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 https://hilealabama.com or by calling 800-536-0269.

Reprinted with permission from ABB Measurement & Analytics.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Your Choice for Process Control Instrumentation - Hile Controls of Alabama


When you need pressure, temperature, level, flow, gas detection or analytical instrumentation, think Hile Controls of Alabama.  Hile provides process instrumentation for the oil and gas, chemical, power, plastics, mining, water and waste water, pharmaceutical and bio-pharmaceutical, food and beverage, pulp and paper, and government-related industries. Located in Pelham, Alabama, Hile Controls of Alabama proudly serves the states of Alabama and Mississippi, as well as Western Tennessee and the Florida Panhandle.

https://hilealabama.com
800-536-0269

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Pulp and Paper Mills: Thermal Flow Meter Opportunities

Reprinted with permission from Kurz Instruments
Thermal Flow Meters for Dry & Wet Gas Applications
Kurz Thermal Flow Meters
for Dry & Wet Gas Applications
There are an estimated 700 pulp and paper manufacturing facilities throughout the U.S.  Trees used in paper making are put through a debarker and a chipper, where they are reduced to approximately one-inch wood chips. The wood chips are pressure cooked in a digester and become pulp, which is refined, turned into slush, and screened. Screening drains away liquid, and the resulting pulp is pressed into paper.

Several steps within the pulp and paper making process create emissions that must be monitored and reported:
  • Bark is typically burned as fuel for a boiler.
  • Chemicals (green liquor and white liquor) used in the digester to separate the cellulose fibers that become pulp result in emissions containing formaldehyde, methanol, acetaldehyde, and methyl ethyl ketone.
  • High temperatures during the washing and screening processes generate exhaust gases.
  • Any bleaching process includes chlorine or peroxide that must be vented.
  • Fiber particles and chemicals are filtered out and recovered. The recovered material is called “black liquor” and is burned in a recovery boiler to provide additional power for the mill, generating exhaust gases.
  • Wastewater generated during the pulp process is diverted to a wastewater treatment facility, where it is treated and recycled before being reused or released. 
Creating paper pulp relies on a careful balance of low velocity air flows among the various processes. For example, the recovery boiler following the digester must be modulated to follow changes in the digester load. Other imbalances can:
  • Create excessive amounts of pollutant gases 
  • Create extra soot to coat boiler tubes
  • Reduce chemical recovery efficiency 
  • Cause excess corrosion problems for boiler components
  • Reduce the boiler’s steam production
Simplified Recovery Boiler
Simplified Recovery Boiler (click for larger view)
A recovery boiler uses the chemical reaction of the black liquor to generate heat for the boiler. It has three air flow systems that must be accurately controlled to create stable air flows:

  • The primary air flow system maximizes chemical recovery. Primary air optimizes bed size, shape, and temperature.
  • A secondary air flow system is used to maintain complete combustion with dynamic mixing. The secondary air dehydrates the black liquor, and controls bed size, shape, and height.
  • A tertiary air flow system is used to prevent the chemical reaction/processes from reaching the upper regions of the boiler and damaging the boiler tubes. This also generates an even temperature profile across the unit.
  • The molten waste is recovered and dissolved in water to create the green liquor used in the separation process.


THERMAL FLOW METER APPLICATION OPPORTUNITIES


Specific installations have included flow meters used in the following environments:
  • Measuring combustion air to a boiler
  • Measuring primary/secondary/tertiary air to a recovery boiler
  • Monitoring stack flue gas
  • Measuring stack emissions
  • Monitoring digester gases and aeration air
  • Measuring inlet combustion air to gas turbine generator sets 
  • Controlling tight fuel-to-air tolerances, such as with natural gas
  • Measuring turbine exhaust gases
  • Measuring overfire and underfire air
For more information on Kurz Thermal Flow Meters, contact Hile Controls of Alabama by visiting https://hilealabama.com or by calling 800-536-0269.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Digital Mass Flow Meters and Controllers for Gases - Principle of Operation

MASS-STREAM Digital Direct Mass Flow Meters and Controllers
Digital Mass Flow Meter and
Controller (Bronkhorst)
Principle Of Through-Flow Measurement

The mass flow meters and controllers consist of a metal body with a straight-through flow path. Two sensors are encased with stainless steel and protrude inside this bore; one is designed as a heater and the other one is designed as a temperature probe. A constant difference in temperature (ΔT) is created between the two sensors. The heater energy required to maintain this ΔT is dependent on the mass flow. The working principle is based on King’s law of the ratio between the mass flow and the heater energy. That means the higher the flow, the more energy is required to maintain the chosen ΔT.

Watch this video for an excellent visual understanding.


Applications:
  • Measurement and control technology
  • Aeration
  • Analytical instruments
  • Biogas applications
  • Burner controls
  • Coating plants
  • Exhaust gas measurement
  • Gas consumption measurement
  • Gas monitoring systems
  • Gas purging
  • Mechanical engineering
  • N2/O2-generators
  • Paint-spray lines
800-536-0269



Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Multi-Wavelength Pyrometers

Multi-wavelength pyrometer
Multi-wavelength pyrometer (Williamson)
Some materials can be difficult or near impossible to measure with precision using single-wavelength or ratio pyrometers because of their complex emissivity characteristics. These types of materials are called non-greybody materials and their emissivity varies with wavelength.

Multi-wavelength pyrometers use application specific algorithms to characterize infrared energy and emissivity across the measured wavelengths to accurately calculate both the actual temperature and emissivity of these complex non-greybody materials.

MW pyrometers are best for non-greybody materials as they are able to accurately correct for emissivity variations due to:
  • Changes in alloy, surface texture, surface oxidation
  • Abnormal operating conditions such as a furnace leak, bad roll, or reheated coil (Annealing Line)
For more information about multi-wavelength pyrometers, review the embedded document below, or download a PDF version of "Multi-Wavelength Pyrometers" here.

For application assistance, contact Hile Controls of Alabama by visiting https://hilealabama.com or by calling 800-536-0269.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

A Comparison of Coriolis Flowmeters and Thermal Dispersion Flowmeters

The two leading methods for measuring mass flow rate of fluids in industrial control are the Coriolis flowmeter and the thermal dispersion flowmeter.

Thermal Dispersion vs. Coriolis Flow Technology
Thermal Dispersion (left) vs. Coriolis (right) Flow Technology
(click for larger view)

CORIOLIS FLOWMETER   

A Coriolis mass flowmeter measures mass flow rate of the fluid with a U-shaped tube that deflects or vibrates as the fluid flows through it. The operation of this type of mass flow meter is based on the conservation of angular momentum as it applies to the Coriolis acceleration of a fluid. Fluid flows through the oscillating tubes, twisting them slightly in proportion to the mass flow of the fluid and its inertia. Sensors are fixed at the inlet and outlet junctures of the tube, at equal distances from the central fixed point. When there is no fluid flowing through the tube, the amplitude is constant and the sensors at either end are in phase with one another.

Coriolis flowmeter
Coriolis flowmeter (Tektrol)
While Coriolis flowmeters may be used for mass flow measurement in liquids as well as gases, they are prominently used for liquids as a high-density fluid is required to maintain the momentum of oscillation.

THERMAL DISPERSION FLOWMETER

Thermal flowmeter
Thermal flowmeter
(Tektrol)
Thermal Dispersion technology uses the principle of measuring the differential temperature between two temperature sensors and calculating mass flow based upon the cooling effect. Mass flow is based on the rate of heat dissipation per unit time. There are two types of thermal dispersion technology - Constant Temperature Differential Method and the Constant Current Method.

The Constant Current Method maintains a constant differential temperature and the current required to maintain the differential is used as the basis for determining the flow. The greater the mass flow rate, the greater is the cooling effect and the more current needed to maintain the same differential temperate.

The Constant Temperature Differential Method measures the differential temperature between sensors. A temperature difference between the two sensors is an indication of the mass flow rate of the fluid. The greater the mass flow rate, the smaller the temperature difference.

For any questions about measuring process flow, contact Hile Controls of Alabama by visiting https://hilealabama.com or by calling 800-536-0269.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Understanding How Flow is Measured by Differential Pressure

Differential Pressure
The differential flow meter is the most common device for measuring fluid flow through pipes. Flow rates and pressure differential of fluids, such as gases vapors and liquids, are explored using the orifice plate flow meter in the video below.

The differential flow meter, whether Venturi tube, flow nozzle, or orifice plate style, is an in line instrument that is installed between two pipe flanges.

The orifice plate flow meter is comprised the circular metal disc with a specific hole diameter that reduces the fluid flow in the pipe. Pressure taps are added on each side at the orifice plate to measure the pressure differential.

According to the Laws of Conservation of Energy, the fluid entering the pipe must equal the mass leaving the pipe during the same period of time. The velocity of the fluid leaving the orifice is greater than the velocity of the fluid entering the orifice. Applying Bernoulli's Principle, the increased fluid velocity results in a decrease in pressure.

As the fluid flow rate increases through the pipe, back pressure on the incoming side increases due to the restriction of flow created by the orifice plate.

The pressure of the fluid at the downstream side at the orifice plate is less than the incoming side due to the accelerated flow.

With a known differential pressure and velocity of the fluid, the volume metric flow rate can be determined. The flow rate “Q”, of a fluid through an orifice plate increases in proportion to the square root the pressure difference on each side multiplied by the K factor. For example if the differential pressure increases by 14 PSI with the K factor of one, the flow rate is increased by 3.74.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

New Product Alert: ES-FLOW™ - The World's Smallest Ultrasonic Liquid Flow Meter/Controller

ES-FLOW
The new Bronkhorst ES-FLOW™ are Volumetric Liquid Flow Meters for very low flow ranges. The instruments operate on a innovative measuring principle, using ultrasound in a very small, straight tube. A wide range of liquids can be measured independent of fluid density, temperature and viscosity.

The ES-FLOW™ Ultrasonic Flow Meter was designed to measure tiny volume flows from 4 up to 1500 ml/min with high precision, high linearity and low pressure drop, using ultrasound in a small bore tube. Liquids can be measured independent of fluid density, temperature and viscosity. Thanks to the combination of a straight sensor tube with zero dead volume the flow meter is self-draining.
  • The orbital TIG- welding allows hygienic connections so the instrument can be used for hygienic applications. 
  • For non-hygienic applications, the flow meter can also be equipped with compression type fittings.
  • Wetted parts are made of stainless steel, the exterior design is rated to IP67.
  • The user interface is a capacitive touchscreen with a TFT display to operate and readout the instrument.
  • The on-board PID controller can be used to drive a control valve or pump, enabling users to establish a complete, compact control loop.
Applications:
  • Food & Beverage
  • Pharma (e.g. additives, sterilization)
  • Medical
  • Chemical (e.g. catalysts, reagents)
  • Many other markets which require precision fluid handling e.g. fuel consumption measurement and dosing of colorants or lubricants in many industries.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Configuring Ethernet Compatible Eurotherm Devices to iTools using Modbus TCP/IP

Eurotherm temperature and process controllers
Eurotherm is a leading global supplier of Industrial Automation and process control, measurement and data management solutions and services. Their specialize in temperature control, measurement and data recording solutions. Their products contain market-leading control algorithms, recording and data management strategies and are rich in features and designed for easy operation and reduced engineering time.

Eurotherm iTools is a versatile suite of software tools to allow configuration and monitoring of Eurotherm temperature and process controllers, power controllers and recorders. It is a free configuration tool that helps you load, save, and edit configurations as well as, monitor your process live.

The video below demonstrates how to configure any ethernet compatible Eurotherm device to talk to iTools using Modbus TCP/IP.

Friday, July 13, 2018

DIN Rail Mount, High Performance Temperature Transmitters and Signal Devices Only 6 Millimeter Wide

The PR Electronics 3000 series gives you high accuracy, fast response time and low temperature drift – without compromise. All 6 mm devices can be mounted on a standard DIN rail or power rail with no air gap separation, and are suitable for both process and factory automation.

Applications for process automation include: packaging, automotive, robotics, printing, paper, industrial process, water and wastewater, building automation, HVAC, and energy.

Review the product line below in the embedded document, or download the 3000 Series High Performance Temperature Transmitters and Signal Device brochure from this link.

https://hilealabama.com
800-536-0269

Monday, July 2, 2018

Happy 4th of July from Hile Controls of Alabama

"America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand."

Harry S. Truman



Tuesday, June 26, 2018

What is Supply Pressure Effect?

Supply pressure effect (SPE) is the phenomena related to the change of outlet pressure corresponding to a change of inlet, also referred to as supply pressure. This effect is usually described as a given outlet pressure rise per 100 psi decrease in supply pressure. If a regulator has a SPE of 1 psi per 100 psi decrease in supply pressure, it would mean that for every 100 psi drop in inlet pressure, the outlet pressure would rise by 1 psi. This increase can be significant during the consumption of a high pressure cylinder. If, for example, a full cylinder’s pressure was 2,200 psi and it was considered empty at 200 psi, the outlet pressure of the regulator would rise by a total of 20 psi from a full to empty cylinder. The calculation would be 2,200 – 200 = 2,000; 2,000/100 = 20; 20 x 1 psi = 20 psi. SPE is a relatively constant value over the rated inlet pressure range of a pressure regulator. It is related to a ratio of the effective working areas of the diaphragm and poppet sealing area to the seat. Thus defined, it should be noted that SPE varies significantly based upon a regulator’s design characteristics. The AP Tech product line has pressure regulators with a SPE that ranges from as little as 0.05 psi to as much as 5.4 psi per 100 psi change in supply pressure.
Supply pressure effect
SPE is caused by the change in forces due to the varying inlet pressure. A diaphragm type pressure regulator, typical of that employed in specialty gas delivery, is basically a balancing act of forces. The attached sketch graphically depicts the sum of forces that enable a pressure regulator to function. The adjustment spring applies force ‘A’ downward upon the diaphragm while force ‘B’ generated by the outlet pressure (pressure times area = force) pushes upward upon the diaphragm. In addition to force ‘B’, the poppet itself exerts an upward force because it has a surface area, albeit relatively small, exposed to the supply pressure. As shown in the diagram, force ‘A’ is equaled by the sum of ‘B’ and ‘C’. If the supply pressure decreases, the amount of force contributed by ‘C’ also decreases. Force ‘B’ must correspondingly increase to maintain the equilibrium balance of forces which in turn translates to an outlet pressure rise.

Reprinted with permission from AP Tech/Advanced Pressure Technology Product Note, PN 403, Revision 1 "Supply Pressure Effect (also known as Delivery Pressure Rise)", March 5, 2013

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Mass Flow, Pressure Measurement and Control for the Plastics and Rubber Market

Bronkhorst Cori-Flow
Bronkhorst Cori-Flow
Bronkhorst has over 35 years experience in designing and manufacturing precise and reliable measurement and control equipment and the widest range of mass flow and pressure meters and controllers available on the market.

Bronkhorst offers innovative solutions for many different applications across a great many different markets, and has a particular strong wealth of knowledge and reputation within the plastics and rubber market.

Areas of expertise are:
  • Accurate dosing of liquid additives, e.g. colorants, plasticizers, stabilizers and processing aids.
  • Surface treatment of plastic textiles, food and beverage packaging, parts for the automotive industry, etc. by means of vapor delivery systems.
  • Pressure control in plastic extrusion and/or molding processes, e.g. for the production of rigid, lightweight PVC or aluminum profiles .
  • Gas flow control (N2, Air or CO2) for polymeric foam products such as mattresses, sponges or car seats.


Thursday, June 7, 2018

A Simple Demonstration of the Coriolis Effect Used in Process Flow Control

Coriolis mass flowmeter
Coriolis mass flowmeter
(TekTrol)
The Coriolis measuring principle refers to the effect that a moving mass has on a body in a rotating frame of reference. The 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 flowmeters.

The video below uses a simple garden host to clearly demonstrate the effect.

Coriolis mass flowmeters are designed to suit your need 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 hence they do not require compensations for factors such as temperature and pressure which impact volume and accuracy of measurement.

For more information, contact Hile Controls of Alabama by visiting https://hilealabama.com or calling 800-536-0269. Download the "TEK-COR 1100A Coriolis Mass Flowmeter" brochure here.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The Advantages of Single-Detector Dual-Wavelength Pyrometers

Dual-Wavelength Pyrometer
Dual-Wavelength Pyrometer
(Williamson)
Single-detector, dual-wavelength sensors offer all of the capabilities of two-color sensors plus these added advantages:

Dual-Wavelength Sensors ...
  • Measure Low Temperatures – as low as 200˚F / 95˚C and above  Fiber-Optic 400˚F / 200˚C and above
  • Provide a Real-Time Measure of Temperature, Ambient Temperature, Emissivity and Signal Dilution
  • Can Measure Single-Wavelength and Dual-Wavelength Temperature Values Simultaneously
  • Include ESP Filtering to continuously measure intermittent targets or to eliminate intermittent interferences
  • Select models uniquely view clearly through Water, Steam, Flames and Combustion Gasses with thoughtful wavelength consideration
  • Select models uniquely view through Plasma and Laser Energy with thoughtful wavelength consideration
  • Are 20 times less sensitive to Scale and temperature gradients compared to two-color sensors
  • Are 20 to 100 times less sensitive to optical obstruction and misalignment compared to two-color sensors
The video below demonstrates a side-by-side comparison between an existing 2-color pyrometer and two Williamson Dual-Wavelength Pyrometers. Williamson Dual-Wavelength pyrometers are 20 times less sensitive to scale due to greater separation between wavelengths, when compared with 2-color pyrometers. Two-color sensors are an appropriate choice for many common temperature measurement applications. However, when certain conditions are present such as water, steam, scale, severe temperature gradients, severe or intermittent optical obstruction, flames, combustion gasses, laser energy, plasma, small targets and low temperatures, or when real-time emissivity measurements, measurement condition validation, or calibration stability are required, dual-wavelength pyrometers are a more appropriate choice.


For more information on non-contact temperature measurement or Williams infrared pyrometers visit https://hilealabama.com or call 800-536-0269.

Friday, May 25, 2018

New Product Alert: AP Tech / Advanced Pressure Technology

AP Tech Products
AP Tech Products
AP Tech is a manufacturer of gas handling components – primarily pressure regulators and valves. AP Tech products are known to deliver gases with uncompromising quality, performance and reliability.

AP Tech’s competitive advantage are products that deliver specialty gases for high purity through ultra high purity applications. Starting from the source vessel to point of use and into the process tool or equipment itself,

AP Tech products include:
  • Single Stage Regulators
  • Mini Regulators
  • Pneumatically Actuated Regulators
  • Single Stage High Pressure Regulators
  • Single Stage Springless Pressure Regulators
  • Single Stage Vaporizer Regulator
  • Two Stage Regulators
  • Crossover Manifolds
  • Back Pressure Regulators
You can download the AP Tech Gas Delivery Components Condensed Catalog from this link, or browse the embedded document below.

For more information, contact:
Hile Alabama
https://hilealabama.com
205-620-4000

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Sensepoint XRL Gas Detector by Honeywell Analytics

Sensepoint XRL Gas DetectorThe Honeywell Analytics Sensepoint XRL is a single-sensor fixed gas detector is designed to meet the needs of industrial applications and supports the following interfaces, dependent on the model:

  • Analog output: Sensepoint XRL features current loop output, supporting signals in the range 0 to 22 mA. Typically this interface is referred to as 4 to 20 mA.
  • Digital output: Sensepoint XRL supports Modbus RTU digital communications.
  • Mobile app: A mobile app is available to commission and maintain the Sensepoint XRL gas detector.



Honeywell innovation enables customers to pair the gas detector with their mobile phone, and then use an app to perform many tasks related to installation, commissioning and maintenance. By using Honeywell's Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology, you can install, commission and maintain your Sensepoint XRL gas detector from your mobile device. By using their gas detector app you can mange the device from up to 10 meters away.

Sensepoint XRL is available as a flammable gas detector for the detection of potentially explosive gases, or as a toxic gas detector for the detection of a range of toxic gas hazards commonly found in industrial facilities.

You can learn more by reviewing the embedded document below, or download the Sensepoint XRL Gas Detector PDF here.


Monday, April 30, 2018

Pro's and Con's of Wireless Instrumentation in Process Control

industrial wireless
In the process control industry there are many reasons to adopt wireless instrumentation. Advocates will tell you the biggest advantages of wireless I/O monitoring and control options are reduced installation cost and increased convenience.

The argument in favor of wireless goes something like this:
  • Why install cable when wireless I/O communications can be utilized at a fraction of the cost? 
  • Avoid having to lay conduit, obtain permits, hire labor, and renting out the required machines.
  • Wireless I/O monitoring and control systems are easy to install and configure; your system will be up and running faster. 
But the acceptance by companies has been slow. The fiscal argument for the industry to adopt wireless instrumentation networks is convincing, and there are clear benefits, so why the hesitation to embrace wireless technology?

ioProWDL
ioProWDL by
ioSelect
There are three main concerns:
  • Is the technology reliable?
  • Adaptibility with existing infrastructure?
  • How does wireless work with the existing communication system?
Cost cutting and process improvement in the process industries is a fact of life.  Whether to comply with current regulations, or to build a more efficient operation, the need to build a better mousetrap is always present.  Before widespread adoption of wireless could occur, the challenges of reliability, adaptability, and ease of integration had to be overcome. There's evidence that time may have arrived, as innovation and new technologies are allaying these concerns. As deployment costs are reduced, maintenance costs are reduced, employee safety is improved, and environmental compliance is advanced, it won't be long until wireless technologies become the preferred deployment method for all new installations.

Always consult with a local industrial wireless application specialist to optimize the efficiency of this new technology for your application.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Infrared Pyrometry Keeps an "Eye On" the Health of Combustion Chambers in Power Generation Boilers

Williamson Infrared Pyrometer
Williamson Infrared Pyrometer
Fossil fuel power plants generate electricity by spinning a generator turbine with pressurized steam. The steam is created by heat exchanger tubes in a combustion chamber. The combustion flame heats the air, which heats the exchanger tubes, which in turn heats water in the boiler creating steam.

The more quickly steam is created, the faster the turbines turn, which produces more electricity. The efficiency by which steam is produced is proportional to the amount of heat created in the combustion chamber, and the transfer rate of the heat in to the exchanger tubes.

Maintaining the temperatures of the combustion chamber is critical. It needs to be carefully controlled. Exceeding the temperature thresholds of the refractory brick and the heat exchanger tubes has serious implications.  Refractory materials will vitrify (glass over) when overheated and lose their insulating properties. Heat exchanger tubes will fatigue when heated above their design limits, and will soften and crack. Costly downtime and unscheduled maintenance will result.

A result of combustion is the accumulation of soot and fly ash build-up on the heat exchanger tubes. This accumulation significantly decreases the efficiency of heat transfer. As less heat is transferred to the inside the boiler tube, steam production is reduced, and the tube's external temperature rises. A characteristic of fly ash is that, as temperatures increase, it gets stickier. As it sticks, it builds up more quickly. This is obviously a problem. The rate of build-up can be slowed by controlling fly ash temperature, and therefore optimum heat exchanger efficiency can be optimized.

The manufacturer Williamson successfully applies their short-wavelength pyrometers to measure refractory wall and heat exchanger tube temperature to protect and ensure efficient operation. With these pyrometers plant operators can also determine when boiler tubes need to be cleaned. Another Williamson dual-wavelength pyrometer is used to monitor fly ash temperature near the bottom of the heat exchanger tubes, and also to measure flame temperatures within the firebox.

Benefits:
  • Improved process efficiency.
  • Uniform bed temperature.
  • Protects against catastrophic damage.

For more information on non-contact temperature measurement or Williams infrared pyrometers visit https://hilealabama.com or call 800-536-0269.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Hile Controls of Alabama - Controls, Instrumentation, Valves

Hile Controls of Alabama provides controls, instrumentation and valves for manufacturers in oil and gas, chemical production, power generation, plastics, mining, water and waste water, pharmaceuticals and bio-pharmaceuticals, food and beverage, pulp and paper, and government-related industrial manufacturers. They are located in Pelham, Alabama and serve Alabama, Mississippi, Western Tennessee, and the Florida Panhandle.

800-536-0269

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Current Transmitters and Switches Simplify Electrical Equipment Monitoring

split core current transmitter current switch
A split core current transmitter can be easily fitted to
existing installations without disconnecting power conductors.
Image courtesy Absolute Process Instruments, Inc.
Electrical machinery and devices are everywhere throughout commercial and industrial settings. Motors are found on a countless variety of machines, including compressors, pumps and conveyors. Electric heating is employed in many production processes, as well as being used as freeze protection for piping systems located in the cold. Gathering information on the operational health of electrical equipment can often be accomplished continuously and in real time, simply by monitoring the electrical current flowing to the utilization equipment.

Two common examples of how electric current monitoring can provide information helpful to operators come to mind.

  • Motors driving pumps, fans, air compressors and refrigeration units often have very predictable load ranges that are reflected in the operating range of the motor current. Deriving a process signal the corresponds to motor current enables the operator or automation system to confirm that the motor is operating on command and within its expected load range. Operation outside of the expected range can be cause for concern and prompt an appropriate response. 
  • Electric heaters for process control, freeze protection, HVAC and other applications will present very predictable levels of operating current. Again, a current measurement can confirm that the heater, or multiple heaters, are operating on command.
The questions of whether electrical equipment operates when a run command is initiated and whether it is operating properly (within its expected range) are basic and essential bits of information for any process or equipment operator. For many types of electrical equipment, a process signal corresponding to electrical current provides useful answers to both questions.

Deriving the process signal for electrical current and delivering it to a local or remote control or automation system is a simple task. Whether installing new equipment wiring, or retrofitting to existing cables, there are standard products for a broad range of applications. Some basic features deliver everything needed.
  • Loop powered device for two wire operation
  • Field selectable sensing range
  • 4-20 mA output
  • Fixed or split core variants to accommodate new or retrofit installations
Implementation is very straight forward. Mount the transmitter in a location where the power conductor can be routed through the sensing core of the unit. These transmitters function in a similar fashion to a clamp-on ammeter. The conductor being measured must pass through the sensing unit. Select the appropriate range for the application with jumpers or switches on the unit. The 4-20 mA output signal will correspond to the selected measurement range. Connect the signal cable to create the 4-20 mA loop and you are ready to go.

Solid core units require the power conductor to be passed through the sensing portion of the unit, so the conductor must be disconnected from the circuit at one end and routed through the unit. If this is not practical, a split core unit can be used. The split core is hinged, and opens like a clamp-on ammeter, allowing installation of the transmitter at any point along the conductor without the need to disconnect.

Share your electrical equipment monitoring requirements and challenges with process measurement specialists. Leverage your own knowledge and experience with their product application expertise to develop effective solutions.

Friday, March 23, 2018

High Pressure In-Line Filters for Instrument and Equipment Protection

in-line process filters and filtration elements
An assortment of in-line process fluid filters.
Image courtesy 3B Filters, Inc.
Industrial, commercial, and scientific processes and operations very often have liquids or gases flowing through them. We use fluids for a wide variety of functions, as a motive force, as a solvent, and countless other things. Anytime a fluid is in use, the design of the devices comprising that system generally rely on a limitation of particulate matter larger than a maximum diameter. Filters are designed to capture and retain foreign matter that might otherwise cause wear, damage, or other unwanted impact in a fluid system.

Filtration assembly selection relies on several factors. Correctly specifying a filtration unit will reduce the potential for adverse impact on the process and achieve the desired level of protection.
  • Media Compatibility - Construction materials for housings or bodies, filter elements, gaskets, and other parts exposed to the process media must accommodate their potential corrosive effects. The inverse is true, as well. The filter unit materials must be evaluated for their potential impact on the media.
  • Temperature - Filter element, housing and gasket components should be compatible with anticipated extremes of process temperature. Some additional headroom never hurts.
  • Pressure - The containing portion of the assembly must be rated to withstand the full range of possible operating pressures, again with a suitable amount of headroom.
  • Flow - Size the filtration unit to handle the full range of process fluid flow without excessive pressure drop.
  • Capture - Survey the needs of instruments or equipment intended to be downstream of the filter. These are the items the filter is protecting. What are the particulate contaminant limits or tolerances of the downstream devices? Whichever has the lowest tolerance for foreign matter is likely the governing element for filter particle size retention. The filter element, whether disposable or cleanable, must be selected to prevent or appropriately limit passage of the  particle size range that will impair operation of the downstream components.
  • Retention - As particulates are trapped by the filter, the unit begins to clog and pressure drop increases. Processes will have varied filter element replacement protocols along the continuum of whether filter elements are changed regularly or left in place until flow impairment. Select a filter element size suitable for the anticipated contaminant load of the process. Higher levels of expected particulates generally indicate a need for a larger filter element to provide the capability to retain the contaminants while still allowing for sufficient passage of clean fluid.
There can be many other considerations for filter selection that may come into play for specific installations. Most important is to not forget to put filtration protection in place. It is cheap insurance against excessive wear and damage to sensitive instrumentation and equipment. Share your filtration requirements and challenges with product application specialists. Leverage your own process knowledge and experience with their product application expertise to develop effective solutions.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Bubbler-Tube Liquid Level System

bubbler tube liquid level measurement system
The Type L100 is a complete and ready to use
bubble-tube liquid level measurement system.
Image courtesy ControlAir, Inc.
Measuring liquid level in an open tank or vessel can be accomplished in a number of ways, all of which require some arrangement of instrumentation to either infer the liquid level from the measurement of a related physical property, or directly deliver the liquid level visually using a scaled gauge arrangement. One indirect method of level measurement is often referred to as the bubbler or bubble-tube method, so named because it employs a purging gas that continually vents from the bottom of a tube extending into a tank of liquid. Through a simple apparatus, the level of a liquid can be inferred by the amount a back pressure exerted upon the gas flowing through the tube.

Probably the greatest advantage of this method of liquid level measurement is that the media does not contact the sensing instrumentation, protecting the instrument from damage by the media, and the media from possible contamination from the sensor. The only portion of the apparatus in contact with the liquid is a tube immersed into the tank. Basically, a purge gas flows through the immersion tube and may bubble out the immersed end of the tube, which is open to allow the contained liquid to exert a hydrostatic pressure on the purge gas. The back pressure on the gas that is exerted by the liquid contained within the tank will vary directly with the depth of the liquid. The back pressure can be correlated to a liquid level. Further calculations, which would include the tank shape, dimensions, and the liquid density can provide an indication of the volume and mass of the liquid.

It is feasible to create your own bubbler system, but the cost in human resources to design, coordinate, procure, and assemble all the components is unnecessary. ControlAir provides a completely designed and pre-assembled unit, compact and ready to run on your application. More information is included in the datasheet below. Share your process measurement challenges of all types with measurement specialists. Leverage your own knowledge and experience with their product application expertise to develop an effective solution.
 

Friday, March 9, 2018

Single Loop Process Controllers

process controller with display
One of many single loop process controller variants.
Image courtesy Eurotherm
There are many variants of process controllers, each providing some combination of input, output, interface, alarm and other functional options. They range from simple on/off devices to programmable microprocessor based units providing a wide range of functions in addition to control of a process parameter. 

A single loop controller focuses its function on the regulation of one input value. The control algorithm and output action are directed solely at a single process value. An example would be a temperature controller. A single input from a thermocouple, RTD or other measurement instrument powers the control algorithm, which in turn adjusts the output action to affect any change needed to keep the process valve, or input, at a setpoint. The single input point may be used to drive more than one output, in this example a heating and a cooling output, but a single loop controller is generally limited to one process value input.

Process controllers can deliver an extensive range of auxiliary functions, in addition to straight line process control. The enhanced functionality can negate the need for additional hardware in the form of separate devices and instruments with their added burden of calibration, maintenance and repair. The list of available options is long, but here are some that may prove useful.
  • Alarm outputs that can be programmed to respond to certain input conditions and annunciate a process condition out of the expected range.
  • Retransmisson of the process signal as an analog output for use with other instruments.
  • Flexible configuration via PC to speed setup or change of use.
  • Recipe storage of process control setpoint changes for quick setup for differing batch operations.
  • Customizable alarm messages to enhance operator understanding of their meaning.
  • Communications for integration with larger control systems or data acquisition equipment.
  • Remote setpoint input.
  • Setpoint time or event based profile programming.
  • Universal input section to accommodate wide range of input devices and enable deployment of a common controller model to many applications and locations throughout a facility.
There are more options and functions than can be effectively listed here. Share your process control challenges with a process measurement and control specialist. Effective solutions will arise from leveraging your own process knowledge and experience with their product application expertise.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Specialty Valves for Control and Regulation in Fractional Flow Applications

fractional flow control valve
Fractional flow valves are intended for precise control at
very low flow rates.
Image courtesy Low Flow Division, Jordan Valve

Valves are available in a remarkable array of sizes and types, their variety driven by a combination of diverse application requirements and manufacturers willing to fulfill those requirements. One application subset, of which some knowledge is useful, is the requirement for accurate and reliable control involving very low flow rates.

The Low Flow Division of Jordan Valve specializes in control valves and pressure regulators for processes where very low flow rates are a requirement. The company's products cross the boundaries of many industry sectors, with variants applicable to many uses.

  • Back Pressure
  • Chemical Injection or Metering
  • Flow Control
  • Corrosive Media
  • Cryogenic
  • High Pressure
  • High Temperature
  • Mixing or Diverting
  • Natural and Industrial Gas
  • Offshore
  • Pilot Plant
  • Pressure Reducing
  • Steam
  • Research
  • Zero Fugitive Emission
A number of installation and operation considerations may apply to these specialized valves that are different or more stringent than for larger flow rated valves.
  • Clearance within the trim may be very small, to provide precise control of low flow rates. Valves should generally be applied to clean fluids.
  • When installed, all piping should be properly cleaned, flushed, or blown out to remove all foreign matter.
  • A line strainer of particularly fine mesh, in accordance with installation instructions for the particular valve in use, may be required for protection  and to maintain proper operation.
  • Other instructions that may apply specifically to an application or a valve product should be followed to assure best performance and longevity
There is more to learn. Share your fluid control requirements and challenges with valve specialists. Leverage your own process knowledge and experience with their product application expertise to develop an effective solution.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Coriolis Mass Flow Fluid Dosage Controller

Coriolis mass flow fluid dosage controller
Cori-Fill Coriolis mass flow fluid dosage controller
can improve fluid process throughput and quality.
Image courtesy Bronkhorst USA
Mixing and combining fluids in a process can require high levels of measurement and control accuracy to achieve consistent results. Increasing a system's levels of  accuracy can translate into higher efficiency and less waste of fluid components that may be a substantial portion of product cost.

A Coriolis flow meter measures mass flow directly, providing a highly accurate means of controlling fluid dosage without the need to depend on pump displacement or weighing as a means of controlling component additions.

The accuracy and consistency of dosing and metering pumps is impacted by temperature, air entrapment in liquids, component wear, and changing pressure. Utilizing the Cori-Fill mass flow dosage controller, from Bronkhorst USA, puts in place an integrated solution with flow meter, PID controller and control valve that overcomes many of the shortfalls of other technologies.

Numerous advantages accrue with this strategy (from Improving Dosing and Metering Pump Performance, www.bronkhorst.com/blog/improving-dosing-and-metering-pump-performance/).
  • Direct mass flow control of the flow
  • Mass flow dosing is independent of temperature and pressure, in contrast to the volumetric dosing when only a pump is used
  • Accurate delivery mitigating normal pump issues
  • Alarm functionality of low flow
  • Preventative maintenance based on pump performance over time
  • Consistent flow measurement based on actual not assumed numbers
There is more to learn about the use and advantages of Coriolis mass flow controllers. Additional information is contained in the document included below. Share your flow measurement and control requirements and challenges with a process measurement specialist. Develop effective solutions by leveraging your own process knowledge and experience with their product application expertise.


Saturday, February 10, 2018

Communicate With HART Devices Using a Smart Phone

Bluetooth modem for Smart device communication with HART transmitters
The HM-BLE modem enables smart device communications
between HART devices and a smart phone.
Image courtesy ProComSol, Ltd
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 ease of use and functionality of the package delivers benefits to any facility utilizing HART enabled devices.

A recent release now adds an iOS version of the product to the ProComSol offering, the first iOS based Smart Device Communicator Application for HART instruments. The new version brings the features and functionality of the popular DevCom android app to iPhone users.
  • Uses the registered DD files from the FieldComm Group
  • Complete access to all features of the device DD including Methods
  • Monitor PV, Multi-variables, and Device Status
  • View and edit device Variables
  • The most cost-effective DD based handheld HART communication solution available
More information is included below. A wireless modem, the HM-BLE, enables simple connection between smart phone and HART transmitter. Share your process measurement and control challenges with product application specialists, leveraging your own knowledge and experience with their expertise to develop effective solutions.



Saturday, February 3, 2018

Combination Magnetic Level Gauge and Liquid Level Transmitter

combination magnetic liquid level gauge and guided wave radar transmitter
This combination of guided wave radar level transmitter
and magnetic level gauge can be further customized
to suit almost any process application.
Image courtesy ABB K-Tek
Process operations involving liquids contained in tanks and vessels invariably need instruments that provide information about the degree to which the tank is full....how much process liquid is in the tank. It is common to have a need for multiple signals or indicators, utilized in the process monitoring and control scheme for differing purposes. A continuous liquid level signal from a transmitter provides remote indication of remaining tank capacity or a measure of tank contents. Liquid level switches can be wired directly into other control circuits for safety or operational control of other machinery supplying or draining the tank. Local operators can benefit from a visual indication of tank liquid level to verify process step progress. Obtaining all this process related information from the tank can require numerous separate tank connections, fittings and space for service and maintenance access. A good solution is available.

K-Tek, an ABB brand, combines a guided wave radar transmitter and a magnetic level indicator into a single compact instrument with one set of tank connections. The instrument can be custom configured in a number of ways, with accessories that can be added to suit any application. Service valves, additional transmitters, level switches and more can be added to the instrument at the time of ordering to minimize first cost, installation time, potential leak points, fittings, piping, space requirements and more. The datasheet included below provides more detail on the available configuration options, but you should share your level measurement and control challenges with application experts for a knowledgeable recommendation. Combine your own process knowledge and experience with their product application expertise to develop an effective solution.


Saturday, January 27, 2018

Control Valve Designed for On/Off Operation

cutaway view of Mark 76 sliding gate control valve
Cutaway view of the Mark 76 on/off control valve,
a sliding gate design.
Image courtesy Jordan Valve
Not every fluid control application needs a modulating valve. In some cases, a two state control algorithm, flow or no flow, is the best solution. Opting for a less complex control method can deliver up front benefits of lower first cost and easier implementation. Continuing savings in maintenance time and the ease of understanding the control sequence accrue for the life of the installation.

The Mark 76 On/Off Control Valves, from Jordan Valve, are an advantageous choice for applications as described above. They exhibit very rapid opening and closing times with the short stroke sliding gate design. The pneumatically operated valve can be configured to open when pressure is applied, or to close. The counterforce spring returns the valve to its normal state when no air pressure is applied to the actuator. This allows the valve to be controlled using a small solenoid valve.

The sliding gate design does not use soft seats, but delivers tight shutoff and is suitable for steam service. The low air pressure requirements and short stroke required by the sliding gate contribute to the longevity of the Mark 76 in control applications.

More information is in the datasheet included below. Share your fluid control requirements of all types with valve application specialists, leveraging your own process knowledge and experience with their product application expertise to develop an effective solution.