Showing posts with label Maryland. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Maryland. Show all posts

Saturday, January 13, 2018

How to Adjust Alarms and Pointer for Brooks Instrument Models MT3809G & MT3810G Variable Area Flowmeters

Here are the instructions for the removal and reinstallation of the XP housing indicator cover, and
how to adjust alarms and pointers for Brooks Instrument models MT3809G & MT3810G variable area flowmeters:

Warning: If it becomes necessary to service or remove the instrument from the system, power to the device is disconnected at the power supply.
  1. To begin make sure the float is at rest and there isn’t flow going through the meter.
  2. Using your hands or a strap wrench turn the cover counter clockwise to remove the cover from the housing.
  3. Remove the cover from the housing. The gasket should stay attached to the groove in the housing.
  4. Using a flat blade screwdriver with a 1/8" blade, hold the red alarm pointer and turn the screw counterclockwise to loosen the pointer, slide it to desired position on scale and tighten screw.
  5. Using a flat blade screwdriver with a 1/8" blade, hold the pointer and turn the screw to align with the “R” on the scale. It may take a few adjustments to get the pointer aligned to the “R”.
  6. To replace the cover, place the cover against the housing and turn the cover clockwise. Note, it will take several rotations to tighten the cover and the cover must be in contact with the gasket to keep a watertight seal.

MT3809G & MT3810G variable area flowmeter
Click for larger view.
For additional assistance, contact Flow-Tech in Maryland at 410-666-3200 or Virginia at 804-752-3450 or visit https://flowtechonline.com.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Measurement and Calibration Principle of FLEXIM's Non-Invasive Ultrasonic Flowmeter

The principle of FLEXIM's ultrasonic flow measurement of liquids and gases relies on the propagation of ultrasonic wave signals into the medium. This measurement method 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 flow direction.

For the measurement, two ultrasonic pulses are sent through the medium, one in the flow direction, and a second one against it. The transducers are alternatively working as an emitter and a 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 our proprietary 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, and when temperature and pressure compensated, to the mass flow.

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

For more information about FLEXIM, contact Flow-Tech at 410-666-3200 or visit https://flowtechonline.com.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Draeger Tubes & Chip Measurement System Handbook

Draeger is the leader in industrial gas and vapor analysis and have developed more detection devices and tubes for more applications than any other gas detection company.

Draeger sampling tubes allow identification and measurement of different substances even under difficult conditions.

Draeger Chip Measurement System (CMS) combines Chips for measure specific substances with an electronic analyzer for easy-to-use spot-measurement. The analyzer combines an optical system for analyzing the color reaction with a mass flow controller and pump system.

Download the Draeger -Tubes & Chip Measurement System Handbook here.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Differential Flowmeters: How They Work

Differential Flowmeters
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.


Monday, November 27, 2017

Small Line Size Flow Measurement without Moving Parts

FCI-ST75
ST75 Series

Excellent for Gas Sub-Metering, Boiler Fuel-To-Air Mixing, Chemical Injection & Much More


Plant and process engineers who need accurate flow detection or measurement of air, gases, or liquids in smaller pipe sizes will find several diverse flow instrument solutions available from Fluid Components International (FCI).  Using advanced, ultra-reliable thermal dispersion flow measurement technology with no-moving parts, FCI’s ST75 Series and ST100L Air/Gas Flow Meters and FLT93L Flow Switch provide ideal solutions for use in 0.25 to 2 inch (DN6 to DN50) pipe or tubing. They excel where low flows, wide-turndowns, dirty fluids, HazEx or harsh installations are among the applications factors.

These flow instruments offer many advantages for service in a wide range of applications: plant, building or lab gas sub-metering, small inlet air/gas feed lines for boilers, gas relief valve monitoring, chemical injection, compressed air systems, CO-Gen or CHP gas fuel measurement and control, sampling systems, and more.  Many small process line applications are difficult to measure reliably with high repeatability due to variations in temperature and pressure, and have wide flow rates.  FCI’s thermal flow meters and switches are unaffected by, or have on-board compensation for, temperature and pressure changes and, in addition to superior detection of low flow rates, provide 100:1 turndown as a standard feature.  FCI’s highly reliable, small line air/gas flow meters and aid/gas/liquid flow switches combine state-of-art electronics technology with application fluid-matched flow sensors and laboratory calibration in rugged packages designed for the most demanding plant operating environments. 
FLT93L Flow Switch
FLT93L Flow Switch

Thermal flow sensor technology developed by FCI relies on the relationship between flow rate and the cooling effect.  With no moving parts and minimal invasiveness, these meters and switches provide a highly repeatable, accurate, low cost, easy-to-install solution and there’s virtually no maintenance required over a long life.  FCI’s ST75 Series Air/Gas Flow Meters are ideal for lines sizes from 0.25 (6mm) to 2 inches (51mm).  Gas or air measurement accuracy is available up to 1% of reading, ±0.5% full scale. The ST75 Meters feature a wide 100:1 turndown and will measure from 0.01 to 559 SCFM [0,01 to 950 NCMH] depending on pipe size.

The meter’s electronics are housed in a rugged, IP67 rated enclosure with dual conduit ports in either NPT or M20 threading. The instrument comes standard with dual 4-20 mA outputs and a 500 Hz pulse output. The models ST75A and ST75AV include HART as well as NAMUR compliant 4-20 mA outputs and a SIL compliance rating and 2 year warranty.  Global agency approvals for Div.1/Zone 1 HazEx installations include FM, FMc, ATEX, IECEx, EAC and more. 

The best-in-class ST100L Air/Gas Flow Meter is a next generation instrument that combines feature- and function- rich electronics with advanced flow sensors. It is designed in a spool piece configuration in 1-, 1.5- or 2-inch tubing, schedule 40 and schedule 80 piping.  It measures air/gas flows from 0.0062 to 1850 SCFM [0.01 to 3,140 Nm3/h] with superior accuracy to ± 0.75% reading, ± 0.5% full scale; and repeatability of ± 0.5% reading. 

ST100L Air/Gas Flow Meters
ST100L Air/Gas Flow Meters
Whether the plant’s output needs are traditional 4-20 mA analog, frequency/pulse or advanced digital bus communications such as HART, Foundation Fieldbus, PROFIBUS, or Modbus, the ST100L is available with any of them.  Its digital bus communications also are certified and registered devices with HART and Foundation Fieldbus.  Global approvals include:  FM, FMc, ATEX, CE, CSA, IECEx, EAC, NEPSI and Inmetro.  It SIL compliant and is an all-welded design to ensure no leakage when used with volatile gases like hydrogen. 

For applications lacking enough straight-run, both ST75 Series and ST100L can be supplied with Vortab flow conditioning built-in to the spool-piece flow body. Its wide selection of available process connections include male and female threaded and flanges are standard.   The FLT93L Flow Switch is a dual function, dual trip point/alarm point precision switch.  It is field settable for trip point on flow rates and temperature, and as any high or low value of either flow or temperature.  The FLT93L’s setpoint range is: 0.015 to 50 cc/sec [0.0009 to 3 fps] for water-based liquids; 0.033 to 110 cc/sec [0.002 to 6.6 fps] for hydrocarbon-based liquids; and 0.6 to 20,000 cc/sec [0.036 to 1198 fps] for air and gases.

Trip point accuracy is ± 0.5% reading or ± 0.04 fps [± 0.012 mps] (whichever is higher) in liquids and ± 0.5% reading or ± 2 fps [± 0.06 mps] (whichever is higher in air or gases.   The FLT93 has been designed for use and longest service life in the most rugged, harsh operating environments. It is available in both aluminum and stainless steel IP67 rated housings, carries HazEx agency approvals for FM, FMc, ATEX, IECEx, EAC, Inmetro, NEPSI, meets CRN and European PED and is SIL 2 compliant. It is available in numerous wetted materials and process connection options, and has universal DC/AC power supply. 

For more information on Fluid Components, Inc. products in Maryland and Virginia, contact Flow-Tech at 410-666-3200 or visit https://www.flowtechonline.com.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Understanding Mass Flow Controller (MFC) Metrology & Calibration

Mass flow controllers (MFCs) precisely deliver fluids, mainly process gases, into bioreactors and other process systems. The stable, reliable and repeatable delivery of these gases is a function of four key factors:
  • The quality and sophistication of the MFC’s design.
  • The application set-up, which covers the acceptable level of  fluid delivery accuracy a given process requires.
  • Metrology: what specific techniques are used to test, measure and con rm MFC accuracy.
  • Calibration checks: how an MFC is calibrated on an ongoing basis.
It’s common to extensively investigate an MFC’s technical characteristics and capabilities, as well as analyze and ensure that the MFC technology chosen fully satis es each operation’s unique process requirements. Equally important is the role that metrology, which includes testing reference standards and calibration practices, plays in the performance and long-term value of biopharmaceutical process equipment MFCs. In the eBook below, we will provide a deeper understanding of metrology’s role in how MFCs are used and managed in these systems. This includes:
  • The key elements of MFC accuracy and why calibration is important
  • How MFC calibration reference standards are used and why selecting the right standard matters
  • The role that “uncertainty” plays in calibrating MFCs
  • Factors that can lead to improper calibration
Please review the eBook embedded in this post below, or if you prefer, you can download your own PDF copy here - Understanding Mass Flow Controller (MFC) Metrology & Calibration. For more information about MFC's, contact Flow-Tech at https://www.flowtechonline.com or call 410-666-3200.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Clamp-on, Transit-time Difference Ultrasonic Flowmeters Ideal for HVAC Retrofit and New Construction

Transit-time Difference Ultrasonic Flowmeters
Transit-time Difference Ultrasonic Flowmeters (Flexim)
There are many reasons for large commercial buildings, medical centers, museums, airports, sports complexes, federal institutions and military complexes to invest in building energy optimization efforts. Better and more efficient operation of HVAC equipment can reduce the buildings energy and operational costs significantly.

Controlling flow, temperature and pumps can provide energy cost savings of over 20%. Many campus energy managers believe that the biggest user of energy in any complex is the HVAC system, and the key to saving energy in HVAC systems is an accurate and reliable flow metering capability.

Better efficiency of the heating and cooling infrastructure of a building also leads to more environmentally friendly buildings, something that has become a social prerogative of building owners and operators.  Older buildings were not built with BTU meters as metering requirements were added to buildings through increased regulations.

Submetering the buildings heating and cooling systems have become increasingly more important, as building owners are both mandated to meter these utilities and have a financial interest in the accuracy of these BTU measurements. The problem historically is that nearly all flow meters are designed for gradual failure due to direct contact with the fluids they are monitoring and the particulate accumulation on the sensors.

Clamp-on, transit-time difference ultrasonic flowmeters are the ideal retro-fit flowmeter, and also should receive strong consideration for new building construction. Transit-time difference ultrasonic clamp on flowmeters exploit the fact that the transmission speed of an ultrasonic signal depends on the flow velocity of the carrier medium - kind of like a swimmer swimming against the current. The signal moves slower against the flow than with it.

How Transit-time Difference Ultrasonic Flowmeters Work

The flowmeter sends ultrasonic pulses through the process medium - one in the same direction as the
flow and one in the opposite direction. The flowmeter's transducers alternate as emitters and receivers. The transit time of the signal going with the flow is shorter than the one going against. The flowmeter measures transit-time difference and determines the average flow velocity of the process medium. Since ultrasonic signals propagate in solids, the flowmeter can be conveniently mounted directly on the pipe and measure flow non-invasively.

Contact Flow-Tech with your questions about any flow measurement application. Reach them at 410-666-3200, or visit http://www.flowtechonline.com.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Understanding HART Protocol

A current loop using sensing and
control transmission with HART protocol
overlaid on the 4–20 mA loop.
The Highway Addressable Remote Transducer Protocol, also known as HART, is a communications protocol which ranks high in popularity among industry standards for process measurement and control connectivity. HART combines analog and digital technology to function as an automation protocol.

A primary reason for the primacy of HART in the process control industry is the fact that it functions in tandem with the long standing and ubiquitous process industry standard 4-20 mA current loops.

The 4-20 mA loops are simple in both construction and functionality, and the HART protocol couples with their technology to maintain communication between controllers and industry devices. PID controllers, SCADA systems, and programmable logic controllers all utilize HART in conjunction with 4-20 mA loops.

HART instruments have the capacity to perform in two main modes of operation: point to point, also known as analog/digital mode, and multi-drop mode. The point to point mode joins digital signals with the aforementioned 4-20 mA current loop in order to serve as signal protocols between the controller and a specific measuring instrument. The polling address of the instrument in question is designated with the number ì0î. A signal specified by the user is designated as the 4-20 mA signal, and then other signals are overlaid on the 4-20 mA signal. A common example is an indication of pressure being sent as a 4-20 mA signal to represent a range of pressures; temperature, another common process control variable, can also be sent digitally using the same wires. In point to point, HART’s digital instrumentation functions as a sort of digital current loop interface, allowing for use over moderate distances.

HART in multi-drop mode differs from point to point. In multi-drop mode, the analog loop current is given a fixed designation of 4 mA and multiple instruments can participate in a single signal loop. Each one of the instruments participating in the signal loop need to have their own unique address.

Image courtesy of  Dougsim (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Monday, October 9, 2017

5 Myths of Dust Explosion Propagation

Fike explosion testing
Dust explosion propagation testing at Fike labs.
Abstracted from
"Dust Explosion Propagation: Myths and Realities"
by Fike Corporation


The unfortunate propensity of dust explosions to destroy entire facilities and claim lives has been reported in numerous past incidents.

Powder handling processes are often comprised of interconnected enclosures and equipment. Flame and pressure resulting from a dust explosion can therefore propagate through piping, across galleries, and reach other pieces of equipment or enclosures, leading to extensive damage.

While the ability of dust explosions to propagate has been widely recognized, some misconceptions lead to the false sense of security that explosion isolation is not required.

This post will enumerate, illustrate and unravel 5 common myths about explosion propagation. Download the full Fike White Paper here, or read it in full at the bottom of this post.

Myth #1: A large amount of dust is needed for an explosion to propagate.

Dust explosions do not need large amounts of fuel to propagate.

A 1 mm layer can create a dust explosion hazard in a typical room. The explosion only needed a 1/100 inch layer of dust on the ground to fully propagate.

Myth #2: A dust explosion starting in a vented vessel cannot propagate through connected pipes.

It is a common belief that protecting an enclosure, by means of venting or suppression, will affect explosion propagation in such a manner that no explosion isolation is needed at all. 

Although venting protects a vessel from the high pressures generated by an explosion, it does not necessarily prevent the explosion from being propagated through piping into other vessels.

Myth #3: A dust explosion cannot propagate against process flow. 

An argument also often heard is that a dust explosion cannot propagate against pneumatic process flow. 

An explosion is capable of traveling both with and against process flow, even over long distances.

Myth #4: A dust explosion weakens as it propagates.

Literature includes numerous discussions about explosion behavior in interconnected vessels. 

Experimental evidence has shown that explosions not only propagate, but become increasingly more damaging.

Myth #5: Small diameter pipes do not support dust explosion propagation.

Dust explosion propagation in small pipes has always been a controversial topic. The primary argument being that flame propagation is challenged due to heat loss to the pipe walls.

While conditions for dust explosions to propagate in relatively small diameter pipes are not yet fully established, their ability to propagate has been clearly demonstrated by several researchers.

Contact Flow-Tech with any questions regarding explosion protection testing, isolation valves, vents and systems at http://www.flowtechonline.com or call 410-666-3200.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Campus Metering: Why Meter?

Instrumentation Energy Management
Schools, universities, medical centers and federal building
use instrumentation for energy management.

Energy and water managers have long known the value of metered data. With recent advances in energy and water metering and information systems resulting in increased functionality at lower costs, obtaining these data in a cost-effective manner is now a standard practice. Whether energy and water resource managers are trying to comply with legislated and mandated metering requirements, or looking to apply accepted building management best practices, such as utility bill verification or benchmarking, today’s metering technologies can provide the information needed to meet energy and water goals, save money, and improve building operations.

Metering of energy and water utilities has seen an increase in interest, application, and technology
Clamp-on flow meter
Clamp-on flow meter (Flexim)
advancement in both the private and the public sectors. One significant driver of this heightened interest is the ongoing modernization of the nation’s electric infrastructure with the move toward the smart grid and smart meters. Another significant driver, specific to the Federal sector, includes the legislative mandates for metering of Federal buildings.

The Business Case for Metering

The application of meters to individual buildings and energy-intensive equipment provides facility managers and operators with real-time information on how much energy has been or is being used. This type of information can be used to assist in optimizing building and equipment operations, in utility procurements, and in building energy budget planning and tracking.

It is important to keep in mind that meters are not an energy efficiency/energy conservation technology per se; instead, meters and their supporting systems are resources that provide building owners and operators with data that can be used to: 
Flow computer
Flow computer (KEP)
  • Reduce energy and water use
  • Reduce energy and water costs
  • Improve overall building operations 
  • Improve equipment operations
How the metered data are used is critical to a successful metering program.

Depending on the type of data collected, these data can enable the following practices and functions:
  • Verification of utility bills
  • Comparison of utility rates
  • Proper allocation of costs or billing of reimbursable tenants 
  • Demand response or load shedding when purchasing electricity under time-based rates 
  • Measurement and verification of energy project performance 
  • Benchmarking building energy use 
  • Identifying operational efficiency improvement opportunities and retrofit project opportunities 
  • Usage reporting and tracking in support of establishing and monitoring utility budgets and costs, and in developing annual energy reports. 
Most of the metered data uses listed above will result in a reduction in energy and water costs. The degree of cost reduction realized will depend on the unit cost of the energy and water being saved and on the effectiveness with which the site analyzes the data and acts upon its findings and recommendations. Examples of additional metering benefits can include:
Inline flowmeter
Thermal dispersion flow meter (FCI)
  • Supporting efforts to attain ENERGY STAR and/or green building certifications 
  • Promoting tenant satisfaction by providing information that tenants find useful in managing their operations 
  • Prolonging equipment life (and reducing capital investment requirements) and improving its reliability by verifying the efficient operation of equipment 
  • Assessing the impact of utility price fluctuations prior to or as they happen, allowing sites/agencies to address budget shortfalls on a proactive basis. 
Metering options will change in response to new material, electronic, and sensor development, as well as new and additional requirements for real-time data information. Future expansion of a metering system should be considered, as well as introduction of new metering and sensor technologies, based on the best available information, but be careful not to over design a system, thus unnecessarily increasing its cost.

Contact Flow-Tech with questions about improving your facilities energy management systems.  

Monday, September 11, 2017

Industrial Level Measurement

Point level
Point level switch (FCI)
In many industrial processes, the measurement of level is critical. Depending on the nature of the material being measured, this can be a simple or complex task. Several different technologies for sensing level are briefly explained here.

Direct Method

The direct method of level measurement calculates levels instantly using physical properties, like buoyancy and fluid motion. Beginning from the simplest, the following are the three main types:
  • Sight glass type
  • Float type
  • Magnetic level gauge
Sight glass measures liquid in tanks. A scaled glass tube with metallic covering it is attached to the top and bottom edges of the tank and, as the liquid moves up and down, the level in the tube fluctuates in the same way.

Float type measurement makes use of buoyancy: a float device follows the liquid level while sitting atop it. As the liquid moves so does the float device; a cable, attached to the top of the device, is rigged to a calibrated scale with a pointer in the middle. The up and down movements pull the string which pulls the pointer, thus showing where the liquid level is.

 A magnetic level gauge looks like a thick thermometer and is attached to the end of a vertical chamber. This vertical chamber contains a magnetic float, a permanent magnet, which floats on the top of the liquid level in the tank.

There is one more thing also attached to the outside of the tank: an indicating scale with small metallic strips. These strips are white and red sided flippers, rotating 180° whenever the float magnet attracts them while passing over. Whenever the float magnet is above, the strips will flip red side up, indicating the tank’s level.

Indirect Method

In the indirect method of level measurement, the level of a liquid is calculated by a variable that changes according to the level. There are four main types:

  • Pressure gauge type
  • Differential pressure type
  • Ultrasonic type
  • Radar type
The pressure gauge is a simple method; a pressure gauge is attached near the bottom of tank and pressure, exerted by the tank, is calculated. The gauge changes in time with the tank’s liquid pressure, and the measurement is made according to the height of the liquid.

Radiometric Level
Radiometric Level (RONAN)
The differential pressure method (DP method) is another widely used method in industry. This method requires a DP transmitter and a port; these two parts are connected to the external tank at opposite ends. The differential pressure in the tank is measured between the DP transmitter at the bottom and the port at the top; the output of the differential pressure calculated by the DP transmitter is proportional to the liquid level. The more liquid in the tank, the more pressure is at the transmitter; the less liquid in the tank, the more pressure at the port.

The ultrasonic method is a no-contact type. A transmitter is mounted atop the tank and ultrasonic sound waves are sent from the transmitter toward the surface of the measured fluid. An echo of the wave is calculated and the time it took for the wave to reach its end goal from the transmitter becomes its distance. The time of the length of the distance is then calibrated in terms of the level of process material.

The radar method is a no-contact type and it uses electromagnetic waves. Electromagnetic waves are sent through a transmitter to the surface of the measured material. There is a receiver toward the bottom of the tank which takes a portion of the energy sent from the wave and then reflects it back toward the surface of the medium. The reflected energy then becomes calibrated into level measurement.

Industrial level control requires deep knowledge and understanding of many process variables, such as media compatibility, interfaces, head pressures, material densities, and mechanical considerations. It's always recommended that an experienced consultant be involved with the selection and implementation of any industrial level device.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Fluid Components Series FS10 Quick Setup Mode Demonstration

FS10 Series Flow Switch and Monitor
FS10 Series Flow Switch and Monitor
The FS10 Series Flow Switch and Monitor is manufactured by Fluid Components, Inc.

The FS10A is a universal flow switch and monitor specifically designed for gas and liquid process analyzer sampling systems. The FS10A is a fast responding, highly repeatable sensor which installs easily into a standard tube tee fitting or new SP76 (NeSSI) modular manifold.

The FS10i is a universal flow switch and flow monitor designed for simple insertion into ½” (13mm) or larger diameter pipes and square ducts. The unit is suitable for either liquid or air/gas applications. It is fast responding and highly repeatable to both increasing and decreasing flow rate changes.

The video below explains the procedure for accessing and setting the quick setup modes.

For more information on any Fluid Components, Inc. (FCI) flow meter in Maryland and Virginia, call 410-666-3200 or visit http://www.flowtechonline.com.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Process Instrument Calibration

Meriam MFC5150 HART Communicator
Meriam MFC5150
HART Communicator
Calibration is an essential part of keeping process measurement instrumentation delivering reliable and actionable information. All instruments utilized in process control are dependent on variables which translate from input to output. Calibration ensures the instrument is properly detecting and processing the input so that the output accurately represents a process condition. Typically, calibration involves the technician simulating an environmental condition and applying it to the measurement instrument. An input with a known quantity is introduced to the instrument, at which point the technician observes how the instrument responds, comparing instrument output to the known input signal.

Even if instruments are designed to withstand harsh physical conditions and last for long periods of time, routine calibration as defined by manufacturer, industry, and operator standards is necessary to periodically validate measurement performance. Information provided by measurement instruments is used for process control and decision making, so a difference between an instrument's output signal and the actual process condition can impact process output or facility overall performance and safety.

In all cases, the operation of a measurement instrument should be referenced, or traceable, to a
universally recognized and verified measurement standard. Maintaining the reference path between a field instrument and a recognized physical standard requires careful attention to detail and uncompromising adherence to procedure.

Calibration gauges
Calibration gauges (Permacal)
Instrument ranging is where a certain range of simulated input conditions are applied to an instrument and verifying that the relationship between input and output stays within a specified tolerance across the entire range of input values. Calibration and ranging differ in that calibration focuses more on whether or not the instrument is sensing the input variable accurately, whereas ranging focuses more on the instrument's input and output. The difference is important to note because re-ranging and re-calibration are distinct procedures.

In order to calibrate an instrument correctly, a reference point is necessary. In some cases, the reference point can be produced by a portable instrument, allowing in-place calibration of a transmitter or sensor. In other cases, precisely manufactured or engineered standards exist that can be used for bench calibration. Documentation of each operation, verifying that proper procedure was followed and calibration values recorded, should be maintained on file for inspection.

As measurement instruments age, they are more susceptible to declination in stability. Any time maintenance is performed, calibration should be a required step since the calibration parameters are sourced from pre-set calibration data which allows for all the instruments in a system to function as a process control unit.

Typical calibration timetables vary depending on specifics related to equipment and use. Generally, calibration is performed at predetermined time intervals, with notable changes in instrument performance also being a reliable indicator for when an instrument may need a tune-up. A typical type of recalibration regarding the use of analog and smart instruments is the zero and span adjustment, where the zero and span values define the instrument's specific range. Accuracy at specific input value points may also be included, if deemed significant.

The management of calibration and maintenance operations for process measurement instrumentation is a significant factor in facility and process operation. It can be performed with properly trained and equipped in-house personnel, or with the engagement of subcontractors. Calibration operations can be a significant cost center, with benefits accruing from increases in efficiency gained through the use of better calibration instrumentation that reduces task time.

Contact Flow-Tech at 410-666-3200 in Maryland and 804-752-3450 in Virginia for any calibration question or requirement.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Installation and Operation of the Brooks Instrument GF40

Brooks Instrument GF40
Brooks Instrument GF40
The Brooks® GF40 (elastomer seal) thermal mass flow controller (MFC) and thermal mass flow meter (MFM) achieves unprecedented performance, reliability, and flexibility in many gas flow measurement and control applications.

At the heart of the GF40 is Brooks’ patented 4th generation MultiFloTM capable device. MultiFlo overcomes a long-standing limitation of many thermal MFCs – when changing gas types, a simple correction factor, such as the ratio of heat capacities between the calibration gas and new gas, cannot account for accuracy-robbing viscosity and density differences. The Brooks MultiFlo database is built on thousands of native gas runs to establish correction functions that account for both thermal and physical differences among gases making the GF40 Series among the most accurate and flexible MFCs/MFMs available today. The Brooks GF40 Series is the perfect choice for customers who use thermal mass flow controllers or thermal mass flow meters on a variety of gases, who need to change gas type frequently, or who need to re-range while preserving gas measurement and control accuracy.

We have provided a Brooks GF40 installation and operation manual below for your convenience. To download your own Brooks GF40 IOM (PDF), click this link.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Explosion and Fire at Chemical Plant Case Study

Fire and explosion testing to mitigate risk.
Fire and explosion testing to mitigate risk. (Fike)
Industrial accidents, whether minor or catastrophic, can serve as sources of learning when analyzed and studied. Operators, owners, and technicians involved with industrial chemical operations have a degree of moral, ethical, and legal responsibility to conduct work in a reasonably and predictably safe manner without endangering personnel, property, or the environment.

Part of a diligent safety culture should include reviewing industrial accidents at other facilities. There is much to learn from these unfortunate events, even when they happen in an industry that may seem somewhat removed from our own.

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board, or CSB, is an independent federal agency that investigates industrial chemical accidents. Below, find one of their video reenactments and analysis of an explosion that occurred at a Louisiana chemical processing plant in 2013. A portion of the reenactment shows how a few seemingly innocuous oversights can combine with other unrecognized conditions that result in a major conflagration.

For more information on industrial plant safety products that mitigate fire and explosion risk,  contact Flow-Tech at 410-666-3200 in Maryland, or 804-752-3450 in Virginia

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Pressure Sensor Accessories - Filled Impulse Line

welded isolating diaphragm for pressure sensing line
An isolating diaphragm, such as this variety
pictured, can be used as a barrier between
process fluid and sensing line fill.
Image courtesy REO Temp 
Pressure sensors intended for use in industrial process measurement and control applications are designed to be robust, dependable, and precise. Sometimes, though, it is necessary or beneficial to incorporate accessories in an installation which augment the performance of pressure sensors in difficult or hazardous environments. There are some scenarios where the sensor must be isolated from the process fluid, such as when the substance is highly corrosive or otherwise damaging to the pressure sensor.

A way to aid pressure sensing instruments in situations where direct contact must be avoided is by using a filled impulse line. An impulse line extends from a process pipe of vessel to a pressure measurement instrument or sensor. The line can have a diaphragm barrier that isolates the process fluid from the line, or the line can be open to the process. There are best practices that should be followed in the design and installation of an impulse line to assure that the line provides a useful transmission of the process pressure to the sensor and whatever degree of isolation or protection is needed remains in effect.

The filled impulse line functions via the addition of a non-harmful, neutral fluid to the impulse line. The neutral fluid acts as a barrier and a bridge, allowing the pressure sensing instrument to measure the pressure of the potentially harmful process fluid without direct contact. An example of this technique being employed is adding glycerin as a neutral fluid to an impulse line below a water pipe.

Glycerin's freeze point is lower than waters, meaning glycerin can withstand lower temperatures before freezing. The impulse line connected to the water pipe may freeze in process environments where the weather is exceptionally cold, since the impulse line will not be flowing in the same way as the water pipe. Since glycerin has a greater density and a lower freezing point, the glycerin will remain static inside the impulse line and protect the line from hazardous conditions.
pressure transmitter
Filled impulse lines protect pressure
transmitters from the adverse impact
of aggressive process fluids.


The use of an isolating diaphragm negates the need for certain considerations of fill fluid density, piping layout, and the need to create an arrangement that holds the fill fluid in place within the impulse line. System pressure will be transferred across the diaphragm from the process fluid to the fill fluid, then to the pressure sensor. It is important to utilize fluids and piping arrangements that do not affect the accurate transference of the process pressure. Any impact related to the impulse line assembly must be determined, and appropriate calibration offset applied to the pressure sensor reading.

An essential design element of a filled impulse line without an isolating diaphragm is that the fill fluid must be compatible with the process fluid, meaning there can be no chemical reactivity between the two. Additionally, the two fluids should be incapable of mixing no matter how much of each fluid is involved in the combination. Even with isolating diaphragms employed, fluid harmony should still be considered because a diaphragm could potentially loose its seal. If such a break were to occur, the fluids used in filled impulse lines may contact the process fluid, with an impact that should be clearly understood through a careful evaluation.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Fieldbus Equipped Instrumentation - Part Two

Since automatic control decisions in FOUNDATION fieldbus are implemented and executed at the field instrument level, the reliance on digital signals (as opposed to analog) allows for a streamlined configuration of direct control system ports. If the central control device were to become overloaded for any reason, tasks related to control decisions could still be implemented by operators in the field. This decentralization of the system places less burden and emphasis on the overall central control unit, to the point where, theoretically, the central control unit could stop functioning and the instrumentation would continue performing process tasks thanks to the increased autonomy. Allowing for the instrumentation to function at such an increased level of operation provides a proverbial safety net for any system related issues, with the capacity for independent functionality serving as both a precaution and an example for how process technology continues to evolve from analog solutions to fully end to end digital instrumentation.

Even in terms of the FOUNDATION instrumentation itself, there were two levels of networks being developed at this increased level of operation, initially: the first, H1, was considered low speed, while H2 was considered high speed. As the design process unfolded, existing Ethernet technology was discovered to fulfill the needs of the high speed framework, meaning the H2 development was stopped since the existing technology would allow for the H1 network to perform to the desired standards. The physical layer of the H1 constitutes, typically, a two-wire twisted pair ungrounded network cable, a 100 ohm (typical) characteristic impedance, DC power being conveyed over the same two wires as digital data, at least a 31.25 kbps data rate, differential voltage signaling with a defined threshold for both maximum and minimum peak receive rates, and Manchester encoding. Optical fiber can be used on some installations in lieu of the twisted pair cable.

Most of these specifications were exactly designed to withstand extremely challenging process control environments while still not abandoning the philosophy of being easy to build and implement, especially in terms of new system establishment. The most crucial aspects of many process control systems are streamlined together, allowing for consistent communication and synchronization. All aspects are viewable from both the legacy central controller and also via each individual device. Despite the data rate of 31.25 kbps being relatively slow, what is sacrificed in terms of speed is more than made up for in terms of the system being compatible with imperfect cables and other hiccups which may destabilize a network with faster speeds. The evolved technology, ease of installation, and durability have made the H1 network a widely used implementation of the FOUNDATION fieldbus technology. Fieldbus is currently considered one of a few widely adopted industrial process control communications protocols.

For more information contact Flow-Tech in Maryland at 410-666-3200; in Virginia at 804-752-3450, or visit http://www.flowtechonline.com.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Fieldbus Equipped Instrumentation - Part One

Autonomous control and digital instrumentation are two capabilities enabling highly precise or complex execution of process control functions. FOUNDATION fieldbus instrumentation elevates the level of control afforded to digital field instrumentation where, instead of only communicating with each other, instruments involved in particular process control systems can independently facilitate algorithms typically reserved for instruments solely dedicated to controlling other instruments. Fieldbus capable instrumentation has become the standard instrumentation for many process industry installations due to the fact the FOUNDATION design principle streamlines process systems. A large contributor to FOUNDATION's success has been faster installation as opposed to operational controllers which do not feature the fieldbus configuration. Newer process companies, or process control professionals seeking to establish a new system, have gravitated towards fieldbus due to the combined advantages of system conciseness and ease of implementation.

In a typical digital control system, dedicated controllers communicate with field instrumentation (the HART protocol is a prime example of digital communication at work in the industry). The host system controls configuration of instruments and serves as a central hub where all relevant control decisions are made from a single dedicated controller. Typically, these networks connect controllers and field devices through coupling devices and other buses which streamline many different instruments into a complete system.

FOUNDATION fieldbus approaches the same network scheme with an important difference. Whereas in a legacy or more conventional system, either algorithmic or manual decisions would need to be implemented via the dedicated system level controllers, instruments utilizing FOUNDATION fieldbus architecture can execute control algorithms at the local device level. The dedicated controller hub is still present, so that operators can view and monitor the entire network concurrently and make status changes. Algorithmic execution of control functions becomes entirely device reliant thanks to the FOUNDATION protocol. Additionally, even though FOUNDATION implements an advanced configuration, some operators use the capabilities introduced in the fieldbus upgrade to implement specific algorithms via each device while concurrently maintaining algorithms in the central controller. This dual algorithmic configuration allows for several advantages, including the ability for increased system precision.

Since individual devices in the control process are calibrated and able to execute their own control functions, issues in the process with particular devices can be isolated and dealt with in a more specified manner by technicians using the instruments in the field. The central operator retains the capacity to use the control hub to alter and direct the control system.

For more information contact Flow-Tech in Maryland at 410-666-3200; in Virginia at 804-752-3450, or visit http://www.flowtechonline.com.

Watch for Part Two of this series to be posted soon.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Solving Critical Process Applications for the Water and Wastewater Industry

Thermal Dispersion and Coriolis technology
From the early 1960s, Fluid Components International recognized the need for flow and level instrumentation which met specific customer requirements and demands for the Water and Wastewater Industry. By utilizing Thermal Dispersion and Coriolis technology exclusively in all FCI flow, level, interface, temperature switches and mass flow meters, our products solve typical Water and Wastewater Industry application challenges with standard product features such as:
  • No moving parts
  • All welded materials of construction 
  • Direct mass flow measurement
  • No pressure drop
  • Explosion-proof design
  • Wide flow range
  • Low flow capability
The document below outlines where and how Thermal Dispersion and Coriolis technology are used throughout water treatment facilities around the USA.

For more information on any water treatment process application, contact Flow-Tech at 410-666-3200 in Maryland, or 804-752-3450 in Virginia, or visit http://www.flowtechonline.com.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Heated or Chilled Water Concepts in Campus Metering Applications

Reprinted with permission from KEP

Typical Heated/Chilled Water Metering System Using Magnetic Flowmeter System, Two Temperature Transmitters and Electronic Flow Computer.

A typical modern, heated/chilled water metering system usually consists of several components:
  • Flow Meter installed in the line
  • A temperature transmitter mounted in the supply line to measure the supply temperature 
  • A temperature transmitter to measure return temperature 
  • A Flow Computer that will compute the energy flow 
  • An optional Data Logger/Modem that will monitor the customer site and provide trend information 
If remote metering is required, a remote PC, modem, and remote metering software may be used in conjunction with this.
Typical Heated/Chilled Water Metering System
Typical Heated/Chilled Water
Metering System with Flow Computer

Equipment Selection

The flowmeter is sized by the manufacturer based on the expected line size, fluid and flow rates anticipated in the application. This would normally require the line size, flow rate range and expected line conditions of temperature and pressure be known. The temperature transmitters are selected for a measurement range that will meet or exceed the range of temperature to be encountered in the application. The flow computer performs the necessary calculations needed to compute the energy flow (BTU’s or ton-hours) from the electrical signals being fed into it. The optional data logger and modem permit the remote monitoring of those signals and the data logging of the measured and computed values. A remote PC with modem can access the information either in the data logger or in the current readings of the flow computer.

Factory Calibration

The flow meter, flowmeter, the transmitters and the flow computer are calibrated by their respective manufacturer’s prior to being supplied to a utility company in accordance with the instructions provided when the units are purchased.

Installation

During installation the two temperature transmitters and the flow computer are installed in accordance with industry guidelines and manufacturers instructions.

The individual calibration and setup documents provided by the manufacturers are reviewed.

Startup

During startup the individual components of the systems are setup so that they operate correctly.

For the transmitters this will normally involve double-checking of each transmitter range and optional features using a hand held terminal.

The flow computer will be setup by entering the information on the flowmeter, and with the ranges of both temperature transmitters. In addition, the desired items to be included in the data logger will also be setup. This is usually done by the front keypad although connecting the device to a laptop and using an external, special program supplied by the manufacturer could also be used.

The setup of each individual input item is verified. For each measurement, there is a transmitter to scale and send an electrical signal to the receivers that need this information. The scaling of each transmitter must also be set into the corresponding flow computer input channel. If a change is made to one, it must be made to all.

The basic operation of the system can be verified by checking that the respective sensors are producing the correct signals, based on the observed signal, the flow range setup in the sender and receiver of the informa- tion, and the observed process conditions in the line. Signal simulators and multi meters may also be used.

When using voltage or current ranges for the flow input, there is a “low flow cutoff” that should be set to prevent the system from metering when no flow is present. This is also limits the low flow measurement range so it is usually set to the lowest practical value.

There is also a low temperature cutoff that can be used to prevent the false totalization of energy when small differential temperatures are indicated while recirculating water.

Meter Readings

Meters may be read either locally by taking a reading off the flow computer or remotely by taking a reading off the flow computer by modem or by reading the data logger or both. The operational status of the meter system is also checked periodically.

Servicing the Metering System

Often a utility will perform various inspections each year on each energy meter. Manufacturers of the compo- nents used in the system provide a number of service and test aids for Service personnel that permit them to interrogate a component to determine if it is operating properly. From time to time problems may occur in any system. The transmitters, flow computer, and data logger usually have some diagnostic capability and can assist in problem detection and notification.

If it becomes necessary, for any reason, the flowmeter may be changed out. This sometimes occurs when the heating load changes or the actual flow range is different than the expected range as a result of inaccu- rate sizing information. When a sensor change out occurs the information on the new flowmeter must also be set into corresponding transmitter and the flow computer flow input channel. If a change is made to one, the change must be made to all.

If a transmitter is changed by either replacement or re-scaling or re-spanning then the new scaling of that transmitter must also be set into corresponding flow computer input channel. If a change is made to one, the change must be made to all.

Most utilities remove portions of the meter system from service after several years for recalibration. The flow computer can usually be checked in place using simulators. They can be removed from service if needed and replaced with another device that then must be setup for use as described earlier. In other cases, the transmitters are replaced with a calibrated replacement unit.

KEP Flow Computer
Kessler-Ellis Products (KEP) offers the Supertrol 2 Flow Computer for Heated or Chilled Water Metering applications. It is available in a variety of housings to suite a wide range of application environments.

For more information on KEP products follow this Flow-Tech link or call 410-666-3200 in Maryland, or 804-752-3450 in Virginia.