Showing posts with label instrumentation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label instrumentation. Show all posts

Instrument Weatherization Doesn't Only Mean Ice, Heat, and Cold - Don't Forget Wind!

WeatherizationWeatherization is about more than just temperature when it comes to instrumentation. One example is the effect of storms and wind on draft range transmitters used to control furnaces in process plants.

Protecting Draft Range Transmitters from Storms and Wind


Normally, you wouldn’t think about an enclosure in the furnace or boiler area on these applications because they are measuring air flow or air pressure and are not subject to freezing. Pressure measurement in furnace and boiler combustion is critical for safety, efficiency and environmental control.

It doesn’t require heavy wind to cause problems: a 5 – 7 mph wind across the ambient pressure port might cause a 0.1” pressure change, 12 – 15 mph may create a 0.8” change. When the full range is 1 – 2” that can be a 40 – 80% error reading.

Even light wind across the open port can cause 10% error.

For example - in a a draft transmitter with full scale of 1” H2O ...

  • 5 – 7 mph wind can cause up to a 10% full scale error.
  • 12 – 15 mph wind can cause up to a 75% full scale error.

The pressure range is so small, often just 1 – 2” of H2O or 2 – 4 mm of Hg, that even a light breeze might cause automated dampers to fluctuate or trigger systems to shut down. Using a differential pressure transmitter the reference measurement is vented to atmosphere, where air flowing past the open port creates pressure changes and errors in furnace, heater and boiler combustion box pressure. As part of the Safety Instrumented System these measurement errors can create nuisance maintenance and shutdowns affecting the entire unit.

O'Brien VIPAKA Solution That Works


The O'Brien VIPAK Draft Transmitter enclosure, is a field tested and proven solution addressing the common sources of draft transmitter installation error with:

  • Still Air Chamber
  • Atmospheric Equalization
  • Uniform Capsule Temperature

The O'Brien VIPAK draft range transmitter enclosure atmospherically equalizes the still air chamber for the transmitter and manifold. The pressure inside the enclosure changes at the same rate as the barometric pressure but is unaffected by wind or wind gusts.

The enclosure system also ensures that both sides of the instrument measurement capsule are at the same temperature. Since these instruments are often placed near the furnace, heater or boiler one side can be hotter than the other creating an error in measurement.

Real World Use Case


A large refinery was experiencing furnace upsets and shutdowns caused by storms and wind in the unit. They installed two O'Brien Draft Transmitter Enclosures on their most trouble prone units as a trial. After a severe storm hit and the units with the O'Brien Draft Transmitter enclosures ran with no problems they installed another 128 protection enclosures. To date there have been no more upsets or shutdowns caused by wind induced measurement errors.

O'Brien STILL AIR PORTThe STILL AIR PORT: A Critical Component


The O'Brien STILL AIR PORT is a critical component of the draft range transmitter solution. It equalizes the still air chamber for the transmitter and manifold, allowing the pressure inside the enclosure to change at the same rate as the barometric pressure and not allowing wind or wind gusts to have any affect.

For help in determining how you can protect your instrumentation from the effects of weather, contact Swanson Flo. Call them at 800-288-7926 or visit their website at https://swansonflo.com.

Swanson Flo Has You Covered


Founded in 1960, Swanson Flo has long maintained our position as an industry leader in process automation with unmatched project success leveraging industry preferred products and services. Our mission is to provide innovative process control solutions for engineers, managers and maintenance professionals through quality equipment and experienced application engineering.

Swanson Flo
https://swansonflo.com
800-288-7926

Swanson Flo Markets - New Video

Here's a new short video highlighting the markets that Swanson Flo serves in the upper midwest United States.

Swanson Flo Performance - Full Capability Instrumentation and Valve Service & Repair

In-house repair as well as field service capabilities for process measurement and control.

Swanson Flo Performance supports every process control customer with region-based, full-capability service and repair. Both in-house and in-field. Built on more than 50 years of applications experience and technical knowledge.

  • From valves and instruments to actuation, fabrication and preventative maintenance. 
  • Our technicians are factory-certified. 
  • Shop is factory audited.
  • Total service for process measurement and control
  • Valve actuation facilities – the "Center of Excellence"
  • Instrument calibration, repair, and trouble-shooting services
Call 800-288-7926 or visit https://swansonflo.com


Pressure Instrument Calibration

Calibration of pressure instruments
Proper pressure instrument calibration is critically
important for safety and quality.
Calibration of pressure instruments in industrial environments requires the establishment of known pressure magnitudes. With a stable input pressure established, the pressure measurement instrument is provided with a referential benchmark that can be used to evaluate instrument output. There are several physical test standards or methods that can be applied to pressure instruments.

A deadweight tester, sometimes called a dead-test calibrator, creates accurately known pressure using precise masses and pistons of a known area. The gauge or pressure instrument is connected to the deadweight tester. The device is comprised of tubes that contain either oil or water, with a primary piston positioned above the liquid and a secondary piston across from the place where the gauge connects to the tester. A mass of a known quantity is placed atop the primary piston, which is perfectly vertical. The earth's gravitational field acts upon the mass atop the piston. The combination results in a known value being applied to the deadweight tester and subsequently allows for calibration of the gauge.
deadweight tester
Deadweight tester (Ashcroft)

Once pressure builds inside the deadweight tester, surpassing the weight of the piston, the piston will rise and float atop the oil. By rotating the mass atop the piston, the piston will rotate inside its cylinder and negate any impact from friction. Developments in technology have led to testers being equipped with hand pumps and bleed valves. The same principles applied to a deadweight tester which uses oil are applied to a pneumatic deadweight tester, where gas pressure suspends the mass atop the cylinder instead of oil or water pressure.

The manometer is another device which establishes a pressure standard to calibrate gauges. Alone, the manometer is simply a U shaped tube connecting a source of fluid pressure to the gauge being calibrated. Pressure applied to the gauge will be indicated by the corresponding heights of the fluid in the columns. If the value of the density of the liquid is a precise, known value, the aforementioned constant of the earth's gravitational field will combine with the applied pressure to permit calibration of the gauge.
Digital Test Gauge
Digital Test Gauge (Ashcroft)

Test instruments which couple with the calibration of pressure transmitters are also instrumental in ensuring correct pressure calibration. Electronic and pneumatic test instruments, along with precise air pressure calibration pumps, enable calibrating a pressure transmitter in place, in the field, or on a lab bench. These portable devices, though, require their own calibration to physical standards with referenced properties. While different devices exist for establishing pressure standards in either high or low pressure environments, the shared standard allows for varying types of instrumentation to exhibit similar performance quality and accomplish the same task.

Contact Swanson Flo for any pressure instrument repair or calibration requirement. Visit http://www.swansonflo.com or call 800-288-7926.

Measurement and Control Instruments for the Power Industry

Control Instrumentation for Power Plants
Coal fired power plant.
The coal-fired power generation and combined-cycle power generation industry now demands much more of its control and instrumentation suppliers. Common areas for use are fuel systems, fermenters, gas storage, water treatment, boiler feed water, boiler drum, steam line, cooling water system, generator, condenser, gas cleaning system, flue gas desulfurization, residuals storage and stack.

The document below provides a visual guide of common applications and the instrumentation products that have proven track records in those applications.

Swanson Flo Performance Brochure

Swanson Flo specialize in valves, automation and instrumentation.  Swanson Flo Performance sets the standard for process control optimization and training that maximizes plant uptime, safety and operating efficiency.

Virtual Tour of Swanson Flo Illinois

Swanson Flo has facilities and teams of skilled experts who are uniquely equipped to rapidly combine resources and skills for the maximum benefit of their customers. As the company continues to grow, their investment in new technologies, equipment, facilities, and solutions demonstrate their commitment to build solid client partnerships.

The video below provides a virtual tour of our new Addison, Illinois warehouse, instrument calibration lab, and valve automation center.


For more information, visit Swanson Flo at http://www.swansonflo.com or call 800-288-7926.

Instrumentation Isolation Rings for Harsh, Viscous, and Sticky Pressure Applications

Isolation ring installed view
Isolation ring installed view (courtesy of Ashcroft)
Hard-to-measure fluids such as harsh acids and bases, slurries, adhesives, sludge, paint pigments, and mine slurry can quickly clog or destroy pressure gauges, switches, and transmitters.

For these kinds of applications, the instrument must be isolated from the process media by using a barrier that accurately transmits any pressure changes, while isolating the instrument from direct contact with the media being monitored.

When a pressure instrument is connected directly to a pipeline, solids from the process media can quickly plug the pressure port resulting in erroneous readings. The pressure port on diaphragm seals are prone to clogging too, and won’t solve the problem. The best solution is an isolation ring.

Isolation rings use a flexible inner liner backed with a clean, captive, non-compressible liquid. As the media flows through the pipe, the pressure exerted on the flexible liner is transferred through the liquid directly to the pressure sensing element of the instrument, keeping it completely isolated from the process media.

Isolation rings are designed to protect you from the challenges of clogging, plugging, corrosive media and pulsation. As professionals in the water and wastewater, pulp and paper, mining, and food processing industry know all to well, slurries and digestion processes can clog unprotected pressure instruments, resulting in dangerous conditions and down time.

Isolation rings prevent those problems by protecting the pressure sensing element from the medium. They're designed to overcome the most extreme applications and keep processes running day-in and day-out.

For more information on process instrumentation, call Swanson Flo at 800-288-7926 or visit http://www.swansonflo.com.

The video below gives you a quick look inside an isolation ring and shows how they are used.



Welcome to the Swanson Flo Industrial Control and Valve Automation Blog

Swanson Flo Headquarters
Swanson Flo Headquarters,  Plymouth, MN
We're building this blog to provide people interested in process control instrumentation, measurement & control, and valve automation a place to learn about interesting applications, new products, and basic knowledge.

The markets we are attempting to educate are the powergen industry, mining, water and wastewater, agricultural, chemical, food & beverage, pharmaceutical and OEM.

We'll do our best to provide weekly posts to keep the blog fresh and informative, and a place you'll want to check back with regularly.

The world of industrial control is changing rapidly in the United States, partially due to rapidly changing technology, or environmental and legislative pressures. We hope to provide helpful information, based on current realities, that will help solve real world process control problems