Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Non-Invasive Measurement of Extremely Low Flow Rates




Industrial process measurement and control operations present a continuous stream of challenges to designers, engineers, operators, and equipment manufacturers. The innumerable combinations of environmental, safety, financial, and other concerns have lead to a wide variety of instruments, equipment, and techniques for meeting specific process requirements. A critical element of many industrial processes is the measurement of liquid flow. Matching the best available flow measurement technology or product to an application calls for through knowledge of the process, the medium being measured, and the strengths and limitations of a proposed measurement device. The most current product and application information is available from specialists in flow measurement.

The video illustrates how a special adaptation of ultrasonic flow measurement technology is utilized to measure extremely low flow rates. Specific product information is also included, showing the advantages and specific application ranges of this specialty product from Flexim Americas.


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Oxygen or High Purity Service Valve Preparation

cutaway view of industrial ball valve for process control
Industrial Ball Valve
Courtesy Marwin Valve
Oxygen is used extensively throughout a wide range of industrial processes. Medical, deep-sea, metal cutting, welding, and metal hardening are a few examples. The steel industry uses oxygen to increase capacity and efficiency in furnaces. As a synthesis gas, oxygen is also used in the production of gasoline, methanol and ammonia.

Odorless and colorless, oxygen is concentrated in atmospheric air at approximately 21%. While O2, by itself, is non-flammable, it vigorously supports combustion of other materials. Allowing oils or greases to contact high concentrations of oxygen can result in ignition and possibly explosion. Oxygen service preparation of an industrial valve calls for special cleaning processes or steps that remove all traces of oils and other contaminants from the valve to prepare for safe use with oxygen (O2). Aside from the reactive concerns surrounding oxygen, O2 preparation is also used for applications where high purity must be maintained and valves must be free of contaminants.

Gaseous oxygen is noncorrosive and may be used with a variety of metals. Stainless steel, bronze and brass are common. Liquid oxygen presents unique challenges due to cryogenic temperatures. In this case, valve bodies, stems, seals and packing must be carefully chosen.

Various types of valves are available for oxygen service, along with a wide array of connections, including screwed, socket weld, ANSI Class 150 and ANSI Class 300, DIN PN16 and DIN PN40 flanged ends. Body materials include 316 stainless steel, monel, bronze and brass. Ball and stem material is often 316 stainless steel or brass. PTFE or glass filled PTFE are inert in oxygen, serving as a common seat and seal material employed for O2 service.

Common procedures for O2 service are to carefully deburr metal parts, then meticulously clean to remove all traces of oil, grease and hydrocarbons before assembly. Valve assembly is performed in a clean area using special gloves to assure no grease or dust contaminates the valve. Lubricants compatible with oxygen must be used. Seating and leakage pressure tests are conducted in the clean area, using grease free nitrogen. Specially cleaned tools are used throughout the process. Once assembled, the valves are tested and left in the open position. A silicone desiccant pack is usually inserted in the open valve port, then the valve ports are capped. A warning label about the desiccant pack's location is included, with a second tag indicating the valve has been specially prepared for oxygen service. Finally, valves are individually sealed in polyethylene bags for shipment and storage. Different manufacturers may follow slightly differing protocols, but the basics are the same. The valve must be delivered scrupulously contaminant free.

The O2 preparation of valves is one of many special production variants available to accommodate your special application requirements. Share your valve requirements and challenges with a valve specialist to get the best solution recommendations.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Video Reenactment and Analysis of Industrial Fire and Explosion

outdoor petroleum storage tanks at industrial facility
All facilities have some element of risk
Industrial accidents range in severity and impact from minuscule to catastrophic. As operators, owners, or technicians involved with industrial operations, we all have a degree of moral, ethical, and legal responsibility to conduct our work in a manner that does not unduly endanger personnel, property, or the environment. Maintaining a diligent safety stance can be helped by reviewing industrial accidents at other facilities. There is much to learn from these unfortunate events, even when they happen in an industry that may seem somewhat removed from your own.

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board, or CSB, is an independent federal agency that investigates industrial chemical accidents. Below, find one of their video reenactments of an explosion that occurred in Texas in 2013, along with their findings regarding the cause of the incident. Check out the video and sharpen your senses to evaluate potential trouble spots in your own operation.

Contact M.S. Jacobs & Associates for any safety related information you may need concerning their lines of industrial and process control products.


Monday, March 7, 2016

New Product: Non-Contact Radar Level Transmitter

non-contact radar level transmitter for industrial process measurement and control
Model R96
Non-Contact Radar Level Transmitter
Courtesy Magnetrol
A new entry into the non-contact radar level measurement transmitter arena has been released by Magnetrol, a well known manufacturer of level and flow measurement instrumentation for the industrial process control field. The new Model R96 Non-Contact Radar Level Transmitter is intended primarily for applications where continuous fluid level measurement is required.

The company sums up the technical capabilities with their description of the product...

"Virtually unaffected by the presence of vapors or air movement within a vessel’s free space, the two-wire, loop-powered, 6 GHz Radar transmitter measures a wide variety of liquid media in process conditions ranging from calm product surfaces and water-based media to turbulent surfaces and aggressive hydrocarbon media."

The Model R96 level transmitter offers features that combine to deliver a state-of-art instrument for accurate continuous level measurement. A product brochure is included below. Contact application specialists to formulate the right product configuration for your level measurement challenge, or to get more detailed information.



Monday, February 29, 2016

New Metal Seated Ball Valves Introduced

Cutaway view of metal seated industrial ball valve SVF Flow Controls
Cutaway view of a metal seated ball valve
Courtesy SVF Flow Controls
Ball valves are utilized across a wide range of industrial process fluid flow control applications. Consequently, there are many ball valve variants, each designed to satisfy a particular range of application requirements.

Reviewing some of the attributes of ball valves that might make them the best choice:
  • Tight closure.
  • Very low resistance to flow.
  • Best suited for applications requiring fully closed or open control.
  • 90 degrees of rotational motion from open to closed position yields rapid response.
  • Comparatively compact, without the space requirement for extending stem movement as required by some other valve types.
  • Wide range of construction materials for the body, stem, ball, and seals.
  • Moderate force required for actuation.
  • A full size port provides for very low pressure drop across the valve when fully open.
  • Requirements for maintenance are generally low. 
  • No lubrication required.

One limiting factor for the application of ball valves, as with many other valve types, is the seat material. Most often, seats are fabricated from elastomeric or other "soft" materials. While these materials provide good sealing performance, their inability to withstand higher fluid temperatures makes them unsuitable for some industrial applications. To satisfy a wider range of process applications, some manufacturers offer metal seated ball valves. The metal seated valves are designed to meet severe service applications involving high temperature, erosive fluids and other challenging shutoff requirements where soft seats would rapidly deteriorate.

One manufacturer, SVF Flow Controls, provides metal seated ball valves in sizes 1/2" through 12" with a full port design. Because of their intent for severe service applications, metal seated ball valves are generally provided with other design features that enable their application across a wide range of high temperature or erosive fluid applications.

I have included a data sheet below that provides additional technical information, or you may contact a valve application specialist for any assistance you need. Share you fluid control challenges and get effective solutions.


Thursday, February 25, 2016

Multi-function Stainless Steel Compressed Air Filter Regulator For Severe Environments


Industrial processes utilize compressed air and gases for many applications. Maintaining appropriate pressure and keeping the air supply free of particulates is a basic requirement for almost every compressed air system. The Rotork Midland brand of filter regulators are designed to provide both the filtration and pressure regulation functions in a single unit. Additionally, the 3550 series is designed for service in harsh environments with it stainless steel construction. Intended primarily for use in valve actuation air supplies, several versions provide differing pressure ranges, connection sizes, and maximum flow rates. There are options for filtration to the 5 micron level.

Basic data sheets for the units are provided below. All the application assistance you need for your valve automation challenges is available from the specialists at MS Jacobs.



Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Process and Equipment Monitoring Using Telemetry

high voltage transformers in electrical substation
Continuous monitoring of remotely located
equipment yields a wide range of benefits
Industrial operations and processes are populated with unimaginable variations of equipment and applications, each with specific operating sequences intended to produce a specific outcome. By their scale and nature, most have the capacity to substantially impact the success of the organization. As stakeholders in the operation of industrial processes and equipment, we have an interest in monitoring their performance for any number of reasons.

  • Financial - The investment in plant and equipment is financially significant to a company of any size. An operator benefits from monitoring process inputs and outputs. Scrutinizing the operating status of process equipment and intermediate process conditions provides valuable information that can be used to minimize negative events of many types.
  • Maintenance - Keeping a real time watch over operating characteristics of machinery can present opportunities to head off trouble before it happens. There are many warning signs that can precede equipment failure, and taking prompt remedial action requires issuance of real time warnings.
  • Safety - Industrial operations of all types tend to exhibit levels of hazard to personnel or environment ranging from minor to potentially catastrophic. The rigorous procedures employed to maintain operation within prescribed limits are enabled through the use of information about process conditions.
  • Regulatory - There can be jurisdictional requirements to monitor and report certain process characteristics. An ability to conduct the needed action from afar, without having to station personnel at a remote location, has some real benefit.
This list is not intended to be complete or definitive. There are countless ways that process operators can use real time data to enhance all facets of their operation. A challenge arises when the process or operation extends over a large area, perhaps beyond the boundaries of the primary facility. That's where telemetry serves as the means to deliver needed information to a decision making location.
Modern requirements for "knowing what is happening" increase the need for telemetry in industrial operations. 
Telemetry is getting the information you need from a remote or inaccessible location and delivering it to where it can be used for decision making. 
With the wide array of hardware offered by process measurement and control equipment suppliers, implementing the data collection and transmission has become a fairly straight forward task. Simply put, here is what you need to accomplish.

  • Measure or detect the information needed. You know how to do this. Sensors, counters, or other regularly available process measuring equipment is what is needed here.
  • Convert the measurement into a transmissible form. This will likely be accomplished by the transmission gear. The measurement devices you use should provide an output signal that is compatible with the input requirements of the selected transmission equipment.
  • Transmit the information to the receiving station (the decision making point). The device and equipment manufacturers do most of the hard work of accomplishing this task. Generally, regardless of the transmission method, the extent of the work needed to put transmission into operation involves powering up the equipment and assigning addresses or channels to identify the source of the signal.
  • Receive the signal and convert it to a form readable by the decision making portion of the system. Again, the telemetry equipment manufacturers handle the details in the design of their equipment. Implementation consists of similar steps to those of the transmission equipment.
It is recommended that the transmission method be selected first. It must accommodate any challenges presented by the distance to be covered and any obstacles that may impact the delivery of the signal to its destination. Coordinate the measuring device output signal selection with the transmission device input requirements. The receiving equipment must be capable of producing an output signal that is readable by whatever decision making or recording equipment is used.

Below is a case study illustrating how a user derived a signal from a utility plant to provide data on local power consumption.You will see how they selected and employed equipment to accomplish the four tasks outlined above.

The applications are only limited by your imagination and ingenuity. Instead of wondering about what is happening at remote locations, operators can now easily measure and deliver useful operating information across almost any distance. Share your challenges with process control specialists and develop the solutions you need.