The expert inside, part 1—level
Embedded intelligence in field instruments isn't new, but more and better knowledge is getting captured in more sophisticated, easier-to-use and better-networked devices.
Maybe it's all those crystal-clear highballs and free-flowing beverages that make level measurement seem conceptually simple to uninformed observers. However, when they sober up and peer into pitch-black tanks and silos with internal structures, mixers and agitators that must handle viscous and volatile fluids, solids and slurries—not to mention the build-up, dust, vapor, foam and other conditions they generate—well, let's just say accurate level measurement in the real-world is a whole different ballgame.
These challenges have been met by generations of inventive operators, process engineers, system integrators and suppliers, who have developed an array of innovative techniques for precisely determining the level and volume of…
Process, power and plant controls join forces to achieve performance gains
Resource guide: calibration education
Fluke’s faster, easier pressure calibrator
Control 2017 Readers' Choice Awards
Video: The principle of ultrasonic flow
In this video, Siemens explains the principle of ultrasound and how a clamp-on or inline ultrasonic flowmeter measures the flow of liquid through a pipe. The company's new Sitrans F S clamp-on ultrasonic flow system with noise immunity can accurately measure volume and allow for identification of parameters such as density and viscosity.
Product roundup: fierce flow measurement, control
Video: Using magmeters in zero upstream, zero downstream applications
Reader feedback: April 2018
Vortex flowmeter calibration & rangeability
Virtual sensors validate vital data
You may already have instruments you can use to cross-check critical measurements.
The level of hazardous waste in the tank was increasing steadily, but the truck to haul it away for processing wasn’t expected until after the long weekend. With demand for saleable product high, no one was inclined to cut production—but it…
Sometimes a level instrument is only as smart as the guy doing the calibration
Smart engineers can get more than level from level instrumentation
Merging old and new in level measurement
Calculating medical flow measurement
How can we measure flow to determine whether or not to install a stent?
Q: It was brought to my attention that in your column you might also give advice on non-industrial measurement and control topics. I have a question relating to a medical flow measurement application that involves stents. A stent is a small mesh tube that is used to keep narrow or weak arteries open. The insertion of stents is a high-risk operation and many lives could be saved, if we accurately knew if the insertion of a stent is essential or not, so that we would install a stent only in cases where blood flow is below a minimum.
If you or your colleagues have any advice or recommendation concerning this flow measurement, I and all cardiac specialists would appreciate your advice.
A: In this context,…
Expro unveils first proven electromagnetic transmission of reservoir pressure data to surface across an open-hole well section without casing
Pressurization affects hopper weight
Ask the experts: controlling fuel gas to a fired heater
2017 State of Technology: temperature and pressure measurement
The latest trends, technology and implementations are detailed in this new ebook from the editors of Control.
The latest trends, technology and implementations are detailed in this new ebook from the editors of Control.
Topics covered include:
Taming temperature and pressure
Secrets to good vessel temperature and pH control
Living on the edge with surge…
E+H unveils new Midwest temperature, analyzer plants
Resource guide: Temperature and pressure don't stress
26 things to not do in temperature, flow, valve, differential pressure and pH applications
Meggitt offers HART-enabled vibration sensors
Meggitt's PCH420V vibration sensor has a programmable transmitter that allows vibration data to be accessed by HART enabled process controllers.
Meggitt's PCH420V is the first HART®-enabled piezo-electric vibration sensor enabling continuous online monitoring of balance-of-plant assets with a digital connection to PLC or DCS systems for local analysis of multiple vibration bands. They are capable of installation in multi-drop configurations and reduce wiring requirements. HART functionality enables the user to specify vibration frequency bands, detector types and full-scale measurement ranges—effectively enabling field-configuration for specific monitoring requirements.
PCH420 sensors are powered by the network for continuous coverage, unlike wireless solutions only offering snapshots of asset performance and employing batteries that require frequent replacement. Utilizing PCH…
Designing and testing networking devices for harsh environments
2016 Readers' Choice Awards
Meggitt provides HART-enabled piezo-electric vibration sensors
Why does our hopper weight appear to drop during pressurization?
Q: We have weighing hoppers on three load cells (Figure 1). During charging, the vent valve is open and the pressure is atmospheric (zero). When filling is complete and the weight is registered, the vent valve is closed and we pressurize the hopper…
Resource Guide: Weighing systems tip usefulness scale
Quickly Test Load Cell Systems
The Care and Feeding of your Weigh Cells
Water-in-oil analysis uses controlled vortices
Improved technology reduces costs of inaccurate measurements
For many years, end users and their engineering contractors have been installing a quality measurement system (QMS) such as a sampling, mixing and analyzer system (SMAS) for immiscible liquids, including oil and water. It is a tenet of process measurement that any analyzer or sensor is very capable of measuring only a single-phase sample. In fact, most practitioners assume that using two analyzers on one stream for immiscible liquids will solve the measurement problem. It doesn’t—it just requires a double SMAS, each with its own level of uncertainty.
This article describes a new SMAS, referred to as SmartMix®, that uses a novel approach to improve multiphase measurement.
Crude oil sample conditioning systems must comply with…
High-pressure mass spectometers offer robust, real-time, in-situ analysis.
Gas safety for semiconductor fabs
Resource guide: process analyzers seek the truth
HART PSK achieves practicality
Dual-speed HART and multiple soft modems now on one, low-power microchip
Back in 2001, HART Specification version 6 defined Phase Shift Keying (PSK), an alternative to Frequency Shift Keying (FSK) that multiplied HART data communication rate from 1,200 bits per second (bps) to 9,600 bps. At the time, few end users or vendors noticed because, in general, HART applications ran fine at 1,200 bps. Why add more electronics, expense, and above all, energy consumption, considering the 4-20 mA loop limits available current to about 3.5 mA?
But time marches on. Instrument engineers added HART-accessible, smart self-diagnostics, additional sensor signals and calculated outputs such as mass flow, valve signatures and alarms. Configuration options increased, and control systems added remote configuration, calibration and…
Understanding P, I and D
The greatest source of process control knowledge
Adaptive and intuitively simple optimization
A streamlined approach to loop tuning
Readers respond to February's Control Talk column and PID controller basics article
Thank you for taking the time to address some of the main areas around some of the more traditional metering technologies (“The art of flowmeter selection”). It was interesting to read someone else's opinion on these common metering technologies, and I liked the “good, bad and ugly” simplification.
I would add something to the differential pressure (DP) discussion in the bad/ugly category, and point out the possible errors in measurement accuracy caused by mechanical damage to the plates/wedge. Prejudiced as I may be, I felt that the area of ultrasonics could have done with a little more attention, especially as there are several varieties around the theme: high accuracy multi-beam inline meters for liquids and gases, clamp-on…
Schneider Electric details DCS at Foxboro event
Virtual plant virtuosity
2017 State of Technology: control systems
How we can support a proliferation of smart devices
Bedrock Automation releases OSA Remote
Compact controller unifies PLC, RTU and edge control, intrinsic cybersecurity, and universal I/O
Just as all roads led to Rome, most if not all cornerstone functions of process control have been melding into more unified, multi-role devices. One of the leading expressions of this coalescence is Bedrock Automation's new Open Secure Automation (OSA) Remote high-performance controller, which combines PLC, RTU and edge control, universal I/O and intrinsic cybersecurity into a compact, rugged, standalone module that's ideal for remote monitoring and control.
Two models will be available: OSA Remote R10 with 10 soft-selectable channels and OSA Remote R20 with 20 soft-selectable channels. OSA Remote also features free IEC 61131-3 engineering software, wide operating temperature range (-40 °C to 80 C°), all-metal enclosure, and pricing…
Product roundup: PLCs, PACs & PCs get connected
The father of the PLC lives on in all the lives he touched—and will continue to touch
Open system gives precise temperature control
Product roundup: PLCs, PACs and PCs proliferate
SCADA reflects and reinvents
The cloud, IIoT, virtualization and other forces are reshaping supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) into new forms and functions, but can they do it securely?
If it had a face—and it sort of does—would you recognize supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) if you saw it on the street? Would SCADA even recognize itself in a mirror these days?
Chance are, probably not. This is because all the…
Benefits of upgrading to get more information may easily justify the cost
HMIs are multiplying, diversifying, and gaining flexibility
Yokogawa Corp., eSimulation Inc. form partnership
The latest trends, technology and implementations are detailed in this new eBook from the editors of Control.
The latest trends, technology and implementations are detailed in this new eBook from the editors of Control.
Topics covered include:
Pressure rising for open, secure systems
Exploring the love/hate relationship with distributed control
An ‘entitlement’ approach to continuous process control improvement
Expanding advanced process control to secondary units
Boilers as fast as fast can be
Continuous improvement of continuous processes
HMIs on tablets, smart phones need to comply with intrinsic safety standards
How to keep devices safe in hazardous areas
Going out in bad weather? You may need a sweater or coat. Working in a harsh or hazardous environment? You and your co-workers will need the right protective and safety gear.
The same goes for tools and accessories, especially all the human-machine…
2017 State of Technology: HMIs and industrial PCs
Working with IoT is not as easy as it sounds
Avoiding the Internet of spam still requires human intelligence
Factoring life cycle variables helps make intelligent motor-drive purchases
The largest potential for electric motor energy savings lies in system- and process-level optimization
Early electric motors were operated at one speed, guided by available current and voltage and often drive belt and pulley systems that mechanically controlled system speed and power. As motors evolved, efficiency improved, mostly by changing output control from mechanical to electrical and eventually leading to the creation of modern adjustable speed drives (AC drives).
Today, the largest potential for electric motor energy savings lies in system- and process-level optimization. Many different measures can be taken to improve the performance of processes and systems, but AC drives have the most important role to play. System-level optimization is possible thanks to several key elements in AC drive technology:
Motor independence: Drives…
Motors, drives deliver force behind the scenes
Resource guide: motors and drives turn on process industries
How automation can best affect the ratio that defines energy efficiency
Nord Drivesystems delivers biggest gearbox
How to sequence valves to smooth the transition from small to large
Who invented the Coriolis flowmeter?
Q: I'm working at a wastewater treatment plant where we're using 50 weight-percent NaOH to neutralize the water in a mixing tank. To cover the rangeability requirement of the application, we're sequencing two control valves in parallel. I'd like to learn how we can reduce or eliminate the limit cycling that occurs near the point where the reagent requirement is under the minimum flow of the large valve, but under the maximum flow of the small valve.
A: Rangeability requirements are usually determined by the titration of a 50 ml or so wastewater sample in a laboratory, and the results are typically plotted as pH vs. milliliters of reagent used. To convert this information into gallons per minute (gpm) of…
How to eliminate uncertainty, risk when performing partial stroke tests
Ethanol plant learns why pipe cracks
Common automation myths debunked
Smart instruments deliver
Tips and tricks to get valuable information out where it can so some good.
John Rezabek recently discussed how to make more effective use of the infrastructure we likely already have installed, and in particular the investment in positioners (“Can things of yore deliver gold?”). Here are some suggestions on how easy it…
Resource Guide: valves, actuators and positioners
Reader feedback: How large does an actuator have to be to handle actual process conditions?
New Valve Actuators Address Both Ends of Torque Spectrum
Leeway on the learning curve
Please cut others and yourself some slack as you learn about IIoT and other concepts
While I agree there's nothing new under the sun, I've also mentioned before that what's really new is just a deeper understanding of things with which we thought were completely familiar. For instance, I thought I knew all about Tom Wolfe's "The Right Stuff" book and movie about the Mercury astronauts, including the older lady tending the dilapidated bar at the beginning of the story, and casually putting newly arrived test pilots in their place. I knew all the quips, but what I didn't know was that character, Florence Lowe "Pancho" Barnes, is right up there with Amelia Earhardt and Bessie Coleman as one of the most important female aviators of the 20th century. No kidding.
As usual, I wised up after running across a late-night showing of…
Interfaces lighten the load
Reader feedback: May 2018
Readers discuss the OPAF's efforts and Foundation Fieldbus.
OPA is not like fieldbusGreat article (OPA plugs and plays). In case anyone thinks that this is just fieldbus all over again—it is not. The objectives are similar to Foundation fieldbus, but that standard had two major faults: It was directed at new (greenfield) installations, and it had no security at all. This OPA-S effort is directed to provide a fully distributed computing framework for existing devices (brownfield) as well as greenfield, and security is included from the lowest-level DCN or DCF, to the network, to the highest-level RTAC.In many ways, Foundation fieldbus lives within the function block orientation of the DCN/DCF, but this time OPAF has provided both the ability to add function block capability to existing field…
OI package empowers operations
Advice on implementing ANSI/ISA standards for operator interfaces
Human factors engineering delivers ROI
Risk management offers an expanding menu of opportunities for ROI
Our process plants are not exempt from the forces of chaos, so when the caller ID indicates the plant, we might worry that it brings news of an unexpected trip or an injury to an employee or contractor.
A few years ago, my insurance man asked me, “You’re an engineer, aren’t you?” I was indeed, I said, and he went on to explain that I was eligible for a rate reduction, I just needed to fax him documentation of the degree I’d earned decades…
Why automation has limitations in emergency situations
How to reduce alarm chatter
Prepare to rationalize and operate on alarms from the Internet of Things
Our readers tell us who they think delivers the best technology in our industry
There's knowledge in our readers. That's why every year we ask our loyal audience to help us determine which automation service providers offer the best products and brands they can rely on to get the best combination of performance, ease of use,…
How Smart Can You Get? The Newest in Data Recorders
Data Acquisition Must-Haves
The Latest Data Acquisition Tools
Data Acquisition and Logging Gets on Track
Knowledge on demand - Part 1
Tapping into better, faster, more useful process information—for wiser decisions—can be easier than you think.
We all know reach can exceed grasp, but at least in accessing and using process control information, many longtime hurdles are shrinking. Finally, knowledge-on-demand is closer at hand—physically, if not always mentally.The old chasms were often…
FieldComm Group seeking nominations for 2018 Plant of the Year Award
OPA Forum expands open, interoperable standard for process control device interfaces - Part 2
Resource guide: Sure-fire intrinsic safety
Intrinsic safety gives an inch
Ask the experts: Level switch safety; level for flow
Where wireless meets intrinsic safety
Resource guide: Fieldbus, Ethernet networks explained
Subject matter experts necessary to support digitalization
The Mechanics' Institute shows how to meet today's digitalization challenges
The history of the Mechanics' Institute Library & Chess Room in San Francisco
So I'm walking around San Francisco a few weeks ago, ferrying between the Control System Integrators Association (CSIA) and OSIsoft's PI World conferences, when I ran across a third organization—the Mechanics' Institute Library & Chess Room. Just another fine payoff for keeping my eyes open.Now, don't misunderstand me, both the OSIsoft and CSIA events were terrific, with lots of useful sessions that you can read about in this issue's In Process news section. However, I was already expecting enlightening input from them. What I wasn't anticipating was randomly stumbling into one of the city's historic, cultural institutions, and learning how many lessons it has for today's engineers and technical professionals.Just like the hundreds…
The case for single-purpose systems
Resource Guide: I/O, terminal blocks
Control's monthly guide brings you invaluable industry information to stay up to date on the latest trends and developments.
TALK SHOW ON BLOCKSThe 43-minute video, "Terminal Blocks and Ziplinks Webinar from AutomationTalk," covers a wide range of technologies, capabilities and solutions in a talkshow format with Q&A. It covers Automationdirect's updated and extended lines of Dinnectors and Ziplinks, also known as terminal blocks and prewired connection cables and modules. Watch it here.Automationdirectwww.automationdirect.comI/O POINTS IN CONTEXTThis 26-minute video, "Solutions for PLC I/O Modules," from Texas Instruments covers PLC systems, and dives into I/O modules used to interface with sensors/actuators. "I/O modules must meet stringent electrical specifications and can be classified into current, voltage and digital input/output types," states TI's…
How do we deal with the brittle?
App Platform aims to ‘drive the 33s’
Opto 22 adds mobility to operator interfaces with groov Action Plan
Mobile trends in industrial automation
Power supplies: just another detail?
Careful specification can prevent startup problems and maintenance headaches.
As a chemical engineer by training, one aspect of automation that I had to pick up post-graduation was a basic understanding of electrical engineering. Although it wasn't a natural fit for me (my alma mater makes Chem Es take an electrical…
Energy efficiency tools
Power control joins process control to aid energy efficiency
2016 State of Technology Report: The latest trends in power systems
Back to school time: All you need to know about power supply
CSIA to release Best Practices and Benchmarks Manual version 5.0
Version 5.0 covers every aspect of the system integration business
The Control System Integrators Association (CSIA) announced the release of the Best Practices and Benchmarks Manual version 5.0. The CSIA Best Practices and Benchmarks Manual is the industry standard for successful management of a control system integration business. It is also the cornerstone of the CSIA Certification program and the tool against which the audit for Certification is measured. On an ongoing basis, the manual is tested by a committee of CSIA members, auditors and clients as part of a continuous review and improvement process.
With version 5.0, the CSIA Best Practices and Benchmarks Manual has been updated to reflect new material, including a new chapter on cyber security. The entire manual was reviewed for organization,…
Reduce cutover concerns
Software speeds water plant project
Intelligent device management
Give clients what they need, not just what they say they want
Column about nothing
When you go digital/virtual, many things vanish, even if they're still running.
Most publications and even websites maintain a pretty tidy appearance with all the words fitting in nice, even columns, and articles coming to a conclusion just as they run out of space. This is a gross deception because every story has loads of worthy but unused material, and dozens if not hundred of loose ends that will likely never get followed up. Just as many stories never get covered or told, even the ones that do are incomplete snapshots.
Readers can always pursue with their own research, of course, but I can't remember hearing about any that did. Still, it might be a good idea because, even though there's supposedly nothing new under the sun, what I find is really new is a deeper understanding of what was previously thought to be…
Smart Industry & Safety Instrumented Systems
Top 10 IIoT asset-maintenance trends
IIoT and asset management
Honeywell launches batch solution
Experion Batch increases productivity for batch operations
Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS) introduced a control technology solution, Experion Batch, which increases productivity for batch operations and speed-to-market of batch products by allowing operators to “look ahead” into their processes and see an intuitive and comprehensive timeline of every task required to complete a product batch. Experion Batch uses patent-pending visualization technology to provide batch automation processes with the benefits of distributed control capability. This approach provides operators with insights into upcoming events or potential delays, which make it easier for them to conduct multiple tasks, take appropriate actions sooner and adjust next steps accordingly.
Sometimes operators sense changes missed by managers and engineers
Resource guide: Mixing up a batch—maybe even golden
Getting away from batch opens opportunities for quality and throughput
Procedural automation everywhere
Atonarp recently introduced a molecular sensor (quadrupole mass spec) solution
Industrial process control is facing one of its greatest challenges. Billions of dollars of pharmaceuticals and advanced process node semiconductor devices will be manufactured using processes where fast, accurate molecular analysis is critical to the quality of the end product. There's a pressing need for in-situ molecular analysis that delivers real-time results that are accurate, repeatable and quantitative from a small, rugged and easy-to-integrate solution. However, existing molecular analysis solutions such as residual gas analysis (RGA), gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and optical solutions like near-infrared (NIR) and optical emission spectroscopy (OES) have limitations that make them impractical solutions.
Motivating, inspiring and directing automation professionals
SIS: How testing impacts reliability
What is your proof test coverage and why does it matter?
Proof test coverage (PTC) of safety instrumented systems (SIS), also known as CPT, has recently become an important topic of discussion. PTC can be defined as the fraction of dangerous, undetected failures that can be detected by a user proof test and is normally expressed as a percentage (%). In the past, it was commonly assumed in calculation and in practice that proof test coverage was 100%. However, not all proof tests are comprehensive, and the approval agencies often indicate that the recommended proof test does not have a 100% PTC, new out of the box.The PTC concept applies to both partial and complete proof tests, and PTC is calculated as shown in Equation 1:PTC% = (dangerous undetected failures detected by the user proof test /…
Secure the SIS
The ruggedness of ancient instruments is both a blessing and a curse
Building cybersecurity firewalls
New ISA99 standard integrates security-by-design
Survey: More than half of infrastructure open to security threats
IIC publishes IoT Security Maturity Model white paper
How to design functional enclosures to protect electronic devices
It's easy to make small and costly mistakes when specifying and applying enclosures
Every component of a control system, from sensors to cables to controllers, needs to be protected from its environment. The most common way of providing this protection is by placing the equipment in some form of enclosure.
Sensors and associated electronics are typically packaged in a metal transmitter housing. Cables have insulation, of course, and in many cases, the additional protection of conduit or a cable tray. Controllers and other larger electronics or combinations of equipment are normally mounted in some form of cabinet.
The most common form of enclosure is metal, typically painted steel with stainless steel closing mechanisms and a suitable gasket or sealing assembly to provide the necessary level of protection from ambient…
Chemistry: What you don’t know can hurt you
Genpak plant roof collapses as staff evacuate building
How to secure your industrial networks
Product roundup: Enclosures, workstations protect and serve
Resources: workstations and enclosures
Enclosures are more than a box
2017 State of Technology: Workstations and enclosures
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