Showing posts with label instrumentation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label instrumentation. Show all posts

Monday, October 15, 2018

Part 2 - A Shift for Process Instrumentation: Solving Process Control Problems with Cloud-Based Solutions

Automated Device Commissioning
Click for larger view.
ADC is an abbreviation for "Automated Device Commissioning", sometimes referred to as "Smart Commissioning". From a practical standpoint, it is a set of engineering techniques and processes to check, inspect and test every operational component of a project. Workflows incorporating lean engineering can benefit from designing instrument configurations before the hardware is actually delivered to the facility.

ADC/Smart Commissioning can be used to do the following:
  • Reduce commissioning time to a fraction of the original hours needed.
  • Mechanically binds control configuration.
  • Reduces the need to verify I/O assignments.
  • Helps avoid costly errors in wiring and termination.
  • Automates intelligent device testing and documentation.
Use of ADC/Smart Commissioning promotes efficiency for automation projects.  In the early stages of projects, engineers used to have to deal with repetitive and complicated tasks to get the project set up.  Now with this new approach, teams of engineers can work on the project collectively, and at the same time, without needing to be physically at the same site.  Cloud-based engineering activities are also handled separate from the project hardware so the schedule doesn't necessarily drive the project.

ADC/Smart Commissioning helps engineers to confirm that the right transmitter is landed on the correct controller input/output module. (I/O)  If a mismatch is determined, the engineer can fix the mismatch in real time.  Then, once the hardware configuration is confirmed, the user can perform loop checkout as well.  The tool's loop test checkout template is simply modified using Excel and then the ADC/Smart Commissioning function runs the test according to the project plan.

In the industrial sector, capable engineers are retiring from the workforce and manufacturing companies are being forced to accomplish their work with fewer experienced employees. At the same time, as always, there continues to be the need to reduce maintenance costs and operating costs. Companies are looking for new answers and solutions to optimize project results  to track performance, monitoring, and reliability of process instrumentation.

Cloud-based engineering tools have the opportunity to make employees more productive and to drive efficiencies in manufacturing plants.  They reduce engineering hours and make commissioning steps more efficient, shortening device commissioning time.  They also have the potential to improve user safety, streamline usability, and significantly decrease budges for maintenance.

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

Sunday, August 19, 2018

A Shift for Process Instrumentation: Solving Process Control Problems with Cloud-Based Solutions - Part 1

This two-part article delves into the recent trends in the use of cloud-based tools to help engineers improve their application validation, improve their diagnostic selection of instrumentation, and improve device commissioning.

In the industrial sector, capable engineers are retiring from the workforce and manufacturing companies are being forced to accomplish their work with fewer experienced employees. At the same time, as always, there continues to be the need to reduce maintenance costs and operating costs. Companies are looking for new answers and solutions to optimize project results – to track performance, monitoring, and reliability of process instrumentation.

Cloud-based application and validation tools are currently assisting in:
  • Confirming the correct technology fit.
  • Configuring the correct device so the manufacturer can deliver a pre-engineered and ready for installation product. 
Engineers and other factory personnel can input data via a smart phone, or a laptop computer so they can have their specific requirements recorded. In addition, collaboration with other team members is possible, through the cloud, to determine the optimum set up for the project devices to streamline engineering decisions (and to avoid expensive mistakes upfront in the project). Information in the cloud may also be equipped for instant duplication, so projects that have many identical device configurations can be rapidly repeated.

Using a cloud-based approach improves success in installing large numbers of new field instruments, which is common for unit expansion. Other benefits of adapting cloud-based services for prices control include:
  • A convenient way to share and collaborate in real-time. Multiple users can visualize the transmitter configuration though a link. This saves staff time and reduces travel time for support people. 
  • If a beginning user has an underdeveloped knowledge of the application, the cloud can provide readily accessible information such as compatibility charts, specification sheets, code requirements, etc … . 
  • Generation of a standard data sheet so engineers don't have to spend as much time on data entry. The data sheet can be stored to support the user's necessary documentation and audit trail. 
The paradigm for instrumentation setup is changing dramatically. Cloud-based solutions and engineering tools are helping to optimize manufacturing operations and carry out capital projects as cost effectively, efficiently, and as rapidly as possible.

https://flowtechonline.com
410-666-3200 in MD
804-752-3450 in VA

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

New Product Alert: UM33A Digital Indicator with Alarms

UM33A Digital Indicator with Alarms
UM33A Digital Indicator with Alarms
The Yokogawa UM33A is an updated, newly-released digital indicator that can receive, process, and sequentially display data from up to eight process sensors. The enhanced UM33A is an easy to install and cost effective solution that enables the monitoring of data from multiple field sensors.

The previous version UM33A digital indicator was limited to accepting data from a single temperature, pressure, or flow rate sensor. It would then convert that data into digital signals, alarms and visual display. Adding multiple inputs to the older version was expensive as additional equipment was required. Yokogawa redesigned the UM33A to satisfy the needs of customers who want a lower cost, simpler solution to check measurement data from multiple sensors.

The enhanced UM33A supports the master function and the data monitoring function of the Modbus/RTU communication protocol, and is able to connect with up to eight sensors and sequentially display data from those devices. The UM33A is thus able to monitor data from multiple field sensors without requiring the installation and engineering of a separate device with user interface and controller functionality. It can also function alongside already installed systems that employ such specially configured hardware. With its ability to remotely connect with multiple sensors throughout a site, the enhanced UM33A makes it easier for plant personnel to check measurement data from these devices.

In plants, progress is being made in the introduction of field digital solutions that rely on digital communications between intelligent field devices and control systems. Field digital solutions allow the transmission of significantly greater amounts of data, including not only data on process parameters but also instrument status information, and the ability to monitor this information online improves maintenance efficiency. Thanks to its functional enhancements, the enhanced UM33A can handle both digital and analog communications with sensors, and is thus well positioned to facilitate the introduction of field digital solutions at plants.

Intended Markets:
  • Electrical equipment
  • Process equipment
  • Chemical processing applications
  • Food processing applications
  • Semiconductor manufacturing
  • Automobile manufacturing
For more information on the UM33A digital indicator, contact Flow-Tech by visiting https://flowtechonline.com or by calling 804-752-3450 in Virginia.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Maryland, Washington D.C., and Virginia's Premier Process, Control, Test & Measurement Representative

Process, Control, Test & Measurement Representative

Flow-Tech, Inc.

Providing applications expertise and engineering support for Power and Chemical plants, OEM’s,
System Integrators, Municipalities, Engineering Firms, Universities, Medical Centers, and Research / Metrology Labs.

Specializing in:

Process Instrumentation

Flow, Data Acquisition & Control Instruments, Gas Detection, Analyzers, Level Control & Measurement, Pressure & Temperature Indicators and Transmitters, Vibration - Asset Condition Monitoring , Indicators & Energy Flow Computers

Pressure Relief, Tank Blanketing and Flame Arrest

Rupture Discs, Tank Conservation Vents, Explosion Venting, Tank Blanketing, Flame Arrestors

Gas Detection

Personal Gas Detection - Portables and Drager Tubes, Hazardous Gas Area Monitor, Respiratory Protection

Control Valves, On-Off Valves and Regulators

Gas, Steam & Liquid Control Valves, Pressure Reducing & Back Pressure Regulators, Sanitary Regulators and Control Valves, On-Off Valves

Explosion Protection Testing, Isolation Valves, Vents and Systems

Active Explosion Suppression Systems, Explosion Isolation Valves, Explosion Venting, Explosion Testing Services

ABB Low & Medium Voltage VFD Drives

ABB General Purpose Drives, ABB Industrial AC Drives, ABB Industry Specific Drives

Environmental Instruments

Flow, Gas Detection, Analyzers, Pressure & Temperature Indicators and Transmitters, Indicators, Mosaic Displays and Annunciators, Paperless Recorders & Data Acquisition

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Yokogawa Pressure eBook - A Basic Guide to Understanding Pressure

The impact of pressure on industrial processes would be difficult to understate. Pressure is an element of process control that can affect performance and safety. Understanding pressure concepts and how to effectively measure pressure within a process are key to any operator's success.

Yokogawa, a globally recognized leader in process measurement and control, has made available a handbook on pressure that covers a range of useful topics. The content starts with the very basic concepts and moves quickly to practical subjects related to process measurement and control.

The handbook will prove useful to readers at all levels of expertise. Share your process measurement challenges with application specialists, combining your process knowledge with their product application expertise to develop effective solutions.

Download your own copy of the Pressure Handbook here, or view online below.

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

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 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.

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, January 11, 2016

Mass Flow Rate and More From Multivariable Transmitter - Process Measurement and Control

Multivariable mass flow measurement transmitter
Model EJX 910A Multivariable Transmitter
Courtesy of Yokogawa
Industrial process measurement and control is charged with continually producing better, faster, and cheaper results with increasing levels of safety. For applications requiring mass flow rate measurement of fluids or tank level, a multivariable transmitter has much to offer when it comes to improving outcomes throughout your industrial process operation.

The EJX 910 series from Yokogawa provides the latest generation of digital sensing and processing to provide fast and accurate process measurement of temperature, static pressure, differential pressure, and dynamically compensated mass flow. Flow accuracy as high as +/-1.0% is achievable, along with:

±0.04% Differential Pressure Accuracy
±0.1% Static Pressure Accuracy
±0.9°F External Temperature Accuracy



Some other highlights include:

  •  Industry leading fast response time for safe and accurate process control.
  • Yokogawa's specially developed DPharp digital sensor providing simultaneous static and differential pressure measurement, digital accuracy, and no A/D conversion error.
  • LCD display can be rotated in 90 degree increments. External zero adjustment screw and range setting switch enhance field setup.
  • Improved mass flow accuracy of +/- 1% from multivariable operation in one device with dynamic compensation.
  • Signal characterizer for measuring level in irregular shaped tanks.
  • Utilizes industry recognized open communication protocols for easy integration into existing installations.

The manufacturer's white paper, describing precisely how the unit works and how it can be applied, is below. Browse the white paper for some additional detail, but consult with a product specialist to explore how to improve your process measurement and control performance. They have even more information than is provided here which, when combined with your process knowledge, is sure to generate a positive solution to any challenge.



Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Well Grounded Knowledge for Industrial Control - Part Three of Three

Drawing symbol for electrical ground connection
Drawing Symbol for Electrical Ground Connection

This is the third part of a three part series of white papers intended to boost or reinforce your knowledge of electrical grounding for industrial process measurement and control.

Part One and Part Two were previously posted in this blog and you would be best served to read all three papers in sequence.

The series was exceptionally well written by the folks at Acromag, a world class manufacturer of industrial I/O devices.

Your questions or concerns about any aspect of your industrial process control or measurement applications are always welcome. Contact us and we will work with you to formulate a solution to a process measurement and control challenge.


Well Grounded Knowledge for Industrial Control - Part Two of Three

Electrical drawing symbol for ground connection
Drawing Symbol for Electrical Ground Connection
The use of electric power to perform work, whether using large motors or sensitive instrumentation, involves benefits and hazards. In modern society, preventing exposure of equipment and appliance users to electric shock is universally accepted as a mandate imposed upon manufacturers, installers, and operators of electrical equipment. Proper electrical grounding serves as a key element in maintaining the level of safe operation we all want to have in our facilities.

One manufacturer of industrial process control I/O devices, Acromag, has expertly written three white papers in a series providing non-technical tutorials and explanations on the subject of electrical grounding and its integral role in safety and operational integrity.
Some topics covered include:
  • The safety function of a ground connection
  • Operation of a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI)
  • How electrical ground can stabilize voltage and limit transients
  • Recommendations for improvement of safety and signal integrity   
  • Importance of circuit grounding
  • AC power in the United States and its use of earth ground
Part One was published previously, and it is advisable to review the three parts in sequence. The third installment follows this post. This is recommended reading for all technical levels. Industrial process measurement and control stakeholders will all benefit, whether from newly acquired knowledge or refreshed understanding of the subject.

Product and application specialists are always eager to hear about your application issues and questions. Never hesitate to contact them. Your process knowledge, combined with the product and application familiarity of a professional sales engineer, will generate good outcomes.


Monday, October 19, 2015

Welcome to Flow-Tech's Maryland & Virginia's Process Control Blog

Virginia and Maryland Process Control
Serving Maryland and Virginia
Flow-Tech, Inc. has been specifying and applying process instrumentation and control valves in the Maryland and Virginia markets for over 40 years. Flow-Tech's outstanding growth in sales and reputation is directly a result of our consultative sales approach, delivered by our team of knowledgeable and experienced Sales Engineers.

We see this blog as an extension of that process where today's customer can learn and discover at their own time and place, narrow the selection of products and vendors, and then  arrange for me focussed presentation with a salesperson.

This blog will be populated with post we think you will find interesting and education in the area of process instrumentation and control. It will be updated frequently, so please check back often.