Wednesday, December 28, 2016

DCS Extension or Upgrade Can Boost Process Performance

automated factory
Process automation and control
Industrial control systems, regardless of their type or brand, command first line attention in the operation of a process. After all, with the purpose of a centralized control system being the integration and coordination of all process functions, the control system runs just about everything. Over time, all systems begin to lose some of their value. Causes can include:

  • New technology, regulation, or another factor renders all or part of existing system obsolete.
  • Deterioration of operating components from use.
  • Procedural requirements that are overly burdensome in the current business environment.
  • Outright failure of portions of the system due to unforeseen events.
  • Abandonment of, or major changes to, all or part of the process.
There are certainly more events and circumstances that can lead to consideration of a control system overhaul or replacement. Numerous paths can be charted to resolving a control system challenge of large magnitude, each with a set of costs, technical hurdles, logistics, and time constraints that must be considered. Successful project completion will likely require the services of outside vendors and contractors with expertise in areas of concern.

ABB is a global leader in distributed control system design, hardware, and software. Their expertise can be brought to bear on:
  • New projects or installations
  • Support for existing ABB installations
  • Migration from other vendors
  • Industry specific requirements
  • Extending useful life of heritage systems
Having global and local expertise on board will help your DCS project proceed expeditiously from concept and planning through implementation. Reach out to a DCS expert with your concerns and challenges, then combine your process knowledge with their product application expertise to build an effective solution.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Multifunction Calibrator Keeps Process Instruments "In Tune"

Genii 620 multifunction calibrator shown on pressure station
GE Multifunction Calibrator
Shown with pressure calibrator accessory
Courtesy GE Measurement & Control
Industrial process operations are populated with sensors, transmitters, and other measuring instruments of many varieties. This instrumentation is not installed without good reason, with each data point providing valuable and necessary information with regard to process status and safety. Regular maintenance and calibration of measurement instrumentation is a necessary part of maintaining quality, efficiency, and safety.

With so many different types and manufacturers of instruments, purchasing and maintaining calibration equipment can become and unwieldy process in itself. GE Measurement & Control meets the challenge by incorporating numerous calibration capabilities into a single high accuracy unit with flexibility and ease of use. The unit can simultaneously source and measure an extensive array of signals, providing capability to use a single calibrator for a long, maybe even complete, list of instruments installed at your site. Utilization of the multifunction calibrator can potentially reduce the total number of instruments in your calibration shop, with a commensurate reduction in cost, documentation, and time commitment to keep your calibration instrument arsenal ready for use.

A datasheet with all the details is included below. Browse the data sheet and reach out to a specialist with your calibration requirements and challenges. Work together to develop an effective solution for your operation.



Thursday, December 15, 2016

Versatile Thermal Dispersion Switches For Level, Temperature, Liquid Interface, and Flow Applications

flow level interface temperature switch for fluid process control
Sanitary version of  FLT93 FlexSwitch
Courtesy Fluid Components International
Thermal dispersion, as a method of process measurement, relies upon precise temperature measurement and, in some cases, the ability to measure heat input. The principal is fairly simple, based upon the relationship between two temperature measurement points in the subject fluid. One is heated by the control system in a known manner, the other is not. Whether measuring fluid flow, or functioning as a liquid level or interface switch, the relationship between the two temperature measurements can provide the needed information reliably, accurately, and without any moving parts in the measurement system.

Fluid Components International utilizes these physical principals in the operation of their FlexSwitch line of thermal dispersion measuring instruments. By combining modular components in various ways, the company offers switches suitable for applications across a wide range of industries.

  • Flow
  • Level
  • Flow and temperature
  • Level and temperature

Features throughout the product line include:

  • Dual trip points and relays
  • SIL 2 rated, ultra reliable
  • 3 year warranty
  • Broad agency approvals
  • Suitable for full range of pipe sizes
  • Apply in fluids to 850 °F (454 °C)
  • No moving parts to foul, clog or maintain
  • All welded elements
  • Easy to install and set-up
  • Highly sensitive and accurate
  • Threaded, flanged, packing gland installation
  • Integral or remote mounted electronics
  • Choice of enclosures
  • Field selectable AC or DC power
More information about the FlexSwitch line of thermal dispersion based switches is provided in the document below. For best results, share your project requirements and challenges with a product application specialist. Combine your process knowledge with their product application experience and develop effective solutions.



Friday, December 9, 2016

Portable Gas Detectors For Industrial Applications



This video covers the Servomex line of portable gas analyzers that can be utilized as benchtop units or true carry around portables. Servomex has a long history of solid instrument performance and innovation in gas detection and analysis.

Share your gas detection and analysis requirements and challenges with an application specialist, combining your process knowledge with their product application expertise to develop effective solutions.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Toxic Gas and Vapor Detectors - What Can Be Measured

hazardous toxic gas detector explosion proof
Explosion Proof Toxic Gas Detector
Courtesy Dräger
Industrial sites that employ or produce hazardous or toxic gases have a high level of responsibility for protecting workers and the environment from exposure or harm. A significant component of efforts to mitigate the risk posed by toxic gas or vapor is to install instruments capable of detecting the target gases at levels sufficient to provide an alert before, or when, levels reach unacceptable concentrations.

Dräger manufactures gas detectors utilizing electrochemical sensing technology, providing continuous detection of target gases and vapors under a wide range of environmental conditions. The sensors are factory calibrated and ready to use when shipped. The sensor connection is intrinsically safe, so a flame arrestor is not needed. Intelligent self-testing provides predictive maintenance assistance.

There is more to learn about the toxic gas and oxygen sensors from Dräger. The document included below provides a guide to the over 100 toxic gases and vapors detectable by the unit. Share your toxic gas, vapor, and oxygen detection challenges with a product application specialist. The combination of your process knowledge with their product application expertise will produce effective solutions.


Thursday, November 17, 2016

Applying Turbine Flow Meters For Clean Liquids and Gases

turbine flow meter flange connections Hoffer
Turbine Flow Meter
Courtesy Hoffer Flow Controls 
A turbine flow meter provides a volumetric measurement of liquid or gas flow through the use of a vaned rotor (turbine) inserted in the fluid flow path. Fluid movement causes the turbine to rotate at an angular velocity proportional to the flow rate. A pickup senses the passage of the rotor vanes, producing a sine wave electrical signal output which is detected by the unit electronics. The frequency of the signal relates directly to the flow rate.

Generally, a turbine flow meter is applied to measure unidirectional flow. Some turbine flow meters, through the use of two pickups, have the capability to measure flow in both directions.

There are a number of considerations when selecting a turbine flow meter:

  • Material of construction: Numerous material options are available for the housing and internal parts. Proper selection considers media characteristics and cost.
  • Bearing selection: The combination of bearing type and material will likely be selected by the device manufacturer, based upon a comprehensive application information set.
  • Pickup selection: Several pickup options may be available, with the manufacturer making a recommendation that best suits the application parameters.
turbine flow meter installation schematic
Typical Turbine Flow Meter Installation Schematic
Courtesy Hoffer Flow Controls
Here are a few other things to consider about applying turbine flow meters:
  • Turbine flow meters are precision instruments and will not tolerate debris well. An installation should include a strainer configured to trap debris that may damage the instrument of hinder its operation.
  • For longevity, it is advisable to size the flow meter to avoid extended operation near the upper end of its rotational range. Excessive rotational speeds can accelerate wear on bearings.
  • Lower rotor mass will provide more rapid response to changes in flow, allowing use of the device in applications with flow pulsations.
  • Maintain sufficient downstream pressure to prevent flashing or cavitation. This condition will cause the instrument to produce readings higher than the actual flow rate.
  • Sufficient straight pipe length should be installed at the inlet and outlet of the flow meter to provide flow conditioning necessary for accurate readings. In some cases, a flow staightener may be needed on the upstream side.
  • The output signal from the pickup may need amplification or other signal conditioning. Electrically noisy environments or long cable lengths may require special treatment.
Careful consideration of what is necessary for proper operation will pay off with reliable and accurate performance, low maintenance, and a long service life. Share your flow measurement challenges with product application experts, combining your process knowledge with their product application expertise to develop effective solutions.


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Box-In-Box Coriolis Flow Meter Design Explained



Yokogawa, manufacturer of the Rotomass Coriolis Flow Meter utilizing the patented "box-in-box" design, has produced a short video explaining how their design counteracts some of the environmental and process piping conditions that can negatively impact measurement of fluid flow. On Coriolis type flow instruments, conditions that apply stress to the sensor tube assembly can change the resonant frequency of the assembly, impacting the measured reading. The Yokogawa design employs a means to minimize or eliminate their effect, maintaining accurate measurement of flow in process piping.

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

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Direct Drive Pressure Gauges for the Rugged Industrial Applications

direct drive industrial pressure gauge
Direct Drive Industrial Pressure Gauge
Wika - 3D Instruments
Pressure indication, on location, real time. That is what a dial pressure gauge provides a process operator. Pressure gauges do not require any type of operating power, making them immune to power failures. The Bourdon tube mechanical operator is generally rugged and reliable. They are, however, subject to wear in the linkage that connects the Bourdon tube to the indicator needle over time. Extremes of vibration will also likely impact the longevity of the linkage, leading to premature failure.

3D Instruments, a manufacturer of pressure gauges and related products for industrial, commercial, and scientific applications, has developed a direct drive pressure gauge intended for use in the most rugged and demanding applications. The direct drive pressure gauges have only one working part, a helically-wound Bourdon tube made of Inconel® X-750, a flexible material that prevents the coil from losing its shape and ensures accuracy. The indicating needle is directly connected to the Bourdon tube, eliminating linkage parts. This innovation, while maintaining the benefits of some of the oldest pressure measurement technology, adds improvements in overpressure protection, burst protection, wear resistance, and life cycle cost.

A short video, included below, highlights and illustrates how the direct drive system works. Reach out to a process measurement product specialist for more detail, or solutions to any of your measurement and control challenges.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Industrial Process Gas Chromatograph With Parallel Processing

industrial process gas chromatograph parallel processing
GC8000 Process Gas Chromatograph
Yokogawa
Gas chromatography is a common analysis tool employed in many areas of the process control industry, including oil and gas, pharmaceutical, chemical, and others. Yokogawa Corporation of America developed instrumentation to provide top tier GC performance with their GC8000 Process Gas Chromatograph for use in oil and gas, and other industrial applications.

In addition to the ruggedness and reliability for which Yokogawa gas chromatographs are well known, the GC8000 brings a number of innovations and improvements to the company’s process gas chromatography product offering.
  • Color touchscreen HMI for easy operation
  • Advanced predictive diagnostics and software functions monitor key performance indicators during each analysis to verify analyzer is operating within proper tolerances.
  • Parallel chromatography enabled through the use of GC Modules provided as part of the GC8000. Virtual GCs can be set up inside a single GC with GC Modules to measure multiple streams simultaneously.
The graphics below expand on this overview of the GC8000 Process Gas Chromatograph, the culmination of Yokogawa’s 55 years of experience in the field. For more detailed information, or to discuss your application specifics, contact a product specialist.


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Process Analyitcal Measurement - Moisture Control In Sample Gas

instrument air sample gas moisture control filter
Sample Gas Dryer
Perma Pure
Sample gas used for analysis in process control operations will often need some conditioning in order to accommodate the input needs of the analyzer. A common requirement is to maintain a certain moisture content in the gas sample, requiring either addition or removal of moisture from the sample stream.

It is advantageous, even necessary, that any conditioning done to the sample gas have no impact on the component(s) subject to analysis. One technology provides for specific removal or addition of moisture (water) in a simple fashion, with no impact on other sample constituents.

Perma Pure gas sample dryers and humidifiers use Nafion® tubing, with a selectively permeable membrane that permits only the passage of water molecules. By controlling relative vapor pressure around the exterior of the tube, moisture can be drawn from, or added to, the sample gas stream. The simple device employs no moving parts and the vapor pressure differential is easily achieved using shop instrument air or other sources readily available.

Share your gas analysis challenges and requirements with product application experts, combining your process knowledge with their product expertise to develop effective solutions.
diagram of sample gas processing connections and parts


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Accurate Measurement of Low Flow In Compressed Air Systems

Plant operators are well aware of the cost associated with continuous delivery of compressed air, a useful medium utilized as an energy source. Large or multiple compressors consume considerable amounts of electric power maintaining system pressure and flow requirements. With extensive piping and countless fittings, there are many potential points of leakage. Scheduling of various production operations can vary the demand for compressed air significantly. Getting control of your compressed air system and reducing operating cost is a noble goal. One of the primary tools needed to manage energy costs will be accurate and reliable flow measurement equipment. Here are some characteristics of flow measurement instrumentation that should prove advantageous:
Portable ultrasonic flow meter with clamp on transducer
Portable Ultrasonic Flow Measurement Instrument
Flexim

  • Non-invasive measurement from the outer pipe wall that does not add potential leak sources or pressure drop.
  • Availability in fixed or portable configuration.
  • Highly accurate, with paired temperature compensated traceable calibrated transducers
  • Installed without disturbance to piping.
  • Bidirectional measurement
  • Rugged instrument design suitable for any kind of industrial environment
Ultrasonic flow measurement technology can provide all of these characteristics, providing information that enables the operator to make fact based decisions about system design, management, and maintenance. Learn more about how ultrasonic flow meters specifically configured for compressed air system application can help you start reducing your operating cost and developing a higher level of control over your compressed air system. Share your process challenges with a product specialist and work together to build the best solution.


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Flow Meter Enhances Chlorination System Performance for Municipal Water Department

Flow Meter Chlorination System
Flow Meter Installed on Chlorination System
By Steve Cox, Senior Technical Staff,  Fluid Components International (FCI). Reprinted with permission.

The water municipality at a mid-size city in the Western region of the U.S. serving a population of about 180,000 people needed to address a chlorine disinfection system problem at one of its water treatment plants. The city’s engineers take great pride in providing their community with a safe source of drinking water and gave this issue the highest priority.


In order to provide a reliable, safe source of clean drinking water, all municipal system operators rely on a disinfection system to kill germs. There are several different methods of disinfection treatment, such as chlorine (Cl2), UV, and ozone. Chlorine remains a popular disinfectant around the world. Where chlorine is in use, accurate measurement of the gas is essential for successful disinfection and for safety purposes.

Problem

Water treatment plant chlorine tanks
Figure 1: Water treatment plant
chlorine tanks
At one of the city’s water treatment plants, the chlorinator system’s flow measurement lacked suitable turndown capability (measuring range) and was not repeatable at lower flow rates and monthly totalized chlorine usage were not consistent (Figure 1). This poor control over the amount of chlorine being dispensed resulted in either excessive, wasteful chlorine use, or potentially hazardous and expensive re-treatment. Adding too much chlorine affects water taste (swimming pool), wastes expensive chlorine gas and adds the cost of extra residual chlorine removal. With too little chlorine added, the disinfection treatment process is incomplete, and the water requires costly additional alternative treatment or re-treatment.

The city’s system had been initially designed with simple site-gauge rotameters. Later, for automated control purposes, differential pressure (dP) type orifice plate  ow meters were added into the system. The city’s engineers soon discovered the orifice plate dP meters could not be relied upon to measure accurately under  ow conditions where little pressure differential was available, and the limited  ow range could not support the changing dose rates with changes in water demand.

ST100L Flow Meter
Figure 2: Installed ST100L
Flow Meter with Vortab
Flow Conditioner
The treatment plant needed a better gas flow meter solution that would be appropriate for service in a 1-inch diameter pipe at a flow rate of 150 lb/day to 2,000 lb/day [68 kg/day to 907 kg/day]. The operating temperature was 60°F to 100°F [16°C to 38°C] at a pressure of 0 psig to 10 psig [0 bar(g) to 0.7 bar(g)]. The flow meter would be used to measure chlorine and no other gases and would be installed in a location where inadequate straight-pipe run was present and added to the accuracy challenge for any velocity based instrument. The flow velocities also resulted in measurement required in the transitional zone where the gas flow profile was transitioning from laminar to turbulent. Mass flow provided an additional advantage of allowing a simple, direct means of reconciling monthly throughput compared against the change in weight of the chlorine gas containers that were installed on load cell technology scales.

Solution

Thermal dispersion
Figure 3: Thermal dispersion
constant power principle
of operation
After consulting with the application engineering team at Fluid Components International (FCI), the engineers at the water department selected the Model ST100L thermal dispersion gas mass flow meter with built-in Vortab® flow conditioner (Figure 2). The Model ST100L is an in-line, spool piece flow meter that combines best-in-class transmitter/electronics and superior sensor design to provide a truly state-of-the-art gas flow meter for industrial process and plant applications in line sizes up to 2 inches [50 mm].

FCI’s model ST100L constant power technology thermal flow meter (Figure 3) was installed in the water system’s chlorine gas inlet line to the chlorinator panel. To ensure maximum corrosion resistance and longest service life in the highly corrosive chlorine gas environment, the ST100L’s entire sensor assembly, including flow elements, flow body and Vortab flow conditioner elements, are fabricated entirely of Hastelloy C-276.

FCI’s gas flow meters are typically calibrated in FCI’s NIST traceable flow laboratory using the actual gas to be measured and at the installation’s actual temperature and pressure conditions. However, chlorine gas presents safety concerns during the calibration process which renders that process unfeasible. It has also been thoroughly established that air equivalency calibrations for chlorine gas are inaccurate, unrepeatable and simply, inadequate. FCI solves this problem by combining a lab-based equivalency basic calibration with an on-site, in-situ calibration adjustment against the site’s rotameters, all performed by an FCI field service technician. This achieved the highly accurate and repeatable measurement needed by the client. The on-site calibration matching proved to be the best solution because the totalized flow readings from the FCI Model ST100L and the weigh scale comparison were now consistently aligned.

The in-line configuration ST100L meter measures air/gas  ow from 0.25 SFPS to 1000 SFPS (0,07 NMPS to 305 NMPS), with turndowns of 100:1 and with accuracy of ± 0.75 percent of reading, ± 0.5 percent of full scale. To match present and future DCS, PLC or SCADA needs, users can select from multiple output options including triple 4-20 mA analog, frequency/pulse, or certified digital bus communications of HART®, FoundationTM Fieldbus, PROFIBUS PA and Modbus RS485.

The ST100L flow meter also features a best-in- class graphical, multivariable, backlit LCD readout, which provides operators with a continuous display of all process measurements, alarm status and service diagnostics. Its four-button user keyboard is activated through the glass, which means the user never needs to remove lids or open up the unit at the installation site. The instrument also includes a USB port for PC interface and an ethernet port for service needs.

The ST100L meter is designed to ensure the longest service life in even the most rugged industrial applications and installations. The enclosure is NEMA4X/IP67 rated and features four separate conduit ports to isolate all wiring. Additional pedigrees include global agency approval for hazardous environments (ATEX, IECEx, FM, FMc, Inmetro, NEPSI and EAC/TR CU) and SIL compliance. The electronics/ transmitter is available for installation as either integral with the flow element or remotable (up to 1000 feet [300 meters]).

The integral Vortab flow conditioner ensured optimal installation performance by overcoming the limited piping straight run and the flow range occurring in the transitional flow region. Vortab uniquely eliminates both swirl and velocity profile distortions produced by process equipment obstructions and/or inadequate straight run of pipe and ducting, as well as temperature and media stratification that can be present at the low flow rates where FCI meters perform and with the lowest pressure drop of all flow conditioner alternatives.

Conclusion

ST100L Flow Meter with Vortab Flow Conditioner
ST100L Flow Meter with
Vortab Flow Conditioner
The ST100L  ow meters have been installed in the chlorine gas inlet lines and achieving consistent accurate and repeatable  ow measurement results. The site is achieving the desired disinfection results with proper chlorine dosing at significant cost savings due to reduced chlorine use, avoiding re-treatment and lessened residual chlorine removal processes.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

FCI (Fluid Components International) Thermal Dispersion Flow Instruments

FCI thermal dispersion flowmeters
FCI thermal dispersion flowmeters
FCI (Fluid Components) offers the widest selection of thermal dispersion technology instrumentation products. When rugged conditions combine with strict process control requirements, FCI’s thermal dispersion RTD sensing elements establish an unmatched record of superior product performance and reliability for the harshest environments.
Products include:

  • Flow Switches
  • Level Switches
  • Mass Flow Meters
  • Flow Conditioners


For more information on FCI in Maryland and Virginia visit http://www.flowtechonline.com or call 410-666-3200.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Connecting Brooks Instrument Thermal Mass Flow Controllers with LabVIEW™

Brooks MFC
Brooks MFC
LabVIEWBrooks Instrument manufactures mass flow controllers with a well earned reputation for accuracy and reliability. LabVIEW™’s integrated development environment for building measurement and control systems is used in laboratory, university, and pilot manufacturing plants around the world. Together, Brooks MFCs and LabVIEW make a great combination for measuring and controlling mass flow, as well as for for data acquisition. Below are some typical communications scenarios used between Brooks MFCs and the LabVIEW™control platform.

Analog Signal Interface

In many situations LabVIEW™ software users also use analog to digital
I/O cards. With analog input cards, users can run their mass flow controllers utilizing a standard 0-5 volt or 4-20 mA analog signaling via LabVIEW™. This is a time-tested, traditional approach and is recommended for applications without the availability of digital control systems.

RS485 Digital Interface

Brooks Instrument mass flow devices configured with RS485 communications (must have the ‘S’ communications option) provide RS485 digital communications via a 15-pin D connector. The RS485 digital signal is passed directly to a computer running LabVIEW™ through a serial RS485 converter. Brooks models GF40, GF80 and SLA Series mass flow controllers are available with the ‘S’ communications option.

Its valuable to note that there is also a free set of VI file for use with LabVIEW from Brooks. These can be loaded directly into the LabVIEW™ application and provide the basics required to create a LabVIEW control interface using the S-Protocol digital command structure. The VI files are available for download from the Brooks Instrument website.

Another communications alternative is using Brook’s Smart DDE (Dynamic Data Exchange) software tool to create links between the LabVIEW™ application and the GF40, GF80 or SLA Series flow, control, and configuration parameters. Additionally, the user can leverage Windows applications (Excel, Word, Access) and programming languages ( C++, C#, Visual Basic) and SCADA programs from suppliers such as Allesco and Millennium Systems International. No knowledge of the mass flow device S-Protocol command structure is required. With Smart DDE, the user gets direct access to the required data fields. While not a complete turnkey option, it greatly reduces the amount of code required to communicate between LabVIEW and the mass flow controller.

DeviceNet Digital Signal Interface

Brooks models GF40, GF80 and SLA, configured for DeviceNet digital communications, can also be controlled via the LabVIEW™ application provided a National Instruments DeviceNet interface card, associated drivers, and software are used. These additional items support the development of application interfaces using LabVIEW™ software for Windows and LabVIEW™ Real-Time.

According to the National Instruments website:

National Instruments DeviceNet for Control interfaces are for applications that manage and control other DeviceNet devices on the network. These interfaces, offered in one-port versions for PCI and PXI, provide full master (scanner) functionality to DeviceNet networks. All NI DeviceNet interfaces include the NI-Industrial Communications for DeviceNet driver software, which features easy access to device data and streamlined explicit messaging. Use a real-time controller such as PXI and NI industrial controllers to create deterministic control applications with the NI LabVIEW Real-Time Module.

As always, discussing the best communication protocol for your application with an authorized applications expert is highly recommended. For more information on mass flow controllers with analog or digital communications contact:

Flow-Tech, Inc.
MD: 410-666-3200
VA: 804-752-3450
www.flowtechonline.com

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Take Care of Your Pumps and They’ll Take Care of You

Pump protection
Figure 1. Today’s demanding industry applications
require highly efficient pump operation.
Written by Jim DeLeeSr. Member Technical Staff, Fluid Components, Inc. Reprinted with permission.

If you'd like more information after reading this article, visit www.flowtechonline.com or call
410-666-3200 in Maryland or
804-752-3450 in Virginia.


The old saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of care” may have been coined by process and plant engineers tired of repairing or replacing pumps. Pumps are often the most under serviced pieces of equipment in process automation when it comes to maintenance and prevention best practices. Unfortunately, nothing moves without the humble pump and a process becomes inefficient when they don’t operate properly or completely shutdown. Many times the pump manufacturer is seen to be the problem, when in fact the process or the surrounding equipment configuration is the cause. 

Engineers and technicians looking to optimizing their process for productive operation can start with the pump, and protecting the pump against common hazards. Pump protection improves end- product or batch quality, reduces material costs, eliminates waste and lowers maintenance costs. Taking good care of your pump delivers a positive payback. Here are some simple strategies that can be employed—starting with an analysis of process media ow rates.

Protecting Your Process—24/7

Today’s highly competitive global market finds demanding process industries such as petrochemicals (Figure 1), food/ beverage, pharmaceutical, and water/waste treatment among others, transforming their plants into 24/7 lean operations. The result is that the pumps in most plants are running near capacity to keep up with material through-put objectives and demand. One of the most common hazards to efficient pump operation is irregular material flow, which can result in three negative conditions: (1) ow turbulence, (2) low flows, or (3) dry running conditions.

A key process protection step taken by facilities and plant engineers is controlling material flow to ensure that pumps operate efficiently. This results in moving stock or product with the least possible expenditure of energy and at the same time reducing maintenance requirements and extending the life of the pump. Failing to control material flow effectively can lead to some unwanted conditions, such as cavitation, pump bearing failure, or seal failure. The first problem — cavitation — can reduce through-put, or even cause quality problems. Losing a bearing or a seal can lead to pump shut-down, possibly process line shut-down and the unfavorable conditions could get worse the further you take this type of scenario.

Monitoring for Irregular Flows

The first step in protecting your process and pump starts with analyzing the flow. You want to analyze the flow to ensure the media is owing regularly at the pressure required by the pump with a minimum headloss. Any number of process conditions can cause irregular flow, such as turbulence, temperature changes, unwanted air ingestion, etc. The problems of irregular flows and turbulence, in particular, can be especially challenging to solve because eliminating the root causes are often difficult to impossible—so you need a workaround strategy.

The chief culprit when it comes to damaged pumps is the build-up of heat from low ow or dry running conditions, which occur when liquid ow dramatically slows down or stops owing altogether through the line or the pump. When the liquid isn’t there to provide cooling, the heat can destroy a pump’s bearings or seals. If repair is even possible, it is going to be a very expensive due to repair or replacement costs and down time.

Eliminating Irregular Flows

Pumps require a stable upstream ow profile in the pipeline before liquid enters the pump for proper and efficient operation. Irregular flows often result in cavitation, a condition where cavities form in the liquid at the point of pump suction. One often cited industry pump installation guideline suggests at least 10 diameters of unobstructed pipe be placed between the point of pump suction and the first elbow or other disturbance. Obstructions and/or corrosion in a pipe can change the velocity and flow profile of the media and affect its pressure as well.

In most cases, plant real estate limitations result in the placement of elbows, valves or other equipment that are too close to a pump, and these devices can create swirl and velocity profile distortion in the pipeline (as well as pressure changes). Such disturbances can result in excess noise and cavitation, resulting in reduced bearing and/or seal life.

A good solution to ensure an optimal flow profile for efficient operation is to install an inline or elbow ow conditioner upstream from your pump. Isolating the effects of velocity profile distortions, turbulence, swirl and other ow anomalies in your pipeline will result in a repeatable, symmetric, and swirl-free velocity profile with minimal pressure loss.

To increase a pump’s life, start with a more stable operating environment. A conditioned ow stream enters the pump’s impeller in a uniform and equally distributed pattern, optimizing pump ef ciency and extending bearing life while at the same time decreasing noise and cavitation.

If there is no choice other than to deal with less than ideal piping configurations, an inline or elbow ow conditioner will eliminate all upstream straight run requirements for pumps, compressors, flow meters and other critical process equipment (Figure 2). Tab type ow conditioners, such as the Vortab® Flow Conditioner, have proved successful in these applications. Other flow conditioning technology choices, including tube bundles, honeycombs, and perforated plates, may also be considered depending upon the pressure drop limitations.

The inline or elbow ow conditioner’s profile conditioning tabs produce rapid cross-stream mixing, forcing higher velocity regions to mix with lower velocity regions. The shape of the resultant velocity profile is “ at” and repeatable regardless of the close-coupled upstream flow disturbances.

Incorporating anti-swirl mechanisms into the design of the flow conditioner eliminates the swirl condition typically seen exiting 90-degree elbows. The result is a ow stream that enters the pump in such a way that it maximizes the efficiency of its operation and reduces stress. In addition, the tapered design of the anti-swirl and profile conditioning tabs make them immune to fouling or clogging.

Pump Flow Monitoring


Avoiding the damage that is caused by a low ow or a dry running condition can be achieved by installing a point flow switch in the process loop. Dual relay flow switches will detect not only a low flow condition, but also alarm on a dry condition too. This capability allows the control system or operator to take corrective measures before the bearings of the pumps are overheated and fail.

Many types of point flow switches are available. For example, the FCI FlexSwitch® FLT Series, with its no moving parts design, offers a highly robust scheme for pump protection with its dual alarm capability (Figure 3). With Alarm 1, the switch will detect a low-flow situation anywhere between 0.01 and 3 feet per second (FPS) (.003 to.9 meters per second MPS). This low flow alarm can be regarded as a pre-warning signal for the control system or operator. Alarm 2 can be set at a no-flow condition. The system or operator can then decide to keep the pump running or to shut it down.

This dual-function flow switch indicates both flow and temperature, and/or level sensing in a single device. It can be specified in either insertion or in-line styles for large pipe or small line applications. This single switch monitors your direct variable of interest, flow, and temperature simultaneously with excellent accuracy and reliability.

When evaluating a flow switch for pump protection or any application, the first step is choosing the appropriate flow technology. There are multiple flow switch sensing technologies available, and the major ones now include:
  • Paddle
  • Piston
  • Thermal Mass
  • Pressure
  • Magnetic Reed
Each of these technologies has their advantages/ disadvantages, depending on the media and your application’s requirements. Some may be the only choice in certain media for your application. By looking at these factors, as well as your plant’s layout, environmental conditions, maintenance schedules, energy cost and ROI, you will quickly be able to narrow the field to one or two best choices.

Conclusions

Don’t fall into the trap of early pump replacement or repair by ignoring best installation and maintenance pump practices. Here are three preventive proactive steps to take to avoid early pump replacement:
  • When designing new plants or retro fitting old ones, be sure to consider pump requirements. Optimizing your process with your pumps in mind offers a wide range of benefits: higher capacity, improved quality, lower energy costs, reduced maintenance, and increased equipment (pump) life. 
  • Consider inserting a flow conditioner to eliminate turbulent ow problems. One of the most common pump problems is irregular flows caused by turbulence that frequently results when the minimum pipe straight runs required between the point of pump suction and elbows, valves or other equipment are either ignored or pushed to the limits. Inserting a flow conditioner frequently eliminates turbulent flow problems. 
  • Another key safeguard is to protect your pump from accidental low flow or dry running conditions, which can lead to bearing or seal loss requiring expense repairs. Inserting a dual alarm flow switch in your process loop not only protects the pump from damage, but will alert you to a potential problem and let you be proactive in evaluating the necessity of pump shut down.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Rupture Disc Sizing Technical Bulletin

rupture disc
Rupture disc (Fike)
The objective of this bulletin is to provide detailed guidance for sizing rupture discs using standard methodologies found in ASME Section VIII Div. 1, API RP520, and Crane TP-410. To assist in the sizing process, contact Flow-Tech at 410-666-3200 for help.

Overpressure Allowance

When sizing pressure relief devices, the Code defines the maximum pressure that may build up in the pressure vessel while the device is relieving. This pressure varies depending on the application of the device. The following table defines the various overpressure allowances.

Rupture Disc Sizing Methodologies

There are 3 basic methodologies for sizing rupture disc devices:
  • Coefficient of Discharge Method (KD) — The KD is the coefficient of discharge that is applied to the theoretical flow rate to arrive at a rated flow rate for simple systems.
  • Resistance to Flow Method (KR) — The KR represents the velocity head loss due to the rupture disc device. This head loss is included in the overall system loss calculations to determine the size of the relief system.
  • Combination Capacity Method — When a rupture disc device is installed in combination with a pressure relief valve, the valve capacity is derated by a default value of 0.9 or a tested value for the disc/valve combination. See technical bulletin TB8101 for specific application requirements when using rupture disc devices in combination with PRVs.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Flow Measurement of Activated Sludge

Flexim flowmeter
Better, non-invasive,
alternative for
activated sludge.
Reprinted with permission from Flexim

A wastewater treatment plant that serves 1,800 households includes several mechanical and biological wastewater treatment facilities.

The mechanical treatment consists of a screening system and an aerated circular grit trap. The biological treatment is carried out in a combi-tank (biological treatment stage outside, secondary clarifier-settler basin inside).

The plant also includes facilities for the removal of nitrogen which is carried out by intermittent nitrification/denitrification. In addition, the plant also has a static sludge thickener. The activated sludge, which has been formed in the biological treatment stage through the growth of microorganisms, slowly separates via gravity in the secondary clarifier basin.

A portion of the activated sludge is fed back into the biological treatment stage as return sludge and mixed with the newly added nutrient-rich wastewater. The amount of return sludge should always be in a defined ratio to the current feed quantity. For this reason, the flow rate of the recirculation pipeline has to be measured.

The installation of a wetted magnetic-inductive flowmeter, which is very common in the water and wastewater industry, would have required modifications to the piping and subsequent expensive civil engineering work. The only available manhole location on the buried recirculation pipeline has not been suitable for retrofitting a magnetic-inductive flowmeter. Moreover, the pipeline in the manhole is always submerged in water.

Retrofitting the measurement point with a FLEXIM non-invasive ultrasonic flow meter, including IP68 fully submersible transducers, proved to be a convincingly simple, accurate, reliable and cost effective solution.

There is no need to open the pipeline when mounting the transducers onto the outside of the pipe and therefore no interruption to operation. The cramped installation point in the flooded shaft does not pose a particular challenge to FLEXIM’s measuring system: the IP68 transducers can be operated while permanently submerged and, since they were installed, they have been providing highly reliable measurements for automatic control of the pumps that convey the return flow quantity of the activated sludge.

Advantages
  • Reliable and accurate flow measurement of activated sludge for automatic pump control
  • Secure automatic control of the recirculation proportional to the demand
  • Easy to retrofit measuring point during ongoing operation, without any pipe work and without the need to modify the existing pipeline system
  • No expense for civil engineering and excavation work
  • Submersible IP68 transducers guarantee long-term stable measurements

Monday, August 22, 2016

Measuring pH and ORP eBook

Get your copy of this 72 page
eBook (courtesy of Yokogawa)

Measuring pH/ORP is very common, but taking true measurements and correct interpretation of the results is not self-evident. Certain effects can potentially cause problems if not taken into consideration.

The purpose of this book is to provide a comprehensive understanding of pH/ORP measurement and how to achieve reliable results. Basic information on the principles of measuring pH/ORP, the construction of the sensing elements and their basic use in process applications are provided.

A part of achieving accurate and reliable pH/ORP measurements requires sufficient and correct maintenance and storage conditions. Prevention of common errors during maintenance and storage, as well as consistent detection of loop failures is important. This book describes how these can be avoided and how failures can be detected.

This book is accompanied with a frequently asked question and answer section as well as an appendix that includes helpful information like a Chemical Compatibility Table and a Liquid-Application-Data-Sheet, which can be used to describe the user’s application.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Non-contact, Radiometric Level Detection for Liquids or Solids

Radiometric level detection
Radiometric level detection
(courtesy of RONAN)
Radiometric level detection, 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.

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.

How it Works

Radiometric level detection
Sources and Detector Mounted
External to Vessel 
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
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 Maryland or Virginia, contact:
Flow-Tech
410-666-3200 MD
804-752-3450 VA

Monday, July 25, 2016

Installing Sanitary Rupture Discs

Sanitary Rupture Disc
Sanitary Rupture Disc
by Fike
Rupture discs are designed to provide instantaneous pressure relief at a predefined pressure and temperature. Installation is an important consideration that can affect the performance of a ruptured disk. Installation instructions are included with all ruptured disk shipments. These instructions should be followed carefully and completely.

Remember to locate the rupture disc word will have sufficient clearance to operate unhindered. The rupture disc should be vented to a safe area where people and equipment are not at risk as a system discharge can be hazardous, or cause injury. The piping near the rupture disc should be braced to absorb shock caused by the opening a ruptured disk. A danger sign should be placed in a conspicuous location near the zone of potential danger. Keep the danger sign clean and unobstructed for ease of viewing.

Fike sanitary ruptured discs are designed for use with standard sanitary ferrule's and clamps. There are a variety of sanitary ferrule standards used in industry including, but not limited to, Tri-Clover with standard clamp, and also high-pressure clamp DIN 32676, ISO 2852 and NovAseptic NA Connect.

To install a new ruptured disc, remove the ruptured ruptured disc from its piping. Please use caution as a ruptured disk may have sharp edges. Remove clamp, and separate the ferrule components. If this is an existing installation, it is important at this point to do a visual inspection of the ferrule. Inspect them for nicks, scratches, dents, gouges and galling. Before installing a new ruptured disc into the ferrule, clean the seat area with the solvent compatible with your media.

When unpacking the new ruptured disc it should be handled carefully. Visually inspect the rupture disc for damage. Read the complete information contained on the ruptured disc tag. Verify that the disk size, type, pressure, and temperature are correct for your system. After verifying that you have the correct rupture disc, inspect the silicon, Viton and EPDM gasket position, and ensure that the gasket ID is centered on the dome the rupture disc. Then place the rupture disc directly into the ferrule’s, with the flow arrow on the ruptured disc tag pointing in the same direction as the required flow. For the Teflon and J1500 gaskets, carefully place both at the gasket halves on the rupture disc, so that they interlock around the outside diameter of the rupture disc, so that the ruptured disc tag extends through the notches in the gasket haves. Place the rupture disc into the ferrule’s with the flow arrow on the ruptured disc tag pointing in the same direction as the required flow.

Install the clamp around the ferrule’s, so the gap between the two clamp haves is centered and equal on the ruptured disc tag. Apply the recommended torque to the clamp at this time. Specifications can be found in the written installation and maintenance instructions. Whenever possible it is recommended to install sanitary rupture discs between two ferrule spool pieces. Using this approach can help prevent any unintentional stress or damage to the disk during installation. Assembly can take place at a workbench, rather than at the installation location, where conditions could be less than ideal, greatly reducing the possibility assembly errors. This practice is suitable for standard ferrule installations utilizing Tri-Clover with standard clamp, and also high-pressure clamp DIN 3267 and ISO 2852. Fike realizes that conditions do not always allow for this, so caution should be exercised when installing rupture discs directly between two ferrule’s.

As part of the new 3A Standard 60-01, certified sanitary ruptured discs are suitable for a one-time use, or single installation only. Depending on the cleanability of components in your process, rupture disks can be cleaned or steamed in place if the process allows. Avoid any high pressure stream of cleaning agent from being directly focused on the ruptured disc, as this could cause damage. If ruptured discs are removed from the process for any reason, they must be replaced in order to remain compliant with 3A Standard 60-01. 3A certified rupture discs will be marked both with the 3A symbol and one-time installation statement. An optional feature for the sanitary rupture disc would be the integral burst indicator, which provides instantaneous notification of rupture disk activation.

Fike ruptured discs and ferrule's come in many sizes and types. A common requirement of all designs is proper handling and installation. This explanation assumes installation is done under ideal circumstances. We realize that the location of your particular ruptured disc may not be ideal, however when these steps and written instructions are followed as closely as possible, the performance and service life of your rupture disc may be enhanced. As always contact technical support or your local Fike representative if you have any questions or need any assistance.

Friday, July 22, 2016

The Transit-Time Difference Method to Measure Flow

Transit-time flowmeter
Transit-time flowmeter
(courtesy of FLEXIM)
The transit-time difference method for measuring flow exploits the fact that the transmission speed of an ultrasonic signal depends on the flow velocity of the carrier medium.

Similar to a swimmer swimming against the current, an ultrasonic signal moves slower against the flow direction of the medium than when in the flow direction.

For the measurement, two ultrasonic pulses are sent through the medium, on in the flow direction, and a second on against it. The transducers are alternatively working as an emitter and receiver.

The transit-time of the ultrasonic signal propagating in the flow direction is shorter than the transit-time of the signal propagating against the flow direction.

A transit-time difference, Δt, can thus be measured and allows the determination of the average flow velocity based on the propagation path of the ultrasonic signals.

An additional profile correction is performed by the proprietary FLEXIM algorithms, to obtain an exceptional accuracy on the average flow velocity on the cross-section of the pipe - which is proportional to the volume flow.

Since ultrasounds propagate in solids, the transducers can be mounted onto the pipe. The measurement is therefore non-intrusive, and thus no cutting or welding of pipes is required for the installation of the transducers.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Practical Issues of Combustion Oxygen Measurement Specifically Related to NOx Emissions

NOx emissions
Power plants and NOx emissions.
Power plants concerned with lowering NOx emissions are making tremendous changes to accommodate EPA regulatory requirements. A substantial number of these changes include the expansion and upgrade of the plant combustion oxygen measurement equipment. There is a striking relationship between the number of NOx reductions projects and the sales quantity of insitu oxygen detectors. The reason is that power plant betterment groups, operators, boiler manufacturers and engineering firms understand the direct relationship between NOx and excess air in the combustion process.

An area of daily practical importance to boiler operators and I&C teams are the common problems with insitu oxygen measurements. This paper focuses on the practical issues of combustion oxygen measurement as they relate to specifically to fuel usage and NOx emissions.

Read the entire white paper, courtesy of Yokogawa Corporation of America below:

Friday, July 15, 2016

Installation Recommendations for FCI Single-Point, Thermal Dispersion Flow Meters

Thermal Dispersion Flow Meters
FCI Single-Point,
Thermal Dispersion Flow Meters
All flow meter technologies have recommended installation and engineering practices to ensure they meet their published specifications and for optimal performance, accuracy and repeatability. Flow meter users are frequently challenged with wide variations in their actual  eld conditions and installation constraints that are much different from the ideal conditions under which their  ow meter was calibrated. In fact, the most common installation constraint for most all  flow meter installations is inadequate straight-run.

Flow meter users expect their flow meter suppliers to provide engineering recommendations and solutions to overcome real world application conditions to obtain expected flow meter performance to specifications. This guide provides recommended engineering practices with diagrams and specifications for straight-run, installation orientation and depths, as well as use of flow conditioners as an engineering solution for FCI single-point, thermal dispersion flow meters.


Thursday, June 30, 2016

New Flow-Tech Intro Video

We have a new introductory video for Flow-Tech's YouTube Channel. Thanks for watching.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Setting Up RS485 Communication Networks for Multiple Brooks Mass Flow Controllers


Brooks Instrument is a well known manufacturer of mass flow controllers & meters, variable area flow meters (rotameters), pressure & vacuum products, and vaporization products. Their products are found worldwide and in many industrial and R&D applications.  Many times multiple Brooks instruments are used on the same piece of equipment of control loop. Fo installation where multiple MFC's, pressure controllers, or meters are used, Brooks offers supplemental software and hardware to easily network the devices together. The following post provides instruction on setting up a RS485 communication network of Brooks devices.

The three main components required are:

  • The Brooks controller (MFC, pressure controller, etc ..)
  • Brooks Smart Interface software
  • Brooks Model 0260 power supply and converter


For networks with fewer than 10 Brooks devices:

For this part of the discussion, we'll call a small network one with 10 or fewer Brooks controllers. Setting up this type of network is easy - simply daisy-chain the devices and connect to the Model 0260. Then, connect the 0260 via USB to your computer or laptop. Example below:



For networks with 10 to 30 Brooks devices:

For a larger network of 10 devices or greater, the Brook 0260 powered converter should also be selected for best performance results. The 0260 power supply/converter from Brooks Instrument along with the Smart interface software can control up to 30 devices. Both of these products will communicate with any Brooks Instrument MFC or electronic pressure controller with the RS485 Smart Protocol, such as the GF40, GF80 and SLA5800 Series. Other than the 0260 power supply, the only piece of hardware required to set up the network is a multi-drop cable. The images below show different ways to set-up a network with more than 10 devices.

The Brooks Smart Interface software and hardware will work independently. For users that have their own software tools, the 0260 hardware can be used as a power source and signal converter. Additionally, the Brooks Smart Interface software can be used in conjunction with hardware already in place.

For more information on any Brooks Instrument product in Maryland or Virginia, contact:

Flow-Tech, Inc.
www.flowtechonline.com

Maryland Headquarters
10940 Beaver Dam Rd
Hunt Valley, MD 21030
Ph: 410-666-3200

Central VA Office
10993 Richardson Rd#13
Ashland, VA 23005
Ph: 804-752-3450