Showing posts with label west virginia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label west virginia. Show all posts

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Pre-Assembled Self-Regulating Heating Cable Solves a Range of Freeze Protection Challenges Quickly

self regulating heat cable with termination
Preconfigured and terminated heat cable, self regulating,
can speed project completion.
Image courtesy BriskHeat Corp.
Heat tracing a pipe, from start to finish can be time consuming. Selecting the various components, starting with the heating cable itself, extends through termination kits, controllers, mounting hardware and other electrical hardware needed to put the heating system in operation. BriskHeat has a product that, for many applications, offers a very simple and quick solution.

Pre-assembled self regulating heat cable is available in two voltage ranges, two watt densities, and prefabricated lengths up to 150 feet. Each cable is terminated at each end, saving the installer time. The cable is flexible enough for a spiral installation or to wrap around valves in the piping system. The self regulating aspect of the cable negates the need for a controller and power switching devices. Assemblies targeted for 120 volt applications are provided with a factory installed plug. The 208-277 volt cables will arrive with bare wire leads for installation of a customer provided connector. The cable can be easily installed using fiberglass or aluminum tape. Suitable insulation applied over the finished work will improve the performance of the heating system.

Share your heat trace and freeze protection challenges with industrial heating specialists, leveraging your own knowledge and experience with their product application expertise.



Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Silicone Rubber Heating Blankets


Electric heaters provide an effective and directed method in which heat can be delivered to a surface. The application of an electric heating solution is compartively simple and does not generally require a large amount of supoorting infrastructure, as is the case with fluid based heating systems. Electric heaters for industrial and commercial applications are available in a vast range of types, materials, and forms. The silicone rubber heater is one form that delivers users some unique application options.

A silicone rubber heating blanket is essentially a rugged but flexible rubber sheet with heating wire embedded within. Stock sizes are available, but the basic design enables manufacturers to craft custom sizes to meet very specific customer requirements. The distinct advantage of silicone rubber heating blankets is their flexibility. The resistance heater wires are encased in a silicone rubber sheet, providing the ability to wrap the assembly around an object or manipulate it into a close fit with the target of a heating application. The silicone rubber encasement also provides a high level of protection for the heater wires from impact, moisture, and some chemicals. The products are delivered with ready made connections or customized terminals to suit project needs.

The watt density of the heaters can be specified to provide a good match between the delivery of heat and the need for it. Electric heat can also be regulated by an external power controller to maintain very close temperature control. Custom shapes and configurations can be manufactured to order, and on board or remote controllers provided. Pressure sensitive adhesive is a common option that facilitates the installation of the heater assembly to a part or vessel.

The maximum application temperature is in the range of +450°F (+232°C). These heaters are a useful selection option for a large range of operations demanding heat to be applied directly to a surface, object, tank, drum, or other vessel. Share your industrial heating challenges with product specialists and leverage your own knowledge and experience with their product application expertise for the best match up between heater technology and your application.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Use of Thermal Dispersion Flow Switches for Pump Protection

thermal dispersion flow switch
Model TD2 Thermal Dispersion Flow Switch
Image courtesy Magnetrol
Thermal dispersion flow switches use an operating principle similar to that of a thermal mass flow meter. Moving fluid carries heat away from the probe tip reducing the temperature difference between a heated resistance temperature detector (RTD) and a reference RTD. Unlike a flow meter, a thermal dispersion switch operates with setpoints, comparing the detected flow rate to the setpoints and controlling a relay or other digital output in response. Manufacturers will refer to the switch being in “alarm” at set point. How the relay is wired (NC-CO or NO-CO) depends on the needs of the application.

High or low flows can be detected by thermal dispersion switches. While thermal dispersion flow measurement technology is applicable for gases and liquids, pump protection is the subject of this post, and reference will be limited to liquid flows and low flow detection.

Running pumps with inadequate liquid throughput is well recognized as a source of excessive wear, parts damage, cavitation and downtime due to repair. The cost of replacement parts, repair labor and lost production time can ramp up very quickly.
Monitoring liquid flow rate and triggering an alarm or pump shutdown to prevent damage has substantial benefit, even in a system of comparatively modest size.
There are many technologies that can measure liquid flow and function as part of a pump protection scheme. Flow meters can be used, but a continuous flow measurement may not be needed for the application. Flow meters typically are more costly than flow switches.

Mechanical flow switches are an alternative. Prior to the availability of electronic controls, they were generally the only method employed. They use a mechanical operator, driven by liquid flow, to actuate a relay. Typically, a vane or paddle is in the flow stream and swings in the direction of the flow. When the vane moves a predetermined distance, a magnetic sleeve or other device rises to draw the magnet in to actuate the switch. Moving parts are subject to wear, possible jamming and increased maintenance over time. Viscous liquids or those that may accumulate deposits on the operating mechanism can decrease reliability of the switch. A mechanical flow switch may be desirable if there is limited on-site power. In terms of the installation, the pipeline must be horizontal.

Vibrating forks and ultrasonic gap switches are other technologies employed for pump protection. It is inherent in these technologies that the presence or absence of liquid at the sensor location is all that is detected, not actual fluid flow. They are unable to detect decreasing flow rates, and their "gap" at the sensor creates opportunity for plugging or fouling with some liquids. Common applications for these switches are sumps or wet wells. Dual ultrasonic gap switches have pump control modes where the unit performs auto-fill or auto-empty as needed. 

Thermal dispersion flow switches deliver a robust feature set and application flexibility.
  • No moving parts
  • Low maintenance burden 
  • Range of probe types to accommodate water or more viscous liquids 
  • Installation in horizontal or vertical lines
  • Variety of mounting types and insertion locations 
  • Optional remote mount electronics
  • Hot tap options available
  • Low flow detection as opposed to dry pipe 
  • Current output for trending and fault indication
  • Temperature compensation to reduce set point drift under varying operating temperatures 
Probe Types

The standard probe design offered by thermal dispersion switch manufacturers is a twin tip construction to house the sensors. The twin tip is essentially two tubes welded to the end of the probe that are in the process liquid.

Twin tip probes can be beneficial as multiple manufacturers have similar designs. It has a very high pressure rating and is available in a variety of construction materials.

A unique design that may be preferred for liquid applications is the spherical tip probe. The lack of pins at the end of the probe eliminates plugging in viscous applications while the thin wall allows increased sensitivity with the process liquid. With pressure ratings up to 600 psig (41 bar) and standard 316 stainless steel material of construction it is suitable for most pump applications.

Electronics

The electronics for the thermal dispersion switch can be integral to the probe assembly or remotely located, enclosed in an explosion proof or other suitable housing. Wiring is simplified with the terminals easily accessible without removal of the bezel or any circuit boards. Along with the ease of installation come many diagnostic features incorporated in the microprocessor based electronics.

A useful diagnostic feature in the electronics is the current output. It is not a linear 4-20 mA output, similar to a flow meter, but the current will act as a live signal that varies with heat transfer. For example, in a low flow condition the current may be 8 mA and at normal flows 12 mA (output varies for each application). The current will be repeatable for a given low flow set point. If there is turbulence in the line, possibly being caused by a closed valve with the pump still running, the sensor will see this turbulence as a higher flow rate than what is actually occurring. The live signal allows the operator to monitor conditions to which the sensor is exposed and possibly develop custom diagnostics for the fluid system.

Along with the trending capabilities of using the current output, this output will also go low or high when a fault condition occurs according to NAMUR NE 43. For pump applications where a low flow alarm is desirable, the current will fall to less than or equal to 3.6 mA during the fault. The microprocessor based electronics monitor for any open circuits or flow signal that goes out of range. Without a microprocessor, the flow switch could be subject to more noise, have drift issues and need more frequent calibration to maintain the set point.

The user also has the option to select a window in the housing of the electronics. This window allows viewing of the LEDs to show normal operation (relay energized), alarm/set point (relay de-energized) and fault conditions (relay de-energized). Switch and process operation can be confirmed locally at a glance.

Because the principal of operation of thermal dispersion switches is temperature dependent, temperature compensation is provided in the electronics circuitry. Temperature compensation will reduce set point drift under varying operating temperatures.

Pump Installations

Both positive displacement and centrifugal pumps have performance curves to maximize efficiency. There is an ideal combination of differential head and flow rate that will provide the best results. If monitoring the differential head, a thermal switch can be set up to shut the pump down when it is operating below the ideal flow rates. Worst case scenario, the thermal switch is installed to verify there is liquid flow to prevent excessive wear or failure.

Installing the thermal switch in either the suction or discharge piping is acceptable. It is important to install in a location where the sensor tip will be exposed to liquid movement, especially in the case of a partially filled pipe. When field calibrated, which is most often the case for thermal switches, it is not necessary to install at the centerline of the pipe. As long as the probe is far enough into the pipe to see liquid movement, it will provide repeatability at the given flow rate. A quarter to half way into the pipe is common.

Installing a few diameters away from the pump will reduce the impact of excess turbulence. Turbulence may cause the switch to sense higher flow rates than what is actually occurring inside of the pipe. Movement of liquid due to turbulence can theoretically create as much heat transfer as the liquid flow itself. The aforementioned current output is a helpful diagnostic feature in more difficult installations.

Summary

Thermal dispersion switches are used in pump protection applications ranging from standard water to high viscosity liquids. There are unique sensor designs for each individual application, including the popular spherical tip, low flow bodies and high temperature/pressure probes. The multitude of probes in conjunction with the advanced electronics make thermal dispersion switches a competitive technology for pump protection.

Share your fluid flow challenges with process measurement specialists. Leverage your own knowledge and experience with their product application expertise to develop effective solutions.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Process Measurement and Control Devices for Corrosive Environments

all plastic industrial process measurement corrosion resistant pressure gauge
All plastic corrosion resistant pressure gauge.
Image courtesy ICON Process Controls
ICON Process Controls specializes in corrosion resistant industrial fluid handling process control equipment, offering industry the most complete line of instrumentation products in an all plastic form supported by the largest inventory in North America. Applications for corrosion resistant instrumentation and controls are found throughout...
  • Municipal and industrial water and wastewater treatment
  • Bulk chemical storage, handling and production
  • Steel processing
  • Metal Finishing
  • Chemical Dosing Skids
  • Food and Beverage processing and production
The ICON product line handles tasks for measuring and controlling flow, level, pressure, and temperature in environments that are otherwise challenging or corrosive to other process instruments. Their unique all plastic construction makes the ICON equipment and instruments particularly well suited to the harshest industrial environments.

For information about the complete line of corrosion resistant industrial fluid handling process control equipment from ICON, reach out to the process control experts at MS Jacobs. Share your process control challenges and leverage your own process knowledge and experience with their product application expertise to develop effective solutions.


Friday, January 19, 2018

Measurement and Control Products for the Shale Gas Industry

steel shale gas pipeline with valve
M.S. Jacobs provides measurement and control solutions
to the shale gas production and processing sectors.
Several areas of North America are involved with the extraction of shale gas resources. The Marcellus Formation, one of the largest shale gas production areas, is located beneath much of the coverage area of M.S. Jacobs & Associates. A substantial portion of the company's product lines have application potential throughout the layers of the industry.

The Gentherm Global Power Technologies TEG (thermo-electric generator) is a product M.S. Jacobs provides for “upstream” use on the production well pad. It provides a reliable source of electric power at off-grid locations and is preferred because of its reliability and operating principle. A TEG has no moving parts and requires little maintenance. A thermoelectric generator converts heat directly into electricity. As heat moves from a gas burner through a thermoelectric module, it causes an electrical current to flow. Thermoelectric generators are a preferred source of power in areas without reliable and abundant sunshine for photovoltaic production of electricity.

Another source of remote power are the Stirling Engine driven generators from Qnergy. Operating on any combustible fuel, these systems deliver electric power efficiently and require no maintenance. The Qnergy power units are fuel agnostic and insensitive to gas content, able to run on gas with variable caloric content.

M.S. Jacobs is also involved with solutions for midstream operations. Flexim ultrasonic clamp-on flowmeters serve as check meters at midstream processing facilities and compressor stations to measure large volumes of gas. They are also being used to help balance the load to the compressors. Other applications are on gas storage wells that are filled in the summer and pumped out in the fall-winter, taking advantage of the bi-directional measurement capability of the meter.

M.S. Jacobs also provides Magnetrol level controls and Orion visual level indicators for various level applications as well as valves and controls on other midstream and downstream applications. A primary partner to many processing companies, M.S. Jacobs provides experience, application expertise, local inventory, and ongoing support.

Share your process measurement and control challenges with application specialists, leveraging your own knowledge and experience with their product application expertise to develop effective solutions.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Expansion Joints in Process Piping Systems

Expansion joints relieve stress on process piping
Expansion joints accommodate the movement in piping systems
due to a number of real world factors.
Image courtesy General Rubber Corp.
Piping systems of any size require consideration of stresses placed upon the system by movement resulting from a number of possible factors. In some cases, the movement is vibratory and related to the operation of connected machinery. Another common case is the expansion and contraction of piping sections due to thermal effects.

Process piping can have substantial stress applied due to thermal expansion of the piping material itself. This is especially evident when portions of the process piping are fixed in position by their mounting method. Allowances must be made for expansion of the piping material in the installed location. The design criteria will include factors that impact the expansion of the piping components, as well as the relationships between the piping and elements of their supporting structures. Expansion can produce substantial movement of pipe sections which must be accommodated by the supports and the piping itself.


One manufacturer, General Rubber Corp., manufactures a wide range of expansion joints for process piping systems of almost any size. Their expertise, acquired over many years in the field, is reflected in the numerous product variants available to meet every application condition.

Share your process piping challenges with product specialsts, leveraging your own knowledge and experience with their product application expertise to develop effective solutions.


Friday, January 5, 2018

One, Two, or Three Piece Ball Valve?

one piece, two piece, and three piece ball valves
Examples of one, two, and three piece ball valves.
Image courtesy Duravalve
Ball valves are employed throughout many commercial, institutional, and industrial venues where the need to isolate part of a system is necessary, or even just to regulate the on/off condition of system fluid flow. The product variants are almost uncountable, with a version to accommodate almost any application.

When selecting a ball valve, one facet of construction will be evident in your research. There are three common types of ball valve construction; one piece, two piece, and three piece. Here are some general considerations and differences among the three types.

  • A one piece ball valve has a body and end connections formed from a single piece of material. This construction presents a comparatively reduced number of opportunities for leakage. The valve trim and seals are inserted through one of the end connections. This type of valve will not have a port size equal to the line size. The simplicity of the one piece body design tends to make their cost lower than the other versions. Once the valve is in place, it cannot be serviced without removing the entire valve assembly from the piping system.
  • Two piece ball valves generally have one piece that includes an end connection and the body, plus a second piece that fits into the first that will hold the trim in place and provide the second end connection. The construction presents an additional leak potential where the two pieces are joined, but also allows disassembly of the valve for replacement of the internals. These valves can provide full port service and bidirectional flow shutoff.
  • A three piece ball valve essentially separates the connection portions of the valve assembly from the body of the valve. These will be more expensive than either of the other two types, but their allowance for removing the valve body and trim from the piping system while leaving the connections in place may prove valuable for many applications. Full port and bidirectional shutoff can be provided by this construction.
Properly applied, all these valves will provide good service. Your selection depends on the demands of the application. Share your fluid measurement and control requirements and challenges with process control specialists, leveraging your own knowledge and experience with their product application expertise to develop effective solutions.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Blowdown Tanks in Steam Systems

schematic of boiler blowdown tank with thermostatic cooling valve
Schematic for applying blowdown tank in steam system.
Image courtesy Colton Industries
Blowdown, in a steam system, serves as a means to remove condensate or reduce the accumulation of minerals and contaminants in a boiler. The temperature and pressure of the effluent precludes its discharge into most municipal sewers, requiring a means to collect the discharge and reduce its temperature prior to final disposal.

A blowdown tank is designed as a receiver which vents flash steam to atmosphere and provides for cooling of the condensate prior to final discharge. A vent connection at the top of the tank is normally routed to a safe discharge location outdoors. In some cases, a condenser may be applied to the vented steam. The condensate collects in the tank and cools as heat is radiated from the tank walls, generally steel or stainless steel. Faster cooling can be accomplished with the incorporation of a thermostatic cooling valve that mixes cold water with the condensate.

The blowdown tanks have no moving parts and few requirements for maintenance. Good practice calls for periodic inspection for wall erosion and corrosion. An inspection hatch provides access to the tank interior.

Share your steam system requirements and challenges with specialists, leveraging your own knowledge and experience with their product application expertise to develop effective solutions.



Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Storage and Process Tanks

industrial sanitary stainless steel process tanks
Industrial process tanks use measurement instruments
to reveal the nature of their contents.
Storage and process tanks are employed throughout a broad range of industrial, research, and commercial applications. The design and construction of the vessels varies widely, but there are a few measurement and control functions common to almost all applications. Whether general purpose or very specialized, a process or facility operator with a tank will need to know…
  • Nature of the contents. What is in the tank.
  • Quantity of material in the tank. This can be expressed as weight, mass, level or volume.
  • Condition of the material in the tank. This can include temperature, pressure, or a range of other specific attributes which may have a bearing on the process or operation for which the material is to be used or applied.
Instrumentation and fixtures of varying styles and types are used to provide information relating to the three areas noted above. A broad range of tank level measurement techniques and instruments are employed to quantify tank contents. Specialized sensors can be used to measure conductivity, pH, and a host of other material aspects.

Industrial storage tanks are used as containers for everything from water to fuels to chemicals. Contents may be pressurized or blanketed with ignition suppressing gases, such as nitrogen. The construction of a process tank must meet requirements for safety and functionality related to its specific use. Well known commercial applications include those in food, beverage, and dairy sectors. Every industrial or commercial use will have standards for physical safety, product safety and quality, as well as requirements for effective integration into whatever system the application presents.

Mixing tanks perform a different function in the control process as opposed to storage tanks. Mix tanks are involved in batching and blending processes. Made of glass, plastic, sturdy rubber, or stainless steel, mixing tanks blend different substances together to create materials for production. The refined mixing process occurs as certain amounts of liquids are funneled into the tank from lines leading to the tank. The tanks may be provided with specialized fixtures or apparatus to facilitate the combining of constituent substances. Depending upon the application, the components may not all be liquid.

The term “tanks”, per se, encompasses practically an entire industry in itself. The variety of sizes, forms, materials, and accessory features is enormous. Share your tank instrumentation and measurement challenges with process measurement specialists, leveraging your own knowledge and experience with their product application expertise to develop an effective solution.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Comprehensive Planning for Heat Trace and Surface Heating Challenges

refinery with workers
Applications for process heating are numerous and varied,
found throughout industrial and commercial settings. 
Keeping process or inventory liquids from freezing, or becoming extremely viscous, can be an important part of a commercial or industrial operation. Freeze damage to equipment, piping, containers or their contents can result in a wide array of consequences, all of them likely to be negative.

Developing an overall plan for freeze protection can be advantageous to attacking each application on an independent basis.
  • Having a common vendor for all freeze protection equipment and supplies can help designers develop a knowledge base about how to meet application challenges with specific products, speeding implementation time. Service techs become familiar with applied products and methods, building their skills and efficiency at installing and maintaining applications throughout the facility.
  • Identify all locations where freeze protection is needed. Develop a baseline of the methods employed and equipment installed to meet the needs of each location. Good records form the basis for good maintenance and the ability to make decisions regarding the operation and performance of each system.
  • When selecting the products or methods to employ for freeze protection, consider the environment in which the hardware will be installed. Will it require protection from physical damage, chemical attack, or extreme weather. Is the installation space considered a hazardous zone, requiring special certifications for the heating equipment?
  • The availability and control of applied heat can also be important. Is there a need for the heating system to deliver highly variable amounts of heat across the range of possible operating scenarios, in order to avoid overheating the process or stored materials? How quickly will the system need to ramp up to the desired operating temperature or respond to changes in an operating process?
These questions, and probably others specifically related to your application, should be part of the consideration for freeze protection applications. Enlisting the cooperation of a process heat specialist can apply leverage to your own process knowledge and experience to develop an effective solution to each challenge.

Check this link and request a copy of the Freeze Protection Planning Guide.

Friday, December 1, 2017

The Possible vs. The Probable

Overhead view of the Arkema plant in Corsby, Texas.
Image from United States Chemcial Safety Board 
Process stakeholders have concerns and responsibilities regarding operational safety, environmental impact, profitability, and more. At almost every level, the risk of loss, damage, or disaster is scrutinized and evaluated. Steps may be taken to prevent or reduce the impact of some negative event. Other risk reduction methods might be put into play to provide relief from losses suffered. Whatever the case, it is safe to say that much industrial effort is invested in predicting a broad range of "what if" scenarios.

The recent events at the Arkema chemical plant in Crosby, Texas bring to light the limitations we, as process operators of any type, may put on our own thinking and actions. Though investment was made, and was ongoing, to improve aspects of the plant, the operation was still brought to a standstill and a fire ensued that brought the involvement of the US Chemical Safety Board. This resulted because natural events that were likely deemed impossible became reality, with insufficient contingency operations in place to handle the situation.

What is important about the event is what we can all learn from it, what we can use to modify and improve our own methods of evaluating risk and implementing protections to prevent loss and damage. Essentially, the plant was overwhelmed by storm induced flooding that was unprecedented. Grid and backup power sources were rendered inoperable and material that required refrigeration to maintain a safe condition no longer was provided with the needed cold storage environment.

arkema chemical plant timeline hurricane harvey US chemical safety board
Timeline of events related to a fire at the Arkema chemical plant in Crosby, TX
Image is from US Chemical Safety Board 
The relationships between an operation and its surrounding environment are not static. The probability of any event occurring is never zero. When probabilities are perceived as being very small, they might be ignored, but low probability events can and do eventually become part of the plant environment. Developing strong contingency plans and incorporating design elements into an operation that account for events that seem impossible, but are actually of very low probability, is a good industrial practice that hardens the process or facility against disaster.

Share and discuss your concerns and plans with process instrumentation and control specialists, leveraging your own knowledge and experience with their resources to develop a better solution.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Gas and Flame Detectors for Industrial Installations

flame detector and fixed gas detector for industrial safety
Flame detector and fixed hazardous gas monitoring units
Image courtesy SMC (Sierra Monitor Corporation)
The demand for increased levels of safety in the workplace continues to expand, with calls for better protection for workers, the plant, the environment, and surrounding communities all weighing on operators to look for ways to reduce risk. Industrial plants, especially those employing hazardous or flammable materials, can have very high risk levels. Reducing the probability of accident or failure can bring a very substantial benefit for long term operation.

Sierra Monitor Corporation manufactures hazardous gas and flame detection equipment for application in commercial and industrial environments. Their sensors and stations enable continuous monitoring of plant conditions and early warning of potentially dangerous conditions. The application possibilities range through every industry.

The document included below provides an overview of the company's products and their potential application. Share your hazardous gas and flame detection monitoring challenges with process measurement specialists, leveraging your own knowledge and experience with their product application expertise to develop a safer solution for your facility.



Friday, November 10, 2017

Differential Pressure Gauge for Level Indication on Liquefied Gas Tanks

differential pressure gauge for cryo tank level indication
A differential pressure gauge can be used to
indicate liquid level in tanks of liquefied gas
Image courtesy Wika
Wika, globally recognized leader and innovator in the design and manufacture of pressure and temperature gauges, provides an enormous number of variants and models of its basic pressure gauge. Many of the gauges are targeted at specific applications, and incorporate a range of design and operational features to accommodate the needs of those applications.

The Cryo Gauge is designed to provide indication of the level of liquid in liquefied gas tanks, but can also serve in some other related applications. For cryo tank applications, several available measuring cells provide operating ranges that cover the most commonly used tank sizes and gas types. An optional manifold with a separate pressure gauge provides connectivity and an indication of working pressure, all in one compact station. Options for analog output, level switches, and remote data transfer are part of the flexible configuration.

More detail on the Cryo Gauge is provided in the datasheet included below. Whatever the application, share your pressure measurement challenges with process measurement experts, leveraging your own knowledge and experience with their product application expertise to develop effective solutions.



Thursday, November 2, 2017

Award Winning Flow Measurement Instrument

ultrasonic flow meter
Flexim F704 Ultrasonic Flow Meter
Image Courtesy Flexim
Flow Control Magazine, which targets solutions for fluid movement, measurement and containment, handed out its annual Innovation Awards recently. Among those receiving honorable mention was Flexim Americas Corporation, for the Fluxus Cryo that provides noninvasive measurement of cryogenic fluids. Special design adaptations prevent ice build up on the measurement apparatus that that can plague other technologies.

Ultrasonic flow measurement offers some distinct advantages over other available methods, with high accuracy, no intrusion into the media, and no moving parts. While the award was specifically for a cryogenic application, Flexim ultrasonic flow measurement instruments are available for an extensive array of applications.

For more information, share your flow measurement requirements and challenges with process instrumentation experts, leveraging your own process knowledge and experience with their product application expertise to develop effective solutions.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Simple Tech Drives Reliable Remote Power Unit

remote power unit driven by Stirling engine
The Qnergy remote power unit utilizes a simple
Stirling engine to generate electric power.
Image courtesy Qnergy
M.S. Jacobs and Associates handles the Qnergy line of remote power units, providing electric power to off-grid locations or standing as a backup power source for critical operations. Wherever backup or independent source electric power is needed, Qnergy remote power units can serve as a reliable and economical power source, requiring little to no maintenance.

The technology under the hood in the Qnergy power units is a Stirling engine, adapted and improved by decades of innovation. The engine derives energy input via external combustion, enabling the use of a variety of fuels.
  • Natural gas
  • Propane
  • Ethane
  • Biogas
  • And others
The Stirling engine utilizes a floating piston with no contact points to wear. The system requires no lubrication or regular maintenance, very positive attributes for a remote power unit. Share your project requirements and challenges with application specialists, combining your own knowledge and experience with their product application expertise to develop effective solutions.


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Bag Filter Housings For Liquid Filtration



Filtration is a common processing step in many liquid based industrial operations. Applying the right degree of filtration or particle capture helps assure a predictable level of output quality. Selecting a bag filtration unit should incorporate a number of factors to meet the goal of good performance with a minimized personnel commitment to maintenance.

  • Materials of construction must be compatible with the process liquid, as well as providing resistance to the effects of their surrounding environment.
  • Connection size and type should be adequate for anticipated flow rate and compatible with the connected piping system.
  • Installation location should permit all around access for service, including clearance for opening the unit for filter bag changes.
  • Pressure rating of the housing must meet any applicable requirements of the process, jurisdiction or industry standards.
  • Provide an adequate arrangement to isolate the filtration unit from the fluid system, perhaps with a bypass loop, to allow for in-place access.
The short video illustrates some of the salient features of bag filtration housings that accommodate multiple filter bags. Share your filtration requirements and challenges with processing specialists, leveraging your own processing knowledge and experience with their product application expertise.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Pressure and Vacuum Sealed Feedthrough Fittings

multiple versions of vacuum feedthroughs, vacuum chamber feed through fitting
Several versions of vacuum chamber feedthrough fittings.
Image courtesy of Spectite, Inc.
The passage of sensor tubes, electrical conductors, or similar items through the wall of a pressure vessel requires the use of a special fitting that accommodates the physical passage through the vessel wall without compromising the vessel performance. The provision of the right connectors, mounting fitting, and sealant assure simple and effective installation of the feedthrough fitting. Vacuum and pressure feedthroughs are an important part of the physical signal path and the vessel barrier wall, maintaining the integrity of the vessel or chamber containment while facilitating the passage or placement of power, sensors, or other items.

There are countless applications for feedthroughs, resulting in a broad offering of body styles, sealants, connections, and customized arrangements to meet any challenge. Spectite manufactures a broad range of vacuum and pressure feedthroughs, any of which can be customized to meet an application challenge. Share your project requirements with a product specialist, leveraging your own process knowledge and experience with their product application expertise to develop an effective solution.



Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Electronic Pressure Switches

electronic pressure switch NEMA 4 enclosure
Electronic pressure switch in NEMA 4 enclosure.
Image courtesy of Ashcroft
A pressure switch is a device that detects and responds to fluid pressure. Pressure switches use a variety of sensing elements such as diaphragms, bellows, bourdon tubes, pistons or electronic sensors. In all but the electronic sensor versions, the movement of the sensing element, caused by pressure fluctuation, is transferred to a set of electrical contacts to open or close a circuit. Electronic pressure switches utilize a sensor signal and circuitry to control switch activation.

The normal status of a switch is the resting state with stimulation. A pressure switch will be in its normal state when low or minimum pressure is applied. For a pressure switch, normal status is any fluid pressure below the trip threshold of the switch.

One of the earliest and most common designs of pressure switch was the bourdon tube pressure sensor with a mercury switch. When pressure is applied, the bourdon tube flexes enough to tilt the glass bulb of the mercury switch so that the mercury flows over the electrical contacts, thus completing the circuit. the glass bulb tilts far enough to cause the mercury to fall against a pair of electrodes, thus completing an electrical circuit. Many of these pressure switches were sold on steam boilers. While they became a de facto standard, they were sensitive to vibration and breakage of the mercury bulb.

Pressure switches using micro type electrical switches and force-balanced pressure sensors is another common design. The force provided by the pressure-sensing element against a mechanical spring is balanced until one overcomes the other. The tension on the spring may be adjusted to set the tripping point, thus providing an adjustable setpoint.

One of the criteria of any pressure switch is the deadband or (reset pressure differential). This setting determines the amount of pressure change required to re-set the switch to its normal state after it has tripped. The differential pressure setting of a pressure switch should not to be confused with a differential pressure switch, which actually operates on the difference in pressure between two separate pressure input ports.

Electronic pressure switches provide some features which generally are considered advantageous to mechanical designs.
  • No mechanical linkage between sensing element and switch, all electronic.
  • High cycle rates are possible.
  • High levels of accuracy and repeatability.
  • Some models have additional features, analog output, digital display, auxiliary switches, and more.
When selecting pressure switches you must consider the electrical requirements (volts, amps, AC or DC), the area classification (hazardous, non-hazardous, general purpose, water-tight), pressure sensing range, body materials that will be exposed to ambient contaminants, and wetted materials.

Whatever your pressure measurement application, share your challenges with a fluid measurement and control specialist, combining your own knowledge and experience with their product application expertise to develop effective solutions.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Thermal Flow Meters

Thermal flow meter for industrial process measurement
Magnetrol TA2 thermal flow meter configured
for insertion mounting.
Image courtesy Magnetrol International 
There are numerous methods and technologies adapted for the measurement of fluid flow, each with its own set of positive attributes and limitations. Understanding the basic operating principles behind each is useful for effective selection of a technology to be applied on a specific application. One technology long employed for continuous fluid flow measurement is thermal dispersion. The operation of a thermal flow meter is as simple as placing a heated object into a moving stream. The amount of heat drawn away, or dispersed, from the heated object is a measurable quantity that is directly proportional to mass flow rate. This is similar in concept to a principle commonly observed in wind chill where someone perceives the temperature to be colder than it actually is at the moment of measurement.

One example of a thermal mass flow meter is a hot wire anemometer, with which air speed is measured via a metal wire charged with an electric current. The faster the air moves around the wire, the more the temperature of the wire will correspondingly drop. The electrical power required to keep the temperature of the wire constant is directly proportional to the flow rate of the air moving past the wire. However, thermal flow meters are inherently used to measure mass air flow and not volumetric air flow.

A common application of thermal flow meters is mass air flow measurement for combustion control, such as in engines and boilers. Maintaining fuel to air ratios in a range resulting in efficient combustion is essential to controlling fuel costs and the level of regulated emissions. Keeping combustion efficient relies on a controller’s ability to modify the combustion air mass flow rate to match the demand for fuel under changing load and input conditions. Thermal dispersion technology can be applied to gases or liquids, making the range of applications very broad.

Typically, thermal mass flow meters used in processing industries will have a flow tube or insertion probe with two temperature sensors, one which is heated and the other which is not. The heated sensor serves as the mass flow sensor, meaning it will cool at a rate directly dependent on mass flow. The purpose of the second temperature sensor is to deliver an accurate measure of fluid temperature. Various processing methods are employed to determine the degree of thermal dispersion, but all are related to the same basic principal.

One of the best applications for thermal mass flow meters is at a particular point of a flow stream, where the flow meter can be inserted or installed to measure a specific amount of fluid being used in the process, such as the amount of gas being sent to a flare. Their design simplicity and ease of production allows thermal flow meters to be very compact. Some are even coupled with built-in throttling mechanisms and other control devices, incorporating measurement and control functions into a single integrated device.

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

Friday, September 22, 2017

Motion Detection For Materials Conveying Equipment

Instrument for detecting loss of motion in material conveying system
Loss of motion detector for use in material
conveying systems
Image courtesy Ronan Engineering
Processing equipment in many facilities involves moving materials along a conveyance system from one point to another. Continuous processing requires that the conveyance machinery keeps moving materials through the process. Monitoring movement at selected points along the conveyance can provide immediate notification when machine motion stops.

One motion monitoring unit from Ronan Engineering has been in the market for many years, evidence of its durability and reliability for detecting loss of motion. The X25 has a very simple operating principle. A detector head is located adjacent to a rotating shaft, spoke wheel, screw conveyor, bucket elevator, or other moving part of the equipment. It functions as a pickup with an output signal corresponding to movement of the target. A remotely located housing contains the signal processor with adjustable sensitivity and time interval controls, as well as output relays for signaling loss of movement in the targeted area.

There are a number of adaptations that can be made for installations subject to low rotational speed, high temperature, and other special conditions. The device is simple, rugged, and reliable.

More detail is provided in the data sheet included below. Share your potential applications with process measurement and control specialists. Leverage your own knowledge and experience with their product application expertise to develop an effective solution.