Better Tank-Level Measurement Using Multivariable Devices

Chris Womack recaps an Emerson Exchange presentation on storage tank process availability.

Emerson's Chris WomackIt’s crucial to keep storage tanks—and terminal facilities—constantly monitored, so they’re always associated with an ongoing cost. But that cost is going down.

In another of the great presentations from last fall’s Emerson Exchange event in Anaheim, Emerson Sales Representative Brad Orsak showed how a major specialty-chemicals company simplified tank monitoring at its Texas plant.

The plant previously monitored its storage tanks using sets of old-style indicators mounted on each tank, including differential pressure, temperature, and static pressure instrumentation. But none of those devices could send signals to the control room, forcing the facility to rely on operational “clipboard” rounds performed by staff in the field.

The firm decided to replace this set-up with Emerson’s Rosemount 3051S MultiVariable flowmeters, allowing the company to minimize the number of I/O points in the field by using only one transmitter at each tank.

“The 3051SMV replaces differential pressure, static pressure, and temperature transmitters,” Brad Orsak explains. “So it’s a less expensive option right out of the box.”

The project installed 15 new 3051SMVs to replace 38 of the facility’s old devices, in total. (Eight of these new transmitters each replaced sets of three old devices, while seven of them replaced sets of two.)

Fortunately, the plant had been upgrading its automation when the tank-monitoring project began. “They were already in the process of installing the DeltaV control system,” says Brad, “and could take advantage of its electronic marshaling capabilities, which use CHARM technology to minimize the length of wire runs.”

“As a result, the project was 26 percent less expensive than it would’ve been using the second-choice option,” he adds.

And those savings don’t even include the elimination of clipboard rounds.

Using multivariable devices is just one way to improve tank and terminal operations as part of an overall terminal-management strategy.

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