Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Energy Calculator Monitors Cooling and Heating Energy, Interfaces With Wide Variety of Instruments

heat energy calculator operator interface
Model 212 Energy Calculator
Courtesy Yokogawa
Early in my professional career, I was a sales rep calling upon building engineers, maintenance technicians, and lots of HVAC related people. One encounter I had, many years ago, has always stayed with me. I was prattling on to a building engineer about whatever gear I was trying to promote for his chilled water system, and I must have really missed the mark. The engineer, clearly a man of superior experience to mine, stopped me in mid sentence. "You know what flows through these pipes?", he said, referring to the chilled water system. In my defense, I was very young and inexperienced at the time, but I did answer "Chilled water". My building engineer friend bellowed out, "Wrong....money flows through those pipes". That single encounter had a lasting impact upon how I viewed HVAC systems.

Energy costs for heating or cooling a building can be the single largest line item on the cash outflow summary for an operation. Much effort and expense is put into efforts to maximize energy efficiency and conservation. Monitoring of usage patterns related to the chilled or hot water system can provide useful information for developing new conservation strategies and verifying the impact of any steps taken to reduce consumption.

The Yokogawa Model 212 is an affordable and easy to install and use device that will provide a stream of usage data. A key feature of the Model 212 is its ability to interface with a broad range of flowmeter devices, including vortex and magnetic flowmeters with pulse outputs, positive displacement and inferential water meters, turbine and paddlewheel flowmeters. This flexibility allows the user to select a companion flowmeter that will suit their accuracy, budget, and operational requirements.

The Heat Calculator has four modes of operation to totalize the usage patterns in a manner that best suits the needs of the user. Additionally, the unit can interface with a building management system and includes internal data logging capabilities. Other features are described in the product data sheet I have included below.

Even small chilled and hot water systems can benefit from usage data derived from a monitoring system such as the Yokogawa Model 212. Share your system challenges with a product specialist. Combining your process and system knowledge with their product application expertise will produce effective solutions.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Learn From CSB Case Study: Industrial Plant Heat Exchanger Explosion

two shell and tube heat exchangers in industrial plant
Large shell and tube heat exchangers
Industrial accidents, whether minor or catastrophic, can serve as sources of learning when analyzed and studied. Operators, owners, and technicians involved with industrial chemical operations have a degree of moral, ethical, and legal responsibility to conduct work in a reasonably and predictably safe manner without endangering personnel, property, or the environment. Part of a diligent safety culture should include 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 our 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 and analysis of an explosion that occurred at a Louisiana chemical processing plant in 2013. A portion of the reenactment shows how a few seemingly innocuous oversights can combine with other unrecognized conditions that result in a major conflagration.

Check out the video and sharpen your senses to evaluate potential trouble spots in your own operation.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Frequency Matters For Radar Level Measurement Applications

radar continuous level measurement instrument transmitter 80 GHz
VEGAPULS 64 80 GHz Radar level measurement transmitter,
shown in one of twelve mounting forms
Courtesy VEGA
Level measurement in tanks and vessels of all types and sizes is a common component of liquid processing operations. For continuous monitoring of liquid level, radar based instruments and transmitters are a newer and faster growing technology. Their ability to perform well under a range of conditions that can prove challenging to other technologies, coupled with their non-contact measuring attribute, make radar level transmitters an advantageous choice for many applications.

Radar based instruments operate within specific frequency ranges. The different operating frequencies can have an impact on instrument cost, size, configuration, and application suitability.

Greg Tischler, Product Manager - Radar at VEGA Americas, a leader in level measurement instrumentation, authored a white paper detailing the application advantages of the more recently deployed 80 GHz radar level instruments. The bulk of the article is excerpted below, or you can read the entire white paper.

The excerpt.....


This is the alpha benefit of 80 GHz radar; the one that makes the others possible. In every process, signal focus is crucial to accurate level measurement, and these new instruments emit the most focused signals on the market.
Plant operators have struggled with unfocused radar for decades. The wide beam angle of 26 GHz sensors (and 6 GHz sensors before them) made it difficult for radar signals to miss agitators, heating coils and other vessel internals. The reflections from these installations distorted the echo curve and users were forced to make adjustments to monitor the true liquid level. The new high-transmission models have narrower beams that miss vessel installations—it’s as if they aren’t even there. That is welcome news in chemical and food production, where obtrusive internals are the norm and space is at a premium.
Superior focus makes for accurate measurement without adjustment, but it also opens the door for two other major benefits.
Small process fittings make 80 GHz sensors effective on small tanks.
Small process fittings make 80 GHz
sensors effective on small tanks.
Courtesy VEGA


Because their focus is amped up, 80 GHz sensors have small antennas. The new VEGAPULS 64, for example, has the world’s smallest antenna and doesn’t require a large horn to focus its beam at the measured material. The instrument’s small size makes a huge impact, particularly as it applies to retrofitting. Plants can now integrate the most advanced radar devices into their process without shelling out thousands for modifications to their vessels. Smaller instruments, however, aren’t just good for old vessels; they can also help manufacturers stay nimble and market-responsive.
There’s a trend in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries toward batch production. Batching allows operators to produce seasonal and low-volume products with less financial investment. Small batches are produced in small vessels, where conventional wisdom says using radar is impossible due to small process connections. Thanks to the compact design of 80 GHz radar sensors, that is no longer true, and operators no longer have to sacrifice accurate measurement in the name of space. 


Imagine looking at the picture on a standard definition television next to that of an HD TV. The high definition picture would be clearer, sharper, and more detailed due to enhanced resolution. Users will see a similar difference switching from low-frequency to high-frequency radar sensors.
When the level of liquid in a vessel gets low enough, 26 GHz radar reads the echo from the material and the echo from the tank bottom as one echo. This tells the user the vessel is empty when it isn’t and presents a natural handicap to process efficiency. 80 GHz devices measure liquid down to the last millimeter, giving users accurate data they can use to optimize their processes. Greater resolution is particularly important for shipbuilders, who count on precise level in large ballast tanks.
Thanks to Mr. Tischler of VEGA Americas for authoring the white paper excerpted in this article. Share your level measurement challenges with product application specialists, combining your own process knowledge with their product application expertise to develop effective solutions.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Rotary Gas Meters

rotary gas meter roots meter
One example of a rotary gas meter
Courtesy GE - Dresser
Rotary displacement gas meters can be employed across a wide range of applications, from residential through commercial and industrial. Their simple design provides predictable accuracy and long term durability.

A rotary displacement meter is comprised of a pressure containing shell or housing, enclosing two rotating impellers. The impellers have a cross section similar to a figure 8 and rotate in opposing directions within the housing. Gas flows through the chambers created by the rotating impellers. The displacement volume of the rotating impellers is known, so a count of the shaft rotations can be converted into a volumetric flow value. The machining of the housing and impellers is precise and disallows contact among those moving parts. This, of course, contributes to the longevity of the device.

Upstream filtration is advisable to prevent entrance of any foreign particulate matter into the meter which could damage the impeller or housing surfaces. Share your gas metering applications and challenges with a product specialist, combining your facilities and process knowledge with their product application expertise to develop effective solutions.