Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Data Acquisition: Essential for Process Improvement

compact data acquisition units for process control
Examples of modern process control data acquisition units.
Image courtesy Yokogawa-USA
Data acquisition, like an equipment acquisition, is the procurement of an asset. Data is an asset. It helps an operator evaluate process or business conditions and make decisions that impact the success of the organization. Let’s define data acquisition as the sampling of signals that represent a measurement of physical conditions and the conversion of those signals into a numeric form that can be processed by a computer. A data acquisition system will generally consist of collection device or terminal, sensors, transmitters, converters, processors, and other devices which perform specialized functions in gathering measurements and transforming them into a usable form.

Industrial process operators and stakeholders benefit from the collection and analysis of data by enhancing performance of valuable facets of the process or activity. Data acquisition, commonly known as DAQ, is widely employed in high stakes and sophisticated processes where there is a compelling need to know current conditions and retain a history of those passed. A desire for increased profit drives the need for increased process output and efficiency. A desire to reduce risk of loss drives the need for reduced downtime and improved safety. Today, there are likely many useful applications for data acquisition that are not being tapped to their fullest potential. The modest cost and simplicity of putting a data acquisition system in place, compared to the benefits that can be derived from a useful analysis of the data for your operation or process, makes the installation of a data acquisition system a positive move for even small and unsophisticated operators in today’s market.

What we call DAQ today started in the 1960’s when computers became available to businesses of large scale and deep pockets. By the 1980’s, personal computers employed in the business environment could be outfitted with input cards that enabled the PC to read sensor data. Today, there is an immense array of measurement and data collection devices available, spanning the extremes of price points and technical capability. For a reasonable cost, you can measure and collect performance data on just about anything. You can get an impression of the simplicity, modularity, and compactness of a modern system with a quick review of this product.

Data acquisition has an application anywhere an operator or stakeholder can benefit from knowing what is occurring within the bounds of their process or operation. Here is a partial list of the many physical conditions that can be measured in industrial, commercial and research settings:
  • Temperature
  • Pressure
  • Flow
  • Force
  • Switch Open or Closed
  • Rotational or Linear Position
  • Light Intensity
  • Voltage
  • Current
  • Images
  • Rotational Speed
  • Gas Concentration
Consider your industrial process or operation. Are there things you would like to know about it that you do not? Would you like to increase your insight into the workings of the process, how changes in one condition may impact another? Do you know what operating condition of each component of your process will produce the best outcomes? Is reducing maintenance, or heading off a failure condition before it occurs something you would like to have in your operation? Applying your creativity, ingenuity and technical knowledge, along with the help of a product expert, will help you get the information you need to improve the outcomes from your industrial process or operation.

Friday, March 9, 2018

In Situ Gas Analyzers

process measurement in situ gas analyzers
Several variants of in situ process gas analyzers
Image courtesy Sick, Inc.
Measurement and analysis of combustion gas is a common and necessary task that assists in fulfilling regulatory compliance requirements and attaining highest fuel efficiency levels. Gas analysis is also utilized in many processes for quality assurance, process control and other applications. In situ gas analyzers can target specific gas constituents and provide continuous streams of measurement data for single or multiple target gas components.

An in situ analyzer is a permanently installed instrument that resides right in the process. Its sensor is installed within the process gas stream. These devices, because of this locating, must be physically rugged and able to provide sufficient resistance to corrosion, heat, moisture and other environmental conditions found at a process facility. Additionally, some may require compliance with requirements for installation in a rated hazardous area. 

The benefits derived from overcoming the challenges of in situ location of the analyzer are substantial, especially when compared to the alternative of periodic gas sampling and laboratory analysis.
  • Direct, fast in-situ measurement directly in the process
  • No gas sampling, transport or conditioning
  • Up to eight measuring components at the same time, plus process temperature and pressure
  • Numerous independent measuring ranges with consistent accuracy
  • Overpressure encapsulated design for ATEX Zones 1 and 2
Share your combustion and process gas analysis and measurement challenges with application specialists. An effective solution will come from leveraging your own process knowledge and experience with their product application expertise.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

An Overview of Prozess Technologie

Real time continuous analytical measurement data from an operating process enhances efficiency, productivity, quality, even safety. Prozess Technologie utilizes spectroscopic technology solutions for process measurement and control in multiple manufacturing sectors. The company's precision light technologies measure target process conditions, enabling customers to understand and control chemical manufacturing processes in real time.

With significant success in pharmaceuticals and life sciences, Prozess Technologie has also installed systems in food & beverage, agriculture, and petrochemical venues. Solutions encompass purpose built hardware, software and professional services.

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

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Diaphragm Seals for Vacuum Applications

One of many variants of diaphragm seal used to isolate
a pressure instrument from process media.
Image courtesy REOTEMP Instruments
For every process measurement application there is always at least a small amount of specific or specialized information or knowledge that can be an important part of the instrument selection process. REOTEMP, a globally recognized manufacturer of temperature and pressure instrumentation, shares their expertise on the application of diaphragm seals in vacuum applications. Their white paper is provided below, but you should also share your pressure and temperature measurement requirements and challenges with a process measurement specialist. Leverage your own knowledge and experience with their expertise to develop effective solutions.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Thermal Mass Flow Meter Targeted at HVAC Applications

flow averaging tube sensor for thermal mass flow measurement in air
The Flow Averaging Tube sensor assembly delivers an
improved representation of duct air flow.
Image courtesy Eldridge Products, Inc.
Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning (HVAC) is a process control application, similar in many respects to industrial production processes. Heat is transferred, moisture is controlled; air is moved; steam is generated. All of these operations involve measurements of temperature, moisture, flow, pressure, and more. Instrumentation is applied to HVAC systems of all sizes to monitor and regulate operation, with two essential goals: efficiency of operation and maintenance of desired space conditions.

A common measurement is air flow rate in a duct. The mass flow rate of air is an essential element in calculating the amount of heat or cooling delivered from supply equipment. There are other instances where highly accurate mass air flow measurements can contribute to the effective operation of an HVAC system.

Thermal mass flow measurement technology has been used in industrial process measurement and control applications for many years. The basic operation involves measuring flow in relation to its heat dissipating effect on a temperature sensor. Higher mass flow produces a higher rate of heat transfer. The technology is simple and self-contained within an instrument sensing tube or probe.

Thermal mass flow measurement instruments are popular for several reasons. They have no moving parts; present little obstruction to the fluid flow path; are accurate over a wide range of flow; measure mass flow rather than volume; measure flow in large or small piping systems; and do not need temperature or pressure compensation. While most thermal flow meters are used to measure flowing gas, they can also be applied to measure liquids.

Thermal mass flow meters are cost effective and accurate making them an excellent choice for HVAC air flow applications.

Eldridge Products employs a patented Flow Averaging Tube with their thermal mass flow transmitter to deliver accurate and reliable mass air flow measurements in ducts where flow conditions may not be ideal. The setup is available in a range of sizes and variants to suit almost any scale and complexity in HVAC application. The transmitter provides a common industrial signal corresponding to mass flow rate, as well as a temperature signal.

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

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Matching Temperature Sensor Type to Process Requirement

industrial temperature sensor thermocouple rtd transmitter
Temperature sensors and transmitters are available in
almost countless variants to accommodate every application.
Image courtesy Moore Industries
Temperature may be the most common measurement in process control operations. The measured value provides direct and inferential information about the energy content and operation of many processes.

For a wide array of temperature applications, getting a high level of accuracy is vital. For others, precision is not as important as ruggedness of the sensor, or cost, or some other criteria. Moore Industries brings vast experience in the design, manufacture and application of process temperature measurement to bear in the white paper included below. The condensed knowledge highlights how plant and site engineers can ensure  accurate temperature measurement for critical applications. Selecting the best sensor for a particular application and ways to improve the accuracy of the sensor you choose are also discussed. In particular, it details the reasons why 4-wire RTD sensors are almost always the best choice for high-accuracy temperature applications.

When facing temperature or other process measurement challenges, share your requirements with a process measurement and control specialist. Leverage your own knowledge and experience with their product application expertise to implement an effective solution.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Dual Mode Thermometer Provides Independent Sensors for Local and Remote Readout

A dual mode thermometer incorporates two independent temperature sensors into a single thermowell. One sensor is part of the filled system of a bulb and capillary thermometer that delivers a local dial face readout for on-the-spot verification. The second sensor, an RTD or thermocouple, can be used locally, or combined with a transmitter to provide a process temperature signal at a remote location. Compact, convenient and accurate, the dual mode thermometer can easily replace an existing RTD, thermocouple or thermometer installed with a thermowell.

A broad range of configuration selections allows tailoring of the instrument to any application. Share your process measurement challenges with automation and instrumentation specialists, leveraging your own process knowledge and experience with their product application expertise.