in the plant via pipe lines, heat loss and condensation can occur, which reduces its efficiency.

During the process, the steam loses heat and condenses. To avoid these situations, we must install the appropriate elements in the line so that the pipes are kept in optimum conditions.

On the other hand, it is crucial to control the pressure since, in the use of saturated steam, the temperature of the steam depends directly on it.
The way to control the temperature correctly is to ensure that the steam does not carry moisture, as any trace of moisture can cause a drop in the temperature of the steam.