Flow Charts New Waters

Flowmeters, Controllers and Their Supporting Components and Software Are Adding New Functions That Are Allowing Them to Take On Some New and Unusual Tasks and Applications

By Jim Montague

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Read Also: Trends Among the Top 10 Flowmeter Technologies

Also, the driver-initiated loading functions are more efficient because drivers no longer have to wait for manual link-ups to pumps; load qualities and grades are validated automatically; and this streamlines and cuts the required steps by 50%. "Driver-initiated loading has proven to be a real benefit all round," says Chris Turner, Shell Lubricant's E&I engineer. "All the data provided by Profibus, such as diagnostic information, helps us maintain smooth operation and system integrity, and the Promass flowmeters are low-maintenance, accurate, secure and user-friendly."

Likewise, Novelis' aluminum flat-rolling mill in Lüdenscheid, Germany, needs to constantly lubricate the 13,000 tons of aluminum rolls it makes each year with high-quality oil. However, this oil often thins during production, which can reduce lubrication, damage the rolls, and stop production. Oil thinning is accompanied by a minimum density change of around 0.8 grams per liter (g/l).

To prevent these problems, Novelis recently installed CoriolisMaster FCB300 mass flowmeters from ABB, which can perform density measurements at up to 0.5 g/l in field adjustments. This means fluctuations in density can be detected much earlier, and Novelis can take countermeasures to prevent damage to the rolls. Besides high-precision density measurement, FCB350 also gives the rolling mill a smooth density signal, so unique trends can be observed.

Optimized Oxygen = Stronger Steel

While a steel plant might not seem like the most logical place for a flowmeter, a closer look at More s.p.l in Gemona del Friuli, Italy, reveals the electric arc furnaces it supplies to mini-mills are using vortex flowmeters to minimize fuel and oxygen consumption, optimize steel quality, prevent rework and reduce costs (Figure 2). More also supplies auxiliary steelmaking equipment, including sidewall injector systems used with chemical energy packages such as oxygen, carbonaceous fuels, lime and other fine compounds. These chemicals are injected into the furnace during the manufacturing process to improve steel quality, and provide additional energy from exothermic reactions, helping to reduce overall energy consumption.

More had been using differential pressure flowmeters to measure critical oxygen flows in its furnaces, but they made it difficult to handle changing process requirements and meet user demands for more accurate control. The company needed more accurate instruments with a broader measurement range, so it evaluated vortex flowmeters, and implemented Emerson's Rosemount 8800 vortex flowmeters, which are designed to addresses the limits of traditional vortex flowmeters. For example, its Adaptive Digital Signal Processing (ADSP) signal filtering and a mass-balanced sensor design maximize measurement reliability, and eliminate the impact of vibrations on measurement accuracy. Also, to meet demands for greater flexibility in furnace installations, Rosemount 8800's 25:1 rangeability helps optimize gas heaters, providing greater opportunities to vary steel characteristics for different applications.

"By implementing Emerson's vortex technology, we've been able to build electric arc furnace solutions that guarantee optimum furnace efficiency for users," says Roberto Urbani, More's purchasing manager. "We've been able to optimize furnace efficiency in terms of productivity and steel quality. Over-oxidation is no longer an immediate concern, which extends furnace lifecycles. Energy consumption and ambient pollution were also reduced." 

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