Saturday, September 14, 2019

Minimize Controllable Feedwater Heater Losses Through Heat Rate Awareness


A feedwater heater is a device used in a power plant to pre-heat water being delivered to a steam generating boiler. Preheating the feedwater prior to steam generation improves the thermodynamic efficiency of the system. Heat rate is a measure of how efficiently a power plant uses heat energy. You can measure heat rate by the number of BTUs the power plant requires to generate a kilowatt hour of energy. As your heat rate goes up, so do your fuel costs. Considering fuel expenditures account for 70 to 80 percent of production costs and millions of dollars per year, improving heat rate one percent could generate five hundred thousand dollars in annual savings for a 500 megawatt power plant.

To contain fuel costs, power plants must maximize the efficiency of their feedwater heaters. That's why many companies today are focusing on improving heat rate as a way to use their feedwater heaters more effectively and significantly reduce their fuel costs.

The video above (courtesy of Magnetrol) explains ways to focus on heat rate awareness to minimize controllable losses from the feedwater system.

For more information, contact M.S. Jacobs and Associates. Call them at 800-348-0089 or visit their web site at https://msjacobs.com.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Plating Application: Chromic Acid Tank Level

Plating acid tanks
Plating acid tanks.
Chromium is widely used in the metal finishing industry for both decorative and hard-chrome plating. The chemicals used in Chrome plating are very harsh and corrosive. Chromium plating requires that the metal to be plated to be pretreated in a sodium cyanide/caustic soda bath and then plated in a chromic acid bath.

A large international plating company located in the USA needed a cost effective liquid level switching that would perform flawlessly on their chemical plating baths.

Problem
Tank level
The chemicals used in plating, specifically Chromic Acid, are extremely corrosive. Many times these chemicals need to be kept at elevated temperatures, resulting in corrosive vapors. Controls installed in and around areas where vapors are present are adversely affected.  For this customer, the tank level instruments near the chromic acid tanks were the most problematic.

Solution

Levelpro PLF
Levelpro PLF
Icon Process Controls, a manufacturer specializing in corrosion resistant fluid handling instrumentation, recommended their Levelpro PLF series plastic level switch. The Levelpro PLF provides excellent chemical resistance. Body materials are available in PVC, PP, PVDF, or 316SS. The level switch is available is sizes from 6" to 10 feet, with up to 8 different switch points, and unlike ultrasonic sensors, the PLF Series are not affected by foam, vapor, or turbulence. Additionally, they require no power and are available in N/O or N/C switch positions.

The PLF series can be used to indicate high and low levels, notification of upset conditions or turn pumps or valves on-off. They are also an excellent choice for redundant high| low level indication when used in conjunction with a continuous level sensor.

For more information, contact M.S. Jacobs and Associates. They can be reached at 800-348-0089 or you can visit their web site at https://msjacobs.com.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Coriolis Flow Meter Improves Fuel Oil Control and Efficiency at Power Plant

TRICOR’s TCM-28K
A power plant installed variable area flow meters for fuel oil feed control.  The variable area flow meters proved too unreliable to detect clogging in the burner system. The result was inefficient, unbalanced flow measurement resulting in very low burner efficiency, frequent downtime due to clogging, and heavy maintenance requirements.

The process medium was burner fuel oil at temperatures between 50 F to 210 F, with flow varying between 7 to 55 lbs/hr.

The solution was installing TRICOR’s TCM-28K Coriolis flow meter. The TCM 028K Coriolis Mass Flow Meter has a maximum mass flow rate of 28,000 kg/hr (1029 lb/min) or 4227 bbl/day and nominal size of DN25 (1”), and is rated for process pressures up to 100 bar (1450 psi). Standard accuracy for the TCM 028K is 0.3%, but with a custom calibration, 0.1% accuracy is possible. These meters have good overall accuracy, zero stability, and pressure drop. The simple self-draining U-shape tube design provides for easy cleaning/flushing.

After installation, all mentioned problems disappeared. Moreover, with the flexibility of TRICOR installation length, TRICOR was able help the customer in this challenging application to avoid extra installation costs.

ADVANTAGES:
  • Increased burner availability
  • Less downtime
  • More efficient burner management 
  • Reduced maintenance costs Increased productivity
For more information, contact M.S. Jacobs by calling 800-348-0089 or visit their web site at https://msjacobs.com.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

US Power Grids, Oil and Gas Industries, and Risk of Hacking


A report released in June, from the security firm Dragos, describes a worrisome development by a hacker group named, “Xenotime” and at least two dangerous oil and gas intrusions and ongoing reconnaissance on United States power grids.

Multiple ICS (Industrial Control Sectors) sectors now face the XENOTIME threat; this means individual verticals – such as oil and gas, manufacturing, or electric – cannot ignore threats to other ICS entities because they are not specifically targeted.

The Dragos researchers have termed this threat proliferation as the world’s most dangerous cyberthreat since an event in 2017 where Xenotime had caused a serious operational outage at a crucial site in the Middle East. 

The fact that concerns cybersecurity experts the most is that this hacking attack was a malware that chose to target the facility safety processes (SIS – safety instrumentation system).

For example, when temperatures in a reactor increase to an unsafe level, an SIS will automatically start a cooling process or immediately close a valve to prevent a safety accident. The SIS safety stems are both hardware and software that combine to protect facilities from life threatening accidents.

At this point, no one is sure who is behind Xenotime. Russia has been connected to one of the critical infrastructure attacks in the Ukraine.  That attack was viewed to be the first hacker related power grid outage.

This is a “Cause for Concern” post that was published by Dragos on June 14, 2019

“While none of the electric utility targeting events has resulted in a known, successful intrusion into victim organizations to date, the persistent attempts, and expansion in scope is cause for definite concern. XENOTIME has successfully compromised several oil and gas environments which demonstrates its ability to do so in other verticals. Specifically, XENOTIME remains one of only four threats (along with ELECTRUM, Sandworm, and the entities responsible for Stuxnet) to execute a deliberate disruptive or destructive attack.

XENOTIME is the only known entity to specifically target safety instrumented systems (SIS) for disruptive or destructive purposes. Electric utility environments are significantly different from oil and gas operations in several aspects, but electric operations still have safety and protection equipment that could be targeted with similar tradecraft. XENOTIME expressing consistent, direct interest in electric utility operations is a cause for deep concern given this adversary’s willingness to compromise process safety – and thus integrity – to fulfill its mission.

XENOTIME’s expansion to another industry vertical is emblematic of an increasingly hostile industrial threat landscape. Most observed XENOTIME activity focuses on initial information gathering and access operations necessary for follow-on ICS intrusion operations. As seen in long-running state-sponsored intrusions into US, UK, and other electric infrastructure, entities are increasingly interested in the fundamentals of ICS operations and displaying all the hallmarks associated with information and access acquisition necessary to conduct future attacks. While Dragos sees no evidence at this time indicating that XENOTIME (or any other activity group, such as ELECTRUM or ALLANITE) is capable of executing a prolonged disruptive or destructive event on electric utility operations, observed activity strongly signals adversary interest in meeting the prerequisites for doing so.”

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Custom Sanitary Coriolis Flow Meter Makes Better Mayonnaise

Coriolis Flow Meter for Mayonnaise
A large scale producer of condiments for the restaurant industry needed a better way to control the mixture of several ingredients in the production of mayonnaise. The ingredients needed to be mixed at exact ratios to produce a consistent product. The customer wanted to automated the process to remove human error from the mixing of these blends. Products to be measured are starch, an egg blend, and the final product of mayonnaise.

All the ingredient measurements must be made by sanitary instruments because this is an FDA regulated food application. Measurements must also be maintained at relatively low system pressures. This is difficult due to the viscous nature of the product. Because both starch and mayonnaise are shear thinning materials, precise viscosity data is not available, therefore engineering observation of the process was necessary to identify the proper size Coriolis meters.




For more information, contact M.S. Jacobs by calling 800-348-0089 of visiting https://msjacobs.com.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Level Instrumentation for Steam Generation

Level Instrumentation for Steam Generation

Steam is today’s utility player in the industrial energy arena. It cleans and sterilizes, dries and concentrates, separates and evaporates. In cookery, it preserves flavor, texture, and retains nutrients. In chemistry, it fosters reactions by controlling process pressure and temperature. In biotechnology, it’s essential for growing production organisms. Steam ranges in purity from boiler grade for routine tasks, to culinary grade “Clean Steam” for food and dairy, and graduates up to super pure, pyrogen-free steam for biopharmaceutical use.

Magnetrol, a world-leading manufacturer of level and flow instrumentation, has assembled an excellent application summary for the use of level instrumentation in steam generation.


Friday, March 29, 2019

The Ashcroft Ordering Handbook

Ashcroft, Inc. manufactures a wide variety of electronic and mechanical pressure and temperature instruments are produced in this facility under the brand names of Ashcroft®, Heise®and Weksler®. Ashcroft products are recognized as best-in-class for pressure and temperature measurement, including gauges, thermometers, switches, transducers, transmitters, instrument isolators and diaphragm seals and control and calibration equipment.

The Product Ordering Handbook includes descriptions, part numbers, and specifications for all Ashcroft products.

Download the Ashcroft Ordering Handbook from the M.S. Jacobs web site here.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Required Information for Sizing the Correct Thermal Mass Flow Meter for Your Application

Thermal mass flow meterThermal mass flow meters offer accurate, repeatable, and dependable measurements of liquids and gases for both industrial and environmental processes.  They are used in a multitude of applications including landfills, GHG emissions, flare gas, natural gas measurement, pollution control, petrochemical, chemical processing, measuring hydrogen gas, food and beverage, pharmaceutical, semi-conductor manufacturing, sub-metering of clean process gases, and power / utility.

When sizing a thermal mass flow meter, the following information is required in determining the correct flow meter for your application:
  1. Fluid
  2. Insertion or inline meter
  3. Minimum and maximum line pressure
  4. Minimum and maximum flow rate
  5. Minimum and maximum fluid temperature
  6. Pipe diameter, schedule and material
  7. Standard, sanitary or ultra-high purity finish
  8. Desired process connections
  9. Flow direction
  10. Available power for transmitter
  11. Transmitter output
Once these parameters are determined, a mass flow meter may be properly specified for your application. To be safe the instrument will perform safely and without problem, it is highly recommended you consult with a process instrumentation expert for assistance.

M.S. Jacobs and Associates
https://msjacobs.com
800-348-0089

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Pipe, Valve, Fitting and Instrument Insulation: Silver Series by BriskHeat


The BriskHeat Silver-Series insulators are a configurable insulation system made of durable, high-temperature cloth that allows for very easy installation and removal. The Silver-Series provides 1” thick, needle-punched fiberglass insulation with hook & loop closures. The innovative design applies very efficient thermal insulation for hot or cold pipes, valves, instrumentation, tanks and vessels in industrial and commercial environments. Custom designs can be manufactured for unique requirements.

For more information, contact M.S. Jacobs & Associates.
https://msjacobs.com
800-348-0089

Thursday, January 31, 2019

New Product Alert: WIKA High Pressure Valves

WIKA High Pressure ValveHigh-pressure valves are being added to the WIKA portfolio of pressure, temperature, level, flow and WIKA USA includes ball valves, needle valves, check valves, and instrument manifold valves with pressures from 15,000 psi to 60,000 psi. in 1/4" to 1" sizes.
force measurement.  With the acquisition of SAMI Instruments S.R.L. by the WIKA Group is expanding its portfolio of specialty valves.  The new portfolio of standard and specialty valves available through

Products include:
  • Medium and High Pressure Needle valves and Manifolds
  • Medium and High Pressure Ball Valves
  • Medium and High Pressure Soft and Ball Check valves
  • Medium and High Pressure Fittings
  • Medium and High Pressure Adapters


Monday, January 21, 2019

How They Work: Magnetically Coupled Liquid Level Indicators (Mag Gauges)


Magnetically coupled liquid level indicators are in widespread use throughout today's process industries.

Originally designed as an alternative to site and gage glass devices, MLI’s are now commonly utilized in both new construction and plant expansions. Orion Instruments magnetic level indicators are precision engineered and manufactured to indicate liquid level accurately, reliably, and continuously.

As shown in this video, a float designed for the specific gravity of the process liquid travels inside the MLI chamber tracking the rise and fall of the process media.

This float contains an internal magnetic assembly that couples with the external visual indicator. The individual “flags” or “flippers” rotate 180 degrees as the level rises and falls, indicating the position of the liquid inside the MLI, and therefore, indicating the level of the liquid in the vessel.

These units are completely sealed and require little to no periodic maintenance. MLI’s also eliminate fugitive emission and glass breakage concerns common with site and gage glasses.

To complement these products, level switches and transmitters are available to further expand the control and alarm capability of the MLI.

For more information on magnetic level indicators, contact: M.S. Jacobs and Associates by calling 800-348-0089 or by visiting https://msjacobs.com.