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.

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.

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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Cheaper Drilling for Oil and Gas

Cheaper Drilling for Oil and Gas | Flowmetrics

The US Energy Information Administration has released a study with results on wellhead drilling costs. Findings from this study show that upstream costs in 2015 have dropped by 25% to 30% below 2012 levels. These costs have even dropped up to 20% under the average over the past 5 years. 

The EIA attributes the lower costs to technological advancements creating higher productivity per well. To standardize the findings the team created a measurement unit of Barrels of Oil Equivalent, BOE, and analyzed the effectiveness of wells in that unit of effectiveness. While certain strategies in oil drilling have increased costs per well, namely deeper longer wells, the increased performance overshadows these expenses for a lower cost per BOE. 

The study forecasts a 15 percent reduction in deepwater costs in 2015, an additional three percent reduction in 2016, and a modest rise in costs from 2017 to 2020.


Click here for the full article from Industrial Equipment News.

Metering Pumps Need Turndown for Efficiency

Metering Pumps Need Turndown for Efficiency | Flowmetrics

Water treatment plants, chemical processing facilities, and offshore platforms all seek to maximize efficiency, and in metering pumping processes leveraging the turndown capabilities vastly decreases the waste of chemicals.

Turndown is expressed as a ratio of the metering pump output. If a pump is capable of a maximum of 1,000 gallons per hour (gph) and it has a 100-to-1 turndown ratio, then it can be adjusted to a flow rate as low as 10 gph and still perform within its accuracy rating.

But a turndown ratio means little without an accuracy rating as well. For example, the example pump above with an accuracy rating of 1% max flow rate means that at a flow rate of 1 gph, the pump may be pumping +/- 10 gph, possibly 1,000% the intended amount of fluid. 

The entire purpose of a metering pump is to dispense a specified amount of fluid. Turndown is so important in that varying levels of chemicals or raw materials might be required in the moment. Being able to modulate the amount of processing chemicals will reduce the overuse during processing.


Click here for the full article from Pumps & Systems.

Refineries Refocus on Wastewater

Refineries Refocus on Wastewater | Flowmetrics

Oil and gas companies as an industry are placing higher priorities on waste water management for operational and economic challenges. This trend is in response to the current 2.5 billion barrels of waste water produced yearly by American O&G operations.

Current procedures for oil and gas refining call for a water to oil ratio of 8:1, showing the massive quantities of water required for daily operations. To reduce this vast usage certain engineering feats will have to succeed in improving efficiency or broadening the optimum ranges for processing. One refinery was faced with an exponentially growing cost if a conventional reverse osmosis filtering system was to be placed within the plant. To solve this problem without raising the budget, a 750-gpm unit was installed in a three-tiered skid arrangement and placed in a non-hazardous area of the plant. This resolution saved the refinery from erecting another building for its water management, and kept all extra processing equipment nearby. 

In certain locations and climates, severe droughts are raising doubts about heavy water using industrial plants. High water prices are causing increased costs for operations and drawing needed water away from residents in neighboring counties. New legislation in California has required O&G operators to submit monthly water usage statements to the government to be approved before operation occurs. Being able to reduce the necessary water for cooling, dilution, and transport of these products would improve the chance of continued operations.


Click here for the full article by Mike Jenkins.