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

Interface in the Field: Achieving Reliable Interface Measurement to Optimize Process and Increase Uptime

Interface or multiphase level measurements exist throughout the Oil & Gas streams as well as Petrochemical. While level measurement technologies have come a long way in effectively measuring liquids and solids, multiphase level measurement continues to be the biggest challenge and opportunity that exists today to which there is no perfect technology.

However, experience has shown that process optimization and increased uptime can still be achieved in many separator applications through reliable, best-in-class, level technology.

The objective of this paper is to review interface challenges, the current technologies being utilized for interface, field experience in various applications to achieve process optimization and increased uptime, and the future of reliable interface measurement.

DOWNLOAD THE TECHNICAL PAPER HERE

Courtesy of Magnetrol and Miller Energy, Inc.
https://millerenergy.com
800-631-5454

Miller Energy Inc. Announces Acquisition of Fox & Dole Technical Sales


Miller Energy is pleased to announce the acquisition of Fox & Dole Technical Sales as of November 1, 2018.

Founded in 1974, Fox & Dole is a leading distributor of process instrumentation and controls serving Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio. With over 100 years of combined experience, the merger of our two companies will offer our customers the most technical customer support and application expertise in the industry, an unparalleled product portfolio, and a continued commitment to outstanding customer service.



Miller Energy, Inc. - Expertly Serving These Industries in the Mid-Atlantic Region

Miller Energy is a Manufacturer's Representative and Distributor of Industrial Instrumentation and Process Control Equipment with offices in South Plainfield, NJ and Exton, PA. In business since Since 1958, Miller's success is attributable to their commitment to exceeding their customers expectations and a comprehensive line of "best-of-breed" measurement, control, and communication products. With a strong reputation for unparalleled customer service and expert local technical support,  Miller Energy continues to demonstrate strong growth in the Mid-Atlantic region.


https://millerenergy.com
908-755-6700 NJ
610-363-6200 PA

Radiometric, Non-contact Level Measurement for Liquids or Solids

Radiometric level detection
Radiometric level detection
(RONAN)
Radiometric level measurement, using a very low gamma level source, is designed to deliver outstanding performance in a wide range of difficult applications and process conditions for both liquids and bulk solids which include the most dangerous materials such as caustic, toxic, corrosive, explosive, and carcinogenic irrespective of their viscosity and temperature.

These level gauges meet “As-Low-As-Reasonably-Achievable” (ALARA) guidelines. Source activity is customized depending on vessel and process parameters such as diameter, wall thickness, material, and measurement span to ensure optimum sensitivity, economy and safety while keeping the source activity to a minimum.

Non-contact level
Sources and Detector Mounted
External to Vessel
An exclusive “Radiation Low Level” (RLL) source holder uses up to 100 times less gamma energy than comparable gauges, and is the only source holder recognized by the NRC to be so safe that it does not require the stringent documentation, training or handling procedures of other systems.

Operation

Radiometric level measurement provides a safe and efficient, non-contact method to measure liquids or solids in harsh process environments. Each system consists of a gamma source, detector and microprocessor.

  • The gamma source, typically mounted external to the vessel emits energy through the vessel walls collimated in a direction towards the detector mounted on the opposite side of the vessel. The gamma energy reaches the detector when the vessel is empty. As the process level rises in the vessel, the gamma energy reaching the detector will decrease in an inversely proportional relationship to the level. 
  • The detector measures the level of energy and sends a proportional signal to the microprocessor. 
  • The microprocessor linearizes, filters, and correlates this signal to a level measurement. 

The entire system is mounted external to the vessel and can be easily installed and maintained while the process is running ... without expensive down time, vessel modifications or chance of accidental release.

Applications
Low Level Source and Detector
Low Level Source and Detector
Mounted External to Vessel
  • Radiometric level detection
  • Low Level Source and Detector
  • Mounted External to Vessel
  • Solids or Liquid Measurement 
  • Measurement Not Affected by: 
  • Internal Obstructions. i.e. Agitators Extreme Process Temperatures 
  • Caustic Processes 
  • Violent Product Flow 
  • Sterile Process 
  • Changing Process 
  • Variable Product Flow 
  • Automatic Compensation for Vapor Density Changes 
  • Automatic Compensation for Foam or Gasses 
  • Automatic Compensation for Process Build-Up 
  • Detectors Contoured to the Shape of Vessels 
  • Upgrade Utilizing Existing Sources
Features and Benefits 
  • Accurately Measures the Most Complex Processes 
  • Solid Crystal or Flexible Scintillating Fill- Fluid 
  • Excellent Measurement Reliability due to Proprietary Filtering Technology 
  • Level Detection of Multiple Interfaces 
  • Low Maintenance / No Component Wear 
  • Auto-Calibration

For more information in Eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Metro New York or Delaware contact:
Miller Energy by visiting https://millerenergy.com or by calling 908-755-6700 in New Jersey, or 610-363-6200 in Pennsylvania.

Laboratory Flame Testing of Industrial Pressure Gauges: Wika vs. Competitor

Laboratory flame testing of industrial pressure gauges. Manufacturer Wika versus a competitor. The test is structured in (3) stages: a 10 second burn, a 30 second burn, and then a one minute burn. The Wika gauge maintains its reading, does not melt, and does not continue to burn.

https://millerenergy.com
New Jersey 908-755-6700
Pennsylvania 610-363-6200

Miller Energy - Industrial Instrumentation & Process Control Equipment

Miller Energy is a Manufacturer's Representative and Distributor of Industrial Instrumentation and Process Control Equipment. Since 1958, we have been committed to exceeding our customers expectations by providing an unparalleled level of customer service and local technical support. We offer the most comprehensive line of measurement, control, and communication solutions in the Industry today. The products we represent solve challenging applications in the Industrial Gas, Power, Refining, Chemical / Petro-Chemical, Food & Beverage, Water/Wastewater, and Pharmaceutical markets.

NJ 908-755-6700 
PA 610-363-6200

Register Early for the Yokogawa Users Conference 2018

Yokogawa Users Conference North America
The Yokogawa Users Conference for North America will be held
on September 10 - 13 in Orlando, FL
Yokogawa is hosting its Users Conference in Orlando FL for 2018. This excellent event enables attendees to:

  • Learn how to maximize the value of their measurement and control investment.
  • View and learn about the latest products and solutions for process measurement and control.
  • Interact with subject experts and Yokogawa partners.
  • Network with industry peers.
  • Build knowledge of best practices for particular industries and measurement and control in general.
There will be panel discussions, technical sessions, exhibits and more. The event is scheduled for September 10th through 13th, and early registration has started. Make plans to attend and build your knowledge base. You can find the registration information at the conference website, or reach out to a Yokogawa representative to find out more.

Focus Your Product Selection Quickly With This Useful Tool

Yokogawa Process Instrumentation Selection Tool
The Process Instrumentation Selection Tool from Yokogawa
enables the user to make detailed product selections
with a few clicks.
Image courtesy Yokogawa
In the process measurement sphere, manufacturers respond to market demand and their own growth goals by offering integrated product solutions. This can result in a product offering that is extensive, with many different products that can be applied to the same task. There are often several, or many, choices to winnow down to a final selection. Product research and evaluation for application suitability takes time. In today's business environment, time is what we never seem to have in sufficient quantity. Finding ways to streamline any process can be beneficial.

Yokogawa is one of those companies that manufactures a broad range of products for process measurement. Whatever your process measurement needs, it is likely the Yokogawa has an effective solution that delivers solid quality and performance.

In a past blog posting, we introduced readers to Process Instrument Selection Tool. With some basic information about your application, a few clicks can quickly deliver access to the best product selection for an application. It is simple, rapid and accurate. The product selector covers 24 basic measurement and instrumentation classifications. We are posting about it again because it has been so successful in helping customers zoom in on the right product solutions for their process measurement applications.

The Product Finder is accessible through a number of links throughout Yokogawa's network of representatives. Clicking the link lands you on the start page of the Product Finder. Try it out, and share your process measurement and control challenges with application specialists for even more leveraging of your own process knowledge and experience toward an effective solution.

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.

White Paper About Safety Compliance for Solenoid Valves

industrial solenoid valves
Solenoid valves for industrial process control applications
Image courtesy Asco Valve
Regulatory modifications have raised important issues in design and use of industrial safety systems. Certain changes in IEC 61508, now being widely implemented, mean that designers and users who desire full compliance must give new consideration to topics such as SIL levels and the transition to new methodologies.

In particular, these issues can impact the selection of solenoid valves and prepackaged redundant control systems (RCS) for implementation in a safety instrumented system (SIS). Such selections may also be affected by how experienced valve suppliers are at dealing with complex new compliance methodologies.

These issues are especially applicable to the oil, gas, chemical, and power industries - in applications such as safety shutdown systems, boilers, furnaces, high-integrity protection systems (HIPS), and more. These issues are of concern to safety engineers and reliability engineers, as well as to process engineers, engineering executives, and plant managers.

This report, a white paper made available by ASCO Valve, will address these issues in developing a compliant safety instrumented system using valves and redundant control systems. Making the right choices in safety system planning and in valve supplier selection can affect design time, costs, and effort — as well as the safety of the plant itself.


Miller Energy Expands Capabilities With New Valve Line

sliding gate valve with actuator
The sliding gate control valve is part of the Schubert & Salzer
product line. Image courtesy Schubert & Salzer.
Miller Energy is pleased to now represent, in the company's Pennsylvania office, Schubert & Salzer, a recognized innovator and manufacturer of high precision process flow control valves.

Schubert & Salzer specializes in precise control and stop valves for industrial fluid processing operations.
  • Sliding gate valves
  • Ball Sector Valves
  • Segment disc valves and segment disc orifices
  • Seat valves
  • Three-way valves
  • Sanitary valves
  • Pinch Valves
  • Manual valves
  • Positioners & controllers
  • Accessories to complement all products
With the expansion of its already wide range of common and specialized valve technologies, Miller Energy further solidifies its position as the go-to source for solutions to fluid process control challenges. Contact the Pennsylvania office for detailed product information. Share your challenges and leverage your process knowledge and experience with their product application expertise to develop effective solutions.


Miller Energy Expands Product Offering

general purpose solenoid valves for industrial use
Miller Energy is now a distributor of Asco solenoid
valves for a wide range of general and special applications
Miller Energy, through its acquisition of a New Jersey based distributor, has greatly expanded the company's offering of solenoid valves, pneumatic system components, and fluid handling and control components.

A solenoid is an electrical device, converting electrical energy input to a linear mechanical force. Solenoids are used to provide rapid two state mechanical movement of other devices. In process control applications, those devices are often fluid control valves.

At the basic level, a solenoid is an electromagnetic coil and a metallic rod or arm. Electrical current flow in the coil creates a magnetic field which will position the rod in one of two locations, depending upon whether the coil is energized. The movable component of the solenoid is linked to, or part of, the operating mechanism of another device. This allows the switched electrical output of a controller to regulate mechanical movement in another device and cause a change in its operation. A common solenoid application is the operation of small valves.

A plunger solenoid contains a movable ferrous rod, sometimes called a core, enclosed in a tube sealed to the valve body and extending through the center of the electromagnetic coil. When the solenoid is energized, the core moves to its equilibrium position in the magnetic field. The core is also a functional part of valve operation. It's repositioning causes a designed changed in the valve operating status (open or close). There are countless variants of solenoid operated valves exhibiting particular operating attributes designed for specific types of applications. In essence, though, they all rely on the electromechanical operating principle outlined here.

A solenoid valve is a combination of two functional units.
  • The solenoid (electromagnet) described above.
  • The valve body containing one or more openings, called ports, for inlet and outlet, and the valve interior operating components.
Flow through an orifice is controlled by the movement of the rod or core. The core is enclosed in a tube sealed to the valve body, providing a leak tight assembly. A controller energizing or de-energizing the coil will cause the valve to change operating state between open and closed, regulating fluid flow. There are almost countless variants of solenoid operated valves, specifically tailored for applications throughout industrial, commercial, and institutional operations.

The document provided below illustrates a portion of the broad array of solenoid valves available for industrial control applications. Share your fluid control requirements and challenges with an application specialist. Leverage your process knowledge and experience with their product application expertise to produce effective solutions.


Bulb and Capillary Temperature Switches

general purpose industrial temperature pressure vacuum switch
General purpose temperature switch with bottom connection
for capillary and bulb specific for each application.
Image courtesy United Electric Controls
Not all processes or operations require the use of state of the art technology to get the desired results. Part of good process design is matching up the most appropriate methods and technology to the operation.

One method of changing the state of a switch in response to a process temperature change is a bulb and capillary temperature switch. The switch operation produces a state change in the mechanical switch when the temperature of a process control operation crosses a certain threshold. Bulb and capillary switches have the advantage of operating without electricity, simplifying their application.

The physical operating principle behind the capillary thermostat relies on the use of a fluid. The fluid inside the thermostat expands or contracts in response to the temperature at the sensing bulb. The change in fluid volume produces a force upon a diaphragm or other mechanical transfer device. The diaphragm is connected to, and changes the status of, an adjoining circuit using a snap action switch. For example, a main use of the operating principle in action is when a commercial food company relies on the capillary switch to control temperature related to processing and distribution. Each individual use of a bulb and capillary thermostat is specifically designed based on manufacturer and industry specifications, all of which apply the same physical principle of fluid based physics.

Because of their simplicity and comparatively modest cost, commercial versions of bulb and capillary switches find application throughout residential and commercial settings. Some common applications include warming ovens, deep fat fryers, and water heaters. The HVAC industry uses capillary and bulb switches because the rate of temperature change found in their applications fits the adjoining range offered by the bulb and capillary type switches. Operation of the temperature switches is subject to a few limitations. The switching point is often fixed, so the application must be without a requirement for an adjustable setpoint. The temperature range over which the switches are suitable is comparatively limited, with a matching of the bulb and capillary fluid system to the application temperature range a necessary task in product selection. Within its proper sphere of use, though, bulb and capillary temperature switches offer simple, reliable operation, with little requirement for maintenance.

Bulb and capillary switches are typically used to evaluate average temperature and are especially useful for applications where the temperature is to be maintained at a well-known, consistent value. The bulb portion can be configured to accommodate mounting within the media to be controlled. The devices can be applied effectively to liquid and gaseous media when the proper bulb is used.

Industrial versions of bulb and capillary switches are fitted with appropriate housings for the installation environment. Hazardous location installation can be accommodated, as well as high current ratings and auxiliary functions. There are almost countless variants of bulb and capillary temperature switches available. Don’t overlook these simple mechanical devices as candidates for application in any temperature control process. Share your application requirements and challenges with product specialists for useful recommendations.


Application of Load Cells in Process Measurement

Advanced force, weight instrument for load cells
The advanced model G5 can handle input signals from multiple load cells
Image courtesy of BLH Nobel
In industrial application of process measurement and control, principles of the physical sciences are combined with technology and engineering to create devices essential to modern high speed, high accuracy system operation. Years of research, development, and the forward march of humanity’s quest for scientific knowledge and understanding yields packaged devices for process measurement that are easily applied by system designer and operators.

Load cells are the key components applied to weighing component or processed materials in modern industrial operations. Load cells are utilized throughout many industries related to process management, or just simple weighing operations. In application, a load cell can be adapted for measurement of items from the very small to the very large.

In essence, a load cell is a measurement tool which functions as a transducer, predictably converting force into a unit of measurable electrical output. While many types of load cells are available, one popular cell in multiple industries is a strain gauge based cell. Strain gauge cells typically function with an accuracy range between 0.03% and 0.25%. Pneumatically based load cells are ideal for situations requiring intrinsic safety and optimal hygiene. For locations without a power grid, there are even hydraulic load cells, which function without need for a power supply. These different types of load cells follow the same principle of operation: a force acts upon the cell (typically the weight of material or an object) which is then returned as a value. Processing the value yields an indication of weight in engineering units.

For strain gauge cells, deformation is the applied operational principal, where extremely small amounts of deformation, directly related to the stress or strain being applied to the cell, are output as an electrical signal with value proportional to the load applied to the cell. The operating principle allows for development of devices delivering accurate, precise measurements of a wide range of industrial products.

Load cell advantages include their longevity, accuracy, and adaptability to many applications, all of which contribute to their usefulness in so many industries and applications. A common place to find a strain gauge load cell in use is off a causeway on a major highway at a truck weigh station. Through innovation, load cells have been incorporated in an efficient measuring system able to weigh trucks passing through the station, without having each stop. Aircraft can be weighed on platform scales which utilize load cells, and even trains can be weighed by taking advantage of the robust and dependable nature of the transducers.

Thanks to their widespread incorporation and the sequential evolution of technology, load cells are a fantastically useful tool in process measurement and control. Share your process weighing challenges with application experts, combining your own process expertise with their product knowledge to develop an effective solution.

Product Update: SMARTDAC+ GX/GP Series Recorders & GM Series Data Acquisition System Release 4

industrial process control data acquisition equipment
Updated SMARTDAC line of data acquisition instruments
Image courtesy Yokogawa
Yokogawa Electric Corporation announced it's Release 4 of the SMARTDAC+® GX series panel-mount type paperless recorder, GP series portable paperless recorder, and GM series data acquisition system.

With this latest release, new modules are provided to expand the range of applications possible with SMARTDAC+ systems and improve user convenience. New functions include sampling intervals as short as 1 millisecond and the control and monitoring of up to 20 loops.

Overview


Recorders and data acquisition systems (data loggers) are used on production lines and at product development facilities in a variety of industries to acquire, display, and record data on temperature, voltage, current, flow rate, pressure, and other variables. Yokogawa offers a wide range of such products, and is one of the world’s top manufacturers of recorders. Since releasing the SMARTDAC+ data acquisition and control system in 2012, Yokogawa has continued to strengthen it by coming out with a variety of recorders and data acquisition devices that meet market needs and comply with industry-specific requirements and standards.

With this release, Yokogawa provides new modules with strengthened functions that meet customer needs for the acquisition and analysis of detailed data from evaluation tests. These modules decrease the cost of introducing a control application by eliminating the need for the purchase of additional equipment.

Enhancements


The functional enhancements available with Release 4 are as follows:

High-speed analog input module for high-speed sampling.


To improve the safety of electric devices such as the rechargeable batteries used in everything from automobiles to mobile devices, evaluation tests must be conducted to acquire and analyze detailed performance data. For this purpose, sampling at intervals as short as 1 millisecond is desirable. However, this normally requires an expensive, high-performance measuring instrument. When the new high-speed analog input module, a SMARTDAC+ system can sample data at intervals as brief as 1 millisecond, which is 1/100th that of any preceding Yokogawa product. This is suitable for such high performance applications such as measurement of the transient current in rechargeable batteries to vibration in power plant turbines. A dual interval function has also been added that enables the SMARTDAC+ to efficiently and simultaneously collect data on slowly changing signals (e.g., temperature) and quickly changing signals (e.g., pressure and vibration).

PID control module for control function


In applications that need both control and recording, such as controlling the temperature of an industrial furnace or the dosage process at a water treatment plant, there is a need for systems that do not require engineering and can be quickly and easily commissioned. In a typical control and monitoring application, a separate recorder and controller is required to control temperature, flow rate and pressure. At the same time, a data acquisition station must communicate with the controller to ensure data is being capture and recorded. It is time consuming and oftentimes confusing, to ensure the controller and the data acquisition station is communicating seamlessly. By combining continuous recording function of the SMARTDAC+ and PID control module into a single platform, customers can now seamlessly control and record critical process data in one system. The SMARTDAC+ can control, monitor and record up to 20 loops. Each PID control module comes with 2 analog inputs, 2 analog outputs, 8 digital inputs and 8 digital outputs.

Four-wire RTD/resistance module for precise temperature measurement


While three-wire RTDs are widely used in many fields such as research institutes to manufacturing, some applications require higher level of precision and accuracy that is only possible with 4-wire RTDs. A 4-wire RTD is the sensor of choice for laboratory applications where accuracy, precision, and repeatability are extremely important. To satisfy this need, Yokogawa has released a 4-wire RTD/resistance module for the SMARTDAC+.

Target Markets


GX series: Production of iron and steel, petrochemicals, chemicals, pulp and paper, foods, pharmaceuticals, and electrical equipment/electronics; water supply and wastewater treatment facilities.

GP series: Development of home appliances, automobiles, semiconductors, and energy-related technologies; universities; research institutes.

GM series: Both of the above target markets.

For more information on the SMARTDAC+ GX/GP Series Recorders & GM Series Data Acquisition System contact Miller Energy at (800) 631-5454 or by visiting the company website.

Electronic to Pneumatic Converter

illustration of setup for current to pneumatic converter
Component schematic using electronic controller and pneumatic
control valve
Image courtesy of Yokogawa
A straight forward device, the current to pneumatic converter produces a pneumatic output signal that is proportional to an electrical control level input signal of 4 to 20 mA or 10 to 50 mA. This provides a useful interface between electronic controllers and pneumatically operated valves, air cylinders, or other air operated control elements.

Pneumatic signals are regularly used throughout many installations as matter of safety, legacy, or because a pneumatic signal can provide motive power to an operating device such as a valve positioner. Electrical control signals can be transmitted long distances across wires to deliver control signals to operating elements. The current to pneumatic converter provides a bridge between the two systems and allows the most beneficial aspects of each to be brought to bear on process operation.

Converters are available in standard variants that accommodate a number of hazardous location designations, as well as several output pressure ranges and calibrations. Share your process control connectivity challenges with application specialists, combining your own process knowledge and experience with their product application expertise to develop effective solutions.


Pump Protection Using Thermal Dispersion Flow Switches

thermal dispersion flow switch
Thermal dispersion flow switches have advantages
when applied for pump protection
Image courtesy Magnetrol
Good practice for installing industrial pumps calls for inclusion of protective devices to assure that the pump is not exposed to conditions beyond its design intent. Monitoring liquid flow is a useful method for determining if a pump is operating within a safe range.

There are numerous methods of verifying flow in piping connected to a pump. Magnetrol, globally recognized manufacturer of flow and level measurement technologies, offers up their assessment of various pump protection measures and a recommendation for what they consider an advantageous choice for flow measurement in a pump protection application.

Magentrol's white paper is included below, and you can share your flow and level measurement challenges with application experts for help in developing effective solutions.


Sometimes the Simple Solution Is the Best

metal tube variable area flowmeter
This metal tube variable area flow meter is reliable,
accurate, and requires little maintenance
Photo courtesy Brooks Instrument
For process control and commercial or industrial applications, there are numerous methods of flow measurement from which to choose. Technologies range from very simple applications of physical principles to deployment of very specialized electronics and sensors. The available range of accuracy, response, and cost is quite broad, with a general expectation that higher cost will deliver better performance and accuracy.

Making the best instrument selection for a flow measurement application should include an assessment of what the operators really need in order to safely and effectively run the process or perform the task related to the measurement of fluid flow. Installing instrumentation with capabilities far beyond what is required is almost certainly a waste of financial resources, but may also have an unexpected impact on operators. Through the generation of data that, while accurate, does not provide any actionable information about process condition, operators can be misled, similar to the occurrence of a false or nuisance alarm. Some applications call for high accuracy, some do not. Define your informational needs and select instruments that will meet those needs.

There is a large array of applications that can be satisfied with simpler, less costly measurement technology. These devices often employ turbines or vanes to produce an indication of flow rate. Incorporated into some of the instruments is a means to visually observe the flowing liquid to verify color and clarity. Simple devices sometimes are intended only to indicate the presence of fluid flow, and whether the flow rate is high or low. Configurations are available that allow insertion into lines under pressure (hot tap) through a full port ball valve. Other variants with combinations of features and capabilities abound.

The selection range is enormous, so define your minimum needs first, then search for a compatible product. Your search can be enhanced by contacting an instrumentation specialist. Combining your process expertise with their broad product knowledge will produce effective solutions.


Heat Processing of Industrial Fluids

gas fired steam boilers in industrial facility
Steam produced by gas fired industrial boilers is a
commonly applied means of delivering heat energy
Heat, as an entity, was not always something seen as a partially visible potential indicator of changing weather patterns. The now outdated caloric theory portrayed heat as a measure of an invisible fluid called the caloric, typifying it as a solely physical property. Thermodynamics have surpassed the caloric theory and rendered it obsolete, but the understanding and manipulation of heat in industrial settings, especially pertaining to fluids, is a central part of some of the world’s most important industries. Specifically, the measurement and control of heat related to fluid processing is a vital industrial function, and relies on regulating the heat content of a fluid to achieve a desired temperature and outcome.

The manipulation of a substance’s heat content is based on the central principle of specific heat, which is a measure of heat energy content per unit of mass. Heat is a quantified expression of a system’s internal energy. Though heat is not considered a fluid, it behaves, and can be manipulated, in some similar respects. Heat “flows” from points of higher temperature to those of lower temperature, just as a fluid will flow from a point of higher pressure to one of lower pressure.

A heat exchanger provides an example of how the temperature of two fluids can be manipulated to regulate the flow or transfer of heat. Despite the design differences in heat exchanger types, the basic rules and objectives are the same. Heat energy from one fluid is passed to another across a barrier that prevents contact and mixing of the two fluids. By regulating temperature and flow of one stream, an operator can exert control over the heat content, or temperature, of another. These flows can either be gases or liquids. Heat exchangers raise or lower the temperature of these streams by transferring heat between them.

Recognizing the heat content of a fluid as a representation of energy helps with understanding how the moderation of energy content can be vital to process control. Controlling temperature in a process can also provide control of reactions among process components, or physical properties of fluids that can lead to desired or improved outcomes.

Heat can be added to a system in a number of familiar ways. Heat exchangers enable the use of steam, gas, hot water, oil, and other fluids to deliver heat energy. Other methods may employ direct contact between a heated object (such as an electric heating element) or medium and the process fluid. While these means sound different, they all achieve heat transfer by applying at least one of three core transfer mechanisms: conduction, convection, and radiation. Conduction involves the transfer of heat energy through physical contact among materials. Shell and tube heat exchangers rely on the conduction of heat by the tube walls to transfer energy between the fluid inside the tube and the fluid contained within the shell. Convection relates to heat transfer due to the movement of fluids, the mixing of fluids with differing temperature. Radiant heat transfer relies on electromagnetic waves and does not require a transfer medium, such as air or liquid. These central explanations are the foundation for the various processes used to regulate systems in industrial control environments.

The manner in which heat is to be applied or removed is an important consideration in the design of a process system. The ability to control temperature and rate at which heat is transferred in a process depends in large part on the methods, materials, and media used to accomplish the task. Selecting and properly applying the best suited controls, instruments and equipment is a key element of successful process operation. Share your challenges with application experts, combining your own process knowledge and experience with their product expertise to develop effective solutions.

Water Quality Analysis – Constituent Survey Part 3

industrial water quality represented as bubbles
Water quality can be a concern for process input or effluent
What we know as “water” can consist of many non-H2O components in addition to pure water. This three part series has touched on some of the constituents of water that are of interest to various industrial processors. The first installment reviewed dissolved oxygen and chloride. The second article covered sulfates, sodium, and ammonia. 

To conclude the three part series on water quality analysis in process control related industrial applications we examine silica, another element which in sufficient quantities can become a confounding variable in water for industrial use. In natural settings, silica, or silicon dioxide, is a plentiful compound. Its presence in water provides a basis for some corrosion-inhibiting products, as well as conditioners and detergents. Problems arise, however, when high concentrates of silica complicate industrial processes which are not designed to accommodate elevated levels. Specifically, silica is capable of disrupting processes related to boilers and turbines. In environments involving high temperature, elevated pressure, or both, silica can form crystalline deposits on machinery surfaces. This inhibits the operation of turbines and also interferes with heat transfer. These deposits can result in many complications, ranging through process disruption, decreased efficiency, and resources being expended for repairs.

The silica content in water used in potentially affected processes needs to be sufficiently low in order to maintain rated function and performance. Silica analyzers provide continuous measurement and monitoring of silica levels. The analyzers detect and allow mitigation of silica in the initial stages of raw material acquisition or introduction to prevent undue disruption of the process. Additionally, a technique called power steam quality monitoring allows for the aforementioned turbine-specific inhibition – related to silica conglomerates reducing efficacy and physical movement – to be curtailed without much issue. The feedwater filtration couples with a low maintenance requirement, resulting in reduced downtime of analytic sequences and a bit of increased peace of mind for the technical operator.

While silica and the other compounds mentioned in this series are naturally occurring, the support systems in place to expertly control the quality of water is the most basic requirement for harvesting one of the earth’s most precious resources for use. As a matter of fact, the identification and control of compounds in water – both entering the industrial process and exiting the industrial process – demonstrates key tenets of process control fundamentals: precision, accuracy, durability, and technological excellence paired with ingenuity to create the best outcome not just one time, but each time.