By Rich Merritt, Senior Technical Editor
AS WE noted last year, the newest standards in the process analyzer world are the New Sampling/Sensor Initiative (NeSSI) and Process Analytical Technology (PAT). The NeSSI/ANSI/ISA76-99.02 (2002) standard defines modular sampling systems, while the PAT initiative recommends procedures for improving food and drug manufacturing by measuring materials and processes.
Last year, we lamented that, except for one product in the roundup that followed, manufacturers seem to be avoiding these standards and recommendations like the plague. This year, not a single new product mentioned NeSSI or PAT compatibility. As always, that doesn’t mean the products don’t support the standards. However, one would think the vendors would say so if they did.
It’s interesting to note that market researchers are backing away from predicting market numbers. In their presentation to the 51st Analysis Division Symposium in Anaheim, PAI Partners (e-mail to SWalton208@cs.com) waffled considerably. They reported that NeSSI is experiencing "increasing numbers of successful field installations," there is an "expanding list of NeSSI-compatible components, and "progress is periodically reported at OPAC, Pittcon, ISA AD, ISApo and IFPAC" conferences. But it offered no numbers, which is an unusual position for a market research company.
Similarly, when discussing PAT, PAI waffled again on the market numbers, but added, "Virtually all major pharmaceutical and biotech firms have dedicated staff focused on PAT." Their survey of PAT end users indicates that 100% use PAT for in-process testing for process control, and 70% use it for improving or upgrading existing processes. So, somebody is using the technology, even if vendors are laying back.
PAI, with whom CONTROL columnist Terry McMahon is a partner, is probably the most knowledgeable market research company when it comes to process analyzers. If it declines to make market predictions, it probably means analyzer vendors are leery of the technology.
Overall, PAI says the worldwide process analyzer enterprise (total spending by end-users and their engineering contractors on analyzers, sample systems, integration services, operation and maintenance) is about $5 billion now, and is expected to reach $5.5 billion by 2008. Electrochemical analyzers comprise about 31% of the analyzer segment of the enterprise total, with the remainder of this segment more or less evenly divided among chromatographs, photometers, oxygen, liquid and "other." The chemical processing industry is the biggest user, buying 69% of the analyzers.
CaGuard detects scale build-up on heating elements, which insulates them, causing them to overheat and eventually fail. As scale builds up on its sensor, this controller continuously analyzes the temperature output signal. Using feedback diagnostics, the sensor works with the controller to alert the operator when cleaning cycles are necessary, or when an element may be experiencing an over-temperature situation. More info at controlglobal.com. Chromalox; 800/443-2640; www.chromalox.com
ICAP 6000 Series compact ICP emission spectrometers are suitable for general and elemental analysis in the environmental, petrochemical, metal, food and beverage, geo-chemical and cement industries. A distributed purge system offers reduced gas consumption and improved performance for elements such as arsenic (As), antimony (Sb), selenium (Se) and tellurium (Te). More info at controlglobal.com. Thermo Electron; 800-532-4752; www.thermo.com
Double Sheet Detectors
These 18-mm diameter, ultrasonic, thru-beam sensors identify misfeeds for a wide variety of media, including paper, cardboard, thin plastic and foil, where such distinctions are required to protect machinery and/or avoid waste. The detectors are IP67 protected, and detect zero, one or two sheets of material with weights from 10 g/m2 to 2000 g/m2. The detection threshold is adjustable to the material thickness for each application. Pepperl+Fuchs; 330/486-0001; www.am.pepperl-fuchs.com
Series RH two-wire transmitter measures humidity or humidity and temperature. The polymer capacitance sensor is not affected by condensation, fog, high humidity or contaminants. The humidity/temperature version provides dual 4-20 mA output signals with an accuracy of 2% RH and 0.9 °F at 72 °F. An outside air model also is available. Dwyer Instruments; 800/872-9141; www.dwyer-inst.com
Ultrasonic Leak Detector
UltraPro AG500 ultrasonic leak detector and electronic stethoscope has an Automatic Gain Control that filters the signal to provide the best signal-to-noise ratio, suppressing background noise and pinpointing leaks. This eliminates the need for adjustment knobs and filter switches. Monarch Instrument; 800/999-3390; www.monarchinstrument.com
Total Chlorine Analysis System
Model TCL System includes a sample-conditioning system, analyzer and sensor, and measures total chlorine in water, including seawater. It reduces cost of ownership over the company’s previous models by employing readily available, low-cost reagents, and reducing the frequency of reagent replacement by as much as eight times. More info at controlglobal.com. Rosemount Analytical; 714/ 957-8880; www.emersonprocess.com