Monday, May 22, 2017

Two New Products From SVF Flow Controls

rack and pinion actuator and butterfly valves
New products from SVF Flow Controls
SVF Flow Controls, manufacturer of valves and actuators for industrial process control (learn more here), recently released their new rack and pinion actuator, the EZ-Tork™. The line of pneumatic valve actuators features bi-directional stroke adjustment, a continuous position indicator, hard anodized aluminum housing, and universal mounting. The line offers 33 models spanning a broad range of operating torque. Units are available in double acting or spring return variants.

The SL Series of butterfly valves feature direct mounting for electric or pneumatic automation. Manually operated units have a ten position locking handle or gear operator. Epoxy coated ductile iron body, 316 stainless steel disc, and EPDM or BUNA seats enable the application of this valve throughout many industrial settings. Sizes range from 2" to 12".

More detail is available from valve and fluid control specialists. Share your application challenges and combine your own process knowledge with their product application expertise to develop effective solutions.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Prevent Condensation in Your Facility

condensation on glass with ice cubes
Condensation can have a negative impact in
plants, buildings and other and facilities
Condensation, the accumulation of liquid water on a surface through contact with humid air, can be harmless in some settings, an undesirable or even damaging occurrence in others. In situations where condensation is undesirable, taking steps to prevent the conditions that preclude its formation are relatively simple and deliver a good payback.

What is condensation? In general usage, the term refers to the formation of liquid water droplets that occurs when humid air contacts a cooler surface. It is the liquid moisture that accumulates on the exterior of a glass containing a cold drink. Properly, the term condensation names the process of a vapor changing to a liquid. It is the opposite of evaporation. Condensate (note the different word form) is the liquid accumulated through the condensation process. This article is limited to condensate that forms when atmospheric air contacts a cold surface, so the general usage term condensation will be used.

Where can it happen? Water vapor is contained in air when it has sufficient energy to remain in the vaporous state. Remove some of that heat energy and a calculable quantity of the water vapor will no longer be supported, condensing into liquid water. The temperature at which any given quantity of air will start to shed some of its water vapor content is primarily determined by the concentration of water vapor in the air. A higher water vapor content will result in a higher temperature at which the water vapor will begin to condense. In everyday terms, higher relative humidity leads to a higher temperature at which condensation takes place.

What is the range of impact? Condensation appears to us as water that almost magically manifests on a surface. It seems to come right out of thin air.....because that is where it came from. It can form locally or broadly throughout an area. The potential impact of condensation arises from the fact that it is liquid water. Anything that will be damaged by water will be adversely impacted by condensate formation on its surface. This includes rust and corrosion of metals, spotting on material or  object surfaces, the promotion of mold and mildew, and a wide range of other undesirable effects. Accumulated condensate on overhead objects or surfaces can eventually drip onto equipment, materials, and work areas situated below. Puddles of water on a floor can also create a hazard.

Prevention is the best, maybe the only cure.

How to prevent condensate formation?
  • Ventilation - If there is a source of moisture in a space that is elevating the humidity, continually diluting the space moisture content by introducing fresh air with a lower moisture content may be an effective prevention method. Ventilation relies on the fresh air conditions always being sufficient for moisture reduction without creating some other adverse impact on the space. For example, ventilating with outdoor air may be effective throughout only part of the year. Without a reliable source of ventilation air with known conditions, this method may not always deliver the desired results. Ventilation is an active method that requires energy to move the ventilation air. Additional energy may be required to adjust the temperature or moisture conditions of the ventilation air, as well.
  • Insulation - The surfaces where condensation occurs can be isolated from the moist air by insulating materials. This is common with HVAC ductwork and process piping. If done properly, this method is effective. The goal is to create a new surface that does not exhibit the cooler temperatures of the isolated surface. The thickness and reduced thermal conductivity of the insulation material will achieve this. There is also a vapor barrier on the exterior of the insulation that prevents entry of moisture laden air into the insulation material. It is important the the vapor barrier installed as part of the insulating process remain intact and undamaged. Otherwise, water vapor will enter the insulating material and condense, with the potential for a localized failure of the insulating scheme. Insulation is a passive measure that requires no added energy to remain effective.
  • Dehumidification - Outright reduction of moisture contained in the air of an enclosed space will reduce the temperature at which water vapor condenses. Dehumidification machinery is available in a wide range of sizes and performance levels to suit almost any scenario. Though it requires energy to operate, the machinery is generally simple and operates automatically to maintain a space condition that will not support condensation.
  • Heating - Some cases can be most effectively treated using the application of a small amount of heat to the surface where condensation forms. This active method can be very effective when the need is localized. Also, surface heaters can be fabricated that will fit where insulation will not, and the heating assemblies may be more resistant to impact and damage than insulating materials. Proper control of heating equipment will minimize energy consumption.
Implementing an effective plan to combat condensation involves the identification of the conditions that promote its formation in your own facility. Selecting the best prevention plan calls for consideration of costs and reliability of various schemes. Active methods, such as heating or dehumidification, have some capacity for adjustment if conditions change over time. Insulation plans should have sufficient headroom or safety factor in their design to accommodate unforeseen conditions.

Reach out to product application specialists and share your challenges and concerns. Combining your own facilities and process knowledge with their product application expertise will result in effective solutions.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

M.S. Jacobs Expands Valve Product Line

Alcon industrial solenoid valves
Courtesy Rotork Instruments
M.S. Jacobs recently broadened the company's offering of solenoid valves for industrial use. The addition of the Alcon brand line, part of the Rotork Instruments Group, adds solenoid valve products suited for severe conditions and extreme temperatures often encountered in industrial settings. M.S. Jacobs has a full range of solenoid valves for general and special purpose applications, including air, water, steam, cryogenic gases and liquids, oil and fuel, corrosive media and vacuum.

More information is available. Share your fluid process control challenges with product application specialists and make the latest available product information part of your solution.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

New Non-Contact Radar Level Transmitter From Magnetrol

non contact radar level transmitter
New Pulsar R86
Non-contact radar level
Courtesy Magnetrol
The determination of level in tanks or other vessels is a lifeblood operation in fluid processing. A number of technologies are available that provide workable solutions for a designated range of uses. Selecting the most appropriate measurement technology for an application can entail consideration of how several goals are achieved.

Accuracy - Differing applications will place their own importance on the degree of accuracy needed. Some operations, depending upon the value of the material, safety impact of over or under filling, and other operation specific factors, will benefit from higher levels of accuracy. Matching the instrument accuracy to the needs of the operation can often save first cost and widen the field of prospective instruments to be considered.

Reliability - Reliability has two facets. Of course, any operation benefits from an instrument that starts working and keeps working. The challenge is to evaluate how the instrument works and compare that to how the process works. Does the process expose the instrument to conditions that may impair its function or shorten its useful life? The second facet concerns the degree of confidence that the operator can place on the level reading delivered by the instrument. Will the readings be accurate under all reasonably probable operating conditions? Are there process conditions which may generate a false level reading? The ability of the measurement technology and the instrument to consistently deliver information that can be used for decision making is paramount.

Low maintenance burden - Maintenance is still largely accomplished by people, a limited resource in any operation. An instrument that requires less technician time to maintain proper operation brings a benefit to the operation.

There can certainly be other factors to consider for any application, but a systematic weighing of those many factors can result in making a solid decision that delivers a positive outcome.

Magnetrol, globally recognized innovator in level measurement technology, has released its Pulsar R86 non-contact level transmitter for industrial process control use. The new instrument combines the company's many years of innovation in the level measurement field into a single transmitter. The unit has applications throughout almost every industry, with a powerful array of operating features.

A product datasheet is included below, so you can learn more about the Pulsar R86. Share and discuss your level measurement requirements and challenges with process measurement specialists. Combining your own process knowledge and experience with their product application expertise will produce an effective solution.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

In-Line Process Refractometer

Refractometry, a combination of physics, materials, and chemistry, is a measurement technique which determines the composition of known substances by means of calculating their respective refractive indexes (RI). RIs are evaluated via a refractometer, a device which measures the curve, or refraction, resulting when the wavelength of light moves from the air into and through a tested substance. The unitless number given by the refractometer, usually between 1.3000 and 1.7000, is the refractive index. The composition of the substance is then determined with a comparison of the measured RI to standard curves developed for the substance. There are four general types of refractometers: digital, analog, lab, and inline process. Although refractometry can measure a variety of substances, the most common group of known substances to calculate is liquids. Liquid based continuous processes benefit from the use of an inline process refractometer to provide real time data about process output or intermediate steps.

The ultimate focus of industrial refractometry is to describe what is in a final product or output of a process step. A field which relies directly on the results of refractometry is gemology. Gemological refractometry is crucial for accurately identifying the gemstones being classified, whether the gemstones are opaque, transparent, or translucent.

Other common examples of industrial refractometry uses include measuring the salinity of water to determine drinkability; figuring beverage ratios of sugar content versus other sweeteners or water; setting eye-glass prescriptions; understanding the hydrocarbon content of motor fuels; totaling plasma protein in blood samples; and quantifying the concentration of maple syrup. Regarding fuels, refractometry scrutinizes the possible output of energy and conductivity, and for drug-testing purposes, refractometry measures the specific gravity, or the density, of human urine. Regarding food, refractometry has the ability to measure the glucose in fruit during the fermentation process. Because of this, those in food processing can know when fruit is at peak ripeness and, in turn, also understand the most advantageous point in the fruit’s lifetime to put it on the market.

The determination of the substance composition of the product examples listed above all speak to the purpose of quality control and the upholding of standardized guidelines. Consumers rely on manufacturers not only to produce these products safely and in vast quantity, but to deliver the customer a consistent taste experience when the product is consumed. Brand marketing success relies on maintaining the standards for the composition of substances that comprise the product. One could argue that an in-line process refractometer is actually a marketing tool of some sort, at least to the extent that it is employed to maintain consistent product quality.

Equipment manufacturers have developed numerous refractometer configurations tailored to specific use and application. Each has a set of features making it the advantageous choice for its intended application. Product specialists can be invaluable sources of information and assistance to potential refractometer users seeking to match the best equipment to their application or process.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Ultrasonic Clamp-On Flowmeter with SIL 2 Rating

clamp on ultrasonic flowmeter with control unit SIL 2 rating
FLUXUS F/G70X and F/G80X series meters
Courtesy Flexim
Measuring the flow quantity of gases and liquids is a common industrial processing task. There are numerous technologies available for measuring fluid flow, each with its own set of advantages and drawbacks for any particular application. Some of the technologies and methods have been in use for a very long time, with recent enhancements provided by electronics or smart sensor designs.

Ultrasonic flow measurement devices employ a comparatively recent technology to measure gaseous or liquid flow. Whether the transit time differential or Doppler method is utilized, ultrasonic flow meters have a distinctive characteristic in that they can be deployed in a form factor that does not require insertion into the fluid. A common installation method is to clamp the ultrasonic transducer assembly onto the exterior of a pipe. This makes the technology attractive for applications that involve adding a flow measurement point to an existing piping system.

Flexim, a globally recognized leader in ultrasonic flow measurement, offers a number of permanent and portable units for measuring liquid and gaseous flow rates. Some of their instruments have been certified as SIL 2 capable, along with a host of other third party certifications. The product range includes simple and accurate instruments designed for general industrial use, and extends to multi-beam units intended for applications, such as custody transfer of fluids, that require the highest accuracy and overall performance levels.

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

Inline Refractometers Used in Commercial Food and Beverage Production

in-line process refractometer with control housing
Hygienic process in-line refractometer
with control unit and flow cell
Courtesy Flexim
Refractometry is a measuring technique that evaluates the impact of fluid media on light. There are some variants of the basic technology, but essentially it relies upon the media affecting a change in the way in which light waves propagate through a sample. This refraction caused by the sample can be compared to a known standard and information about the sample can be deduced.

Refractometry is a useful measuring method for many liquid processing operations. It is used for concentration and density analysis of process liquids. Portable sample processing units are available, but high volume continuous flow operations benefit from the use of in-line refractometers that do not require manual sampling and handling of process liquids. The measurements are produced in real time to continuously verify the fluid quality characteristics.

Food and beverage manufacturers use refractometry to determine the concentration of sugar, ethanol, ascorbic acid, pectin, artificial sweeteners and other components in their products. Close control of component concentration is a necessary part of delivering a consistent taste in finished products. Large investments are made to establish brand name products, and delivery of a consistent customer experience each time a product is consumed is key to developing and growing a brand. This is a solid example of a marketing based application of science and technology to industrial processing.

In-line refractometers for food and beverage applications will have specific features and construction to make them suitable for hygienic processing. The avoidance of contamination is first and foremost a requirement. Additionally, design features that reduce maintenance requirements and retain the needed measuring accuracy through extended periods of usage add value to the unit and should be a consideration when selecting an in-line refractometer.

Share your in-line refractometry applications and challenges with product specialists, combining your process experience and knowledge with their product application expertise to develop effective solutions.