Reducing Equipment Downtime and Energy Inefficiency via Wireless Power Monitoring

Equipment failure is a large part of unplanned downtime, slowdowns and/or loss in quality of the product being produced. Monitoring temperatures, vibration, differential pressures across filters and often performed to identify problems before failure occurs.

Another important set of measurements that can provide early warning are the voltage, current and other electrical parameters on the motors driving the equipment such as pumps, fans, compressors, etc.

Emerson's Matt Austin

In this short 1:55 YouTube video, Emerson’s Matt Austin describes how these electrical parameters can be monitored and reported wirelessly via WirelessHART communications back to the control and asset management systems to provide early warning of abnormal conditions.

Matt opens the video describing how the 56WM Wireless Power Meter can be applied to programs to improve equipment reliability and energy efficiency. Real-time energy consumption and demand data at the equipment level provides feedback to optimize energy usage.

These power meters have been deployed in many industries including refining, steel production, offshore oil & gas production and even aboard cruise ships. Continue Reading

Streamlining and Simplifying Maintenance Tech Actions

Process manufacturing plants with thousands or tens of thousands of measurement devices must keep these operating reliably and accurately for the process control strategies to perform effectively. Maintenance technicians have the responsibility to configure, troubleshoot and repair measurement instrumentation as problems develop.

Traditionally, these technicians needed to remove the device from service, bring to the shop, round up a power supply, make sure the device had enough loop resistance for the 4-20mA loop, and hook up a communicator device to troubleshoot. This is time-consuming, especially if the device problem resulted in a production slowdown or outage.

By taking a human-centered design (HCD) approach, the Emerson designers of the AMS Trex Device Communicator added Power the Loop technology to simplify device configuration and speed up troubleshooting.

In this quick 3-minute video, AMS Trex – Powering the Loop, Emerson’s Stephen West shows this HCD approach in action and how it streamlines the time spent with a measurement device. Continue Reading

Multiphase Flow Measurement for Oil and Gas Well Pads

In oil and gas production well pads and offshore platforms, separators perform the work of breaking out the oil, gas and water into separate component streams. Test separators have historically taken flows from individual wells, known as well tests, to determine the percentages of these components on a periodic basis. These components are then returned into the production flow streams. The processing facility with test separators must include additional piping and valves to perform these well tests.

Emerson's Laura Schafer

Technology has continued to advance where these component percentages can be measured by multiphase flowmeters without the need for separate test separators.

In a Flow Control magazine article, Multiphase Flowmeter Advances, Emerson’s Laura Schafer describes these advancements and how they enable a more cost-effective, reliable allocation measurement for oil & gas producers.

Flow Control magazine - Multiphase Flowmeter AdvancesLaura opens noting how well pad facility worked in the high oil price era:

While days were bright at $100 per barrel, well pads bloomed into existence with a separator dedicated to each well, resulting in well pads with five, 10 or more separators, each with its own instruments, transmitters and cabling.

Now that a lower oil price environment has been with us for several years and perhaps more to come, oil & gas producers are looking for ways to optimize their capital spending, including well pad facility design. Laura highlights how multiphase flowmeters can help:

The introduction of the multiphase meter substantially reduces the upfront well pad and facilities capital expenses while enabling production optimization workflows that separators are sluggish to support.

She addresses the technology advancements: Continue Reading

Optimizing Ammonia Usage in NOx Emission Reduction Processes

Mono-nitrogen oxides (NOx) including NO and NO2 are byproducts of combustion where it occurs in the presence of nitrogen. Since the composition of the atmosphere is 78% nitrogen, this would include most places where this combustion occurs. These NOx gases:

…react to form smog and acid rain as well as being central to the formation of tropospheric ozone.

To control the level of NOx emissions to meet regulatory limits, ammonia (NH3) can be used to react with these molecules at high temperatures to produce molecular nitrogen (N2) and water vapor. DeNOx reactors take the combustion gas and vaporized ammonia over a solid catalyst to reduce the molecules to nitrogen and water. This process is known as selective catalytic reduction (SCR). When a catalyst is not used due to sufficient temperatures (1,400 and 2,000 °F [760 and 1,090 °C]) for the reaction to occur, the process is called selective non-catalytic reduction (SNCR).

Emerson's Amanda Gogates

In this short, 2:18 YouTube video, Optimization Solution for DeNOx Reactors, Emerson’s Amanda Gogates explains how Quantum Cascade Laser (QCL) analyzer technology can help to optimize the amount of ammonia used for this chemical reaction in both SCR and SNCR processes.

Amanda opens the video explaining ammonia slip—or the amount of unreacted ammonia in the process.

She notes that it’s critical to continuously monitor the level of ammonia slip, especially in high-dust, high-temperature applications. Continue Reading

Measurement Repeatability in CIP and SIP Operations

One only has to do a Google image search on pharmaceutical equipment to see the clean, sanitary conditions required for pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical processing. The measurement instrumentation must be able to handle the tough conditions when cleaning and sanitization operations are performed.

Emerson's Kyle Knutson

In a Pharmaceutical Manufacturing article, Ensuring Batch-to-Batch Repeatability in Sanitary Processes, Emerson’s Kyle Knutson defines batch repeatability, consequences of bad measurements, challenges-in clean-in-place (CIP) & steam-in-place (SIP) operations and considerations in the choice of pressure measurements.

Ensuring Batch-to-Batch Repeatability in Sanitary ProcessesBatch repeatability is where each subsequent batch to a properly created one meets the same quality and regulatory standards. Kyle highlights the impact of CIP and SIP operations:

The temperature cycling involved can cause instruments like pressure transmitters to drift out of calibration, leading to out-of-spec product, missed time to market and possible recalls.

Not only can loss of product occur from bad measurements but also:

…chemical reactions can occur at sub-optimal conditions, leading to poor batch quality or batch loss; and inadequate filtration can occur, leading to wasted product or the need for additional processing. These problems impact production by reducing product quality and yield.

He describes the cost implications with the 1-10-100 rule: Continue Reading