What is Good Control Design?

What is Good Control Design? | Flowmetrics

A good design to a control room will facilitate efficiency and minimize liability. The design will enhance an operator’s efforts to produce the desired results in production. Since 2000 the International Organization for Standardization has produced a set of standards, ISO 11064, for control room design. Most of these standards deal with ergonomics and layout for the room, and adherence to these standards can greatly protect a company from injury lawsuits.

ISO 11064 helps establish good design standards with measurable results to avoid control rooms like many of us have experienced. Designed control rooms, control buildings and operation camps that feature a user-driven approach, work with ISO 11064 requirements, and integrate architectural, interior design and human-factors elements optimize performance.

First and foremost in the design process focuses on safety; locating the control room outside of blast zones, pathways of heavy equipment, and insecure environments. Further efforts deal with employee access and localities.

 

Click here for the full article by Mary Ann Lane.

Manufacturing Environs Require Rugged Components

Manufacturing Environs Require Rugged Components | Flowmetrics

Technology has advanced beyond physical buttons, switches, and indicator lamps, but these components are still widely used in manufacturing and processing facilities. Even though main control interfaces could be graphic interfaces with touch panels, the physical abuse it receives may easily overwhelm the hardiness of the device. In situations where heavy machinery is utilized or bulky safety gear is worn, a large start-stop button and flashing red light are more effective for operators.

There are standard ratings for the degree of protection, or ruggedness, of equipment components; NEMA or IEC (IP) ratings. Both rate how much physical and environmental abuse a component can withstand, but differ among each other over the exact scaling of the ratings. Something as trivial as a button may be rated quite highly on either scale simply for being designed with repeated pressing in mind, “A case in point is the repeated pressing of a door close button on an elevator when someone is in a hurry.”

 

Stack lights and indicators are used to give an operator a quick snapshot of the state of a machine. Green lights most often signal everything is in order; red typically indicates some type of problem. NFPA 79 lists some recommended colors for different situations.

 

Click here for the full article on Control Design.

Gas Engines for Processing

Gas Engines for Processing | Flowmetrics

For versatility and power, nothing beats the gas-fueled internal combustion engine. It can output enough power for those demanding tasks, be reliable for long hours and years of service, or mobile for sporadic fringe uses. Over the years gas engines have been improved through copious research and careful adaptations in compression ratings and fuel economics.

Many processing facilities utilize gas engines in medium- to large-scale mechanical drivers. These engines can power compressors, pumps, generators, and other equipment. As engine technology improves to provide more power with less fuel usage, processing plants utilize smaller engines and more processing room. Large engines are usually operated at under 1,000 rpm to preserve life while generating enough power to operate the machinery. Running at lower speeds requires significantly larger engines, reducing plant floor space, while faster speeds increase wear and tear damage to the engines.

 

Click here for the full article by Amin Almasi.

Eccentric Disc Pumps for Chemical Applications

Eccentric Disc Pumps for Chemical Applications | Flowmetrics

Eccentric disc pumps work to pump liquids by spinning an off-center disc inside of a pump housing. As the disc spins around inside the housing two low pressure and two high pressure zones are formed. These opposite high and low pressure zones move fluid through the pump. Because the volumes of these pressure zones is known, a constant, regular, measured flow rate can be achieved by varying the speed of the pumps spinning. This consistent flow is necessary for accurate chemical processing or distributors.

Because eccentric disc pumps are by design seal-less, fluids that would react with or corrode common seal materials are able to be pumped through a processing line. By protecting against unintended reactions valuable chemical materials are preserved saving the processing facility in materials costs.

 

Click here for the full article by Mike Solso.

Oil Producers Explore Crackers

Oil Producers Explore Crackers | Flowmetrics

From the installation near Monaca, Pa liquefied natural gas will be exported to consumers, and industry leaders expect growth in liquefied natural gas demand to remain. Ethane crackers utilize high heat, catalysts, and solvents to break the molecules of larger ethane into ethylene.

As supply of crude oil deposits dwindle, more energy producers are focusing on liquid natural gas for itsportability. Once cooled below its vapor point, natural gas compresses 600 times which makes it easier to transport and ship to other regions including international destinations.

Recently, the U.S. Energy Information Administration projected domestic ethane production to grow from 1.1 million barrels per day in 2015 to 1.4 million barrels each day in 2017, an increase of 300,000 barrels daily.

 

Click here for the full article by Casey Junkins.

Extracting Uranium from Seawater

Extracting Uranium from Seawater | Flowmetrics

It is estimated that the oceans hold 4 billion tons of uranium. This amount of uranium would be enough to power the world’s major cities for thousands of years, the trouble is getting it out of the water. Scientists have shown progress on using a material that binds to uranium dioxide in seawater and can later be treated to remove the uranium. This process would entail dragging braided polyethylene fibers coated with amidoxime through the oceans.

The process is still inefficient and expensive, but finding alternatives to uranium ore mining is a necessary step in planning for the future of nuclear energy.

Uranium is only found in seawater at a concentration of 3.3 micrograms per liter, that converts to 1 particle of Uranium to every 3,000,000,000,000,000 particles of the remainder of seawater. The material is inefficient in that only 6 grams of Uranium is adsorbed for every kilogram of the material, or an efficiency of .6% after 8 weeks of collection.

If constant extraction via this method were to be enacted a fleet would need roughly 693,000 kilograms of the material being dragged at all times, just to fuel a single Gigawatt nuclear power plant for the same duration.

 

Click here for the full article by Jennifer Hackett.

Next Generation Advanced Process Control

Next Generation Advanced Process Control | Flowmetrics

Manufacturers are increasingly demanding advanced process control, APC, on more units and utilized by more controllers. APC has even been utilized in utility and steam systems. 

APC has traditionally been the province of dedicated specialists with years of training and experience. “Building, deploying and maintaining a system used to require on-site expertise, using multiple sets of tools for each controller.” -Elinor Price from Aspen Technology

APC programs eliminate the need to transition between multiple applications, to consolidate and preserve process knowledge. These more efficient operations allow better cooperation between process engineers and control engineers. By tracking and storing all of these data points from multiple different stations newly hired engineers can troubleshoot issues that crop up during procedures.

 

Click here for the full article on Control Global.

Innovative Technologies in Chemical Processing

Chemical Processing | Flowmetrics

When it comes to chemical processing, achieving immaculate measurements is an essential part of business. Anything less than an exact count can lead to serious consequences. At best, you might offset your inventory, and at worst, you might anger a client who is buying your product. Although accurate measurement is an important part of chemical processing, it can be difficult to find the tools necessary to accurately and efficiently gauge chemical contents. One solution that many chemical companies have employed is the use of flow meters to gauge the flow and distribution of chemical solutions.

Calibration Service Can Save You Time

In addition to flow meter technology, some providers use individual calibration services in their business. Chemical processing involves far more than just measuring quantities, though. It also entails many other processes, such as:

  • Calibration: All tools used to measure and treat chemicals must be thoroughly monitored and calibrated for accuracy. This process can often be automated or simplified by some models of flow meters.
  • Collection: Condensate residue is a byproduct of processing certain chemicals, and it should typically be collected and measured. This step, too, can be completed by flow meters with the necessary tools integrated.
  • Processing: Many chemicals, such as crude oil, require processing before being sold or used. Processing entails removing impurities and measuring the ingredients of the chemical.

Each of these services is an essential aspect of chemical processing.

Improving Processes for Both Buyers and Sellers

The above processes are all important parts of chemical processing, but perhaps the most essential services a flow meter can provide is its ability to reduce manual effort, maximize efficiency and improve the quality of the chemicals produced. How can a single tool accomplish all this? Most flow meters integrate many tools into their interface, which is one way it can maximize efficiency. It reduces manual labor by eliminating extra work a processor may have to do, and chemicals blended or refined in it are reliable in their consistent quality. Each of these benefits aids both buyers and sellers in maximizing value.

Achieve Reliable Readings in Nearly Any Context

One of the purposes a flow meter can serve in chemical processing is used less often, perhaps, but it is no less useful. A flow meter can help you gain a reading on the flow of chemicals not currently being processed, such as chemicals housed in a separate plant or pipeline. Sometimes measuring production levels and contents in these is important for processing, and certain kinds of flow meters can offer the resources you need to collect data. These measurements can help processors better understand how chemicals work before and after processing, so that processes can be improved when necessary.

A Variety of Options That Work

One of the best things about flow meters is that fact that they may include a variety of features and functions. They are certainly one of the best choices for processing chemicals and completing every other aspect of this process that might be required. A flow meter can help you simplify your processing and improve your efficiency.

 

 

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Field Performance of Centrifugal Compressors

Field Performance of Centrifugal Compressors | Flowmetrics

Information systems provide pivotal visualizations of performance for machinery in varied conditions. Being able to see how operations change over time can improve future plans and efficiency, but how the data is presented is often challenging to understand. Most of the difficulty comes from the deviations between expected values and actual field values. These discrepancies can come about because of inlet gas contaminations, or changing environment conditions.

Adjusting the expected performance values of centrifugal compressors to more accurately reflect the field values requires constant monitoring of field conditions and analyzing the differences. The methodology in place to accomplish this task is to monitor both the design conditions and the field conditions, but to manipulate design conditions until expected performance matches field performance as closely as possible.

Software is available to crunch the numbers in real-time to provide expected performance figures based on the field conditions. Field conditions such as pressure, tempreature, and relevant gas mixture composition are input through sensors and automated calculations are performed to result in expected compressor performance curves. Other features allow storage of the data in databases for historical trends and later analysis by engineers for future designs.

 

Click here for the full article by Massimiliano Di Febo and Pasquale Paganini.

Benefits of Encouraging Transparency in Industry

Benefits of Encouraging Transparency in Industry | Flowmetrics

Singapore is known for many notable features. It is a beautiful area naturally rich in scenery and culture. It is also an international hub of trade and transport, and it boasts the world’s largest refueling center for ships. The latter of these features is great for the local economy, but developments in recent years have led to evolving legislature. It is now mandated through the Singapore flow meter regulation that providers use mass flow meters to carefully measure and record the amount of fuel being sold to consumers. Though this development has been subject to some resistance, there are plenty of reasons why the Singaporean government might want to take the lead in encouraging transparency.

Reliably Track Inventory and Sales

By forcing providers to offer an immediate measurement of their fuel, the law provides sellers with the obligation to more accurately track their sales and inventory. Though such efforts might seem small, this helps individual providers report to authorities more accurately, too. A high quality flow meter can accurately gauge the flow of gas or liquid being processed and offer unparalleled insight into volume metrics. This data is essential for authorities, and prior to the implementation of flow meters, there were few options for reliably garnering this information.

Explore Ways to Measure Metrics

In implementing the use of flow meters for all fuel sellers, Singaporean authorities encouraged providers to find systems that fit the specifications they had set forth. Though this may seem like a rather narrow range of possibilities, there are actually a number of flow meter models that can potentially be used. In its initial implementation, some providers expressed reservations surrounding the accuracy of results produced by flow meters. Quality providers, however, offer fully integrated systems that not only measure the mass of the product, but also provide innovative digital technology to users who rely on the meters.

Streamline the Fueling Process for Buyers and Sellers

One of the biggest reasons the Singapore flow meter regulation was enacted was the slow service fuel buyers dealt with every time they stopped to refuel in Singapore. These conditions nearly made refueling centers inaccessible at points, but there is a solution in flow meters. A meter can eliminate the difficult and often inaccurate labor of measuring fuel manually, and instead, automates the system for improved efficiency. Both sellers and buyers benefit since sellers are able to provide for more clients and buyers are able to continue on in a timely manner.

 

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