September 12, 2017

New Surface Sensor Innovation Achieves Accurate Process Temperature Measurement Overcoming Challenges of Traditional Methods

by Ryan Leino, Emerson Automation Solutions, Rosemount Temperature Product Manager

As you know, temperature is the most commonly measured variable in the process industry. It’s often a critical factor in determining process efficiency and product quality. There are several ways to measure temperature in the process industry and each one has challenges. I’d like to tell you about a new type of surface sensor technology that can overcome some of these issues for you.

A thermowell and temperature sensor assembly is the most frequently used method of measuring a temperature internal to a process. A thermowell is a component of a temperature measurement point that acts as a protective barrier between the temperature sensor and process. It enables insertion of the temperature sensor into the process where it might not otherwise survive the harsh conditions present. The direct sensor immersion of thermowells into the process helps provide an accurate measurement, but introduces a possible leak point, which is a significant problem.

An alternative sensing method, surface temperature measurement, alleviates many of the pains associated with a thermowell installation as it does not require direct contact with the process. Since the measurement point is external to the process being measured, there is no threat of internal conditions physically damaging it or creating potential leak points. The need for wake frequency calculations and other complex design considerations are eliminated.

Although a traditional surface temperature measurement installation addresses many of these pains and challenges, in many cases it cannot match the measurement performance of a thermowell installation. If an internal process temperature measurement is required, a surface temperature measurement is often not capable of providing an accurate or repeatable representation of an internal measurement.

There are many factors that can impact a traditional surface temperature measurement reading. This makes it difficult to use as a simple point of inference when determining the temperature of the associated internal process. However, by implementing an algorithm with an understanding of the thermal conductive properties of the temperature measurement assembly and corresponding piping or vessel, a surface temperature sensor solution can be utilized to accurately calculate internal process temperature. This unique technology works by measuring the pipe surface temperature and ambient temperature, and combining this information with an understanding of the thermal conductivity properties of the installation and process piping.

In order to understand the unique design of this surface temperature measurement capability which Emerson calls Rosemount X-well™ technology, please access this interesting white paper.

Rosemount X-well Technology offers accurate process temperature measurement without requiring any intrusions or penetrations into the process, eliminating possible leak points, and allowing quicker and easier installation, along with simplified long-term maintenance. Users do not have to design, size, or maintain thermowells. Wake frequency calculations are eliminated, as well as time spent determining material compatibility, the right insertion length, and the necessary profile.

With this innovation, users can also add temperature measurement points without having to shut down a process. It can be installed with a standard pipe clamp procedure and ordinary hand tools, and does not require a skilled contractor.

The surface measurement innovation works best in steady state applications, including the majority of pipe processes –

  • Pipeline monitoring
  • Small line size applications
  • Retrofit projects that need new points
  • Pipeline requiring frequent cleaning
  • High velocities
  • Slurries and heavy particulate fluids
  • Clean-In-Place (CIP) processes
  • High viscosity fluids
  • Harsh processes requiring exotic materials

In the following industries –

  • Oil and gas
  • Chemical
  • Refining
  • Life sciences
  • Metals and mining
  • Pulp and paper

If you have any questions, or if you’ve encountered applications where surface temperature measurement could be effective, please contact me at Ryan.Leino@emerson.com.

And don’t forget to access your free white paper.

August 24, 2017

The ABCs of pH (Part 1)

Hi – I’m Sherri Renberg from the global liquid analysis marketing group, and I’d like to thank the many liquid analysis experts who have contributed to this blog series. We hope you will enjoy these useful answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we get from users about pH measurement.

While some of the questions are basic, that’s why they’re valuable. pH is a measurement where it never hurts to go back to the fundamentals. We’ll cover a few questions in this blog, and more in future.

Q) What is the shelf life of a pH sensor?
A
) pH glass electrodes must remain hydrated which is why all manufacturers ship pH sensors with a cap saturated in a liquid solution. After being on the shelf for some time, the liquid solution inside the sensor cap can go dry, which is the primary reason sensors go bad on the shelf. It’s a good idea to re-saturate the pH sensor cap with a 4-buffer about every (6) months that the sensor remains on the shelf to extend the shelf life of the probe. The best way to determine if the sensor is functioning accurately is to see if it calibrates properly using the two-point calibration method.

Q) What is the proper way to install a pH sensor?
A)
 Most manufacturers insert an air bubble inside their glass electrodes to allow for temperature and pressure changes. Without this, pH sensors could crack with large temperature or pressure swings. If a sensor is mounted horizontally, the air bubble inside the sensor can move to the tip of the sensor, which can cause poor readings because it can impede the transfer of hydrogen ions. Therefore, pH sensors should be mounted at least 10 degrees above horizontal to ensure correct measurement. Sensors can also be installed vertically.

Q) I have a pH loop and I’m getting a “low slope” error message. What does this mean?
A)
 If you are getting a “low slope” error message, there are a few possible causes:
• The sensor may be coated or dirty. Try cleaning the sensor and repeating the calibration.
• The glass is dry and needs to be rehydrated before calibration. To rehydrate the sensor, soak it in pH 4 buffer solution overnight. Theoretically, a brand new sensor’s slope should be 59.16mV when the sensor is set to auto-temperature compensate to 25oC, however, a new sensor could potentially have a slope as low as 55mV/pH without causing any problems. Note that the calibration is only as good as the chemicals are fresh. Make sure there are no air bubbles on the glass and that the sensor is left in the solution long enough to stabilize the reading.
• The glass is old and may need replacing.

Q) What affects the accuracy of a pH calibration?
A)
 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 buffer calibration errors can occur when calibrating my pH sensor?
A
) Buffer solutions have a stated pH value at 25°C (77°F), but when that value is 7 pH or above, the actual pH of the buffer will change with temperature. The values of the buffer solution at temperatures other than 25°C (77°F) are usually listed on the bottle. The pH value at the calibration temperature should be used or else errors in the slope and zero values, calculated by the calibration, will result. An alternative is to use the “buffer recognition” feature on modern pH analyzers, which automatically corrects the buffer value used by the analyzer for the temperature.

Another type of calibration error can result from not allowing enough time for the buffer calibration to complete. If the pH sensor is not given enough time to fully respond to the buffer solution, it can cause errors, especially in the case of a warm pH sensor not being given enough time to cool down to the temperature of the buffer solution. Current pH analyzers have a “buffer stabilization” feature, which prevents the analyzer from accepting a buffer pH reading that has not reached a prescribed level of stabilization.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

This is just a start of some of the great questions users have sent us. We’ll share some more in a future blog. What kind of questions do you have about pH measurement?

August 16, 2017

Pardon Us While We Bask

Hi everyone. You know that here at Analytic Expert we focus on bringing you solutions-oriented information to solve your plant and processing problems. Today however, we’d like to pause and give you a glimpse into what your confidence in us means.

The Asian Manufacturing Awards were conceived in 2012 to recognize companies that deliver cutting-edge industrial technology solutions and services in control, instrumentation, and automation. This year, the Awards received close to 100 nominations across the 25 award categories. The nominations were assessed by a judging panel made up of ten internationally recognized experts and practitioners from a variety of industry sectors and disciplines. Their extensive industry knowledge and experience enabled them to adjudicate effectively and ensure deserving winners in each category.

Emerson has participated since 2012 and has won a number of awards in this prestigious event, but this year was the topper (so far) –

AMA AWARDS 2017 – Automation & Control Category:

  • Best Process Instrumentation Provider sixth year in the row
  • Best Industrial Wireless Provider for the fourth time
  • Best Process Control Systems Provider four years in row
  • Best Process Safety System Provider

AMA AWARDS 2017- Industry Solution Category:

  • Best Power & Energy Solutions Provider for the second time
  • Best Refinery Solutions Provider for the second year

The Awards Ceremony Gala Dinner was held July 27th at the Mandarin Orchard Hotel Singapore, Imperial Ballroom, and, as you’ll see from all our photos, a great time was had by all.

Thank you for your interaction, challenges, and confidence that make awards like these both possible and gratifying. And thank you for letting us take a moment to bask in the glory.

August 7, 2017

Emerson Global Users Exchange 2017

By Lydia Miller, Rosemount Level Senior Marketing Engineer, Emerson Automation Solutions

Hi! I’m Lydia Miller with Emerson Automation Solutions, and I’d like to share a few reasons for you to attend this year’s Emerson Exchange in October. This year the Emerson Global Users Exchange will be in Minneapolis, MN, from October 2nd through the 6th. There are usually around 3000 reasons to go (that is the approximate number of attendees, and each one has something great to share). Since it is in my backyard, I would love for everyone to come to my house for a picnic – but since I can’t manage the numbers, here are some of my favorite reasons for you to attend this amazing event.

#1 The Technology Exhibit!! This is a wonderful opportunity to see products you may be specifying, ask experts detailed questions about products and applications, see what is new and learn about everything that Emerson can offer you for process automation.

#2 The Music Jam. Okay, this one is all fun and no products, unless Emerson sells guitars, ukuleles and tambourines (they don’t). But it is great to see people come together with minimal practice time as a group and have so much fun and actually sound pretty darn good. My tambourine skills aside, everyone is pretty impressive. If you have any music background, be sure to sign up and participate. Or just show up and experience the collaboration.

#3 The workshops and short courses. Although this is third on the list, it is not third in my heart (I can’t give them all #1 status). There are over 300 different courses. These are presented by end users and industry experts willing to share their stories about solving the most challenging process controls problems, following best practices for plant performance optimization, or increasing the safety and reliability of operations (just to name a few topics).

#4 Tour of the Rosemount Global Headquarters. When else can you get a sneak peek at everything that goes into making Rosemount products reliable? It will be worth the stay until Friday.

#5 Meet the Experts. You can meet with a panel of experts and ask them about all of your most pressing overfill protection issues. Or other topics such as alarm management, controls upgrades, and process control optimization – oh, my!

This year, the theme is Powering Collaboration. Registration is now open with an extended early bird pricing until August 31st (previously August 15th). Just register and collaborate with the best that process automation has to offer.

Why attend? You can check out the link to get more info on why to attend, if my list of favorites leaves you wanting more. Hope to see you there!

July 31, 2017

QCL Technology Provides Never Before Achievable Performance in Gas Purity Measurement

By Amanda Gogates, Cascade Global Product Manager, Emerson Automation Solutions

Precise and cost-effective measurement of gas purity significantly impacts the bottom line in a number of industrial applications. I’d like to share a new technology with you that will overcome many of the most common problems manufacturers face in this area, including poor sensitivity, costly consumables, and outmoded equipment requiring high levels of technician resourcing to operate and maintain. You may be aware of the Emerson line of Quantum Cascade Laser (QCL) technology for measurement applications such as Continuous Emission Monitoring or CEMS. Now, this remarkable technology has been extended to some of the most demanding markets in the world and is a quantum leap over previous generation solutions.

First, a little background on the technology. Emerson’s QCL technology offers fast, high-resolution spectroscopic detection to identify a range of compounds. QCLs operate in the mid-infrared spectral region, where molecules typically exhibit strong absorption bands that can be exploited to improve measurement sensitivity. Coupled with Tunable Diode Laser (TDL) spectroscopy, a single instrument is now able to broaden measurement capability and exploit both the near- and mid-infrared regions.  The result is that a single analyzer is able to monitor an increased number of compounds compared to preceding technologies. The system uses what is called a laser chirp technique. In this technique, a QCL is pulsed with electrical energy and heats up and as the temperature increases, the wavelength of the emitted light also increases. A laser chirp lasts about one microsecond, and in this time a spectrum of between one and three wavenumbers is scanned, sufficient to detect unique absorption features from one or multiple gases. This data can then be interpreted in terms of absolute concentration, minimizing the need for complex and frequent instrument calibration. QCLs can be chirped at a frequency of up to 100 KHz, enabling many thousands of spectra to be gathered in a few seconds, resulting in a high signal-to-noise ratio, while maintaining a rapid response time.

As a result of this unique design, the new CT5800 enables highly accurate measurement of concentrations of impurities down to sub-ppm levels in a variety of gas streams. This makes it ideal for hydrogen purity, nitrogen purity, and ethylene purity applications. With up to six laser modules housed inside the same enclosure, the CT5800 analyzer can measure up to twelve components simultaneously, greatly reducing the need for multiple analyzers while still meeting the real-world analysis needs of these markets.

The key outcome of this new technology is that the combination of this measurement performance and analyzer capabilities has not been possible before – not with existing lasers or other measurement technologies. Of course, not every application needs this level of performance, but when taking the example of ethylene product quality, time and product contamination is money in this volatile industry. When multiple, highly sensitive measurements can be made in seconds by a QCL, excursions in the product quality can be rapidly detected, facilitating decisions to suitably manage plant operation, and minimize losses. QCL technology provides a speed and quality level never before possible. Likewise, the low levels of detection not only improve product quality for the user, but they also open up wider market options and help meet guidelines.

Over the next months, I’ll be sharing about ways to optimize gas analysis in different critical markets. For now, if you have questions about how QCL technology might work for you, please contact me at Amanda.gogates@Emerson.com.

How do you currently measure gas purity?

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