Friday, June 23, 2017

Limiting Control Enclosure Temperature Rise

sealed enclosure cooling units heat pipe heat sink
Cooling units for enclosures utilize heat pipe technology and passive heat
sinks to limit enclosure temperature rise.
Courtesy Advanced Cooling Technologies
Control and equipment enclosures are most often tightly sealed for the safety of personnel, as well as the protection of interior components from environmental intrusion. This physical barrier also inhibits the dissipation of heat produced by devices within the enclosure. Electrical and electronic gear employed in control and measurement systems commonly has an upper limit for the temperature of its operating environment. Above that maximum, performance becomes undefined and devices may deteriorate, malfunction, or fail.

Advanced Cooling Technologies specializes in the design and manufacture of cooling devices for control and equipment enclosures. The company employs heat pipe technology, as well as heat sinks, to transfer substantial amounts of heat from within sealed enclosures. The special design of the cooling units maintains the rated performance of the enclosure and effectively moves heat from enclosure interior to surrounding environment. Units encompass a range of sizes, configurations and capacities.

Share your enclosure cooling challenges with product application specialists, combining your own knowledge and experience with their product application expertise to develop effective solutions.


Friday, June 16, 2017

Hydrostatic Pressure Measurement for Liquid Level

smart pressure transmitter for industrial process measurement and control
Smart transmitters are capable of performing advanced calculations
to infer liquid level from hydrostatic pressure measurement
Courtesy Autrol America
Pressure measurement is an inferential way to determine the height of a column of liquid in a vessel in process control. The vertical height of the fluid is directly proportional to the pressure at the bottom of the column, meaning the amount of pressure at the bottom of the column, due to gravity, relies on a constant to indicate a measurement. Regardless of whether the vessel is shaped like a funnel, a tube, a rectangle, or a concave polygon, the relationship between the height of the column and the accumulated fluid pressure is constant. Weight density depends on the liquid being measured, but the same method is used to determine the pressure.

A common method for measuring hydrostatic pressure is a simple gauge. The gauge is installed at the bottom of a vessel containing a column of liquid and returns a measurement in force per unit area units, such as PSI. Gauges can also be calibrated to return measurement in units representing the height of liquid since the linear relationship between the liquid height and the pressure. The particular density of a liquid allows for a calculation of specific gravity, which expresses how dense the liquid is when compared to water. Calculating the level or depth of a column of milk in a food and beverage industry storage vessel requires the hydrostatic pressure and the density of the milk. With these values, along with some constants, the depth of the liquid can be calculated.

The liquid depth measurement can be combined with known dimensions of the holding vessel to calculate the volume of liquid in the container. One measurement is made and combined with a host of constants to determine liquid volume. The density of the liquid must be constant in order for this method to be effective. Density variation would render the hydrostatic pressure measurement unreliable, so the method is best applied to operations where the liquid density is known and constant.

Interestingly, changes in liquid density will have no effect on measurement of liquid mass as opposed to volume as long as the area of the vessel being used to store the liquid remains constant. If a liquid inside a vessel that’s partially full were to experience a temperature increase, resulting in an expansion of volume with correspondingly lower density, the transmitter will be able to still calculate the exact mass of the liquid since the increase in the physical amount of liquid is proportional to a decrease in the liquid’s density. The intersecting relationships between the process variables in hydrostatic pressure measurement demonstrate both the flexibility of process instrumentation and how consistently reliable measurements depend on a number of process related factors.

Solutions to process instrumentation and measurement challenges are most effective when developed in concert with a product application specialist. The combination of user knowledge and experience with product application expertise will lead to a successful project.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Added Services Enhance Product Value

handshake by collaborators on industrial process control automation project
Collaboration and cooperation leverages the pool of knowledge
and experience brought to bear on problem solving
We have written previously about the contribution of a technical sales representative and the added value he or she can bring to the purchase of a physical product. With a daunting array of potential product variants available, it can be difficult and time consuming to reach a knowledge level that enables a confident selection of process automation products for a specialized application. The tech sales rep's knowledge of currently available products and their application specialties and limitations can speed the selection process and contribute to a positive outcome for for all stakeholders.

At the company level, many technical representatives commit to bringing factory level training resources to their customers. Reading instruction manuals can often fail to instill real understanding about the application, use, and upkeep of process and automation gear. Plus, manuals provide only one way communication. Training conducted by experienced, knowledgeable, factory trained individuals can instill almost tangible levels of comprehension in operators, users, and supporters of process and automation equipment.

Field services, in the form of start-up, calibration, repair, or regular maintenance of instruments and equipment are also provided by many technical sales firms. Again, bringing to bear broad experience and factory level training, technical representatives can function as an efficient outsource for essential tasks that may require special skills or knowledge. Repair, whether in-house or facilitated through the factory, is another way in which technical representatives leverage their experience and knowledge into offerings that bring value to their customer base.

Face it, if all that was needed was quick delivery of process and automation gear, Amazon.com would be your primary supplier. These are sophisticated instruments, apparatus, and equipment, requiring skill, knowledge, and experience to assure proper selection, installation and operation. A good technical rep firm knows that its customers need more than a product in a box or crate. It's results that count, output, and Hile Controls of Alabama is committed to assisting customers wherever Hile's expertise can help leverage positive outcomes for their customers.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Product Line Expands With Heat Sink and Heat Pipe Sealed Enclosure Coolers

sealed enclosure cooling products
Sealed enclosure coolers employing heat sink and heat pipe technology
Courtesy Advanced Cooling Technologies
Control and equipment enclosures provide a level of personnel safety, as well as protection of sensitive components from damage from operations, mishap, or the environment. Hile Controls of Alabama recently expanded and complemented their product offering with the sealed enclosure coolers from Advanced Cooling Technologies (ACT).

The cooling units employ heat sinks or heat pipes to transfer heat from within sealed control or equipment cabinets to the surrounding air. Cooling is accomplished while maintaining the enclosure rating for NEMA 12, 3R, 4, or 4X. The units carry necessary listings or approvals for incorporation by integrators into custom built equipment or OEM equipment.

A datasheet is provided below with more detailed information. Share your enclosure cooling requirements with product application specialists, combining your own process knowledge and experience with their product application expertise to develop an effective solution.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Hile Controls of Alabama Expands Product Offering With HART Communicator



Hile Controls of Alabama has complemented and expanded its process measurement and control offering with the ProComSol line of HART communications software.

The HART communications software from ProComSol is based on the SDC-625 software from the HART Communication Foundation. Since its release in 2007, the software has developed into a full featured, stable, and reliable platform through the open source development process. Years of in-field use and user feedback are incorporated into the current version that provides full configuration saving and download. The video provides an overview of the ease of use and functionality of the package for any facility utilizing HART enabled devices.

More information is available from process control experts. Share your process measurement and control challenges. Combine your own knowledge and experience with the product application expertise of a specialist to develop effective solutions.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Water Quality Analysis – Constituent Survey Part 3

water with bubbles
Water contains more than H2O
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. 

Share your water quality analysis challenges with process analytics specialists, combining your own unique knowledge and experience with their product application expertise to develop effective solutions.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Water Quality Analysis – Constituent Survey (Part 2)

aerial view of sewage water treatment plant
Sewage treatment is but one area where
water quality measurements are important
It would be difficult to understate the role and importance of water in industrial processing, even our own biological existence. In the first installment of this series, the roles of dissolved oxygen and chlorides were covered. 

Continuing the examination of water quality monitoring in municipal and industrial processes, another key variable which requires monitoring for industrial water use is sulfate. Sulfate is a combination of sulfur and oxygen, salts of sulfuric acid. Similarly to chlorides, they can impact water utilization processes due to their capability for corrosion. The power generation industry is particularly attuned to the role of sulfates in their steam cycle, as should be any boiler operator. Minerals can concentrate in steam drums and accelerate corrosion. Thanks to advancements in monitoring technology, instruments are available which monitor for both chlorides (covered in the previous installment in this series) and sulfates with minimal supervision needed by the operator, ensuring accurate detection of constituent levels outside of an acceptable range. Ionic separation technologies precisely appraise the amount of sulfate ions in the stream, allowing for continuous evaluation and for corrective action to be taken early-on, avoiding expensive repairs and downtime. 

Another substance worthy of measurement and monitoring in process water is sodium. Pure water production equipment, specifically cation exchange units, can be performance monitored with an online sodium analyzer. Output from the cation bed containing sodium, an indication of deteriorating performance, can be diverted and the bed regenerated. Steam production and power generation operations also benefit from sodium monitoring in an effort to combat corrosion in turbines, steam tubes, and other components. Sodium analyzers are very sensitive, able to detect trace levels. 

Ammonia is comprised of nitrogen and hydrogen and, while colorless, carries a distinct odor. Industries such as agriculture utilize ammonia for fertilizing purposes, and many other specializations, including food processing, chemical synthesis, and metal finishing, utilize ammonia for their procedural and product-oriented needs. An essential understanding of ammonia, however, includes the fact that the chemical is deadly to many forms of aquatic life. Removing ammonia from industrial wastewater is a processing burden of many industries due to the environmental toxicity. 

Methods for removing ammonia from wastewater include a biological treatment method called ‘conventional activated sludge’, aeration, sequencing batch reactor, and ion exchange. Several methods exist for in-line or sample based measurement of ammonia concentration in water. Each has particular procedures, dependencies, and limitations which must be considered for each application in order to put the most useful measurement method into operation. 

As water is an essential part of almost every facet of human endeavor and the environment in which we all dwell, the study and application of related analytics is an important component of many water based processes. The variety of compounds which can be considered contaminants or harmful elements when dissolved or contained in water presents multiple challenges for engineers and process operators. Share your water quality analysis and monitoring challenges with a process measurement expert, combining your own knowledge and experience with their product application expertise to develop effective solutions.