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Yokogawa Acquires Laser Analyzer Technology

April 8, 2008
Tunable Diode Laser Spectroscopy Has the Potential to Be a Bigger Game-Changer Than the Process Chromatograph.

Yokogawa Corp. of America (YCA) announced today that is has acquired Analytical Specialties Inc., of Clear Lake, Texas, after a trial marriage that involved Yokogawa marketing ASI’s TruePeak family of tunable diode laser spectroscopy (TDLS) analyzers in Europe.

Analytical Specialties was established in 1994, now has 15 employees and has hundreds of installed analyzers in such applications as combustion control, ethylene oxide reactor control, acetylene converter control and chlorine dryer control. Trevor Knittel, formerly president of ASI and now general manager for laser technology in Yokogawa’s analytical business unit, said, “TDL spectroscopy enables the direct, high-speed measurement of many important process gases, including combustion by-products, impurities and oxygen in many chemical and refining operations.”

“Tunable diode laser spectroscopy has the potential to be a bigger game-changer than the process chromatograph,” says Trevor Knittel, former ASI president and now Yokogawa general manager of laser technology, on the market potential for TDLS.
Knittel went on to differentiate between TruePeak and other TDL analyzers on the market. “TDLS is used in many industries for analysis,” Knittel explained. “Gases absorb infrared light at specific unique wavelengths, and their concentrations can be measured by illuminating them with a laser and analyzing the absorbed wavelength in the spectrum of the transmitted light.”

“But it isn’t enough to be fast,” Knittel cautioned. “All TDL analyzers are fast. You have to be fast and accurate. That’s what our TruePeak peak integration analysis gives you—very fast results, with high accuracy.”

But while the technological cool factor is clearly there, Knittel observed that the highest value statement of TruePeak technology is the ability to integrate new measurements not currently possible into the control system and to enable advanced process control using these new variables.

Adding TruePeak analyzers will enable Yokogawa to offer a comprehensive offering complementing the zirconium, chromatography and other analyzers currently in its product stable. Yokogawa has decided to establish a Laser Analytical Division within YCA as a core unit for the industrial automation environmental and measurement business.

Knittel noted that combustion control is a significant application for TruePeak. “Fired heaters account for 37% of U.S. manufacturing sector energy use, which is as much energy as transportation. If we can improve combustion control even a small amount, that’s a significant savings—the equivalent of improving the efficiency of millions of cars.”

Satoru Kurosu, senior vice president of the Industrial Automation Business Headquarters of Yokogawa said, “We consider that technologies and products focusing on energy saving and environmental conservation will continue to play an important role. Therefore, we aim to expand our lineup of sensors used in analytical processes and to enhance our capability to offer solutions over the entire life cycle of a plant that also address the need for energy saving and environmental conservation.”

Kurosu believes that the TDLS market will be worth $150 million by 2013, and Yokogawa expects to have the largest market share with sales of at least $30 million by that time. Kurosu noted that this will certainly enhance Yokogawa’s Vigilant Plant vision and improve its chances of “achieving the top position in the global industrial automation market by 2010.”

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