Showing posts with label control. Show all posts
Showing posts with label control. Show all posts

Best Temperature Control Performance Starts With a Match of Sensor Configuration to Application

temperature sensors configured for surface temperature measurement
A specially configured temperature sensor can improve
measurement response and process control.
Image courtesy Applied Sensor Technologies
There are more temperature controlled operations than any of us could count in a lifetime, each with a set of signature performance requirements and design challenges. Matching the means of temperature measurement, the control loop characteristics, and heat delivery method to the application are essential to achieving successful operation.

Step one is to measure the process temperature. This sounds simple until you start researching products and technologies for measuring temperature. Like the temperature controlled operations mentioned previously, they are numerous. To filter the possible candidates for temperature sensing devices, consider these aspects of your application and how well a particular sensor may fulfill your requirement.
  • Response Time - How rapidly the sensor will detect a change in process temperature is a function of how the sensor is constructed and how it is installed. Most temperature sensors are enclosed or encapsulated to provide protection for the somewhat vulnerable sensing element. Greater mass surrounding the sensing element, or a shape that inhibits heat transfer from the process to the sensor, will slow sensor response. Whether the slower response time will adversely impact process operation needs to be considered. More consideration is due to the manner in which the temperature sensor assembly is installed. Not all applications involve a fluid in which the sensor assembly can be conveniently immersed, and even these applications benefit from careful sensor placement.
  • Accuracy - Know what your process needs to be effective. Greater levels of accuracy will generally cost more, possibly require more care and attention to assure the accuracy is maintained. Accuracy is mostly related to the type of sensor, be it RTD, thermocouple, or another type.
  • Sensitivity - Related to the construction, installation, and type of sensor, think of sensitivity as the smallest step change in process temperature that the sensor will reliably report. The needs of the process should dictate the level of sensitivity specified for the temperature sensor assembly.
Take a simple application as an illustration. Heat tracing of piping systems is a common function throughout commercial and industrial settings experiencing periods of cold weather. Electric heat trace installations benefit from having some sort of control over the energy input. This control prevents excessive heating of the piping or applying heat when none is required, a substantial energy saving effort. A temperature sensor can be installed beneath the piping's insulation layer, strapped to the pipe outer surface. A specially designed sensor assembly can improve the performance of the sensor and the entire heat trace control system by enhancing the response time of the temperature sensor. A right angled sheath permits insertion of the sensor beneath the piping insulation while orienting the connection head upright. A surface pad at the tip of the sheath increases the surface contact with the pipe to provide faster sensor response. The surface pad is a metal fixture welded to the sensing end of the temperature sensor assembly. It can be flat, for surface temperature measurements, or angled for installation on a curved surface, like a pipe. The increased surface contact achieved with the surface pad promotes the conduction of heat to the sensor element from the heated pipe in our illustration. This serves to reduce and improve the response time of the sensor. Adding some thermally conductive paste between the pad and the pipe surface can further enhance the performance. While the illustration is simple, the concepts apply across a broad range of potential applications that do not allow immersion of the temperature assembly in a fluid.

A simple modification or addition of an option to a standard sensor assembly can deliver substantially improved measurement results in many cases. Share your temperature measurement requirements and challenges with a process measurement specialist. Leverage your own process knowledge and experience with their product application expertise.

Tips For Best Control of Low Flow Rates

coriolis low flow measurement and control instrument
Low flow measurement and control instrument uses
Coriolis flow measurement sensor.
Image courtesy Brooks Instrument
Coriolis mass flow measurement is the method of choice for applications requiring best accuracy under very low flow conditions. The Quantim Series of mass flow controllers from Brooks Instrument provide indication of fluid flow, density and temperature for applications down to 0.001 Kg/hr. The instrument, in addition to a Coriolis flow sensor, provides digital signal processing, an integral or close coupled control valve, and PID control to deliver a total flow control solution in an integrated package.

Obtaining best available performance on a consistent basis is supported by a well done installation.

  • Mount the instrument to a stable surface free from excessive mechanical shock and vibration that might impact performance.
  • Locate the device where it can be easily accessed or removed.
  • Install an appropriate filter on the fluid inlet side.
  • Provide a positive shutoff valve on the downstream side to enable zeroing after installation.
  • Make sure the process flow direction matches the required flow direction of the instrument.
The sensor and control valve are designed to function properly when filled with process fluid. This means your installation cannot deliver entrapped gas in a liquid or liquid droplets in a gas. If compressed gas is used to force dosing fluids through a system, it may be necessary to provide a degassing arrangement upstream of the flow controller. Dissolved gas that flashes due to a pressure drop through the instrument can form bubbles that distort sensor and valve performance. 

Little to no maintenance is required after the instrument is installed and zeroed. The inlet filter should be changed at intervals sufficient to assure delivery of clean process fluid to the instrument.

More technical detail on the Quantim Coriolis flow measurement and control instruments is provided in the document below. Whatever your flow measurement or control application, share your challenge with measurement and control specialists, combining your own knowledge and experience with their product application expertise to leverage an effective solution.

Quick Reference Guide for Pressure and Flow Instrumentation

Process mass flow controller
Mass Flow Controller
Courtesy Brooks Instrument
Brooks Instrument is a globally recognized manufacturer of flow and pressure instrumentation for scientific and industrial use. The company's product line ranges through:

Variable Area Flowmeters - Armored metal, glass tube and plastic for reliable measurement of liquids and gases

Mass Flow Controllers - Coriolis and thermal mass flow technology for precision fluid measurement and control

Pressure Controllers - Digital and mechanical pressure regulators and controllers deliver high precision gas control

Pressure and Vacuum Products - Pressure transducers, gauges, and capacitance manometers

Vaporization Products - Deliver controlled high purity vapor to processes from source liquid

There are many products and variants. The company developed a summary document that provides an overview of the various product types, enabling potential users to focus quickly on the instruments that will meet their requirements. The document is included below.

Share your pressure, vacuum, and flow measurement and control challenges with product application specialists, combining your process knowledge and experience with their product application expertise to develop effective solutions.

Digital Sensor Technology: An Uptick in Measurement Performance

Electron microscopy image of Yokogawa DPharp silicon resonant sensor
Silicon Resonant Sensor
Courtesy Yokogawa
Industrial process control, as a field of endeavor, is a continuous quest for better, safer, and higher output. The road of progress is paved with new technologies that deliver higher accuracy and reliability in measurement. A recently commercialized advance is the silicon resonant sensor used to measure pressure in industrial process settings. One manufacturer, Yokogawa, applies this technology throughout their DPharp line of differential pressure transmitters, with numerous industrial applications.

Some of the positive attributes of this latest generation of digital pressure sensor include:

  • Simultaneous measurement of differential and static pressure.
  • Superior digital precision
  • No A/D conversion needed
  • High performance 
  • Temperature effects limited to 10 ppm/deg Celsius, yielding highly stable performance
  • High signal to noise ratio
  • Output level increase of more than four times over previous generation piezoresistance silicon sensor

The features all add up to a substantial improvement over previous technology, delivering an incremental step up in measurement performance and confidence. You can quickly boost your understanding of how the sensor technology works by viewing the short video below. To explore how the Yokogawa DPharp sensor equipped transmitters can provide better performance to your process, contact a product specialist and share your process measurement challenges.