Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Happy Holidays from All of Us at Hile Controls of Alabama

From all of us at Hile Controls of Alabama, we wish our customers, partners and vendors a safe and happy holiday season and a wonderful 2019!

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Infrared Products for Monitoring Smokeless Flares, Pilots, and Flame Intensity

Infrared Monitoring Smokeless Flares

Smokeless Flares

Smokeless flares incinerate flammable hazardous vent gas with the assistance of supplemental high-velocity air or steam to prevent the formation of soot or smoke. Excessive injection of air or steam reduces combustion efficiency, resulting in the release of hazardous VOC gases. Meanwhile, inadequate injection of air or steam results in the formation of undesirable soot and smoke. Although modern flares are designed for high flow rates associated with an emergency condition, they most commonly operate at high-turn-down, low-flow rates, making it challenging for the flare to operate at optimal combustion efficiency.

Pilot Monitor

Flammable vent gases are ignited by a pilot flame when released into the atmosphere by refineries, natural gas processing plants, and petrochemical plants. The proper incineration of these gases is a critical safety and environmental concern. Therefore, it is essential to confirm that the pilot is lit at all times. Monitoring via a thermocouple is common, however, failures frequently occur and replacements can require costly process shutdowns. Remote sensing IR technology (PM) is the superior alternative.

Flame Intensity Monitors

Williamson Flame Intensity Monitors (FI) are the single-wavelength sensors of choice for a variety of flare applications where the more sophisticated dual-wavelength flare products are not appropriate or are not required. Products specifically designated for flame intensity monitoring applications include:
  • Pilot Monitoring of Hydrogen, Ammonia or CO Flames
  • Pilot Monitoring of Ground Flares and Landfill Flares
  • Flame Intensity Monitoring
Download the Infrared Products for Monitoring Smokeless Flares, Pilots, and Flame Intensity brochure here.

For more information, contact Hile Controls of Alabama by calling 800-536-0269 or visiting

Monday, December 3, 2018

How They Work: The Bronkhorst Mini CORI-FLOW™ Coriolis Mass Flow Meter

Traditionally, Coriolis Mass Flow Meters are mainly applied for medium to high flow rates of liquids. Applications are found in industrial processes e.g. in chemical plants, the oil & gas market and in the food and beverage industry. Measuring low flow rates has, so far, been complicated and costly.

mini CORI-FLOW® series by Bronkhorst are precise and compact Mass Flow Meters and Controllers, based on the Coriolis measuring principle. Designed to cover the needs of the low flow market, they offer “multi-range” functionality, i.e. factory calibrated ranges that can be rescaled by the user while maintaining the original accuracy specs. As a result customers lower inventory costs and total cost of ownership.

Hile Controls of Alabama

Saturday, November 17, 2018

What Are Coriolis Flow Meters?

Coriolis flow meter twisting
Animation of how the Coriolis flow meter tubes twist
in response to a flow/no-flow condition.
Coriolis mass flow meters are designed to measure almost any fluid across any application. Built on the Coriolis Principle, these meters measure the mass of the fluids directly (rather than volume) and do not require temperature or pressure compensation for accuracy.

Measuring Principle

The Coriolis measuring principle is based upon the physical effect a moving mass has on a body in a rotating frame of reference. This moving mass exerts an apparent force on the body, causing a deformation. This force is called the Coriolis force. It does not act directly on the body, but on the motion of the body. This principle is used in Coriolis flow meters.


A Coriolis flow meter consists of two parallel tubes that are made to oscillate using a magnet. These oscillations are recorded by sensors fitted at the inlet and outlet of each tube. In a no-flow state, the oscillations are synchronized, since there is no mass exerting any force on the tubes. When fluid or gas flow exists through the tubes,  Coriolis forces are generated, causing the tubes to deflect or twist in proportion to the mass flow rate of the medium.

Coriolis Flow Movement
Coriolis Flow Movement

Three Styles of Coriolis Flow Meters

U-Shaped Coriolis Flow Meters:
U-Shaped Coriolis Flow Meter
U-Shaped Coriolis Flow Meter

These flow meters utilize two tubes arranged in the shape of the letter ‘U’, a magnet and coil assembly, and sensors at the inlet and outlet of the tubes. Coriolis forces exerted by the flow medium are used to determine the mass flow rate and density of the medium.

Micro-bend Shaped Coriolis Flow Meters:

Micro-bend Shaped Coriolis Flow Meter
Micro-bend Shaped Coriolis Flow Meter
These flow meters utilize of two U-Shaped tubes in a casing with a considerably smaller radius than conventional U-Shaped Coriolis flowmeters. The smaller radius ensures a more compact instrument with significantly lower pressure differential values compared to other flow meters.

Triangle Shaped Coriolis Flow Meters:

Triangle Shaped Coriolis Flow Meter
Triangle Shaped Coriolis Flow Meter
The Triangular flow meter is the most compact style of Coriolis mass flow meters, designed specifically to provide optimum performance in low-flow applications. It utilizes a single flow tube which is considerably smaller in size than the conventional U-Shaped tube.

For more information about Coriolis flow meters, contact Hile Controls of Alabama by visiting their web site at or by calling 800-536-0269.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Understanding Pressure-based Flowmeters

A “plug” of fluid can be accelerated by applying a difference of pressure across its length. The amount of pressure applied will be in direct proportion to the density of the fluid and its rate of acceleration. Conversely, we may measure a fluid’s rate of acceleration by measuring the pressure developed across a distance over which it accelerates.

We may easily force a fluid to accelerate by altering its natural flow path. The difference of pressure generated by this acceleration will indirectly indicate the rate of acceleration. Since the acceleration we see from a change in flow path is a direct function of how fast the fluid was originally moving, the acceleration (and therefore the pressure drop) indirectly indicates fluid flow rate.

A very common way to cause linear acceleration in a moving fluid is to pass the fluid through a constriction in the pipe, thereby increasing its velocity (remember that the definition of acceleration is a change in velocity). The following illustrations show several devices used to linearly accelerate moving fluids when placed in pipes, with differential pressure transmitters connected to measure the pressure drop resulting from this acceleration:

Pressure-based Flowmeters

Another way we may accelerate a fluid is to force it to turn a corner through a pipefitting called an elbow. This will generate radial acceleration, causing a pressure difference between the outside and inside of the elbow which may be measured by a differential pressure transmitter:

Pressure-based Flowmeters

The pressure tap located on the outside of the elbow’s turn registers a greater pressure than the tap located on the inside of the elbow’s turn, due to the inertial force of the fluid’s mass being “flung” to the outside of the turn as it rounds the corner.

Yet another way to cause a change in fluid velocity is to force it to decelerate by bringing a portion of it to a full stop. The pressure generated by this deceleration (called the stagnation pressure) tells us how fast it was originally flowing. A few devices working on this principle are shown here:

Pressure-based Flowmeters

Reprinted from "Lessons In Industrial Instrumentation" by Tony R. Kuphaldt – under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Reboiler Condensate Level Measurement Using a Non–intrusive Magnetostrictive Level Transmitter

Magnetostrictive Level TransmitterIntroduction

Reboilers are found throughout refineries and are critical to reliable plant operation. Reboilers are designed to operate with no liquid condensate level. Unintentional condensate flooding of reboilers results in a greater risk of corrosion since corrosion processes occur in the liquid phase. Uncontrolled corrosion can lead to reboiler failure and unplanned shutdown costing billions of dollars.

The Application

The customer is a fractionation plant which produces ethane and propane. The application, reboiler condensate level, is critical to the plant operations. Process conditions: The transmitter is mounted as a non–intrusive device, so pressures are of no consequence.
  • Ambient temperature: –2 to 43 deg. C (28.4 to 109.4deg. F)
  • Process temperature: 65 deg. C (149 deg. F) 
  • Process pressure: 22 barG
The Challenge

The condensate–pot level indicator was unreliable and insensitive to the variations in level–control– valve opening. Condensate–pot level control was poor, and the control valve had to be operated on manual. Finally this competitor transmitter failed and was replaced by the earlier generation magnetostrictive AT200 transmitter years ago. The customer is now looking to upgrade the measurement system.

The Solution

ABB offered the advanced next generation LMT series magnetostrictive transmitter for the level measurement. The LMT200 initially was added as a redundant measurement for ensuring the performance and reliability. The customer appreciated the advanced features including the Easy setup, built–in waveform and diagnostics capabilities of the LMT. This resulted in a higher confidence and switched the LMT measurement loop as the primary for the level control through the control system.

For more information contact Hile Controls of Alabama by visiting or by calling 800-536-0269.

Reprinted with permission from ABB Measurement & Analytics.