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Trap monitoring has major limitations that must be taken into account. It is wrongly admitted that wireless monitoring is more cost effective than wired. In general, this is true. However, it is totally false when applied to hundreds or thousands of steam traps, for example. In refineries, petrochemical plants, …

The next two schematics highlight some limitations and critical points of inefficiency in wireless networks with hundreds of steam traps and how the wired architecture is much more effective in solving them.

SmartWatchWeb ™ Topology

The SmartWatchWeb ™ trap monitoring system combines innovative technologies (digitization, sensorization, data acquisition and processing, …) to perform precise fault diagnoses in real time in order to achieve steam savings of 10% to 20% , applying the Intensive Maintenance Methodology on large populations of steam traps. SmartWatchWeb ™ is the only proven monitoring system with sufficient scalability to monitor thousands of steam traps. See more than 60 success stories over more than 20 years(references).

The following diagram shows the powerful SmartWatchWeb ™ topology:

SmartWatchWeb™ offers extraordinary flexibility in combining wired and wireless architectures to easily adapt to any industrial environment. Its high scalability allows tens of thousands of steam traps to be monitored on a single network and monitoring platform, reducing installation and maintenance costs.

The following table shows the critical points in steam trap monitoring:

Where are the traps usually located?
Very close to the ground
Where are radio antennas normally located?
As far from the ground as possible, just the opposite of the traps
How do the ground and obstacles affect the radio range?
Very much. The proximity of the transmitter to the ground limits its effective range to only 30-50 m.
Which option is more expensive cable or radio?
It depends on the quantity and density of equipment. In wireless refineries it is more expensive
How can wireless monitoring be more expensive than cable monitoring?
Because a single cable serves up to 64 monitors (average 15 m / purge). 15 m of cable costs much less than a wireless transmitter and requires no maintenance
Which architecture is simpler: wireless or wired?
Wireless is much more complex and requires access points (AP), routers, batteries, ...
Which architecture is more reliable: wireless or wired?
Cable is always much more reliable than wireless
Does the wireless architecture require cable?
Usually. To supply PA continuously
Is fiber optics required in cable architecture?
No. The cable has two pairs of wires for power and data
Is fiber optics required in wireless architecture?
Usually. To communicate data between PAs and gateways
What is the equipment limit in the wireless option?
100 teams / PA. 20 PA / Gateway: Maximum 500 devices / gGteway
What is the equipment limit in the cable option?
64 computers / cable. 250 cables / Gateway: Maximum 16,000 devices / Gateway
Can wireless and cable be combined?
Yes, through optimized wireless architecture (see SmartWatchWeb topology below)
Wired references with thousands of elements
There are dozens (see
Wireless references with thousands of elements per floor
None known (only references of small groups of elements)
Clustred wireless references with thousands of items
Some here:

We provide specialized services focused on excellence in energy efficiency of steam networks in the oil refining and petrochemical industry sectors. Our technicians are highly qualified professionals with decades of experience, backed by excellent results.

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