Product Overview: Autrol America Smart Transmitters for Process Measurement and Control

Smart pressure transmitter for industrial process measurement and control
Smart Pressure Transmitter
Courtesy Autrol America, Inc.
Autrol America provides pressure measurement instruments for process applications throughout every industrial segment. Pressure measurement, as an application, involves a wide range of special challenges which must be accommodated by variations in the instrument configuration and capability. Pressure measurements are used broadly for determining flow, level, and the degree of gauge or absolute pressure in a vessel or pipe. Smart transmitters provide a host of useful functions that include unit conversion, diagnostics, error detection, transfer function, signal processing, and more. Signal transmission via 4-20mA, or communication using HART for Fieldbus protocol, provides the level of connectivity needed for control systems of all types and any scale.

In the Autrol line, you will find and extensive variety of configurations and variants to meet the specific needs of almost every application.

  • Absolute pressure transmitter
  • Gauge pressure transmitter
  • Differential pressure transmitter
  • Coplanar pressure transmitter
  • High pressure transmitter
  • Direct flanged pressure transmitter
  • Remote mount pressure transmitter with diaphragm seal
  • Nuclear products pressure transmitter
  • Flow transmitter with rate and totalizing functions
A product overview flyer is included below. Share your process measurement requirements and challenges with an application expert, combining your process knowledge with their product application expertise to develop effective solutions.

See How It Works: Magnetic Level Gauge

Magnetic level gauges, also referred to as magnetic level indicators, are routinely used to provide a display of liquid level in tanks and other vessels. They are often employed in tandem with magnetostrictive, guided wave radar, or other measurement means to provide a reliable local display of liquid level, as well as an electrical signal that can be transmitted to recording instrumentation or controllers. The favorable attributes of magnetic level gauges include:
  • Continuous level measurement
  • Operable without electric power
  • Direct visual tank fluid level indication, regardless of tank shape or profile.
  • Wide range of operating temperature and pressure
  • Breakage resistant construction
  • Range of construction materials available to accommodate corrosive media
  • Measuring indicators, switches, and transmitters mounted externally, without contacting the medium being measured.
  • Low maintenance operation.
  • Readable level indication from greater distance than glass sight gauges.
  • Applicable to large fluid level ranges with a single instrument.
Magnetic level indicators have a strong position in the liquid level measurement field and should be considered as a candidate for fulfilling those applications where the magnetic level gauge features fulfill the project requirements. There are many options available to customize the level indicator for each specific application. Share your application challenges with a product specialist, combining your process knowledge with their product application expertise to develop an effective solution.

The Value of the Technical Sales Engineer

Sales engineer consulting with process and design engineers
Add value to your team with a technical sales engineer
Process and control equipment is most often sold with the support of sales engineers working for the local distributor or representative. Realizing what these specialists have to contribute, taking advantage of their knowledge and talent, will help save time and cost, contributing to a better project outcome.

Consider these contributions:

Product Knowledge: Sales engineers, by the nature of their job, are current on new products, their capabilities and their proper application. Unlike information available on the Web, sales engineers get advanced notice of product obsolescence and replacement. Also, because they are exposed to so many different types of applications and situations, sales engineers are a wealth of tacit knowledge that they readily share with their customers.

Experience: As a project engineer, you may be treading on fresh ground regarding some aspects of your current assignment. You may not have a full grasp on how to handle a particular challenge presented by a project. Call in the local sales person - there can be real benefit in connecting to a source with past exposure to your current issue.

Access: Through a technical sales engineer, you may be able to look “behind the scenes” with a particular manufacturer and garner important information not publicly available. Sales reps deal with people, making connections between customers and manufacturer's support personnel that may not normally be public facing. They make it their business to know what’s going on with products, companies, and industries.

Of course, sales engineers will be biased. Any solutions proposed are likely to be based upon the products sold by the representative. But the best sales people will share the virtues of their products openly and honestly, and even admit when they don’t have the right product. This is where the discussion, consideration and evaluation of several solutions become part of achieving the best project outcome.

As an engineer who designs or manufactures a product or process, it's highly recommended you develop a professional, mutually beneficial relationship with a technical sales expert, a problem solve. Look at a relationship with the local sales engineer as symbiotic. Their success, and your success, go hand-in-hand.

Combine Two Liquid Level Technologies Into One Instrument

Combination guided wave radar transmitter and magnetic level gauge
Combination Guided Wave Radar Transmitter
and Magnetic Liquid Level Indicator
Tanks and vessels containing process liquids benefit from having two independent indications of liquid level. A local indicator with high visibility provides on-site personnel the information needed to confirm a tank fill level or coordinate other tasks. An electronic signal provides continuous liquid level information to process control operations and monitoring equipment.

K-Tek, a subsidiary of ABB, combines a guided wave radar transmitter and a magnetic level indicator into a single compact instrument, fulfilling the total requirement with one instrument, one set of tank connections.

The instrument can be configured in a number of ways, with accessories that can be added to suit any application. Details are provided by the data sheet included below.

Share your level measurement and control challenges with application experts, combining your process knowledge with their product application expertise to develop effective solutions at your facility.

Q & A Video - Adjusting Seats on a Back Pressure Regulator

back pressure regulator valve
Jordan Mark 50 Back Pressure Regulator
Back pressure regulators maintain a set point pressure on their inlet by controlling the fluid flow through their outlet. There are applications for this specialty valve type throughout the fluid processing industries. As with all valves, proper inspection and maintenance performed in a timely manner will assure optimum performance and a long operating life.

Jordan Valve responds to some customer inquiries with a short video that provides the benefits of the question and the answer to all. The video below provides the company's response to an inquiry about adjusting the seats on a back pressure regulator that employs a sliding gate seat.

View the short video, and share your fluid process control challenges with product application specialists. The combination of your process knowledge and their product application expertise will produce effective solutions.

Wearable Multi-Gas Detector for Personnel Safety

wearable multi-gas detector for personnel safety
BW Clip4 Multi-Gas Detector
Courtesy Honeywell
Personnel safety ranks at the top of concerns at any industrial site. Protection for hazardous gases is one facet of a comprehensive safety program.

Honeywell Analytics is releasing a wearable multi-gas detector for use on personnel working in industrial environments. The ergonomic unit runs continuously for two years and eliminates the need for charging or sensor replacements. Monitored gases included H2S, CO, O2, and combustibles.

More detail can be found in the datasheet included below, or you can reach out to an industrial product specialist, combining your facility and process knowledge with their product expertise to develop effective solutions.

Self Operated Temperature Regulating Valve for Industrial Process Control

A temperature controller that does not require a transmitter to provide an input signal, needs no electric power to operate, and requires little to no maintenance or attention while it does its job? A self operated temperature regulating valve is just that. Ideal for heating or cooling applications, the self operated valve is driven by a filled system that applies force to the valve stem, providing automatic response to changes in the process temperature.

There are numerous application scenarios for this valve type, along with superior design features that contribute to reliable operation and longevity. The video provides all the details. Share your process control challenges with specialists in product application. Combining your process expertise with their experience in applying products to meet application requirements will produce effective solutions.

Terms and Definitions for Signal Conditioning in Industrial Process Measurement and Control

industrial process control signal conditioners
Industrial Process Signal Conditioners
Courtesy API
Fields of endeavor often develop their own lexicon, with terms having very specific meanings as they are applied to the trade. Process measurement and control is no different in that respect.

When I find a comprehensive list of terms used in a field in which I have interest, it gets saved for inevitable future reference. One company, Absolute Process Instruments (API or Aπ), has consolidated terms used in the description of various aspects of process signal conditioners, providing a useful definition of each. It is shared below for you to use.

Reach out to application experts with your process signal conditioning requirements and challenges. The combination of your process knowledge and their product application expertise will produce effective solutions.

Applying Coriolis Flow Meters

coriolis mass flow meters
Examples of  Coriolis Mass Flow Meters
Coriolis mass flow meters are widely used throughout the process measurement and control field. Their basic operating principle, combined with modern sensor and signal processing technology, provide a list of potential application advantages.

  • Directly measure mass flow based on the principle of measurement.
  • No "moving" parts (except the slightly vibrating sensor tubes).
  • Coriolis sensors have the ability to measure flow of non-conductive fluids.
  • Measure the mass flow rate with high accuracy.
  • Instruments can be applied across a wide usable measurement range.
  • Deliver density measurement based on oscillating frequency.
  • Not materially impacted by fluid viscosity or density.
  • Coriolis flow meters also do not need lengthy straight pipe sections upstream or downstream of the sensing unit.

Selection and Installation Recommendations

Some considerations for product selection and installation of Coriolis mass flow meters:
  • Rapid temperature changes within the measured medium can impact measurement accuracy.
  • Wide ranges of connection types are available, specify the best match for your system.
  • Select sensor tube construction material to accommodate media characteristics.
  • For liquid measurement, the sensor tube will extend downward from a horizontal pipe run. 
  • As with most industrial products, there may be restrictions on where the device may be used. For example, not for use in aircraft. Assure that your application conforms with the intended usage of the instrument.
  • Install at least one tight shutoff valve adjacent to the instrument for purposes of zeroing. Isolation valves for inlet and outlet are preferred.
  • Follow manufacturer recommendations for pipe supports, if required, at inlet and outlet sides of the unit
  • Avoid installation at locations with high levels of vibration or strong electrical fields.
  • Locate the sensor unit at the lowest practical level in the piping system. This helps avoid collection of gas bubbles in the sensor tubes.
  • Sensor tubes need to be completely filled with subject medium to obtain accurate measurement.
  • Avoid the use of flexible connections and reducers at the unit connection points, unless in accordance with specific manufacturer guidelines.
The Coriolis flow meters of different manufacturers may have some particular recommendations, all of which should be followed to insure the best available performance, safety, and longevity of the unit.

Share your process instrumentation challenges and requirements with process measurement specialists, combining your process knowledge and expertise with their product application experience to develop effective solutions.

New Laser Level Transmitter for Industrial Process Control

ABB has released the new Model LLT 100 Laser Level Transmitter, which provides continuous non-contact level measurement for process automation and inventory management across a broad range of industrial applications.

The new transmitter provides reliable level measurement of solids or liquids, even clear liquids. The laser ranging technology is packaged with features required by industrial applications. Currently, three variants include housings for general industrial applications, as well as another for high pressure and one for hygienic installation.

The video provides a clear overview of the benefits that accrue from selecting this technology for your next project. More information is available from application specialists, with whom you should share your requirements and challenges to develop effective solutions.

FAQs For Industrial Uninterruptible Power Systems

industrial uninterruptible power supply
Industrial UPS
Powerbilt Line
ABB Cyberex
As the usage of computer and electronic based systems continues to expand, the deployment of Uninterruptible Power Systems (UPS) finds its way into more and more facilities. This trend is unlikely to taper off during the professional career of anybody alive at the present, so I thought it useful to share a well crafted piece that purports to answer the most frequently asked questions about industrial UPS. The piece is produced by ABB - Cyberex, a manufacturer of industrial UPS gear, and it does a superb job of providing concise, understandable explanations of the basic considerations for UPS selection.

  • Description which defines an industrial UPS
  • Considerations for battery sizing
  • Battery technologies and how they may impact various applications
  • An explanation of pulse width modulation (PWM)
  • Types of circuit protection to be employed with UPS
  • Sizing a UPS and the CBEMA curve (that's Computer Business Equipment Manufacturer's Association)
  • Single phase vs. three phase UPS
Take a few minutes and browse the document. There is something new and useful in it for everyone. Share your UPS project plans and challenges with a product application specialist, combining your facility and project knowledge with their product and technology expertise to develop effective solutions.

Signal Conditioner Functions in Process Measurement and Control

signal conditioner or I/O module for process control system
Signal conditioner packaged in
DIN rail mount casing
Eurotherm - Action Instruments
Signal conditioners encompass a broad range of devices that perform a range of functions on the signal at their input terminals. They can be extremely useful for enabling sensing and control devices that would otherwise have incompatible signal specifications to work together. The number of available variants is extensive, covering almost every conceivable input and output combination.

Action Instruments, a Eurotherm brand, manufactures a range of I/O signal conditioning products for industrial process measurement and control. They identify six major functions of signal conditioners, and I provide them here, almost verbatim, from one of their useful technical articles.

  • Isolation: A ground loop can occur if more than one ground connection is made to a single control signal. Because grounds are seldom at the same potential, an unwanted current will be generated and interfere with the control signal. Signal isolators break the ground loop current path and maintain the integrity of the measurement.
  • Signal Conversion: Industrial applications use a wide array of sensors to measure temperature, flow, length, speed, frequency, etc. These signals may then need to be converted into a form usable by the instrumentation to which they are connected. Any sensor signal (thermocouple, RTD, DC voltage, DC current, AC voltage, frequency, resistance, etc.) can be converted to any standard process signal.
  • Noise Filtering: Isolators incorporate low pass filters that eliminate high frequency EMI/RFI and unwanted signals from power lines, generators and motors.
  • Linearization: Many sensors output a signal that is not linearly related to the engineering value being measured. For example, a thermocouple used to measure temperature has a nonlinear millivolt output. A thermocouple input signal isolator translates this to a standard, robust linear signal such as 4 to 20mA.
  • Limit Alarms: Limit alarm units take in a process signal and compare it to one or more setpoints. They then provide an output signal, usually a relay contact, when the signal crosses the setpoint.
  • Math: Isolators that can perform addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, square root, and averaging.
There are a number of considerations when selecting I/O signal conditioners. Share your process signal requirements and challenges with knowledgeable specialists. Combining your process knowledge with their product application expertise will deliver effective solutions.

I/P Transducers - How They Work and What You Need to Know

industrial transducer current to pressure (pneumatic) I/P
I/P Transducer
Converting from one signal type to another is a common challenge in process control. When the application calls for conversion from an electrical signal, current or voltage, to a pneumatic signal (pressure), this calls for an I/P transducer.

The I/P transducer is an electro pneumatic device that converts current or voltage input signal to a linearly proportional output pressure. These transducers are available in a wide array of configurations to accommodate almost any industrial setting or application.

The  I/P transducer pictured is a force balance device. A coil is suspended in a magnetic field by a flexure. As the input signal current flows through the coil, the resulting magnetic force causes axial movement of the coil and flexure. The flexure movement toward a nozzle creates back pressure which acts as a pilot pressure to an integral booster relay. Input signal changes produce proportional output pressure changes. A diagram in the white paper provided below provides accompanying detail.

Applying the I/P transducer is a straight forward operation, involving matching the device input and output signal capabilities with those of the application. The white paper included below provides further detail on how these devices operate and how to properly apply them. Also, included are recommendations for mounting, calibrating, and a host of other useful information items.

Share your process measurement and control challenges with instrumentation specialists, combining your process expertise with their product knowledge to produce effective solutions.

Hile Launches Redesigned Website

hile controls of alabama redesigned home page
Home page of Hile Controls new website
Hile Controls of Alabama, premier distributor of industrial process measurement and control equipment and instruments throughout Alabama, Mississippi, and the Florida Panhandle, has a redesigned website that is live now. The new site provides simple and rapid access to Hile's represented lines and products, as well as the company's social media outlets, all organized in an intuitive and useful fashion to save users time in their search for solutions. The site is mobile friendly to provide a positive user experience on any desktop, smart phone, tablet, or laptop.

Visit the new site and see the products and capabilities of Hile Controls of Alabama.

hile controls of alabama website interior page
Rapid navigation is a hallmark of the new Hile site

Instructional Video - Product Features and Using Handheld Combustion Analyzer

Handheld combustion analyzer for engines, boilers,furnaces
Handheld Combustion Analyzer
Combustion analysis provides insight into the efficiency of a common industrial process by measuring the concentrations of certain components of exhaust or flue gas. Whether you are testing the efficiency of an engine or a boiler, the process is essentially the same.

Enerac™ has been a provider of handheld electronic combustion analyzers for many years, incorporating continuous innovation and improvement into successive models.The company's Model 500 is a moderately priced and simple to use portable combustion efficiency emissions analyzer that is suitable for a wide range of applications.

The video below demonstrates how the unit is applied, as well as providing some tips on best practices for using the instrument. Get more detail on the Enerac™ handheld electronic combustion analyzers and share your combustion efficiency measurement requirements and challenges with product application specialists. Combining your process and task knowledge with their product application expertise will produce useful solutions.

Pneumatic Power Positioners

pneumatic power positioner thrust type damper drive
Pneumatic Power Positioner
Rosemount Analytical
Pneumatic positioners are used throughout every facet of industry to control dampers, louvers, valves, and other mechanical equipment requiring movement as part of its operation. The simple design of these devices makes them a suitable choice for rugged applications and those requiring dependable performance.

There are two basic types of pneumatic power positioners, thrust and torque. The thrust type has a powered arm with linear motion driven in both directions by air pressure and a piston. Torque type units utilize a similar drive mechanism, but have additional mechanical linkages that convert the piston thrust into rotational movement of a powered arm. The positioners generally consist of a pilot valve assembly, calibration spring, piston, and necessary mechanical linkages.
Here's how it works.
There are two air connections to the postioner, control air and power air. The power air provides force on the piston, control air regulates power air. Increasing control air pressure on the pilot valve assembly causes the pilot valve to direct power air pressure to the drive mechanism (the piston) and change its position. A spring provides feedback force to the pilot valve assembly, resulting in a blockage of the control air signal when the mechanism reaches a predictable position. For any given control signal pressure, the piston will be positioned at a known distance from its fully retracted stance. Overall, the position of the piston is proportional to the control signal pressure. The pilot valve assembly can direct power air to either the bottom or top of the piston, providing powered movement in both directions.

The device provides accurate and rapid positioning across its entire range of motion, with connected dampers or other equipment driven in a similar manner. There is also an on-off version that employs solenoid valves and electric control signals. This version, while not requiring the control air pressure signal, provides only fully extended or fully retracted positions.

Though small in size, this thrust type positioner can handle weight loads up to 175 pounds (79 kg). Larger, more powerful, units are available, along with a host of options, to accommodate a broad array of industrial processes and commercial applications. Power positioners that convert the thrust of the piston into rotational motion are also common.

An overview and description of the Rosemount Analytical pneumatic power positioners is provided below. Share your mechanical positioning challenges and requirements with application specialists. Combining your process knowledge with their product expertise will yield the best solutions.

Self Operated Mechanical Temperature Regulators

Self operated temperature regulator valve Mark 80 Jordan
Mark 80 Temperature Regulator
Jordan Valve
In process control applications, exceedingly close control with PID loops is not always necessary. There can also be instances where location or operational circumstance calls for temperature control, but not necessarily under the control of a centralized system. Self operated mechanical temperature regulators, with their reliable and simple operating scheme, can be well suited for these applications.

Self operated temperature regulators are basically valves with self contained actuation controlled by a filled system, or bulb. The valve portion of the assembly controls the flow of a fluid which impacts the process temperature. The process temperature is measured by a fluid filled bulb, connected via a capillary to a chamber containing a diaphragm. As the temperature of the process changes, the fluid in the bulb expands or contracts, changing the fluid pressure on the diaphragm. Pressure on the diaphragm causes movement, which is linked to the sliding gate trim of the valve, thus adjusting fluid flow. A spring provides a counteractive force on the diaphragm and allows for setpoint adjustment.

The self contained assembly requires no external power source to operate and requires little maintenance. Proper selection of line size, capillary length, bulb type, and temperature range are key elements in getting the right valve for the job. Application temperature ranges from -20 to +450 degrees Fahrenheit. You can see all the details in the datasheet included below.

Share your temperature control and fluid flow challenges with product application specialists, combining you own process expertise with their product application know-how to develop the most effective solutions.

Sample Gas Moisture Control

sample gas dryer with Nafion tubing
Sample Gas Dryer
Perma Pure
Sample gas used for analysis in process control operations will often need some conditioning in order to accommodate the input  needs of the analyzer. A common requirement is to maintain a certain moisture content in the gas sample, requiring either addition or removal of moisture from the sample stream.

It is advantageous, even necessary, that any conditioning done to the sample gas have no impact on the component(s) subject to analysis. One technology provides for specific removal or addition of moisture (water) in a simple fashion, with no impact on other sample constituents.

Perma Pure gas sample dryers and humidifiers use Nafion® tubing, with a selectively permeable membrane that permits only the passage of water molecules. By controlling relative vapor pressure around the exterior of the tube, moisture can be drawn from, or added to, the sample gas stream. The simple device employs no moving parts and the vapor pressure differential is easily achieved using shop instrument air or other sources readily available.

Share your gas analysis challenges and requirements with product application experts, combining your process knowledge with their product expertise to develop effective solutions.

instrument air purge gas diagram for sample gas drying
Sample gas dryer using instrument air

Combustion Efficiency - In Situ Oxygen Transmitter

zirconium oxide based oxygen O2 transmitter for flue gas combustion
The Oxymitter shown with integral and
remote electronics
Emerson Process Management
Rosemount Analytical
Accurate control of combustion efficiency is a mainstay of fired boiler and other combustion operations. Reliable measurement of oxygen concentration in flue gas enables adjustment of the fuel to air ratio to produce efficient combustion, reducing cost and environmental impact. Since O2 sensors are located on an exhaust stack, generally a difficult location to access, high transmitter reliability and low maintenance requirements are beneficial.

The Oxymitter™, from Rosemount Analytical (div. of Emerson Process Management), is an in situ oxygen transmitter well suited for use in monitoring flue gas. The transmitter is applicable to all new installations and adaptable as a replacement for existing units. The zirconium oxide based sensing technology, along with advanced design, provide a host of useful features.

  • High accuracy measurement
  • Electronics mounted remotely, or on probe
  • Optional display
  • Optional wireless connectivity
  • Optional explosion proof ratings
  • Compatible with range of communications protocols
  • Fully field repairable
  • Variable probe insertion length
  • Optional Xi electronics provide additional functionality
The data sheet included below provides additional detail for the Oxymitter™. Share your combustion control challenges with product application specialists. A combination of your process knowledge and their product application expertise will produce an effective solution.

Electro-Pneumatic Transducer Bridges Gap From Electric to Air Signals

electropneumatic current to air voltage to air transducer for process control signals
In this age of electronics, pneumatics are still widely employed in process control, and the benefit of using compressed air to deliver control signals is not likely to diminish. Providing a bridge between electrical signals from controllers and pneumatic signals required at the input of operating devices is the function of an electro-pneumatic transducer.

The transducers come in many different versions to accommodate a wide range of possible input signals and two output pressure ranges. The compact units can be mounted in several ways, and NEMA 4X enclosures are available for installation outdoors or in washdown areas.

Some common applications where electrical control signals will be converted to pneumatic for device control.

  • Valve actuators
  • Pneumatic valve positioners
  • Damper and louver actuators
  • Final control elements
  • Relays
  • Air cylinders
  • Web tensioners
  • Clutches and brakes
ControlAir Inc. manufactures a comprehensive line of electro-pneumatic transducers, with models ranging through differing feature levels and price points. Certain applications will call for special variants designed with immunity to shock and vibration or other conditions found throughout industrial installations. Contact a product specialist and share your control challenges. Combining your process knowledge and expertise with their product application experience will produce an effective solution.

Sliding Gate Valve Trim for Maximized Flow Control

process control valve sliding gate style
Sliding Gate Valve
Courtesy Jordan Valve
Fluid flow control in a process can present a number of challenges, large and small. In addition to selecting a properly sized control valve, your choice of trim design can contribute noticeably to overall positive performance. One candidate for fluid flow control is the sliding gate valve.

The trim of a sliding gate valve essentially consists of a fixed disc and a movable plate installed directly in the flow path. The disc and plate have precisely located and sized perforations, slots, or other openings. The valve actuation mechanism slides the plate across the face of the disc, progressively changing the alignment of the openings in the plate and fixed disc. This type of design can bring some benefits to the process and user.

  • Short stroke length provides fast response, reduces wear on packing and diaphragm, allows for a compact installed assembly
  • Straight-through flow pattern reduces turbulence, noise, erosion, valve chatter, and cavitation
  • Ease of maintenance, with fewer trim components that are easily changed
  • Self cleaning, self lapping seats
The video below provides a clear illustration of how the sliding gate valve trim works, through animation and exploded views of the valve components. Share your fluid flow control challenges with a valve specialist and combine your process expertise with their product application knowledge for an effective solution.

Ultrasonic Gas Flow Meters for Custody Transfer and Process Control

Custody transfer of natural gas is accomplished through pipelines, with billings calculated based upon measurements of gas flow made during the transfer. The measurement instruments used in custody transfer operations must employ technology that is recognized and accepted by all the parties involved in the transaction. Additionally, the devices employed should be scrupulously maintained and of rugged design in order to provide continuous accurate operation.

Volumetric flow measurement in gas lines can be reliably accomplished using ultrasonic flow meters specifically designed and configured for the task. Ultrasonic gas flow measurement relies on the principle of transit time differential. Precise measurements are made of the time between transmission and receipt of the ultrasonic signal as it passes through the media within the pipe. The sound velocity transit time is affected by the velocity of the media, providing a means to determine media velocity and calculate the flow volume.

Adding multiple measuring paths can provide higher accuracy, measurement redundancy, or a combination of both. Integrating temperature and pressure sensors into the instrument enables provision of additional necessary data from a single point.

Proper device selection and configuration for each application will provide the best results. More information is available from product application specialists. Share your flow measurement requirements and challenges with them, combining your process knowledge with their product application expertise to produce the most effective solutions.

Direct Drive Pressure Gauges for the Most Demanding Applications

Direct drive industrial process pressure gauge
Series 34 Direct Drive Pressure Gauge
Courtesy 3D Instruments
Pressure indication, at the location, real time. That is what a dial pressure gauge provides a process operator. Pressure gauges do not require any type of operating power, making them immune to power failures. The Bourdon tube mechanical operator is generally rugged and reliable. They are, however, subject to wear in the linkage that connects the Bourdon tube to the indicator needle over time. Extremes of vibration will also likely impact the longevity of the linkage, leading to premature failure.

3D Instruments, a manufacturer of pressure gauges and related products for industrial, commercial, and scientific applications, has developed a direct drive pressure gauge intended for use in the most rugged and demanding applications. The direct drive pressure gauges have only one working part, a helically-wound Bourdon tube made of Inconel® X-750, a flexible material that prevents the coil from losing its shape and ensures accuracy. The indicating needle is directly connected to the Bourdon tube, eliminating linkage parts. This innovation, while maintaining the benefits of some of the oldest pressure measurement technology, adds improvements in overpressure protection, burst protection, wear resistance, and life cycle cost.

A short video, included below, highlights and illustrates how the direct drive system works. Reach out to a process measurement product specialist for more detail, or solutions to any of your measurement and control challenges.

New Hydraulic Pressure Control for Wellhead Control, Hydraulic Power Units, and More

hydraulic pressure control valve
Model GHR
Hydraulic Pressure Control Regulator
Courtesy GO Regulator
Circor Energy's GO Regulator, has added a new product to its broad line of pressure regulating products. The Model GHR is a hydraulic pressure control valve targeted at applications that include wellhead control, blowout preventers, hydraulic power units, subsea actuator supply, testing applications, ballast control, and more.

The new GHR Series provides a compact, durable, and highly accurate regulator for hydraulic systems. The control knob provides a low torque, ergonomic way to set the control pressure. Standard body material is 316 SS and the unit is available in 3 port variants and multiple mounting options.

I have included a data sheet for the GHR series below which provides additional detail and some cutaway illustrations of the regulator. Share your pressure regulation applications and challenges with product application specialists. They can assist in product selection, proper sizing, and configuration to meet specific application requirements.

Protect Equipment and Instruments With In-line Filters

In line absolute filters for fluid processing
Examples of 3B Filters 8500 Series In-line Filters
Industrial, commercial, and scientific processes and operations involving liquids and gases are all likely candidates to benefit from the proper application of in-line filtration. Filters are designed to capture and retain foreign matter that might otherwise cause wear, damage, or other unwanted impact in a fluid system.

Selecting a filtration assembly requires consideration of a number of inputs by the process operator. It is important to correctly specify the filtration unit in order to avoid undue impact on the process and achieve the desired level of protection.

  • Media Compatibility - The materials of construction must accommodate any potential corrosive effects of the media. Additionally, there should be no impact on the media from the filter housing materials. The same is true for the filter element.
  • Temperature - Filter element and any housing components must be able to withstand whatever extremes of process temperature are anticipated.
  • Pressure - The entire assembly must be rated to withstand the full range of possible operating pressures, perhaps with a suitable amount of headroom.
  • Flow - The filtration assembly should be sized to accommodate the process fluid flow without excessive pressure drop or other flow interference.
  • Capture - Survey the needs of instruments or equipment intended to be downstream of the filter. These are the items the filter is protecting. What are the particulate contaminant limits or tolerances of the downstream devices? Whichever has the lowest tolerance for foreign matter is likely the governing element for filter particle size retention. The filter element, whether disposable or cleanable, must be selected to prevent or limit passage of the smallest particle size that will impair operation of the downstream components.
  • Retention - As particulates are trapped by the filter, the unit begins to clog and possibly impair flow. Processes will have varied filter element replacement protocols along the continuum of whether filter elements are changed frequently or left in place until flow impairment. Select a filter element size suitable to the anticipated contaminate load of your process. Higher levels of expected particulates generally indicate a need for a larger filter element to provide the capability to retain the contaminates while still allowing for sufficient passage of clean fluid.
There can be many other considerations for filter selection that may come into play for specific installations. Most important is to not forget to put filtration protection in place. It is cheap insurance against excessive wear and damage to sensitive instrumentation and equipment.

I have included below a product overview from 3B Filters, Inc., a long time manufacturer of filter housings, elements, and related fittings and accessories. Share your filtration requirements and challenges with product application specialists, combining your process expertise with their product knowledge for the most effective solutions.

Compact Data Acquisition Recorder/Controller Unit Offers Full Range of Capabilities in a Single Unit

industrial process recorder controller Eurotherm nandaq
Data acquisition and process control go hand in hand. Regulating process variables and documenting process performance are mainstays of efficiency and performance. The acquisition, recording, displaying, and control functions can be accomplished with separate independent devices, but some application instances are better served by an integrated device that combines all the control, display, and data acquisition functions into a single compact device.

Eurotherm, a globally recognized manufacturer of data acquisition, recording, and control gear, combines all of these functions and more into a very capable recorder/controller. The nanodac incorporates an extensive array of input, output, recording, communicating, display, and control capabilities. It is well suited for small processes or process segments, as well as being a good candidate as a packaged operator interface, recorder, controller for OEM equipment.

I have included a data sheet for the nanodac below. Survey the datasheet to familiarize yourself with the full extent of this process controller/recorder's capabilities. It is all housed in a compact 1/4 DIN unit with a NEMA 12 (IP65) front face and a slim 3.54" (90 mm) extension behind the front panel.

Share your data acquisition, control, and recording challenges with a product application specialist. Combine your process knowledge with their product application expertise to develop the most effective solutions.

High Speed Precision Weighing for Industrial Process Control

human interface for industrial high speed weighing system
Model G4 Panel Meter is part of a complete high speed weighing system
Courtesy BLH/Nobel Weighing Systems
Industrial process control implies the presence of industrial process measurement. Throughout our operations, we seek to measure "how much" of something is present. In the case of many materials, weight is the preferred measurement.

Weight is a measurement of force. We can use it as a statement of "how much" because gravity is considered constant across the planet surface. The force or weight measured for a batch of material at a shipping point in the US will, for commercial purposes, be the same force or weight measured for that material at any destination to which it may be delivered. Measurement of weight can be used for establishing proper mixing ratios of components to be combined in a particular manner. The level of material in a tank or other container can be ascertained through a measurement of weight.
In our processes, higher throughput and accuracy are always in demand.
The Vishay Precision Group's BLH/Nobel Weighing Systems operating unit manufactures a high speed, high performance control for industrial weight/force measurement applications. Their G4 line of controllers provides the user a wide range of configurable options, from multiple input channels to analog and digital outputs. The clean user interface provides access to all functions and channels and the unit is available as a freestanding desktop, DIN rail mount, or panel mount unit. There is also a model configured for harsh environments.

The video below provides a good overview of the unit and its potential applications. Contact a product specialist to receive more details, or to discuss how the G4 and other BLH/Nobel Weighing Systems products might be helpful to your process operation.

Water Quality Analyzers

Waltron sodium analyzer for water quality monitoring
Model 9033X Sodium Analyzer
Courtesy Waltron
In the operation of an industrial process, there can be any number of reasons for analyzing water quality. Safety, regulatory compliance, operating efficiency, and process control are a few of the broader categories.

Waltron has been an active participant in the water chemistry and analysis field for over 100 years. The company's focus started with boiler feedwater and has expanded over many years to include online analyzers for process water in a broad range of industries.

  • Power Generation
  • Petrochemical
  • Pulp and Paper
  • Water and Wastewater
  • Electronics and Semiconductor
  • Environmental
  • Pharmaceutical

Waltron process water analyzers provide ease of use, minimal maintenance, and a low service life, delivering a low total cost of ownership. Various technologies are applied, providing specific and accurate analysis for a range of contaminants in ultra-pure, industrial, or drinking water systems.
  • Copper
  • Dissolved Hydrogen
  • Dissolved Oxygen
  • Ethylene Glycol
  • Hardness
  • Hydrazine
  • Iron
  • Oil in Water
  • Phosphate
  • Silica
  • Sodium
Included below is a short version product line sheet, showing the company's line of analyzers. Share your water quality monitoring challenges with a product specialist. Incorporating your process knowledge with their expertise will produce the best solution. 

Turbine Flow Meters for Process Measurement and Control

Several industrial process control turbine flow meters
Turbine Flow Meters
Courtesy Flow Technology
Hile Controls of Alabama represents Flow Technology Inc., a manufacturer of turbine, magnetic, ultrasonic, and positive displacement flow meters utilized in process measurement and control. The company also manufactures flow meter calibration equipment, and they have summarized some useful information regarding turbine flow meters into a concise white paper, which is included below. The paper provides a description of how a turbine flow meter operates, and continues with a short narrative of turbine flow meter advantages for certain applications. Calibration procedures are also outlined, with a combination of technical and non-technical language that provides useful information and understanding to the expert and not so expert reader. Concepts are illustrated to provide additional clarity.

Browse the paper. The text portion is just a few pages. Share your flow measurement challenges with a product specialist and combine your process experience with their product expertise. That is where the best solutions come from.

Video Shows How Pressure Gauges Are Made

Mechanical pressure gauges employing Bourdon tubes are common items throughout industrial process control operations. They provide accurate and immediate indication of the pressure at their connection point, without the need for external power. It can be useful to see and understand how instruments are built and upon what principles they operate. The video included below shows the process.

Bourdon tube gauges rely on the principle that a flattened and bent tube will straighten and regain its circular cross section, to some predictable and repeatable degree, in response to an increase in the pressure of a fluid inside the tube. You can see it happen in the video. The balance of the gauge is a case, a face, and mechanical linkage to transfer the Bourdon tube motion into rotation of the indicator needle on the instrument face.

Watch the video. It's informative and well done. Wika, a globally recognized manufacturer of temperature, pressure, and level measurement instrumentation, produced the video at their manufacturing facility. Share your process instrumentation challenges and requirements with an application specialist and get the best solutions.

Severe Service and High Performance Valves - More Than Just Heavy Duty

cutaway view of severe service metal seated ball valve for industrial use
Cutaway view of metal seated
industrial ball valve
Courtesy Marwin Valve
Industrial process control applications can be associated with some very stringent and challenging performance requirements for the physical equipment and components that are part of the process chain. In fluid based operations, control valves can be a point of significant impact from extreme fluid conditions, requiring careful design and selection consideration to assure proper performance and safety levels are maintained in a predictable way.

Industrial valves that are intended for application at the extremes are generally referred to as severe service or high performance valves. While there are plenty of published and accepted standards for industrial valves, one does not exist to precisely define a severe service valve.

So, how do you know when to focus valve selection activities on severe service or high performance valves, as opposed to those rated for general purpose? There are a number of basic criteria that might point you in that direction:
  • Very extreme media or environmental temperature or pressure
  • High pressure drop operation that may cause cavitation
  • Rapid or extreme changes to inlet pressure
  • Certain types or amounts of solids contained in the fluid
Certainly, any of these criteria might be found in an application serviceable by a general purpose valve, but their presence should be an indicator that a closer assessment of the fluid conditions and commensurate valve requirements is in order. The key element for a process stakeholder is to recognize when conditions are in evidence that might overrun the capabilities of a general purpose valve, leading to premature failure in control performance or catastrophic failure that produces an unsafe condition. Once the possibility of a severe service condition is identified, a careful analysis of the possible operating conditions will reveal the performance requirements for the valve.

There are numerous manufacturers of severe service or high performance valves, each seeming to concentrate on a particular performance niche. Marwin Valve has their own entry in the class, a high performance ball valve intended for use with pressures up to 990 psi (69 bar) and temperatures approaching 1000 deg. F (538 deg. C). Specialty construction features for service in this range includes a 3-piece body, specialty alloys for body, stem, and ball, and graphite body seals and stem packing. Numerous options and variants are available to customize the valve build to suit a replacement or new installation.

You can always get more information or discuss your special requirements with a product application specialist. They have application experience and access to technical resources that can help with selecting the right valve components to meet your severe service applications.

Welcome to the Alabama, Mississippi & Florida Panhandle Process Control & Instrumentation Blog!

We hope you find this new Web resource interesting and helpful. We intend to post weekly articles on "all things process control". Our goal is to be educational and informative, with posts on the operation of pressure, temperature, level and flow instrumentation, interesting application notes, product set-up procedures, and new product introductions.

Hile Alabama is committed to continuing education in automation and control. We hope this site will provide some insight toward the solution of a challenging process control requirement. If you ever have need for assistance with your application, please always feel free to contact us at 205-620-4000.