January 17, 2018

Take the Risk Out of Complex Analytical Systems Integration Projects


By Nouman Raja, director of Rosemount Analytical Solutions, North America, Emerson Automation Solutions

Integrated analytical measurement systems are often complex, costly, and have multiple stakeholders involved throughout all phases of the system’s integration project – from conception to commissioning. With so many factors to consider, including stringent specifications, thorough documentation, and tight deadlines to meet, any minor delay can cause a major setback and place your bottom line at risk.

Most industrial companies aren’t equipped to go into the systems integration business in order to meet their analytical systems’ needs. Emerson is! With a unique combination of analytical expertise, process knowledge, and global resources, Emerson is a single-source provider of complete analytical solutions for liquid and process gas applications including integration of third party analyzers. From sample handling systems and standalone instrumentation panels and cabinets, to three-sided shelters and environmentally controlled walk-in enclosures, Emerson offers wide flexibility in system packaging to meet project and application requirements.

Far from just nuts and bolts hardware, Emerson manages systems projects through the Project Management Office (PMO) where highly trained systems engineers take care of everything from Front End Engineering Design (FEED) and consulting services to manufacturing, integration and testing, to commissioning and on-going lifecycle support.

A new guide available HERE shows you how to stay on time and on budget, ensure project certainty and reduce risks. The guide outlines ways to –

  • ­Simplify the complexities of your project scope. Your designated project manager engages early to understand project requirements and align with your team to manage and control scope.
  • Avert risks and stay on schedule. The PMO collaborates with your team to identify opportunities for efficiency and risks, and implement mitigation plans to prevent possible schedule pitfalls. ­
  • Stay on task and on budget. It is the PMO’s responsibility to manage the budget and update you throughout the project, accounting for possible risks, changes in scope, and other possible situations which may impact the budget.

Download a copy of the guide HERE and get a better idea of how to take the risk and worry out of executing complex analytical systems projects. We also invite you to learn more about the Emerson advantage in systems integration by visiting Emerson.com/RosemountAnalyticalSystems.

And come join the Emerson Exchange 365 Community to get real solutions to real-world problems and maximize performance, productivity, and profitability: www.emersonexchange365.com.

January 4, 2018

Learn the Basics of Optimum Chlorine Analysis

By Michael Francis, global product manager, Emerson Automation Solutions

Let’s talk chlorine. Obviously, balancing chlorine in water treatment is a critical issue, so having a friendly relationship with your chlorine analyzers is important. Customers ask us a number of basic questions about chlorine and its analysis. Here are a few of these questions with the essential answers from our Rosemount Analytical experts.

Q. How do you measure chlorine in aqueous solutions?
Reagent-less chlorine measurement requires an amperometric sensor and an analyzer to convert the current signal to a ppm reading. Unless the pH never changes more than 0.2 pH units, a separate pH sensor is strongly recommended when performing chlorine measurement. The preferred installation is in a bypass line with the sensors installed in a low flow cell. Other alternatives are installation in a 1-1/2 inch tee or submersed in a tank.

Q. How do chlorine sensors work?
Amperometric sensors use electric currents or changes in electric current to detect ions in a solution. The amperometric sensor tip consists of a membrane stretched over a noble metal cathode. The chlorine in solution diffuses through the membrane to the surface of the cathode. A voltage applied to the cathode reduces the chlorine to chloride. This process consumes electrons, which come from a second electrode (the anode) inside the sensor. To measure the amount of chlorine in the solution, the analyzer measures the number of electrons consumed at the cathode (the current) which is directly proportional to the concentration of chlorine in the sample. Since the sensor is constantly consuming chlorine from the process, it is necessary to have a continuous flow in front of the sensor, or else all the chlorine in front of the cathode will be destroyed, and the sensor will read zero chlorine in the sample.

Q. What types of chlorine sensors are available for real-time measurement and process control?
Monochloramine, free chlorine, and total chlorine sensors and systems are available for process control. It’s important to match the application and kind of chlorine to the measurement system.

Q. How do I calibrate a chlorine sensor?
Because stable, diluted chlorine and monochloramine standards are generally not available, the sensor must be calibrated against the results of a laboratory test run on a grab sample of the process liquid. (Learn how to zero the Free Chlorine Measuring System with a Rosemount Analytical 499ACL sensor here.)

Q. What affects the accuracy of chlorine measurements?
Chlorine measurement accuracy can be affected by fluctuations in temperature as it changes membrane permeability rate, electrolyte conductivity, and the sample pH levels. The need for additional sensors is reduced with the automatic temperature compensation and low sample conductivity requirement on the Rosemount 499ACL (Option -01) free chlorine sensors. Click HERE to learn more about the Rosemount Analytical 499ACL Chlorine Sensor.

There are many more basic questions on chlorine measurement that can be critical to successful water treatment. If you have pressing questions, please comment below.

We’ll address some more chlorine questions in the future.

December 20, 2017

The ABCs of pH (part 2)

By Marc Mason, business development manager, liquid analysis, and Gregory Taylor, sales manager, Emerson Automation Solutions

I wanted to share some insights from our liquid analysis experts into the top questions asked by users like you about pH measurement. Today, I’ve selected a few of the questions asked the very most. Chances are, you or someone in your plant have had one or more of these questions puzzling you –

Q) What affects the accuracy of a pH calibration?
) The first thing to consider when trying to get an accurate pH measurement is the proper calibration of your equipment. Make sure that you take the appropriate time to calibrate your pH meter or analyzer with a quality standard buffer solution.

Room temperature, buffer temperature, and sample temperature all impact the calibration process. Try to simulate the actual environment the sensor will be operating in for the best calibration results.

As the pH sensor depends on its glass tip to make readings, the cleanliness and the quality of the glass can also impact your accuracy. Time, heat, and harsh chemicals gradually eat away at the glass surface, changing its properties and degrading the quality of the reading.

Q) What is the slope of a sensor?
A) The slope (sensitivity) indicates how well the sensor responds to changes in pH. A theoretically ideal electrode slope has an mV change of 59.16 mV/pH at 25°C (77°F). As the electrode ages, its slope decreases and a sensor should be replaced when the slope reaches 48 to 50 mV/pH.

Q) Why isn’t a pH 10 buffer solution recommended for calibrating?
 A pH 10 buffer solution absorbs carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air, which depresses the pH. When CO2 is absorbed in water, it forms carbonic acid, which in turn lowers the pH of the buffer. Thus, the true pH is less than the expected value, and the calibration slope is low. If the pH 10 buffer gives a low slope, repeat the calibration using a lower pH buffer. For example, use pH 4 and 7 buffer instead of pH 7 and 10 buffer. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that a 10 pH buffer is more susceptible to cross contamination between buffers during calibration and more affected by temperature than a 4 or 7 or other lower pH buffers, so at different temperatures, a 10 pH buffer may not actually be a 10. Applications with higher pH values often times are better served using a 10 pH buffer.

Q) Why should I monitor glass impedance and reference impedance?
) Glass impedance refers to the impedance of the pH-sensitive glass membrane. The impedance of the glass membrane is a strong function of temperature. As temperature increases, the impedance decreases. The impedance of a typical glass electrode at 25°C is about 100MΩ. Most Rosemount Analytical pH sensors are 50 to 200MΩ, with exception of the PERpH-X pH sensors, which measure 400 to 1,000MΩ. A sharp decrease in the temperature-corrected impedance implies that the glass is cracked. A pH sensor that has a cracked glass will often read pH around 7, so if the pH meter is consistently reading 7 pH, it would be a good idea to calibrate the sensor to see if it is truly working. High glass impedance implies that the sensor is nearing the end of its life and should be replaced as soon as possible.

The major contributor to reference impedance is the resistance across the liquid junction plug. The resistance of the liquid junction should be less than 40kΩ. High impedance readings around 140+kΩ typically indicate that the junction is plugged or the filling solution/gel is depleted.

Q) What causes pH sensor poisoning?
) The common reference electrode used in pH measurements consists of a silver wire coated with silver chloride in a fill solution of potassium chloride. The purpose of the potassium chloride is to maintain a reproducible concentration of silver ions in the fill solution, which in turn, results in a reproducible potential (voltage) on the silver-silver chloride wire. The mechanism of reference poisoning is a conversion of the reference from a silver-silver chloride based electrode to an electrode based on a different silver compound.

The ions (bromide, iodide, sulfide) form less soluble salt with silver than does chloride. When these ions enter the fill solution, they form insoluble precipitates with the silver ions in the fill solution. But there is no initial effect on the potential of the reference, because the silver ions lost to precipitation are replenished by silver ions dissolving off the silver chloride coating of the silver wire. It is not until the silver chloride coating is completely lost that a large change in the potential of the reference occurs. At this point, the reference electrode must be replaced.

Hopefully, the answers to these FAQs have touched on areas that you need to know. More information can be found here.

I’ll be back with more user questions here at Analytic Expert soon.

December 6, 2017

Wireless Technology Changes the Bottom Line for Industrial Wastewater Applications

By Aryanto Wibisono, deputy manager, analytical measurement division, PT Control Systems

It’s easy to think of wastewater as the forgotten kid of industrial and municipal applications. The lower budgets and constrained personnel power often means wastewater is the last to take advantage of new technologies and solutions. And sometimes this can be a costly mistake as an installation at an Indonesian Liquid Natural Gas plant shows.

This LNG plant, the largest in Kalimantan, Indonesia, has a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to ensure its wastewater quality meets environmental regulatory requirements before they discharge effluent into the sea – a demand shared by most industrial enterprises. This plant has been granted a gold rating in the Indonesian government PROPER* program and, in order to maintain its gold status, the company must continually strive to utilize innovative methods that ensure environmental compliance and sustainability. However, its wastewater treatment pond is located remotely, about 1 kilometer (km) from the LNG plant. Due to physical constraints and economic considerations, it had not been possible to implement online effluent pH measurement. The monitoring and reporting of process wastewater was done manually via a third-party Health, Safety & Environment (HSE) engineer. This method requires the HSE engineer to commute to the wastewater pond at least two to three times daily, collecting effluent grab samples and reporting data back to the local environmental agency.

From both the efficiency and compliance points of view, this method was unsatisfactory. The manual pH recording method is extremely time-consuming and accuracy of sample data can be unreliable. The risk of poor quality effluent being discharged between manual recording intervals is also a serious concern. Sample recordings can be missed when the HSE engineer is unable to go onsite due to safety issues such as severe weather conditions. Any uncaptured data poses a risk of violating regulatory statutes, resulting in penalties or operation suspension. Many municipal and industrial wastewater installations find themselves with this kind of challenge.

To solve the problem, this LNG plant implemented wireless – a technology some wastewater installations assume is out of their reach. The plant used the Rosemount™ 56 Dual Channel Transmitter with the Emerson Wireless 775 THUM™ Adapter and gained access to real-time online effluent pH monitoring. Previously, manual sample recordings took one to one-and-a-half hours to complete, and this was carried out two to three times per day, year-round. Replacing the manual method with a wireless solution saved approximately 1,000 hours of labor and travel time to the site. Yes, 1,000 hours! The return on investment was huge and immediate.

The remote diagnostic features of the wireless Rosemount 56 Liquid Analyzer enable maintenance engineers to quickly and easily identify and determine the cause of an issue, such as poor wastewater quality or a device malfunction. The data logger function provides data redundancy, mitigating the risk of losing data in the event of a power failure, and offers data recording for environmental audit reporting. Maintenance engineers can also download the process data and event logger from the analyzer to a memory stick for further analysis. Due to the success of this wireless solution, the plant plans to expand the monitoring scope to include turbidity and dissolved oxygen (DO) monitoring.

This example shows that few industrial applications can ignore the potential benefits of wireless technology. Wireless makes possible levels of automation unthinkable only a short time ago. Where are you using wireless in your installations?

November 13, 2017

What Causes Damage to pH Sensor Glass Electrodes?

by Marc Mason, business development manager, liquid analysis, Emerson Automation Solutions

Hi and welcome. pH sensors are a small thing that can have a huge impact on the smooth operation of your plant. When they’re operating correctly, you barely notice them. If they aren’t working well, they can shut you down. Various factors can cause damage to pH sensor glass electrodes – the process, temperature, sodium error, caustic, and hydrofluoric acid (HF).

  • The Process: A glass pH electrode consists of an inert glass tube with a pH sensitive glass tip – either hemispherical (bulb) or flat in shape. The tip contains a fill solution with a known pH, and it is the influence of this solution on the inside of the glass tip versus the influence of the process solution on the outside that gives rise to its millivolt potential. Ideally, the pH electrode will have a slope (response) of -59.16 mV/pH, at 25C, but in practice, a new electrode may only have a slope of -57 to -58 mV/pH. As the electrode ages, its slope decreases.
  • Temperature: In addition to changing millivolt output of the pH electrode, elevated temperatures accelerate the aging of the electrode. Extremely high or low temperatures can alternatively boil the fill solution or freeze it, causing the electrode tip to break or crack. Elevated temperatures can also affect the interior and exterior of the pH electrode differently, giving rise to asymmetry potential, which shifts the zero point of the pH electrode and changes its temperature behavior, thus leading to temperature compensation errors.
  • Sodium Error: More correctly called alkali ion error, sodium ion error occurs at high pH, where hydrogen ion concentration is very low in comparison to sodium ion concentration. The sodium ion concentration can be so high relative to hydrogen ion concentration that the electrode begins to respond to the sodium ion. This results in a reading that is lower than the actual pH. Depending on the pH glass formulation, this can occur as low as 10 pH. Where accurate high pH readings are required, the upper pH limit of the pH electrode should be checked and a specially formulated, high pH electrode used if necessary. Compared to sodium, lithium ions will produce a larger error, while the effect of potassium ions is negligible.
  • Caustic Components Attacking pH Electrodes: As noted earlier, high concentrations of hydroxyl ions shorten the life of pH electrodes. Solutions that approach 14 pH (equivalent to 4% caustic soda) can destroy a pH electrode in a matter of hours. There is nothing that can be done to prevent this, short of simply avoiding pH measurements in these solutions and using conductivity instead.
  • Hydrofluoric Acid (HF): HF also dissolves pH glass, but there are pH glass formulations designed to resist destruction by HF which, when used within their limits, can give satisfactory electrode life. It is important to note that, while only HF attacks glass and not the fluoride ion (F-), hydrofluoric acid is a weak acid. Therefore, a solution can contain a relatively high concentration of fluoride ion at a high pH and do no damage to the electrode. But if the pH of the solution decreases, the fluoride ion will combine with hydrogen ion to form HF, which will damage the electrode. So, it is important to look at both pH and HF concentration to determine the impact on pH glass.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

What kinds of problems have you encountered with your pH sensor glass electrodes?